acrylic, gesso, magazine and cut phone book collage on w/c paper, 10 x 11″

Steps slippery with moss and the green slime accumulation of many days rain. . .

balance with unwieldy load shifting over the falls

Dare I let go?

Will I fall to the patchwork of earth below

or know the liberty of a bird in flight?

The lesson in last Saturday’s workshop was to take pictorial collage, arrange it whole or in pieces on the paper, and then integrate it by painting out, or even over, the pieces to get a unified result.

I started with a National Geographic picture of a native man carrying a heavy load across a narrow rope bridge over a river far below. I liked the edginess of it, but didn’t want to keep the figure or background, so I cut them out, leaving a left and right hand piece of the bridge structure.

I drew a more neutral figure with my black ink dropper onto the white paper between. Using a stencil that mimicked the rope lattice, I sponged in some darks in the bottom left corner, not realizing that later it would look like an aerial topography. The load on the figure’s back became a kind of bird nest as I arranged “phone book hair”.  Very little of this piece was my original intention, but a step-by-step exploration of material and form.

In the next Saturday Afternoon Workshop April 16 we’ll be adding dimension with mesh textures: painted screen, cheesecloth and fabric netting. There’s still space in that workshop. To join us, visit my website for registration info.


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