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.