Friday, February 1, 2008

Experimental Collage

Last Saturday I took an amazing art class sponsored by NAEA (The National Art Education Association). The teacher, George M. Clark, is an experimental water media and collage artist from the York, Pa area. He was in his mid 60's and had the driest sense of humor that he let out under his breath. I'm not sure if other people heard his comments or not, because I was the only one giggling at his witty remarks.

Here is a piece of art done by George M. Clark. Its not my style but I can appreciate it.

George started class by showing us some collage work and fundamental designs he has perfected over the years. He demonstrated his paper embellishing techniques, and talked about the pricing of art this size. Then he let us loose on some small sheets of watercolor paper. He had boxed and boxes of embellished paper and found/collected pieces of paper (dress patterns, playing cards, Chinese prayer cards,maps, etc.) that we could use in addition to the supplies that we brought with us. We used acrylic mat medium to construct collages. I am very familiar with this product/process, and absolutely love it. I don't have any ties with brand names, but George recommended Gold's.

We were instructed to work on the first design, Bridge. This basic design moves the viewers eye from one side of the page to another in a relatively straight line. It can be horizontal or vertical.

Here is Shana collaging.

She and I were the only people in the class standing. During out artistic education sitting was shunned and almost forbidden.

Here is my work area after I completed my fist collage. Throughout the process I used a piece of mat board to help me contain my design. Below is an example of my work with out mat board.

Below is the piece in its complete form, including the matting.

We were called back to the demonstration table where we had a short, pain free critique. George was the only one who spoke during this crit, and had something relatively nice to say about everyones work. George said mine was a fine little collage.

We were then introduced to the Tau design. This basic design is close to the bridge design but it has a little leg sticking out of the bridge somewhere.

I started the design like the Bridge design. I was feeling a bit frustrated and needed a break from this collage. I placed it on the drying rack behind me, had a little bit of lunch and got to work on the Cruciform design.

The above three photos show the process of a particular piece. The first picture shows a blank surface, ready to go. I had all the supplies I used were out around the piece of watercolor paper. Notice the orange netting, greeting card and yellowish-silver paper around my work area. I took the middle picture right before I put the collage on the drying rack. I was getting frustrated with the design because I knew something was just not right. Later on I switched things around, I changed the viewing direction and emphasized and repeated the red orange color. The design is in the Tau family.

The cruciform design is basically an off kilter plus shape. Here is my piece that uses this design, with a little lean towards the Tau design. I used exclusively dress patterns and embellished paper for this piece. The bleeding red color is residue from the brown-purple colored paper. The color started running, so I encouraged it. As it was drying I scrubbed the surface with an old toothbrush to give a distressed look. (the mat isn't blue, thats just the photo)

For the rest of the time we were able to work on our own, creating designs of our own choosing. Shana is a busy bee. She got tired of standing over the elementary school sized tables, and took a seat.

I want to talk a little bit out Shana's artistic voice. She found her voice around the same time I found mine, and I think they play off one another to a certain extent. After all, we did live together when our voices were being discovered. When you look at her work you can see a recognizable image surrounded by abstraction. Sometimes this abstraction relates to the image, sometimes it doesn't. Shana's craftsmanship is impeccable, its very close to perfection. Her colors are very much abstract, vibrant and bright. She does great work.

Here is another Cruciform-Tau design. I used a map and some embellished paper I found in one of the many boxes. I think some of the paper is waxed because of the shine that shows up in the photo.

The last two pieces I busted out. I took about 45 minutes to complete both of them. I wasn't thinking of any specific design, but they both took on a Cruciform look.

This piece is very romantic looking, with the feather light colors, and cursive text. Although the speed to create this collage was actually very fast it has a very slow layered look. There are many layers. I started with brown-grey paper that was scribbled with chalk pastels. I then placed fibrous tissue paper over it to give it that hazy look. The white areas give your eye a place to rest.

I made six different pieces. Some speak to one another and some just are. Once I got the hang of collaging my designs came out swiftly and eloquently.

This is the last piece I did right before cleanup time. I just started slapping things down and look at the awesome piece of art I got! Sweet! I used the cover of a dress pattern, mesh, film, playing cards and embellished paper.

I had an excellent time at this class. It gave me so many ideas, and my artistic voice harmonizes perfectly with this mixed media technique.

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