Thursday, April 26, 2007

Art and the ATC

I'm thinking suddenly about ATCs in a different light than I was, say, yesterday. I don't know why or how these things happen, but I suddenly remembered that the first ATCs I ever made were alctually small acrylic paintings, on gessoed watercolor paper. I treated them like any other painting with all the care for preservation I would have something 11x14 or 36x48. It was, to me a little work of Fine Art.

I started doing collages sometime last year because I've been spending a lot of time with my friend Frances Kornbluth, a fabulous local artist, who also has a summer studio on Monhegan Island, ME. I started out as her driver when her husband was ill and neither of them could drive, and the relationship evolved into a friendship and sometime studio assistant/driver. I've been able to study her work for long comfortable hours while re-hanging things for an open studio, or organizing the materials she uses for her collages. She, too started out painting, oils mostly, but also watercolor and acrylics, then came to collage sometime in the 60s or 70s I think. I love her work, almost all of it, (you know there has to be a few I just don't get yet, but I'm sure I may change my mind later on)

Anyway, I find collage very ...I don't want to say "easy" because that implies I don't want to "work" but it happens almost intuitively, almost makes itself, more than paintings anyway. I start with a background of some sort--painted watercolor paper, cardstock, canvas, wood, then rummage through the bits and pieces I have collected, and just begin. I get into a zone and sometime later I step back and look at what has been wrought. Some kind of theme almost always becomes clear, even though I didn't plan any such thing. There are layers and textures and colors and materials that lead my eye around the piece, taking it on a merry chase, or a leisurely stroll. I like it! I've only got one piece I really hate, and I'm pretty sure it's because I had to make it from specific things in a specific period of time for a group thing. It looks like nothing, noplace, nobody. It makes me somewhat uncomfortable just to look at it. Weird. I keep it for just that reason though, it's weird and does something, I just don't know what.

I'm not too fond of uncomfortable art. Those things made of garbage, excrement or other yucky stuff. Dark images with lurid colors that make you remember a nightmare you had when you were 9. No fun for me. I like art to soothe or stimulate the good parts of my mind, to remind me of happier things and places and people. I want to be surprised and have the feeling of excitement or just joy well up from within.

I'm more fond of straight color abstracts. Colors stimulate these things in me, make me feel creative and positive. Sometimes it's black and yellow with streaks of gold or copper; blocks of primaries with dots of white; blues, greens and purples with hints of cadmium red in the background, and a thin streak of chocolate with highlights of silver. Next comes texture. I can look at "touchy" art all day--mixed media stuff--fabrics, tree bark, beads and bumpy ropes, as long as it's not made of yucky stuff--just my personal preference. If I want to look at dog poop, I can go out in the yard for cryin' out loud.

So now the big question--are so many people doing more mixed media art on their ATCs because of where they come from (scrapbooking, altered books, etc), or what? Where are the small paintings, etchings, drawings, monotypes, encaustics, and lino-prints?

I've asked some of these questions and more on one of my Yahoo Groups, I'll wait and see what kind of answers they give me there.

Just curious! :)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Young @ Art Guild

There was some brainstorming going on last week, and now the Small Art Club has suddenly morphed into an art guild for those "young at art". Aimed mostly at kids aged 8-18, membership is also open to their parents. We'll be having monthly hands-on art workshops, exploring all sorts of artistic things, starting with the ATCs and Alteredbooks that I've got going already.
It's a new and exciting process, and I'm not sure where it's going to go, but we're working on it and more brainstorming sessions are in order.
young @ art guild