Black and White and Mazes

Getting back to black and white occasionally is like clearing the palette from rich (color) food so that one can taste with clarity again. Ha! Well that sounds good anyway. We did a lesson this week in Muse Group of playing with black and white collaged patterns.

blkwhitecamouflageacrylic, collage, black gesso on 10 X 11″ w/c paper

There are ways to deal with mazes and blind alleys. Make it a game and jump in. Have some paint ball fun; play leap frog and roll down a grassy hill. Stir up some random cyclonic energy. Run round in a circle till you collapse, dizzy and spent and laughing. Do you want your life to play like a comedy or a tragedy?

This was a kind of puzzle I wanted to play with, combining an image of a maze or labyrinth (few of us knows the difference) with a dancing figure, engaging in a kind of hide and seek with aspects of camouflage. The discovery was how amazing these bright colors look on the black and white patterning. Something a bit Halloweeny about it, wouldn’t you say?


Love’s Labyrinth

loveslabyrinthinks, gesso, collage, used palette paper on 10 X 11″ w/c paper

love’s labyrinthine ways
move through us while we
play the lost and found game
the in and out game
the winners and losers game

love’s colors arouse us
its puzzle compels us

to love is to walk half blind
into a garden in bloom
with only the moon as guide
to follow unicorns
down blind alleys
to lose all direction
but that of the heart

I recently became fascinated with the art of Romare Bearden (1911-1988), recognized as one of the most creative and original artists of the twentieth century.  In particular he was known for his richly textured collages which combined abstract art with real images to give a powerful sense of the lives of people, especially the African American experience he championed.  His collages were purposely awkward, with body parts out of proportion to the rest of the figure, and mixed facial and body pieces.

So following on the heals of the self portrait collage lesson I created last year, I wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Muse Groups with a similar lesson titled “My Love Relations” which borrowed from Romare Bearden as well as contemporary artist Ariel, with a touch of Klimt thrown in!  The results were delightful and I will be sharing the students’ work as well when I have a chance to compile it.

This piece started with an underpainting, (pulled from my pile of “starts”) achieved by off loading the paint from a roller I’d used on another piece.  I had saved the colorful palette paper from that day and used that for collage.  The figures were copied from a monograph of Michaelangelo and the labyrinths seemed to go with the subject matter. Not my usual. . .but really fun!