Friday, January 29, 2010


When I joined an Art Box Exchange, held on Blogland Lane,and organized by Debra Kay, I had no idea what lay in store for me.

Me and art? It's been too many years since I've let that part of my brain have free rein. I once loved to paint...watercolours mostly, but some oils and acrylics, as well. And I've always loved to sketch, which now translates into doodling.

During my high school years, I took every Art class available. There were Art History, Silk screening, Oil painting, Watercolour, Acrylics...all great classes...but little or none regarding Collages.

During my young adulthood, I took college classes in painting. Again, oils and acrylics and watercolours were where my intuition led me. I was good with them. I loved painting with a passion, taking courses over and over.

And then, a long hiatus. Life crept in...there was no time, crises and joys occurred, and doubt prowled in with a cogent force. With that doubt the Muse left me. You don't use it, you lose it.

I didn't take any notice of the burgeoning popularity of crafting collages until my granddaughter began scrapbooking.

Snob that I am, I considered scrapbooking a hobby...a cut and paste kind of thing. Something we once did in grade school.

Huh. The Universe slammed me, as it will do, immediately, upon any kind of ignorant, negative judgment I make.

Suki's Art Box arrived. I had previously decided to make a collage. I thought that might be the easiest thing for me to do, since my fingers have stiffened and they tremble from time to time. Ahh, the ageing process.

I was astonished to discover how excited I was, when I received it. I didn't open it until I was assured of a long stretch of time to discover what treasures I had received.

Oh! There were so many items which spoke of spirituality. I immediately decided to take the beautifully prepared Birch bark,the Feathers, the speckled Bird's egg,the Amber and Stones and create a collage with a Shamanistic theme.

That one I will leave last; it is one that speaks to me, loudly and quickly and easily.

There were also old photos, handmade papers, buttons, stamps and ribbons and Seashells.This collage would be more difficult.

I thought and thought and thought about it. I could have sworn Suki was in the room with me...she sent a little booklet with the word Rethink on the cover...

I looked at the photos.  They were old, most from the 1940's. I looked at one of a young girl. Her name swam into my mind...Bea. Another young woman...Alice. One of a baby...of course! Jon.

The Muse and my intuition did not let me down. I only followed along with the story I was 'hearing'...a story about Bea and her family, her likes and dislikes, her passions. And another gathering of objects and their use in a storyline quickly became apparent.

The most difficult part lays before me. How to place these different items so that the grouping is pleasing to the eye? I have moved photos and papers and ribbons and buttons around on the background paper until nothing makes sense.

In my enthusiasm, I have forgotten to be still and listen to the little voice deep inside...the voice that so easily can be lost in a chaotic atmosphere.

Instead, I fight my sense of order...the idea that every thing must be in its place...that kind of order. I fight my perfectionism. I fight against my inexperience. I fuss and fume. I fight.

Until I'm done. Until I'm ready to listen.

And then? Well, then I'll be ready to go on, willing to let my inexperience show, allowing that certain vulnerability in.

Collages, I'm discovering, is all about taking bits and pieces and making a whole.

Not so different from writing, if you think about it.

Just a lot harder.


  1. Marion, I'm so glad some of the things I sent tickle your fancy. When making collages I often lay things out then let them sit then come back and putter with them and move them around, stick something else in etc. Sometimes it does take awhile for the parts to gel. Anyway, you cant make a mistake, if one doesnt seem to work out make another. I am interested in your comment though that collage making is harder than writing. As I do both, I feel writing is harder although I have a lot of experience writing and once I sit down to do it it often flows however at the present time I am having a hard time getting started on any writing. Be well, Suki

  2. ooh! how lovely. i love painting too, when i was very young, mom gave me colouring books, pencil colours, felt pens & crayons to keep me quiet while she did sewing. and in school mostly watercolour. i ventured into acrylic later on. never tried oil painting though as art supplies are expensive here, well at least to me. scrapbooking? have not tried it. oh, now you've made me itch to get my hands on brushes again marion. :)

  3. This looks like hours of fun for you. I do more pen work than painting work because that is how I started in art pens when I went into painting I was not very good at it and painting was too much set up time for me. Thanks for sharing - Tom.

    Enjoy it.

  4. I used to snicker at my collage making friends until I saw some of the lovely creations they made. This sounds like it should be a great challenge.

  5. marion, i am so glad you are doing this! i can't wait to see what you come up with. and from suki: she is a heart and soul sister. i think you are both kindred spirits.

    ps ♥ you

  6. Suki,

    Thank you so much for all the amazing items in the art box. What an incredible idea this was! I am no longer as frightened of it...yesterday my eye even found a figure in a magazine which would be perfect. I think I'm hooked; yet really have not completed anything. But it's fun...and I love that you sent me items which target my interests. Thank you!


    I still know how that paintbrush feels in my hand. And the swish of paint on the paper...ohhh! As I was looking for items to send for the Exchange, I ran across my paint supplies. I spent awhile just looking and touching the brushes and the paints, some which have dried right out. I believe I will try may not be perfect, but does it really matter?


    I admire pen work. And I may try it as well, since I've never worked with pens, other than doodling (which I love!). But I've seen incredible pictures done with pens and they really call to me. Thank you so much for the're right, there is not much set up required. Right up my alley!

  7. Jan,

    You understand perfectly! But the people who worked with collages knew something you and I didn't, and something I'm just now learning. And that is, when everything falls into place, and the story is done...there is SUCH a feeling of satisfaction. I'm not sure if mine will be as beautiful as the one's I've fact, I'm sure not...but I've learned something. And that is always good.


    So far, I'm still moving things around on the paper. I've received some advice from a craft lady here; she's been amazing with little hints here and there. But still, my finished product will not have the panache and beauty I wish it would! Oh's great fun, anyway!

  8. Marion: I'm glad to hear that the art box surpassed your expectations :o) It feels good to find different creative outlets, to break out of your comfort zone, and to really try to make it work! I have been a scrapbooker for a few years, but painting intimidates me - that probably means it's something I should try!

    Thanks for another great post!


    A young collage artist of my acquaintance. Though I think she finds writing harder.

    Be Well


  10. There is Art in all things in this journey. The collage is a great way to demonstrate what is inside your soul as long as you let your spirit guide you. The way our words describe our thoughts on paper the arrangement of items on a background will lift, inspire and motivate the both the artist and the obsever.

  11. What a great box of goodies. I'm laying mine out this weekend to play. Stay tuned for posted results next week.

  12. Well, if it's not so different from writing, I guess I'll just stick with writing as I have trouble enough doing even that well.

  13. Nicole,

    These collages I'm making intimidate ME and you're right...that's exactly why I should do them. I've learned a bit about myself as I place photos around on the background. For one, I'm rarely satisfied, lol! And easily intimidated...I could go on!

    Walking Man,

    Welcome to my blog! And thank you for the stunning picture...I was completely blown away by it. Your young friend has such talent...I'm not sure I would care about any other form of art if I was able to do something as wonderful as this. Thank you so much for it!


    Yes, that's why I've got to quit fussing at it and listen. Sometimes I'm just not ready to and have to fidget a bit, and then it all falls into if my hand is guided. Which it is..


    I'm sure it will be have great talent! I can't wait to see the finished product. But isn't it to be posted on Blogland lane in March? I've forgotten when my project is supposed to be finished, lol!


    You are an amazing writer, as you well know, Snow. And you are a man of your convictions, which is always admirable.I believe a collage done by you would shout out courage and strength and understanding in big, bold colours! I would truly love to see this art form done by your hand.

  14. Oh wow! This sounds amazing, Marion. I do think one has to learn to silence the voice or rationality and reason with creations like this and just go with that inner voice - what a friend of mine calls "heart to art" (and runs classes teaching one just how to let go when painting). So, so interesting too that you've opted for collage as your medium, I've been toying with the idea of collage for a while now, but have yet to do anything! I love the idea of your shamanic theming.

  15. Nicky,

    Oh...I love the phrase "heart to art". Years ago, I took a course in letting go of myself while I painted. I was young, didn't really know how to let go of myself, but the painting was one of my favourites...nothing like what I had been painting. It was awesome!

    The shamanic collage is coming together all by itself...

  16. This sounds like a way to get outside of your usual self and expand your horizons. I could use a poetic art box. H'mmm idea brewing.