Evolution of an Art Project

Blog Temptation My digital collages are frequently works in progress. While the initial digital aspects of the collage don't often take long to create, it frequently takes me awhile to get to the sewing and drawing and to the decision that the piece is complete. I started this collage, which I call Temptation back in March and only recently finished it, or so I thought. Since summer I have been taking an encaustic class in which I work with beeswax or wax medium and pigments to create textured paintings. I wanted to find a way to add more dimension and texture to my collages. I'm still learning and it has been a process. You need to work in a well ventilated space, which means I have only been able to work on my projects while in my weekly class. I've been a little slow at mastering the techniques, but recently came up with a few pieces that I really like. The problem is knowing when they are finished. The thing with digital projects is you can always scan them back in and continue to revise and revamp them. I've learned that the wax medium also allows you several alternatives, so I've been experimenting with some of the techniques. On November 20th, my class is going to have a show. We're calling it an Encaustic Jamboree. I now have several pieces to put in the show.

The piece shown above is not encaustic. It's the finished version of my digital collage. Originally, I was going to have only one image of a girl in the picture, but created the mirror image when I printed the collage out on vellum paper. It created a whole new look. I scanned the vellum print back in and flipped the image, adding it to the original collage so that I now had two girls. I printed the collage on a laser printer and brought it to my encaustic class. There I secured it to a wooden board with PVA, bookbinding glue, sanded the edges to make the image flush with the board and then dipped it in wax. From there I created a stencil of apples on a vine. I cut out the stencils and painted in the apples with red wax, adding green accents later. Then using acrylic paint, I painted the edges of the board cherry red. Below is the final result, which I will be showing in the Encaustic Jamboree.


That same class I also brought in some alternative versions of the print including the image I had printed out on vellum. My teacher thought it would be fun for me to try the vellum in wax and see what would emerge. I loved the results. My instructor also had some wonderful papers. We tried one in back of the wax-dipped vellum print and I loved it. I decided to stitch the paper to the back of the image using embroidery thread, creating an envelope like that below.

Temptation Envelope

Then carrying through with my Eve imagery, I cut up little red apples from a photo I had taken and put adhesive felt on the back. I dropped these into the envelope as well as a scripture from Genesis in which Eve eats of the fruit in the garden of Eden and offers it to Adam. I printed this out and also put felt on the back and dropped it into the envelope.

temptation envelope 3I also added felt to the back of the envelope, punched holes in the top corners, added red eyelets and a wire hanger. I will also be putting this in the Encaustic Jamboree although it is not entirely finished. My hope, once I can return to my teacher's studio is to paint a board with encaustic wax and embellish it with paper apples. Then I will hammer a nail into the board and hang this piece from it. At least that's the plan for now. It seems like my ideas are always evolving.

Temptation envelope 2

Collage in Process: Orphaned Princess

collage I snapped this photo of my latest collage with my iphone. This is the draft with embellishments and still needs to be scanned into the computer and completed. I started this picture over a year ago and am only now getting around to finishing it. I tried some new things in this one including gluing on actual feathers. Although when the piece is actually finished it will be a digital print. I love experimenting with new materials to give the collages a sense of texture and dimension. A fellow photographer wondered if such embellishments transform fine art into craft. I hate such distinctions. It made me pause and contemplate for awhile what this says about art. How does one define it? What is art versus craft and is one less than another? Not only do I think these additions add texture and dimension, I think they merge the words of digital with traditional collage. There was a time when I would have found getting such a critique devastating, but in this case I didn't. Perhaps it's because I enjoy so much what I'm doing here, I wouldn't stop anyway. Perhaps, it's because I've gotten enough accolades with my collages that I know I'm doing something right. Funny thing is I really respect the photographer who gave me the opinion.  She has been inspiring in so many ways. So I thanked her for her advice and critique, and found myself content to disagree with her. That's a big thing for me.

This isn't the first collage I worked on this week. A couple of days ago I posted the draft of my latest effort, Temptation. As many of you know I enjoy discovering the symbolic meaning of my art as much as the viewer. A lot of the choices I make are unconscious and I only discover later how apt they are. This often is the case with the animals I choose to include in the collages. I played with several in this one before settling on the goats, which just seemed to blend right in. I added the apples later, playing with the idea of temptation, Eden, Eve, etc. When I finished the draft I googled the symbolism of goats and found some interesting things in the first post I clicked on.  Here, are a couple of meanings I found. First, goats can mean spiritual ambition. Second, goats symbolize curiosity and sampling everything around them. Third, the goat symbolizes sacrifice. All three of these themes fit in with Garden of Eden. Man's own spiritual ambition in being disobedient to God and sampling from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve's curiosity in seeking out what they weren't supposed to know and what is the exile from Eden than the ultimate sacrifice of Paradise. I think the goats fit in this collage both visually and symbolically. Sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts when it comes to art and it comes to life. In doing so you learn to not only believe in what you are doing but to believe in yourself.

Collage: Temptation

blogTori winter 2f With all my work and writing behind the scenes of this blog, I haven't had much time to create any new collages lately. I started this one a couple of weeks ago after taking a blurry shot of my niece Tori in the snow. I've been trying various incarnations out and finally arrived at a draft I am pleased with tonight. I still need to print it out and work on the extras. I know I want to embroider around the edges a bit and add some pastel, but this is the initial digital draft. I'm calling it Temptation. To me this is the child Eve, the tempted and the temptress. There's more to it than that, I think, but that's where I started.