Saturday, February 26, 2011

Four at once + a little extra

As I already stated in my last post I have been working on four collages at the same time. This was a little experiment for me. (Yes, I love my little experiments.) I am usually a person who likes to do one piece of art at a time. But I'm always reading and hearing about artists who take on several canvases at once, so I thought I'd try something similar, but then on paper.

So I sat down at my desk and got out four different color pieces of cardstock sized 30x30 cm (12x12 inch). I took my paints and some other things like pens and pencils and I got to working on four backgrounds at once. This was quite fun, because I would use some left over paint from one piece on the next one or would try a similar technique with a different color on the next piece. Anyway, after a while I had four backgrounds that looked like this:





After this it was time to add some paper and do some background collage. I took out my stack of pretty papers, opened my tub of gel medium and pasted away. After this the four pieces looked like this and I was quite pleased with myself ;-) 


Until here the process of making anything is easy for me. I have no problem throwing on paints, arranging shapes, putting on different elements, just as long as it's a background. When it's time to start thinking about the foreground is where the trouble starts. Maybe that trouble is indeed about the fact that now I have to start thinking a little. What do I want to do, what would work well? And the real trouble is: I hardly ever know the answer to these questions. I never set out with an idea of what this piece is supposed to be about. I just kind of wing it and see what happens. Here's the part where I really have to trust the process and not start thinking I'm a sucky artist because I don't know what I'm doing, will never know what I'm doing and therefore will never amount to anything (aren't I nice to me?).

The good part is that when you do this kind of thing often enough experience tells you to stick with it. This sucky part of not knowing what it's all about is just part of the process. I have encountered it enough now to know this, so am not too discouraged, but it still is a tough thing for me to really believe that, yes, this time I will also overcome the doubts halfway any piece of art. And of course one always does. Here's the trick: try to focus only on the next little step, not on the end result. You may not know what the end result will be, but you may know that you want to take up your pencil and make some marks in that top left corner or that there is a stamp that will fill that void somewhere on the right of the paper. And after that step is done another one will come to you out of nowhere and if you keep going like that at some point the whole point of the work will make itself clear to you. If you have no faith in yourself, have faith in the process. That's what works for me anyway.

So, after some babysteps towards the end products I ended up with four different pieces that all have some elements in them that I wanted to try in my collages. For instance the use of my own drawings or the use of a self portrait. Here they are in the same order as above so you can compare the before and after:





Again I used element from one piece on the next, so they all are connected and yet completely different. I also found that I found it more difficult to work in darker earthier colors than in the bright ones and that I have some reservations about using my foam stamp images as focal points as I did in the second piece. Using them for backgrounds is no problem to me, but when I start using them as focal images I feel like a cheater. Isn't that interesting? What I loved was using my own drawings as a focal point, that I will definitely try again.

While working on these pieces I used a piece of paper to scrub of my brushes or to remove the paint from the stamps and that formed a background in itself for a little bonus piece that I finished today.


The size of this one is 30x21 cm, which is A4 size. The paper is fabriano, which is beautiful paper that will take just about any media. The focal picture is from a magazine cover and I altered it a little. The whole piece is a little joke on Eve. ;-)

I hope you enjoyed looking at these. It was an interesting way to work and it made me feel really productive!

I would love to hear you thoughts on the artistic process or on working on one piece at the time or several. I'm always curious how other people work.


20 comments:

  1. For me creating is a completely random and intuitive event. I totally lose myself in the process and never know what I'm going to end up with either (I could never do custom work). Love your creations.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post - and I loved seeing the evolution of these pages. I completely understand your desire to use your own artwork/drawings in your work. I've never been able to enjoy pages full of magazine, book, or purchased ephemera.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I found your blog on "the creative life" -enjoyed reading your process, I start a little bit backwards from what you described. I usually have a few things I want to use and then start and see how those items might fit in the total picture. I also use 3D items in my collages.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting post Caatje. Usually, in my case, thinking about what I want to do takes most of the time. Generally, I have 3 or 4 projects floating around in the place where most people have a brain. While I think about what I want to do, I collect or buy the necessary materials. Most of the time it revolves around a medium for me, and the idea for the image comes from stories I write (in my head too - thank goodness there is lots of space). In spite of my spontaneous personality, I am not spontaneous in my art work.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really like the outcome of your experiment! Very cool. nancy

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful Caatje... lovely to see your wonderful pages and read about the process... I think the last one is my fave... I love to work on a few pages at a time too but like you, after the backgrounds are done, it can take a little bit to think about what is next... for me it is about letting myself get lost in the process and to just keep going... what follows always surprises me...lol

    Have a wonderful weekend...
    Hugs
    Jenny x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great work, and the bonus one too, it made me smile. When I did paintings on canvas is was good to work on a few at once as the ideas can bounce off each and you can be more experimental maybe

    ReplyDelete
  8. These are all very interesting. I love hearing about and seeing other people's processes. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I enjoyed reading through your thought process with you. I usually work on a few things at once as it helps my thought process.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Interesting post and great work, it was fun to see the process too.
    I always start with an image in my mind, but that can end up in frustration and several attempts to get where I want to be. I like your idea of one step at a time...I'll try that!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the way your collaged turned out. All so different and yet somehow alike. I always have lots of projects started. I have to make myself stop and finish things sometimes. I like you love the beginning of my art. It is so care free and then I have to think. Sometimes I have a very good idea of what I want my piece to turn out like and other times I have to let it sit for a bit and then something somes along to journal about and I choose something already started usually. I love working in books for my art journals. Lots of times the page is my starting point. Hope you will visit my blog so you can get an idea of what my art is. I love to hike too. Most important thing for me right now in my life is to have fun with what I am doing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What lovely, lovely pieces! I appreciated you taking the time to document your process. I NEVER thought of doing it that way - and yet it seems so freeing, and I believe I will try it. I so often hesitate to cover things up, but really, as you've shown, it's just a part of the process!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. These are beautiful pieces! I'm always working on more than one painting or piece of art at a time. If I work on only one, I start to become paralyzed with doubt and the pressure of "making it look right." Going back and forth between them helps me to, as you said, focus on that little step that comes next, and not what the piece will look like when finished. I like how you included your drawings. Were they the original drawings or photocopies?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love these designs! The colors are rich and there are so much patterns in them. I really like the motifs of human figures and faces too

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you all for your comments. I really appreciate all of them. I also like hearing about other people's processes. Cool.

    @sparkleblue fairy: the drawings are the originals and I made them especially for these collages

    ReplyDelete
  16. I feel like I could have written much of this. For years, I worked on one piece, finished it, and started another. It's only in the past year that I've really enjoyed doing more than one thing at a time. Practicality pushed me towards it - I started painting more, and it was nice to have another canvas to work on while one or two dried.

    Like you, I can have a blast doing backgrounds. Once I get to the substance of a piece, I freeze up and get anxious. If I could only learn to relax all the way through!

    I really like these pieces - beautiful layering.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love the way you demonstrated the process, it helps me understand how I can build and paint my collages.

    ReplyDelete
  18. These are so great. I don't think I ever (maybe only when following a quilt pattern?) know quite where I am going to end up when I make art..just have to trust the process and layer, layer, embellish, repeat until it is done. Walking away and then walking back a day later to hae a look when I'm stuck also works cos I find I've been working thru things in my head in the meantime. My fav's of these are Eve and the green Woman one. Keep sharing :-)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fabulous post; I loved seeing how you did this! And isn't it interesting...the background that I didn't like, actually turned out to be the finished piece I liked best!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hé, deze originele layouts zag ik ook al op CC. Ik wist niet dat jij dat was. Ik heb er toen ook commentaar bijgezet. Leuk dat je ook een blog hebt. Misschien zijn we niet de enigen.
    Groetjes, Anneke

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate each and every comment. They make me really happy. I don't like spammers though and that's why the word verification is turned on. I know it's a pain, but I hope you understand.

I try to respond to all comments by directly replying in the comment section, but please understand that sometimes this may take some time. Know that I read them all and that they make my day.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...