Week 3: The Written Word (part 2)
So here it is: Week 3, part 2. Finally!
So a few weeks ago, when I first posted part one, I asked that you look around and find some form of the written word that moves you. It could be song lyrics, quotes, passages from books, or anything else that someone wrote that makes you happy, makes you think, inspires you or keeps you from losing your mind. There's no right or wrong choice for this.
Next I asked you to gather up some pretty things that give you that same feeling of happiness or inspiration or whatever it was that caused you to pick your words. Like I said, these things can be as random as you'd like - pieces of boken tile or beach glass or pretty clothing tags or magazine ads... again, things that give you a feeling when you see them.
Now that you've gone both of those (you have, haven't you?) we're going to get creative. We're going to make... wait for it... don't start to panic... we're going to make a collage. A mixed-media collage at that.
Yes, you heard me. We're making a collage people. Does that collage word scare you? Does "mixed-media" make you think you may just skip this one? Does it sound too "artistic" or time-consuming or just plain confusing to you? It does? Well, get over it. That's why we're here. I'll make it as easy and painless as possible for you, I promise. Anyone can do this. Anywhere. With just about anything.
So the basics are this: you'll need some sort of base to build on. If you have a canvas laying around then you're set. But I'm betting most of you don't, right? So get creative. Use the cover from an old hardcover book (thrift store shopping, remember?) Or use a piece of plywood. Or cut up a cereal box and use the back of it. Anything relatively sturdy, though you have to remember that it needs to be more sturdy if you're going to add heavier items like rocks or large tile pieces or things like that.
Now remember, collage doesn't mean you have to cover every square inch of your base with stuff. Collage (to me, at least) means using different items together to create. It's a pretty broad term and I fully expect to see lots of different styles and results from different people when they use that term. So again, no right or wrong answers, ok?
After you figure out what you want to build on, and if you decided to buy yourself some gesso, now is the time to prime your base. Let it dry, sand it if you want and repeat that process as many times as you'd like to get whatever smoothness you want on your base to start. Once that's done, you're really ready to play. Have at it!
What I'm hoping for you to do is find the connection between your words and your pretty little things (which, by the way, are your "mixed media".) Look at them and figure out what feeling do they both give you? Do they make you happy? Do they inspire you in some way? Are they just pretty and you love them for that? Then that's great! You've found your connection. Go with it.
Let me stop for a minute and answer a question you may be asking: what the heck are you talking about with this "connection" thing? And of course, since I'm a very visual person but only so-so with words, I'll have to give you an example instead of a straight up answer. Bear with me. Have you noticed that most books you read have covers with more than just words on them? Their covers are designed with specific colors and fonts and images that automatically give you some sort of subconscious idea of what you'll feel or what to expect from the words inside. That is very similar to the connection I'm hoping you can make between your chosen words and whatever pretty little things you gathered to collage.
Alright, so back to the challenge part and how to get started. My suggestion (and it's just that, a suggestion, and not by any means a rule) is to start with your background and give it some color. You can paint it, use ink pads rubbed all over, or even mix some glitter or eye shadow or anything else into some gel medium and rub it around. You can actually do all three of those if you want. Just imagine what you want to see when you look at your finished piece.
Next, start arranging your pretty stuff on the base - without gluing it down for the moment - to get a feel for what you might want to do. Remember you're going to want to eventually put your words on the collage somewhere as well, so leave space or figure out where you want them to be. You can actually write the words on your items if you have a fine point Sharpie and big enough items like a smooth stone or piece or ribbon or glass. Again, no wrong way to do this!
Once you feel like you like the look of things, glue them down. Gel medium, Diamond Glaze, Gorilla Glue... whatever you want to use that will hold things in place for good. You may decide you don't like something and have to take it apart later. And that's ok. You may walk by your piece next week and decide it needs something else, and that's fine too. This is yours. Do what you want to with it.
There is no amount of paint, no number of items, nothing you have to do to get this right. All I want you to do is have fun and create something that helps you make that connection between the visual (your pretty little things) and the words that we read or listen to everyday. I want us to start using our senses to see the world around us in a more free-flowing way. I know that's a weird way to put it, but "flowing" is the word I kept coming back to. I want us to understand that what we see and what we hear and read combine to create images and feelings and thoughts for us personally. And it would make me so happy for you to create your own piece of art that you can look at and have your senses overwhelmed with meaning.
I will be posting my canvas in the next few days and talking more about it and what I'm hoping to do with it. Please, send me any photos or thoughts you might have throughout this part of the challenge, ok? I love hearing from you guys!
P.S. If you're not about to go out and buy supplies or take the time to gather stuff to do this? Please consider just sitting down with a piece of blank paper, a magazine, a pair of scissors and a glue stick or some Scotch Tape. Write your favorite lyrics or poem or quote on the paper then go through the magazine and look at the colors and images. I'm not talking about cutting out a picture of a pretty purse and gluing it down, necessarily (though that's totally fine.) But look harder at things like decorative swirls next to words in an ad or at the scenery out the window in the back of a living room picture... get deeper than the surface. The connection is the mission here, not the supplies. Do what you want to get to that end result, ok?