THEN THEY TOOK THE FARM
There are those nights when I wake up feeling exhausted from dreams. I wander down the hall, check out the wall clock and see that although I feel as if I have been dreaming for hours that only one hour has passed.
Thankfully, these types of dream states don't come all that often but when they do I find myself overwhelmed with images of completed pieces of artwork.
The first piece, above, Homage To The Rabbits started out as a neutral study.
I don't seem to have a picture of it at that stage and I suspect it is because the transformation of it happened rather quickly.
I may sit down and start something with my own agenda and plans only to find that once I am in "the zone" my inner artist comes out to play and things get changed. So the neutral, probably rather boring study became a Homage To Rabbits. I suspect that my inner artist was remembering the YouTube video of the closing dance on, So You Think You Can Dance. Homage to the Rabbits.
It is one of my all time favorites.
The artwork is paper collage and acrylic paint.
The second photograph is of one of my newest pieces, Then They Took The Farm. In my dream state, I was frantically producing an entire series dedicated to the topic of the vanishing family farm from America.
And, despite my normal sense of order, in my dream, I had begun with the last piece and worked backward.
This sudden push to create has me working my photography into my acrylic work. The faint picture of the shadowed farm is a regular photo transfer onto the painted surface. The trees are a photo transfer done on organza material and then applied to another layer of acrylic paint.
As with most of my paintings, it is safe to say that there are probably 6-8 layers, sometimes more.
The past two weeks have provided me with wonderful early morning weather conditions for shooting. After dropping off, Riley, my granddaughter, at school
I cut through the Epic campus in order to get home and avoid the early morning rush hour traffic. I'm still in the process of selecting what I consider my best and most interesting photographs for my show in January and February, at the Middleton Library. It is my first solo photography show.
I've been taking a lot of photos of reflections this summer and fall. They intrigue me.
These three canvases are 18x24. The first layer of collages papers has been applied. I use photo copies of my favorite papers because they will be covered up by additional layers. I could use paint to give this first layer different values but I like the idea of using a bit of paper that mean something to me, they remind me of different things from my past.
It took the dream to make it clear to me how much I enjoy the collage process and how much I enjoy that first, quiet layer of putting down my memories onto the canvas. It is a very personal process. The "viewer" will most likely not even realize that the papers are there. Only if they look closely and carefully they might catch a glimpse.
Because I do this process to establish texture of value to the first layer I need to check it to make sure that it still meets my criteria for good design.
I take pictures of the pieces in black and white.
Now I can better see what is too dark and jumps out at me, where there are too many pieces of the same value, how my corners look in shape and value and just my general overall impression.
I'll make corrections by adding additional pieces of collage paper until I'm happy with it. I will put a medium layer over the collaged papers and let it dry. Next step will be a white gesso wash painted over the entire piece.
There are four of these canvases and they are part of series called, NATURE SPEAKS (Thank you, Mary Young, for that suggestion).
Have you seen the movie ARRIVAL? Amy Adams stars in it as a language expert. She is requested by the military to help communicate with aliens that have brought, 12 space pods that hover above the ground, all around the earth.
I won't spoil anything for you but telling you that their communications are much different from ours. They produce intricate circles that express more than just words, but extensive ideas, the past, the future and countless other things.
Although these aren't pure circles I did these at the beginning of the summer.
Perhaps I was communicating with aliens in my dreams?
I made a photocopy of this painting at Office Depot using their large photo machine. If you want to make a photo transfer from a photo copy it should really be done with a machine that uses toner, not ink or laser. The toner will sit on top of the paper fibers and be easier to bond with the medium. Ink is absorbed into the paper fibers. You can make a transfer but sometimes it looks a little too distressed for what you want it for.
I have two coats of liquid gloss medium on the photocopy so far. Each layer goes in a different direction. There will be a total of 8 layers of a medium on this.
After each layer, it is necessary to let it dry completely. So you can see this is a time-consuming process.
When all the layers are on I will soak the photocopy in the tub with warm water and then spend a great deal of time gently scrubbing the photo paper off the back of the piece. Some people use their fingers. I find that a flexible fake credit card that banks keep sending me the perfect tool.
I will add paint to the white gesso washed canvas. I'm not sure yet whether it will be different values of white and gray or if I will add splashes of bright colors.
When I'm happy with that stage then it will be time to put the transfer on top.
It can all go pear shaped if it rips or I get to carried away and forget good composition, etc.
It's a process that I love doing. Time is forgotten. The real world is forgotten.
I'm tired now. Time to go to bed and hopefully dream quiet dreams.
I'll tell you about the other series and the Bamboo Cutter and His Wife another day. Such a lot to do yet.