There is a technique to collage and yet, is there?
I collage on a 6″ by 6″ wood birch panel. I choose from papers that I have on hand. I had painted mini mandalas on these papers previously. I cut or tear and paste, randomly arranging scraps of paper on the panel. The plan is to collage a purple elephant that I painted a few years ago on this background. The purple elephant is then to be the featured piece around which I build and complete this little work of art.
Against this backdrop of semi-circle suns and cresting mountains, I see a face. A face that resembles a Maori woman or is she Swahili? Or neither. Anyway, that’s what occurs to me. I bring her forth; the intuitive artist’s task is to follow where one is lead. At first, she’s only a face floating at the top of the tiny piece, asserting herself. Looking further, I see it is an entire person–there’s her neck and she’s wearing a dress of varied fabrics. Earlier, I had done some silver leafing. Using teal paint, I push the entire figure forward.
I stand back to see what else presents itself. Is there anything more that wants to be seen and expressed? I see that half of the elephant is another figure with a wildly striped tiger face wearing a purple garment. This figure is standing and facing the first woman. Now I have a decision to make. Do I scrap my prized elephant and bring the second figure forward? According to what I’ve experienced in the creative process, it appears that I do have to scrap the elephant to move this piece along. Bye bye to the purple elephant–another time, another art piece perhaps.
Art can teach the artist about impermanence. Non-attachment. That my own desires and designs are secondary to an unfolding and evolving plan.
Ultimately, I forced my own desire and design and decided to keep the elephant. It’s all been part of my process and this mixed media piece’s evolution.