I had a great time at the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library on Tuesday night presenting a collage demo. I was right in the main entrance of the library so I had many people walking by on their way in & out of the building.
It’s always a different experience to create art in public vs. the privacy of your own home or studio. I probably wouldn’t want to create ALL my art that way but it’s fun to do it occasionally. One aspect of it that I do enjoy is the limited palette and materials, you can’t poke around in your cabinets for a different color paint, paper or other items. No re-thinking or second guessing what to do, you have to create with what you bring. It helps me to really focus on what it is I’m wanting to do, at least as far as colors and materials because you have to select them in advance. I brought a fairly limited amount and still had lots left over at the end of the evening.
The other thing I like is how loosely I tend to work in these situations…a lot more intuition and a lot less thought. I started off just layering two shades of blue along with a bit of bronze colored paint, fairly quickly with no thought for pattern, this would just be an under layer to the pieces. Wow, was it a bright blue! I went ahead and worked directly on the wet surface (you can’t just sit there and do nothing while the paint dries!) and began adding a few types & patterns of paper torn in random sizes. Once it felt like enough paper I began layering more paint on top, covering some areas and leaving the paper & paint to show through in others. I used a few different colors to build up the layered feel of the piece, also adding some to the edges so that they would finish up looking like the front. After the paint I added precut/printed strips of black paper in a more geometric pattern until I was happy with the layout. The final strips were added to form a triangle shape that pulled the four pieces together and made them feel more like a unit instead of individual pieces that happened to be placed with each other.
By that time my two-hour stint was over and I packed up my art & supplies and headed home. Later in the week I applied a thick, textured layer of acrylic gel to both seal the pieces and give them more texture. I also embedded some organically shaped wire pieces into the gel to add just a bit more interest. (Or maybe because I’m obsessed with wire lately…it’s hard to say which!)
The gel goes on white but dries clear. It’s my favorite medium for attaching and sealing items in collage and mixed media work! Here is a close-up of one of the pieces, almost dry.
You can see the printing on the black strips that says “Each day a new journey begins” as well as some of the texture from the gel. With the rainy weather/high humidity this week it took an extra day to dry but is complete now. Here is the finished product:
In addition to giving me the time and opportunity to create some new work I had a wonderful time chatting with visitors during the demo. It’s always fun to talk to other people who are excited about art. 🙂 Thanks to everyone who stopped by and to the library for inviting me!