22 June 2011
Trying on a "Seasonal Wardrobe"
A friend of mine told me about artist Michelle Ward, and her online project Green Pepper Press Street Team. Each month, Michelle issues a challenge with a different theme to artists in the blogosphere. Those who choose to participate in that month's challenge simple create a response and post it on their own blog, which is, in turn, linked to the Green Pepper Press Street Team site.
My friend knows that I have an interest in nature and the seasons, so she thought I would enjoy the current challenge which is about the artist's "Seasonal Wardrobe." Michelle asks if the shift in season is reflected in your art, just as you shift your choice of clothing to adjust the change in seasons.
For me, this is certainly true. I tend to shift not only the clothes I wear in the summer to thinner, more breathable fabrics to match the swampy climate of the Chesapeake Bay region. I also change the colors I wear, I find myself favoring lighter colors -- although not typically pastels (not big on pastels, except powder blue, maybe.) In the autumn, my clothing colors are fruitier and richer just like the world outside.
Likewise, the colors I might choose for a mixed media art project also reflect seasonal palettes.
My visual response to this Green Pepper Press Street Team Challenge No. 52 is displayed above; I wanted to capture in mixed media what my summertime palette looks like. (If you like, click on the image twice to make it bigger.)
I started out with four basic colors that said "summer" to me, a mustard yellow, aqua blue, leafy green, and raspberry red. I made a circular element in the center and surrounded it with four arcs. I guess this is a solar motif. Then I added a wave pattern along the bottom. Then I began adding elements, until finally I decided on a fantasy theme with an enchanted walled garden surrounding an exotic palace. Just the sort of Orientalist fairy tale I loved in my youth, in keeping with the mood of summer's sensuous illusions.
This led me to think naturally of One Thousand and One Nights, the famous collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian folktales (also called Arabian Nights by some.}
I own an old child's edition of Arabian Nights that I bought from a used book store on the cheap months ago, with the thought towards cutting quotations from the text for collage elements. I flipped through the book until I found the phrase about the fish of four colors. That sort of jived with the collage fish I had already included and crackle-painted over at the bottom. I actually bought brads in the shape of mini-fishes for the little guys jumping around in the upper left quadrant of the page. The palace illustration is a collage element from the book, that I hand-colored.
Wow! Stepping back, I realize that this is the first time I have done collage or mixed media work in nearly a year. It is rather a relief to find I do have the space in my life to make art again.
Perhaps my image is like a celebratory dance of freedom after leaving a complicated year behind me in the dust. I didn't realize how much I needed to do this again.