There is always more than one way to do anything. Composers, visual artists, chefs, to name a few, have worked with variations on a theme. I guess the popular take on this direction is a ‘series’ of work. First I decided to try to work on a smaller surface (5″x 7″.) Recently my image making has used 12″ x 16″ watercolor paper. Then, I looked through my growing collection of paper scraps and pulled the colors, textures and materials that might work well together. Magazine photos of maps, my old silkscreen prints, ink jet prints of my own photographs and substrate explorations became my initial palette. Whatever shape I cut or tore was done in multiples of three so that I would have similar elements in each composition.
A nice 50% off coupon reduced the price of a tube of Golden metallic gold acrylic paint considerably. These collages were started last night and although I really wanted to continue working on them, I opted to wait until morning for better light. As it turned out, Bella woke me up before 5 AM hovering above me in bed while also smacking her lips. This can only mean her stomach is upset and unless I want to be hurled upon I need to get her to a place where this can have the least impact on my environment. Anyway, since I was now up, I resumed work on the collages in the dark, once again.
I had trouble falling asleep last night and found myself thinking about how to use the metallic paint on my little collages. It finally occurred to me that a hole punch and some painter’s tape would make an easy stencil. After the gold dots were applied I reached for my trusty Berol Prismacolor pencils and highlighted some areas as dawn was breaking.
The results of my ‘in the dark’ efforts produced some compositions reminiscent of a design assignment I might have given my students. Although I would like to work in a more painterly fashion, much of my image making creates graphic compositions. I think if I hadn’t gone into teaching I might have enjoyed working in some graphic design direction. Textile design also appealed to me. In graduate school I combined my silkscreen experience with my interest in textiles and I created probably the worst constructed quilt ever made. The quilting was done by machine, since at that time I had no idea how to quilt by hand. Actually I had no clue how to machine quilt either. Since funds were low at that time in my life, I used an old sheet as the backing. Why I didn’t use white bobbin thread is still beyond me. The dark thread against the white sheet only emphasized all that was wrong with my project. It has survived intact and has been used as everything from a beach blanket to a moving quilt.
A number of my former students went on to study textile design and printmaking. One student in particular graduated from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia with a BFA in Printmaking and Art History. She also received a Master of Arts Administration degree from NYU. In addition to presently working at both The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philly as a project technician/printer and also as the director at the Second State Press she is an accomplished artist whose work I am proud to own.