I could have gotten all the narrative bases covered for this spread if I'd put a fragment of Italian paper covered with various frog species in the place where I thought I put it after I cut a lot of it apart - creating individual motifs to include in Grace's special collage kit/supplies. Alas I did not and must now locate and clip from the remainder which is "filed" within my paper stash storage shelf. And it's at the very bottom of my deceptively compact/dutifully color sorted recycled/gift/designer/self-made art papers. Because it's an older piece from older-old days when retail sheets were significantly larger. Thus it's under everything else including my stash of watercolor and drawing paper destined for future sketchbooks. If I want to preserve the space-conscious system, I'll have to remove things one careful layer at a time. In other words - not today.
My personal self-assessment for the first third of this challenge is that I've not been stretching either myself or my pre-set Rules for this experience nearly enough. Instead I've been feeling my way into a comfortable fit with the leadership role. And staying on top of these twice-daily/set time postings as a non-negotiable part of how I set up my days' structure and to-do lists. THAT'S how I've stretched. The results are all well and good (not to mention considerable) for my personal growth curve but it hasn't helped me tighten-up and deepen my collage-based skill set(s). To that end I'm resolved to actively stretch in some measurable way for each day of the challenge's duration. See what happens.
My biggest intentional stretch for today's prompt involved allowing myself to cover up the busy scrapbook paper. Normally (meaning with-in my non-challenge creative life) I'd cover up whatever I please but part of picking the paper was pushing myself to work around the significant challenge/obstacle it presented. Sometime in the later afternoon yesterday I decided working with one half of the sheet's pattern was sufficient challenge and I could let myself off the hook with this half. I 'allowed' myself to make this choice so I'd have a lot more uninterrupted (and far higher contrast) space to articulate things that are especially dear to me about this anchor-point in the property's original landscape design and its enduring execution. Used white gesso laced with a tiny amount of beachy green craft paint and scraped a few careless wet-on-wet layers to get some texture and hints of the dark colors underneath.
The rather celestial paper flower was cut in half to represent the two dominant tree medicine spirits (hemlock and maple) that stand tall over the pond. Had planned to play with visual resolution a bit by allowing the alchemical sun transparency on the adjacent page to serve as the third star. But now that piece is simply holding space until I can get what I've decided to use instead appropriately sized, printed out and affixed. Have added a second small holographic star reflected in the pond water.
When I had to cut my original eyeball freehand oval into a smaller shape I was left with an elongated sliver of a crescent moon. Was born during the waxing sliver so this particular image - frequently oversized as it is here - appears in a lot of my autobiographical collage projects. I have been to the frog pond late at night in this lunar phase. It's a good sync for Frog medicine and other historical & mythological associations frequently ascribed to these wonderful little creatures. Not sure how widespread this is but here on the east coast many native frog colonies are losing ground to a fungus very similar to athlete's foot. This year our own colony was healthy but somewhat elusive.
On a later spring morning, en route to the pond, I suddenly noticed a portion of an adjacent landscaping rock move very slow-quickly. Didn't have my distance glasses to sharpen the precise details but grew up in South Jersey. Can thus recognize at a fair pace the unique lower rear shell of a snapping turtle. It is always the same - even on very small/young offspring. The one at our pond was barely four inches long at that first siting. I was initially - childhood reptile geek that I was - enchanted. Then fearful for the frogs.
Somewhat less pressingly but no less pragmatic was my fear T's special kitty could easily lose a paw or even part of her face. Had no idea how fast these turtles grew. Multiple online info sources confirmed their growth rate would be commensurate with the scope of their food supply. At this stage of their lives these turtles are largely carnivorous. This particular turtle had chosen to live in and at the edge of a (relative to its current size HUGE) water source loaded with a few hundred pollywogs.
Eventually my concern for other creatures was eclipsed with worry for our newest reptilian neighbor. The turtle had crested 6.5 - 7 inches (estimate) by the time it was clear the frogs hadn't been able to save more than a small percentage of their young but they'd otherwise seamlessly adopted a far more low-profile way of thriving rather than being driven-off. In later September I noticed the turtle's upper carapace was saturated with some kind of parasite or fungus. It wasn't going in the water anymore but simply lurking between the pond and a thriving juniper bush. The problem with its carapace looked like the beginning of a lichen colony on a rock. I spent a few days calling around to MA-based people who might either know something about what I was seeing or could put me in touch with somebody who did. In those 2-3 days' time the turtle appeared to vanish. It never re-appeared and on the second day of my noticing it gone the frogs were once again scattered all over the flat landscaping rocks that ring the pond. As if the disturbance in their routine had never occurred.
(The little snapping turtle is remembered and wondered-about in the form of the oversized star swimming in the pool.)
Since I was in the mood to fill more space and (re)solve some additional problems I returned to the inside front cover of my booklet. Got another vertical tree column in place. Recognized that the only true value I saw to any of the remaining imagery from the original art paper was the wood tree a bird was turning into its home.
Additionally I very much liked what Dee extrapolated of the chair's symbolic meaning placed there among living relatives. Wanted to keep that potentiality active and emphasized. So I added flowers to cover the eggs (which I originally thought could be a callout to the innumerable hens and at least 7 roosters who live at the farm across the road. but that didn't work.). They don't represent what grows there so much as the color signifies the number of hummingbird-friendly plants I've cultivated in an area where these beautiful Tiny Giants of the bird world now return to nest and thrive year after year. It's also the very first 3-season fueling site in the bee-centric food highway that winds its way throughout our property.
Used rolled up washi tape to stick-down a fragment of brayer cleaning paper. This will remind me to keep an eye peeled for similar options in the narrow but electrified green color range - to evoke a certain greenish haze that epitomizes late spring through high summer here. It's great to feel on far greater track with my envisioned progress rate. BUT ...
This is what my work desk looks like right now. Sometime by the end of next weekend I hope to have everything dialed-back and cleared to the edge of the cups full of pencils, brushes, and small "other" tools I find indespensible