art as autobiography

Marti Reponds to Recent Events

She Rises When Needed

Martiresponds

grace has also posted about this wonderful work this evening.  Please read her post as well as the first comment which contains Marti's detailed heartfelt explanation for her creation.

 


day 28 - results

 

Seeddream

My response for today's prompt references a truly gorgeous never-forgotten dream I had when I was 14 or 15.  Hadn't thought of it until I was focused on working with a very different seed representation/color palette.  While looking for something else I found some of my very first deli paper prints.  Both examples in the above's background layer reference one of the dream's key visual elements.  So does the lovely white marble sculpture, the shape and scale of the seed, and the Florentine mirror.

For the moment this collage is serving as an art journal place-marker.   Have three or four different ideas of what to superimpose on the mirror.  at this point I believe any additional layers - beyond that mirror - will be made with ink and ink-on-ink  OR ink and designer's gouache.  

As the challenge winds down I've begun wondering what I'll choose to share here on this blog once I re-calibrate on the other side of this thing I apparently did during the month of January.  I have a lot of options, really...


Day 27 - results

Gaiaaltar

Today, for a change, I woke up with an idea from the night before which didn't re-invent itself before during or after I made the  collage above.  I've been responding to all the prompts that don't fit the narrative of my Bee allegory booklet within a catch-all art journal.  So I'm pretty sure there will be an additional layer or two of line work using ink and super fine-line paint pens.  Will also connect the free-floating coral-pink negative ions and sentience bubbles in what I hope will be a very cool way.  As usual there doesn't seem to be a lot of grey area.  It'll either work or it won't.  The freeform paste paper cut-outs represent wild rose thickets.   I'll add many more small free-cut stones and maybe some moss.

Although this isn't a realistic rendering of the landscape where it's located my collage is a tribute to my actual gaia altar.  I've kept one for two decades now:  a sacred place to reverently return plant matter used to prepare tinctures, glycerites, flower essences with too many components to successfully return them to the base of each plant where I was guided in my bloom selections. The coarse scrim I use to strain therapeutic oils free of plant matter every late-autumn/early winter  has a few months to weather itself apart before nest-lining birds descend to pluck up every thread. 

The rock is understated and seemingly unremarkable.  We are a likely and lucky alliance.

~*~*~*~*~

Back at the spiffy first-spark of the New Millenium I read Jim Green's FANTASTIC herbal medicine making handbook cover to cover twice in a row.  It's still a favorite of mine to recommend for far too many reasons to encapsulate in this context.   He stressed the belief/philosophy that any tincture, tea, or oil we prepare needs to have its maceration remnants returned to the earth before the herbal healing properties are fully released into the mind and body. Green attributed this equation of reciprocity to "ancient cultures" or possibly some types of shamanism as I recall.  Not sure of the ultimate provenance but I will say that maintaining this practice and being diligent about working with its energy mindfully has also taught me how to plant and harvest and plan in a way that is equally beneficial for All.

If you've not yet seen my group-tribute collage it's right here.


Day 24 - results

Personal tryptich

When I woke up this morning I knew the biggest challenge I could set myself was to do this prompt with human examples rather than personifying myself as flowers and birds.  Thought:  I probably don't even have enough pictures of relevant humans to find the images I need.

Subsequently came up to the studio and located everything necessary within fifteen minutes - including the time it took me to eat some yogurt and stare around at the paper-oriented chaos.   It's a good and thorough mess but the space hasn't recently felt as consistently alive and bouncing off its own walls as it has in these last few weeks.  I have all of you to thank for that.   The way each participant has moved deeper into themselves and their unique 'collage brain' has encouraged me to do the same.   That's not something I imagined happening and it's been an amazing gift to receive from your singular and combined creative energies.

I picked my Within card first because I'd set the image aside for something else I was going to do this morning.

has been clear to me for decades that my Yang side/animus is a surfer dude.  I carry him around in my solar plexus and he in turn carries me around in the outer world.  Like it's no big thing.  Just chillax, Acey ... we've got this.

(and, at a deeper level of belief system(s) - My life/spiritual philosophy strongly suggests that our most important inner Be-ing is the balancing nature of polarity. )

Above - as my highest self and also open vessel for Divine energy to fill as needed - I am a mindful and diligent sower of seeds.

Below - I am simply myself without adornment or shame.  Equal parts awake and dreaming. 

From the earth I rose and to it I will return: equally awake and dreaming.

[J. took the Below picture two years ago.  Is kind of an underworld image here in the present tense so that's an unintentional layer of meaning for both the choice and expanded interpretation of 'below'.  I weighed forty pounds more and was fairly ill in an iatrogenic sense from very toxic immune-suppressant drugs I took for nearly four years.  The last thing I wanted was a picture of myself but I was taking the year long art journaling class and our technique for the month was stenciling.  We were supposed to take moody deliberately self-flattering selfies in high contrast lighting/clothing/hair situations and then make selfie-stencils for the theme of Re-birth.  This was the best I could muster.  And it's probably an accurate portrait of how I look/feel about our current world and whatever we do or do not "really" know about such things. ]

Oneeyestencil

half dreaming and half awake.  I really don't know how to handle our planet's human-driven current events any other way.


Day 22 results

Florencevalentine

[Woke up with a strong intention to collage a valentine to a tiny lake inside the Adirondack Park blue line.  Beloved to my husband and I since the summer we were both 23 and discovered it together.  Then something in my deeper creative mind jacknifed the plan.  I guess you never forget your first love/sense of idyllic human completion.]

Innamorata -

Although you've had millions of devoted admirers over the centuries I can only hope that all their sweetest memories of your charms remain as vivid and alluring as my own.  I shall never forget the first evening I spent in your embrace made fragrant by night blooming flowers.  I first caught sight of your beauty from a rooftop dining space alight with the day's Golden Hour as I'd never experienced it.  Seeing a sea of similarly incandescent terra cotta rooftops awash in the same glow my soul felt itself reach for your hand.  You seduced me simply and completely.

Unable to sleep from the sheer excitement of being newly 18 and thousands of miles removed from anything  that would stop me from making decisions purely my own - I went with my two mid-70's EuroTour roomates to discover you as a threesome of young americans determined not to be ugly in our tourism and unafraid to venture forth in search of a city's true soul.  We wished to know you, Florence, as our jammed-packed tour itinerary would never reveal. 

We literally stapled our passports to the inside of our underwear and then moved empty-handed into the night of a place we'd never been and were unafraid to explore.  We simply followed the sound of voices and lights.  We'd been in Italy for about a week after traveling on an Italian ship for eight days to reach Naples.  The experience had taught us where we'd see, learn and laugh the most - voices & lights were our password to Truth for that magical 6 week window's worth of time.  It never once steered us to a bad or frightening place.  Not even when we followed an increasingly massive roaring sound to the piazza surrounding your jewel of architectural renown.

We'd unwittingly followed the sound of rage and resounding large-scale mobilization straight into some type of political rally that packed humans tight.  The air shimmered with the sound of their collective voice raised as one united by uncompromising dissent. We turned as a single whirl of legs and arms.  Your night air caressing us.  Knowing not to run outright and draw attention to ourselves.  We walked brisking without a clue of what we were doing.  Only one of us, after some panic-stricken hissing, was able to recall the name of our hotel.  But she didn't know where it was located. 

Directly in front of us were three stylishly dressed dark and handsome men three or four years older then we.  They at first were speaking ugently, all at once, in obvious group encouragement to arrive at the rally we were fleeing.  Then one of them saw us doing that and grabbed the arm of an another.  Without even a twitch of eye-contact consultation they pivoted towards us. 

We must not be frightened.  It was only a communist rally.  They themselves were communists but clearly reasonable and nothing to fear.  Said in three languages before I picked up enough friench, and another girl leaned into some rusty german translating abilities to get from one end of the thought to the other.  They were the handsomest, suavest, most self-assured young men I'd ever met let alone spent time with.  Only these many years later do I realize how rare it is to want to spend time with men that fit such description.

Florence - you gave me the most romantic safely madcap night of my life then and one of its sweetest fleeting memories now.  All held within your embrace.  Under a sky I'd paint with a base of cobalt blue and then find union with a host of specially mixed indanthrone blue and purple-grey tones.  I don't know if there were stars and a moon.   I do know there was a long luxurious stroll across an ancient bridge that held the imprint of your centuries' human foot traffic.

For a while we six stood in a silent line and gazed at the far more famous bridge that crosses your Arno river.  It was a lovely moment in a timeless place.  At some point the spell broke and I remember us talking in two somewhat urgent groups of belated consultation. Where were we going?  It appeared neither group knew. 

The gentlemen (for that's what they were...) weren't from this city but another they kept assuring us was of no importance.  Not in a forget you saw us way but simply reassuring us they lived nowhere we were obliged to visit as diligent tourists.  We laughed with a tentative willingness to proceed as a group intent on sharing the evening.   

(because of this long ago gift you bestowed, my most magical Florence, I never ever question unlikely paradise instead of disaster within movies showing us make-believe lives practically nobody actually lives.)

We ate watermelon.  And they taught us a regional dialect word from their grandparent's generation for this sweet delicious fruit that I still remember.  We climbed a seeming eternity of stairs and years into the future I'd return here and literally facepalm to see how close we'd been to the Uffizi Gardens. Climbing and climbing it seemed like time out of space until something very real and big crashed directly in front of us.  It was a stag; close enough to rear back at the rank odor of his scent.  Coming from where to reach what destination?  It was impossible to know.  All of us were amazed in a way that left us gasping with laughter.  Kissing occurred.  And then the night sky erupted with dazzling white light.  Music familiar to our shared generation - no matter where we lived - followed only seconds later.

We climbed the final distance to the edge of Piazzale Michelangelo.   It was ablaze with a glare of strung lights.  Internationally popular music pulsed from the back of open cars ringing the outer curve of the wide Piazzale.  We ladies jumped and clapped and spun to grab whoever we'd been kissing.  The young men laughed as a single voice of triumphant youth about to have a good time.  The evening - although retrospectively chaste - had spun us all in a web of delighted willingness to say Yes to you and ourselves and each other  We danced for several hours.  Stopping to drink water and eat more watermelon.  Strolling the very edge of the curve - shouting out greetings to people in our age-tribe dressed all manner of ways with all manner of accents and languages.   To kiss while wordlessly conveying in an entirely mutual way that was all that would happen. 

The walk back down the innumerable stairs didn't occur until daybreak.  Shoes in hands sticky with watermelon juice we marveled at all the terraced natural beauty we'd walked through with no awareness of how lovely and magical the night had actually been as it pulsed all around us.  Excitement erupted when the Stag's crashing after-trail was discovered.  We all stood still to stare at the proof of what we'd witnessed.  Just us and the stag.  Each of us turned slowly to search the landscape.  It was still impossible to guess where the stag had come from and where it was going.

And Florence.  I've never before told anyone ever about this night.  It was just too perfect to contain with mere words.

It still is.  That's why I added tiny hints of what it felt like using beautiful papers inspired by your own forever-beauty. ..


Day 21 - results

Treasurebox

As a first layer I did create at least the sense of an actual box with a lid that opened in the center to left and right.  Loved the way it looked!  Pictured exactly how I wanted it to look and then instead I crammed the page spread full in a way rather characteristic of my real-life treasure boxes.

The only fragment that remains of my constructed box is the strip of Japanese silk tape.  It's also the last remaining fragment of this wondrous tape but since this was not a material challenge its purpose had been to suggest the sumptuous often stuffed and tufted silk linings to trinket cases I remember some of the Old Nanas keeping when I was a child.  Something mysterious and elaborate from their own girlhoods in most cases.  The inside of the box was described with a piece of icy blue distressed damask patterned paper . I'll start with the tape and go up and around until we're back at the amaryllis bud.

tape representing my love of Japanese design both traditional & modern.  Hollyhocks and hummingbirds.  Summer's early morning sun.  Later spring's first peony.  And the way any rain-battered rescues scent the dining room - opening as beautifully as a pampered show bloom.  below the peony - 60's style pop art!!  My power/waxing crescent moon and favorite number 11 (in nearly all of its permutations) 

Small paper scrap representing silent glistening snow falling from a sky that seems to reflect the snow's sparkle once it's settled on the ground.  Both the stated Advice from A Tree - torn from a seed packet attached to a T-shirt bearing the same design.  A gift to my son for house/cat sitting while Jim and I took in an Orioles-Red Sox Game at Camden yards and spent the next fiendishly hot day exploring my favorite childhood destination:  Longwood Gardens. So I'm actively treasuring the memories of all of that.  As well as the meal we all cooked together once the family was briefly reassembled before T. took off back to the farmhouse with my special Beech in its side yard.

The full moon closest to my birthday and all the memories of the many times I've been fortunate enough to wander in its particular light among nature - unafraid and feeling deeply blessed.  The way the tree energy rises by slow inexorable degrees during early spring here in new england

(forgot that up at the top there's a strip of brown velvetish leaves on a golden background.  To representing dying-back plant matter in later fall. And also a golden/deep space purple reminder of the mayan prophecy that humanity shall be saved by a flower.)

  Our planet's oldest flower - the magnolia.  Her flower essence aids in all aspects of re-birth as well as labor and delivery/fresh new birth-growth of a creative endeavor or gaia-loving mission.

Happy thriving honeybees living in cooperation with our species.  My favorite comfort go-to meditative color range of dioxine purple, vivid coral, red-violet and clear bright lilac.  Ease:  physical, mental, emotional, and organically shared at community level. 

Just about the easiest and most dare-you-to-look-away lovely indoor flower to grow - the amaryllis.  The image also gives a strong shot of clear vibrant first chakra/red energy to stabilize and root all valuable memory and meaning.  This flower essence has always seemed very androgynous in its vibrational signature.  The remedy's effectiveness spans all levels of physical comfort and confidence actively felt as a vibrant mind-body connection.

Sprinkled throughout the treasured items - my favorite 'happiness' color of bold yellow streaked with orange.  Sometimes as snippets of no meaning to signify my fondness for using EVERY scrap of paper and also some free-cut stars to represent my love of spontaneous joy-filled unassuming craft time.

This was a very enjoyable and profoundly stabilizing prompt for me personally.  For a little while in the beginning I got shaky the way some of you did with the care package.  But then I focused on my intention for everybody else - to decelerate and come into a more rooted sense of creative mojo/essential Self despite the chaos and accompanying noise.   Dried my eyes, took a deep breathe and gently prodded my soul enough to finds seeds of joy ready to sprout and make flowers.

(big deep long exhale)

isn't it GREAT that we're all doing this together???


Day 20 - results

Silencesreality(

Not sure I would have had the guts to make either the collage or the post that follows if I hadn't been so moved and inspired by Joanne's collage right here.

Originally I didn't plan to engage with this prompt because I figured I'd evoked all the Empress of Everything energy I could reasonably expect myself to express during the Care Package prompt.  But then I realized I was also avoiding something really important that I didn't want to deal with in an active way until after this challenge was complete.   Felt it wasn't "necessary" or "proper" for me to include what I wound up creating as part of my personal responses to the prompts.  Nonetheless here we are. 

My collage for today is in large part a delayed reaction follow-up to the real-life results of a collage I made the summer before last as part of year-long art journaling project.  Within that context the image spoke to my ongoing experience(s) being silenced by white culture in general and within my specific family of origin.  I allowed myself to visually specify what this felt like for the first time:  to be enmeshed within a solely white upbringing in a 90% white town (all Others neatly collected in slim enclaves with protestations that the Others wanted it that way ....) while being bi-racial and utterly estranged from my other half. 

The latter fact was routinely dismissed as  a mere detail which shouldn't be encouraged "to fester" because my inherently insufficient* environment was supposed to render me too grateful by my good fortune to be able to "pass" if I just applied myself to the goal with true will to succeed at it.

*I'm defining insufficiency in terms of knowing who I really was at a basic genetic level since it was glaringly apparent to me I was indeed half Other.  And consistently feeling myself as lacking any viable guidance towards developing life skills that were relational to my ongoing experience both at home and in the larger world.

*~*~*~*~*

  As a direct result of making that collage I subsequently ripped the metaphorical tape away from my very literal mouth and began expressing what felt the safest within an inherently troublesome aspect of my life :  the white-centric way in which my small but mighty family has lived since we moved away from a diverse urban hub of great meaning and empowerment to me.  And what that experience has led me to conclude without a shade of doubt:

Hypocrisy is a crippling by-product of all human nature, no doubt.  But the specifically white version of it insures nobody anywhere ever really gets very far with race relations.

entirely true for me without doubt.  But I went about expressing it in the dogmatic emotionally charged manner of somebody who's been honing their rage as well as their ability to sit quietly with a thing I cannot fix by myself or by summoning my own white mojo intent to have it be otherwise.   And I regret that very much.  THAT isn't just something I can fix - it's something I must fix because nobody else can do it for me. 

Empress of everything

To illustrate my re-considered intentions moving forward - I began with a healthy dose of self-accountability that focused on an ability I actively hold here in the everyday world that I can apply within experiences involving my linear human landscape - starting with a photocopy of the lede collage.  I pasted in a dedicated journal I'll probably wind up sharing a bit on this blog once this challenge is in the past tense long enough to have reclaimed one or two planned winter learning projects first.

 I also photocopied two other elements of the same art journal where I made the original collage - tracings of my left and right hand decorated with off-world tatoos what have been re-configured so they might attend to my silenced past-tense self.  In this collage they embody the wise and seasoned touch of my highest self  and all her cumulative experiences and observations.  Thus the hands work slowly and with gentle patience to loosen the powerful adhesive that's kept me 95% quiet about this pivotal aspects of my ongoing life experience for more than half a century. 

- notice they are using flower medicine to loosen the adhesive and heal the wounds it caused -

My right hand takes command of the evolved objective - to liberate by way of accrued finesse and empathy My other - receptive and empathetic - hand cradles my forehead to steady me for the shock and abrupt shift that will come when the tape's finally removed and I now hold sole responsibility for whatever I elect to say or not.  In acknowledgement of this - through the process of making the collage - I've given myself a sovereign power - the power of gentleness - I already had without knowing how to claim or implement it.

This collage that I almost didn't think it was 'necessary' to let myself make at this time and in this specific venue is probably the most personally meaningful and healing response I've had in the process.  It's a visual pact with myself as a writer and activist.  

AND

far more importantly -  from now on making the commitment to deliver myself from the idea there's only one way to get a thing done.   Or that there's a BEST way and for some reason I'm the one who knows it.   And that if I'm not heard or remotely 'accepted' in that one-way's cadence and tone then I have failed The Cause and myself.

failed to grow, maybe.

but I'm pretty much done with that too.

(tomorrow begins the final third of the challenge.  We'll be downshifting the intensity of the prompts' self-exploration curve in order to discover what might want to grow in all the fresh inner space we've made through better understanding who we are creatively and what we're making of and for ourSelves through making art of whatever form.)


a post from Marti

Prompt 15: attachment, Style over substance, substance over style:

I've shared of how my home is decorated very simply with my dyed cloths, weeds, pine cones, bird feathers, at times, bird nests, ornamental corn, dried chili peppers in baskets, etc.  In fact, my kitchen now contains a large chili ristra, a surprise gift from our kids when they were here for Christmas. The ristra hung outside the front door but heavy winds knocked it down, tore off some chiles which were soaked and ground into a chili paste and now  the ristra now hangs in our kitchen.  All the things that are "ornamental" in my home contain and mean the world to me.

Some of you may know this story: when we got  ready to sell our home in CA, the first real estate agent that we spoke to admonished me to get rid of my rocks, birds nests, bird feathers, etc. because they held no "style" and would be off putting to potential buyers...you can guess where this is going.  She didn't get our listing.  The agent who did asked us to keep things just as  they were for they spoke of w ho lived in this home and she felt that was important.

This brings me to the what I have chosen to put in this collage in response to prompt 15:  I noticed that some have painted their backdrops, used  gesso, other materials so instinctively I chose  one of my dyed cloths as the backdrop for this collage. It was chosen for many reasons; for the joy of bringing old cloth to life by dyeing with the gifts of the land, for the image that presented when the cloth was unbundled, the image of a meadow,  the leaf imprints coming from my dearly loved  Chinese Pistache trees in front of our house; a tree  that I had not known until we came to New Mexico. The leaves of these trees yield varying shades of green, etc depending on the mordant used on the recycled cotton cloth.  This backdrop cloth reminds me of a meadow, a meadow where sheep frolic and that is important to me..  My father came to America as a contract shepherd, loving his flock of sheep and I loved him dearly.  He was my touchstone and although it has been over 42 years since he died, we still speak to each other and I see him now and  then.  The image that I have chosen has to do with him but also myself for when you hold to the things you love, even though it may set you apart, your heart leads the way and substance over style, wins out every time.

Thank you all for being here so I could share this with you:

Marti15


Day 13 - results

Frogpond

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.)

Insidecoverprogress011320

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 ...

Deskon011420

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


Day 13 - morning post

 In two more days this challenge will have its Equinox of perfect balance - equal parts done and undone.  Anticipating that moment - I'm going to ask you to step back just a bit from the deeply personal meaning and making you've been engaged with. 

Step back just enough to assess your amassed collage work the way you'd assess whatever creative form you believe to be your primary and most accomplished/gifted form of Making.  JUST.  ENOUGH. 

Prompt #13

a. Review your challenge work to date as a total entity. Locate any absence of a specific color that isn't a deliberate choice.  Correct to taste if you can.  If not - move forward with a dedicated exploration of how the missing color(s) might be successfully integrated moving forward.

OR:

b.  Search further for any color over-abundance that isn't a deliberate choice.   Consider also a deliberate choice that feels off to you.  Is it the rest of the composition or is there simply too much muchness involved with your statement color?  Find collage-oriented ways to mitigate the overkill.

Pro-tip:  In order to keep the challenge in the challenge:  don't simply cover up what you don't like with a single image UNLESS what you have left forms a creatively satisfying/cohesive frame for the new focal point. 

Frogpondchosen

[part of] my own assessment:

a. Due to the way world/national events have been playing out my left brain is pretty saturated in the same dreary tones as our winter landscape. Thus when I'm engaged in my challenge time I've actively avoided working with darker/muted colors.  However there's no way to do a tribute to my landscape and not include the frog pond.  This means breaking out some darker muted colors.  Which in turn gives me a chance to cut apart my very first gelli print - one of many items I pledged in advance to use in its entirety during this project.  I free-cut an oval shape positioned to include a lot of the bubbling imagery.  This put me in mind of the masses of frog eggs that bloom on windfall forked branches I set out - partially submerged  - in the pond during the winter-spring switchover week.   The bright spots in the coloration remind me of the way the sky reflects in the pond water.  There's a larger bright blue spot I might collage on top if it looks right.  Just to balance out more accurately where those spots would be located in the actual pond.

b. Have not decided yet about the color overkill angle.   Might not like all that Botticelli-apricots coloration in the book's centerfold map.  But what I'd be most strongly inclined to do to 'tone it down' could go horribly wrong.  HORRIBLY.  So that part of this prompt will need more thought time for me ...