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New Discoveries in the Studio

May 10, 2011

First Planting - collage, 5 x 5"

Yesterday I didn’t get a lot of studio time because of garden duties, and the same will be true today as well, because when the garden demands attention it dictates the schedule. But once I did make it to the studio for a welcome cooling-off time yesterday afternoon, all I can say is that things just really clicked. I had a wonderful couple of hours of collage time.

It’s always a mystery why some studio sessions are blessed with successes and others are just a dud. But yesterday I made several discoveries, and I call that success.

I discovered a way forward with collage that feels like  “my work.” That kind of discovery is big. Several of my artist friends have wondered aloud how my move to Alabama will eventually show up in color palette. It’s been a subtle and gradual change, but I’m finding more and more pleasure in earth colors and a much more limited palette.

So color is one change. Going from an emphasis on painting to creating more collage is another. I am reveling in the sheer pleasure of paper. Weathered papers, Japanese papers, hand painted papers, snippets of magazine pages, old maps, antique book pages — all have become endless sources of material. And the way I’m using them in collage is merging more and more with the way that I paint: intuitively and spontaneously, with as little thought as possible.

Yesterday was one of those days when things were just “right.” I think it was precisely because I forced myself not to think about them too much.

The move here to the country, surrounded by so many views of the natural environment, has undoubtedly had an impact on these directions, in the same way that being outside so much has allowed me to contemplate the simple things that are so close at hand, such as a cocoon, a bird’s nest, or an interesting pattern created by a leaf borer.

I think I’m ready to tackle some larger collages. To date the largest ones have been about 8 x 10 inches, though they’ve been mounted on much larger paper. Am I ready to take on the responsibility of having a whole new body of work knocking around the studio? It feels right to me.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2011 9:59 pm

    How exciting Martha to be making all these discoveries. No doubt this will lead to further inspiration and growth!

  2. May 10, 2011 10:05 pm

    Seth, I’ve had a feeling for a while that something was getting ready to change. Those times are the best for an artist!

  3. May 11, 2011 4:25 am

    How very exciting. These changes that you mention are all part of the growing stages of an artist. As you mention, scary too. I’m so looking forward to following your new adventures.

    • May 11, 2011 5:59 am

      Yes, a little scary perhaps. But I’m even more afraid of stagnation. So it’s all good!

  4. May 11, 2011 4:29 am

    Martha this seems particularly exciting somehow. I can hardly wait to see what comes out of your studio over the months ahead. And I know what you mean about the garden not waiting – not even for art 🙂

    • May 11, 2011 6:01 am

      Nope, Terrill, the garden doesn’t wait. But it’s therapeutic and tends to clear the mind. I love that part of it! And all the other parts as well. 😉


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