Today is officially the first day of Autumn. Autumn is most definitely here. While my children are still going to school in shorts and t-shirts, they are quite chilly on the morning walk; duvets have replaced sheets on the beds; dusk is falling earlier and the daylight is golden; I am drinking more hot tea again; the oak tree deposits acorns on my head every time I am pegging out laundry; and, of course, the trees are really shedding their leaves now.
This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was “splatters and drips” so with such a broad topic I was free to create on any subject I chose and I decided upon Autumn. Autumn – or Fall as it is of course called in America – is my favourite season. I love all the warm colours, that intensely golden light in the afternoon, the strong shadows, mugs of tea and hot chocolate, all the holidays and festivals, cosy clothes, and a ready excuse for getting into my jammies earlier in the evening. With my inspiration sorted, I decided to challenge myself a bit. Of late I have been defaulting to drawing a lot in my responses to the Project and have taken a step back from actually experimenting with and exploring mixed media. It was, therefore, time to shove myself back in that direction. I decided to collage. My earlier attempts at collaging have been less than stellar. I was pleased with how my Phoenix turned out but that was a collaging anomaly for me and was also a very controlled approach to collaging. Needing a bit of help, I turned to a collaging tutorial on the blog, Inner Graffiti, and decided to use that artist’s approach as my guide.
I knew I wanted to work with Autumnal colours but challenging myself still further I determined I would work with orange because it is not a colour I am naturally drawn to. As per the tutorial instructions, I rummaged through my stash of papers and odds and ends to find materials that worked within that colour scheme. The author of the blog takes her time to lay things out and work out the composition before fixing everything to the page. I was a disobedient student and did not do that. Short on time, I just went for it. I started by gluing down large pieces of paper. These were pages ripped from magazines, pages from an old book and some ephemera such as a car park ticket and a wine label. I then added some smaller items, such as postage stamps, paint chips and some items received in Happy Mail*.
Then the splattering and dripping commenced. Normally, as you may have seen from my Drawing a Day posts, I am very controlled and precise in my approach to my art. Letting go entirely and just seeing what happens, therefore, does not come naturally to me. However, I rather enjoyed just spattering the ink and paint around. My orange Winsor & Newton ink was dripped onto the page in droplets and then I used a straw to move it around on the page. With the orange paints and the gold paint, I daubed some on a medium sized brush and then flicked the brush in order to create random drips.
Then my inner control freak reasserted herself and I pulled it all together with a bit more precision. I cut a bird from origami paper and placed it at the top of the collaged stack, as if it was nesting in ephemera, and outlined it with brown ink to make that component stand out. Finally I stamped “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, quoting from Keats’ ‘Ode to Autumn’ around the edge of the paper. Done. Still not an amazing collage but certainly a leap forward in terms of attainment for me. And I enjoyed it! So I definitely need to keep trying with this collaging malarkey.
My DLP challenge page was not my only Autumn creativity this week. I am also participating in a Fall themed swap with a group of mixed media artists. My partner sent me a set of beautifully decorated tags, each a miniature work of art, and which my children instantly coveted. In return, I decided to embark on making my first ever twinchies. What’s a twinchie? It’s a bigger version of an inchie. No? Me neither until just over a week ago. An inchie is a work of art measuring 1 inch square and a twinchie is the same thing but 2 inches square. Working at such a small scale was an interesting creative challenge and was also a fun way to experiment with different mixed media techniques and approaches. In no way do I feel that my twinchies meet the quality of the tags I was sent but I had fun making them and hopefully my partner will find them fun too and find a way to incorporate them into her work or use them in some other way. I rather think I could become obsessed with twinchies. But not inchies – twinchies were small enough for me, thanks.
*Happy Mail was not something I was aware of at all until recently. It is art, art supplies and ephemera swapped with other artists through the post.
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