Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Let's collage!

celebration of u.s. postal service

See the two jack-o'-lanterns? They're what inspired this collage. For many years I've been frustrated by the fact that the U.S. postal service hasn't ever (that I know of) issued Hallowe'en stamps. They've issued stamps for Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Easter, Valentine's Day, and of course many for Christmas, so why not Hallowe'en? I've written to them at the address for the people who choose the stamps for each year, pointing out that Hallowe'en is second only to Christmas as the most popular holiday in the U.S.--if you go by how much money people spend on decorations, candy, pumpkins, party items, costumes, etc.

And then finally, this year they issued a set of four different smiling jack-o'-lanterns, on a fitting black background. Yay! I do hope they'll do Hallowe'en stamps every year. Now I wish they'd come up with something a little bit scary. =grin=

abstract of abstracts

I love those Colin Johnson collages as much as the rest of y'all, but I don't see him as fulfilling the theme of Horror Vacui. Why? Because there is lots of empty space in his work--like between the little dots. I interpret the theme as meaning there can't be any empty space between collage elements, even if the pieces are very small and close to each other.

Just a comment, that's all...I suppose the wavy dark grey lines at the top of this one could be said to have empty spaces between them, plus the white around and through the photo of the robotic-looking metallic statue, and in the text bits...ah well. =smile= I guess the question is, "When is white, or a solid background color, considered empty space, and when is it not?" Any thoughts on that, y'all?

In case you can't read the caption in the lower right that explains what the four pinkish-red monsters are about, it says, "Night Terrors (detail), oil on panel, by Laurie Hogin, reflect the various stages of psychological disruption due to the use of prescription drugs during the eight hours intended for restorative sleep."

Monday, 28 November 2016

inspired by

Inspired by Colin Johnson ... now if I look at his collages, I'm not even halfway with mine.
But it is such a nice exercise and it makes you study Colin's work even better.
Not easy at all to make a good composition and think about the colors etc.

Too Much Decor

One from the archives

Thursday, 24 November 2016

the vulnerability of empty spaces

From my old, old (2011) archives. People are always telling me my collages are "simple," I guess because I've made quite a few with just 2-5 elements, but in fact, I make many with lots of different stuff on them. I chose this one because it has "empty spaces" right there in the title--inspired by the empty signs and the empty look on the girl's face.

Photo of blonde by Lina Bertucci. Agave leaves by Jillian David. Empty signs by Jeff Brouus. Statue bits from "Laocoön and his Sons" by Gruppo del Laocoonte. (Believe it or not, there's a whole Flickr group devoted to just that one statue!) Mirror is a detail from a painting by Jan van Eyck.

Re. horror vacui: Art is aggressive, always attacking empty spaces--on walls, on canvas, usw. When I make a collage, I'm always aware of how each element not only encroaches on the empty space of plain cardboard, but also the successive elements attack (by overlapping) each other. In last week's fish collage, for example, I struggled for a long time to make sure that none of the fishes' eyes were covered up.

Tattoo Morgue

Pretty busy this week so here's one from the archives.

The Sixties

One from the archives that I think fits the theme Horror Vacui.
Created in 2011 for the Flickr group Scrapeteria.

Theme of the Week: 'Horror Vacui'

Horror Vacui means (from Greek) 'fear of the empty', means in art 'filling the entire surface with detail'.
Horror Vacui is well known in painting and drawings of the outsider art and the art brut, but also in collages ... google the word and you find lots of images.
One of my favorite artist in collage is  Colin Johnson 
Let's challenge ourselves!

This is also the last theme this month and I wanna thank you for joining me this month with your inspirational art!
Who's gonna be next?

Monday, 21 November 2016

a fabulous friendship-fueled fascination with fish

This collage was inspired by what Josephine said about searching for a way to incorporate drawing with collage. A number of years ago in February, I gave myself a challenge to draw one fish every day of the month. I didn't have much in the way of art supplies back then--mostly just markers. So I got out my references on fish, drew each fish first with pencil and then with a fine-point black marker, and colored them with Prismacolor markers. It wasn't an ideal way to execute the project, because it's hard to do proper shading with markers, but what the hey...I made 28 drawings of fish, and eventually turned them into a mini-zine.

What you see is a collage made from half of those fish. I have a lot more to say here, so I won't go into details about what all the species are, but I do want to warn you that these fish are not to scale. Some are very big, some are very small, but I drew them all about the same size. If you happen to be wondering what that spotted ray is doing in the lower righthand corner, let me say that rays are fish, too. They're closely related to sharks, so they're sort of like flat sharks.

As for the "Share" part, "Share" to me immediately suggested that I should share something personal, something from my life. 

So here goes....

In June of 2009, a dear friend of mine, named Kay, died of cancer. That's a sad thing to relate, of course, but her life was never sad. She was a green-eyed Irish gal with curly red hair and a fun-loving personality. She loved life and lived it to the fullest. She was an artist and crafter with an amazing array of talents, but her favorite thing to do, artistically, was knitting. She was always knitting, and most of her yarn creations were given to a charity for needy children. And she was into fish. She loved fish in kind of a silly, feminine way: she collected mostly goofy-looking fish--stuffed, wooden, plastic, pottery, fabric, whatever. And of course she knitted fish--warm fish hats that she designed herself. Her fish collection was so spectacular that she was invited more than once to design a window at a local public library--a window that displayed part of her fish collection along with a selection of fish-themed books for children. 
As it happens, I've long been interested in sharks: I founded a shark mailing list called SHARK-L back in the early years of the Internet--a mailing list for shark enthusiasts of all stripes that luckily attracted quite a few shark experts who were happy to hang out and answer even the simplest of questions posed by the less well-informed lovers of sharks. When the Web came along, in the mid-'90s, I put up a shark website with shark graphics, stories, clip art, and an extensive collection of links to sites with information about sharks.

I didn't mean to go off on a tangent about my shark activities, but simply to explain that my interest in sharks and Kay's interest in all kinds of fish were certainly compatible when I first met her in 1991. And Kay and I had the same sun sign: Pisces. =smile=

In the last two years of her life, Kay lived with my husband and myself. A small part of her fish collection, those she didn't want to put in storage, was in our guest room, the final place that she called her own. Sharing our daily meals and activities as she did, Kay came to have an enormous influence on me, reviving my long-dormant interest in art. I simply couldn't be around such a wildly creative person on a daily basis without having my own creativity come out of hiding and demand to be expressed. I can easily say that I would never have become an artist, were it not for Kay. 
When Kay died, it was really hard for me. It was a long time coming, but still, I wasn't ready to lose her. The latter part of 2009 was rough, as I struggled to keep my head up in what felt like a dark time, without Kay's light in my life. Slowly, though, as I pursued the artistic interests that she had sparked--at first just reading a lot about art and checking out art history books from the library--my interest in art became a way to feel close to Kay and to remember her in a positive way. But still, my grief for her was painful.
In January 2010, I started making collages. And I met collage artists who incorporate fish in their work, photographers of fish in the wild, people who make rubber stamps of fish, artists who paint detailed, realistic portraits of a wide variety of colorful fish, and so on. Suddenly, I found myself fascinated with fish as well--not just sharks, which will always remain special to me, but tropical fish, freshwater fish, all kinds of interesting and multifarious fish.

And guess what? My grief over losing Kay transformed into a celebration of fish. Instead of feeling pain every time I remember her, now I think of her daily with pleasure and gratitude. Not only did she stimulate my creativity to emerge, but her ongoing presence in my mind, since she's died, has helped usher into my life the fascinating world of fish.

My fish are for Kay! Hooray!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Let the eye finish

This is the seize of a big postcard. By using parts of different figures somewhat related, the eye fills in the open space.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Untitled collage (created for the pink ladies room of my friend's hair salon)

Created for Urban Lift Salon, 3617 North Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL.
This is the LARGEST collage I ever created, measures 10 1/2 x 15 inches.

My First Pop-up

As many of you know, I spend a lot of time making artist's books, many of which feature collage and other techniques such as sewing, paper-cutting, etc.  I recently made my first "mechanical" book for an exhibition down in Portland Oregon, and it was an interesting experience.  Figuring out exactly how to engineer the pages and make them durable enough to stand up to handling was challenging, and I had to re-do several pages two and even three times to get it right.  I ended up with a smallish (6.5" x 5") 25-page book, and materials included spray paint, magazine and book scraps, thread, plastic strips, ribbon, lace, wire, tissue paper party decorations and confetti stars.  The mechanical features include:  pop-ups, lift-tabs, slide-tabs, hidden doors and a volvelle wheel.  The text focuses on the foibles of modern relationships:  I manipulate you and you manipulate me...can we call it a relationship?

Here are some pages.

Work in progress

I'm still searching for a way to incorporate drawing with collage. Here I'm trying to make an illustration of a collaged figure ... to give myself some ideas to draw.

Theme of the Week: Share

Share ... a beautiful thought, your favorite colors, a collagist you think we've never heard of, your ode to Leonard Cohen or Leon Russell....

I want to share a thought: wouldn't it be nice to do a future month (say next summer) of collaboration with your kollage kit colleagues?
Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Library Goblin

Inspired by Death and Vanilla's track:

Wednesday, 9 November 2016


It's the morning after the day after ...
so let's make a whole new world or new creatures ... be inspired by Hieronymus Bosch or Dali or some collagist of the modern times like
Hope Kroll - Collagiste or
Katie McCann | Flickr
or the magical world of Hi-Fructose: Chris Berens - YouTube

the boy can see the man's true shadow, but the man cannot

This piece, a collaboration between Tim Lukeman and myself, was inspired by Tim's and my mutual interest in all things Jungian. C. G. Jung's concept of the Shadow, which one writer describes as the bulky bag we drag behind us, is that we push out of consciousness all the fearful, angry, violent, suicidal, sexually perverse, and other "unacceptable" aspects of our psyche. We relegate them to the Shadow.

This is not healthy. As Jung writes, "One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."

A timely notion indeed, since the winning Presidential candidate in the U.S. election held last night spewed a lot of xenophobia during his campaign. The intensity of his invective, his overt hatred for the Other, in whatever form, is typical of what happens when someone shoves all their negative emotions into that long black bag. The President-Elect appears to be unaware of how crazy he sounds, how boorishly he behaves, when those emotions come flying out.

The Shadow Children from Silhouette Forest

This is one from the archives, and it was made for the theme architecture, but I thought it fit Josephine's theme perfectly.

The Mighty Shadow

Watch out ... a shadow behind you!

  Your own shadow can be so scary, but there's no light without shadow and no shadow without light.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Friday, 4 November 2016

An Old Dutch Magic Shadow Play

          One of my eldest ancestors still possess the skills to show us her 'magic' shadow play although the outcome isn't always what you would expect.

Ideal Home

Thursday, 3 November 2016


This Week's THEME: The Shadow

 I'm your host for this month's themes ... and I think this week there's a shadow hanging over America.
 There are a lot of definitions of the word 'Shadow' ... to cast a shadow .... me and my shadow... or perhaps a 'shadow box' if you want to go 3D..
On the positive side shadow means 'shelter', think of a hot summer's day.
I'm curious what you come up with this week's collages.... have fun!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

when she grows up

Happy All Souls Day! Apologies for how rough-hewn this is. I'm not getting around very well, so a good half of my supplies are out of reach. Plus, my usual scanner just died, so I had to use one with unfamiliar graphics software. The more I tried to clean this up, the worse it got. =sigh=

Hallowe'en is my favorite holiday, though, so I had to make something, however crude. At least I managed to capture the image I've been carrying around in my head: a little girl doing dark magic in a dark forest on a dark night.

Background by Gustave Dore. Woman from Salvador Dalí's "Les roses sanglantes" ("The Bleeding Roses").