Back to the Big Book

I’ve been working in small formats for the last six weeks or so, but faced by a fresh mountain of interesting offcuts, I decided to return to my letter-sized mixed media book.

I made a scatter-shot collage background, and then I added some focal images. While I was doing this, I found a quote from a book on urban planning that I’d been saving. The words pulled everything together for me.

“Yet there exists at the back of our minds a feeling that could we only start again we would get rid of this hotch potch and make all new and fine and perfect.”

The photograph is not of me but could easily be a cousin: There’s that degree of resemblance.

I’ve been reading a lot of political philosophy and history lately and reflecting on how humans need both stability and renewal. I used to be more optimistic about revolutions than I am today. Hence “rubbish,” the response in the lower left, which is a little strong — but it’s what popped into my head.


Sorting Stuff

If sorting stuff is not a recognized recreational pass-time, it should be. It seems to be my favorite. For example, I have 50+ fairly beat-up postcards from circa 1914 that I keep sorting. I’d like to select a few favorites and discard the rest, but I can’t seem to bring the process to a full stop.
I’ll eat an orange for you. You can throw a snowball for me.

Cutting and Pasting

I have two kinds of journals: art journals that function as collections of my painting, mark-making and collage; and diaries where I record notes from readings or lectures, travel reminders, to-do lists and sometimes notes about my days’ activities.

Lately I’ve gotten more inclined to add collage and mark-making to my diary. Pages with nothing but my handwriting bore my eye; meanwhile, my collection of scraps and cutouts of pictures keeps growing beyond the range of my deliberative collaging activity.

Now my practice is to paste down things I like on my diary pages, just because I like them. I may work ahead on un-used pages, or I may backtrack and fill in blank spots on pages that have been written on. I might just paste right over a shopping list or other entry of impermanent interest.

Sometimes I fill a whole page, just because I don’t want to stop. 
The cutouts plus occasional mark-making with colored pencils or markers really please my eye.

In effect, I’m putting favorite scraps out where I’ll see them regularly during the month or two I use a diary (the 5 x 8 kraft-covered Moleskine unlined diaries). Of course, this practice also fills up the diary faster. There may be a point of diminishing returns, but I am sure I’ll know it when I reach it.

Single-Player Add and Pass

There’s no such thing – an add-and-pass is supposed to move from person to person. This collage was intended to be just that, but I couldn’t stop adding to it myself. I’ll probably make another one! My messy desk top is slowly getting cleared of my favorite scraps.

Add and Pass

It’s been a long time since I received an add-and-pass collage in the mail. You can guess what it is from the name: A collage started by one person and mailed on to others until at last it returns to sender. An add-and-pass isn’t usually brilliant art, but it’s really intriguing, as you try to guess what was the base, what stories are suggested by the added elements, and what you will add yourself. As soon as I mail this one off, I am going to start my own.

Although the collage below was started by an artist who lives less that 50 miles from me, it has been to Portugal and Belarus before arriving back in North Carolina. Cool.

Pink Socks

Something about these pink socks tickled my fancy, so I built a page around them.

At first, it bothered me that the figure had no head – that’s how the source image was cropped – but then I just let that go.

It was really about the socks.

Simple for Summer

My favorite news magazine publishes terrific photos, usually without captions. The photos draw me in to the associated articles, which may be denser and chewier than I otherwise wanted a at the moment.

I clipped the very best from a recent issue and glued them down in an overlapping grid. I liked the look. No big claims, I just liked doing it!

I might elaborate with a few swipes of paint, or not.