Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When Time Disappears

What makes time disappear for you? What makes it stretch out and out and out until one afternoon feels as if it's a week long and then -- snap! -- a whole day has gone by and it felt like five minutes? Nothing does that quite so deeply for me as creative work, the work of my heart and hands. 

Lately I've been juggling half a dozen or more projects at once. That's not all that unusual for me, as I'm almost always working on multiple pieces, but right now I'm also taking an online class (more about that in a minute), working through all the visual journal exercises in an incredible book (THE CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR by Lisa Sonora Beam, Quarry Books, 2008), and trying to get better at using Photoshop. Add in several textile art pieces and I think it's safe to say "half a dozen" was a low estimate.

For "Carnival Girl" I digitally altered a failed 9X12 mixed media collage, creating several different versions and learning a few things in the process. Is today Fat Tuesday? She looks like she's ready and wishes herself on Bourbon Street, doesn't she?  Whichever century she ends up hailing from.

"She Says No" is another digitally altered mixed media collage.  The vintage photo of the sulky girl standing by a small table is an image that finds its way into my work over and over again. The girl happens to be my mother, and I'd give a lot to be able to ask her what was making her so cranky that day. Since that window of opportunity closed 30 years ago, instead I use the image to make up all the "What if . . ." stories that flow from putting that image into different contexts. Was she saying no? Probably not.  But if she WAS . . . I wonder what she was saying no to . . . I wonder who . . .

What's kept me busiest the past couple weeks has been an online class I'm taking, Transformative Doll-Making, taught by Pamela Hastings (www.pamelahastings.com). The class, now in it's fourth session of five, is offered at one of my favorite online stores: www.joggles.com, where I spend way too much money on art supplies and books (and now CLASSES). Check out Pamela's website to see her incredible work and read about her process. I'm posting two examples of the dolls I've done in her workshop so far, one a paper doll, the other fabric and twigs.



I would be embarrassed about them both being self-portraits but as it turns out, I can use that to tell you about another book I'm enjoying right now (MIXED MEDIA SELF-PORTRAITS by Cate Coulacos Prato, Interweave, 2008).  It's a gorgeous book filled from cover to cover with inspiring ideas and techniques.

As our third Minnesota winter begins ever-so-gently to shift gears in preparation for its end, I'm realizing that this hibernation thing is turning out to be a great time for learning and experimentation, for writing and playing with all the art stuff I gathered at yard sales and thrift stores, for researching and exploring the scary world of marketing and art as a business.  That said, I also know I'm going to be ready to fling doors and windows open at the first real sign of spring! 

5 comments:

Fran said...

Writing does is for me, just a bit more than painting - the snapping of time, I mean. The lo-o-o-ng-stetched out day is when my children have been visiting, and then go home. I usually just take a nap until time is back to normal. It can take two days!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Just beautiful! I especially love the first one.

Time? Never enough of it.

Fran said...

I guess it really does stretch for you. It's been four weeks since you posted. Everything good?

luthien said...

hello julie :)
i came here via fran's blog. your mixed media work is fascinating! i'm just learning to explore it. :) can't wait to see more work of art from you :) take care and God bless...
luthien

Angela said...

Wow you are so creative! Lovely work. :-)