Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pathways on Paper

Carol Sloan here.

I have been thinking about this months theme –


How did I want to approach the subject...
where would I start...
what would my inspiration be...
when would I get off of my (uninspired) rear end and get going with it...

The last several weeks I have been struggling with some type of artist block -
not a true block I know, but troubling to someone like me just the same.
I have always had a plethora of creative ideas.
I'm not lacking there, even now.
It's the energy to get started or follow through with anything that I am having issues with.
So – I am trying a little exercise today to see if I can jump start that ol' creative energy.

I chose three separate pages from my sketchbook that I had been working on when I last saw my energy.
Yes, I am going to try the “if you lost something go back to the last place you saw it” routine...

Back to the three pages.

I had started playing around with an idea that I had for a collage piece.
I usually work in my sketchbook first- investigating symbols/meanings/looking at drawings, etc. on the particular subject.
Then I begin the process of combining or merging the subjects. This may be as simple as drawing them from different angles or collaging them onto a painted background.
This particular project was to include poppy seed-heads and botanical drawings (among other things).
I did a couple of drawings in my sketchbook of poppy seed-heads (I know you're shocked) and decided to carve a stamp instead of having to draw them all. During the carving process, I ink the stamp and stamp off sample images in my sketchbook to see how it looks. I always keep these pages to add collage items to later. This is a wonderful way to avoid that dreaded “white page syndrome”.

Here is a sample page (or two) of the “stamp-offs” that I did.

Notice I had already used one page to do some contour drawing on. I kinda like the combo of the two (the face + the seed head) and may wind up using them together.

I would have never known this had I not taken that particular pathway.

Many are obstinate with regard to the pathway once they have set upon it, many without regard to the goal.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

When I am creating art, when I am “in the zone” as some would say, I am not obstinate about the pathway or the goal.
I may have started out with a particular idea but it usually morphs or changes as I go.
I often allow my choice of materials to change the outcome.
I always give myself permission to change my mind, to change the end goal.

There are many, many ways to obtain similar outcomes or goals. It's a great idea to set aside time and materials to play – don't worry about the outcome – just pick a pathway and run down it.

If you see something else you like while on that path, just veer off of it!

Run down a different pathway!

The important thing is that you are enjoying the pathway that you take. Or that you're beginning to enjoy it.

Here are a couple of scans of the different pages that I was experimenting with.

This one is a collage background using acrylic paint washes, tissue paper, paper napkins, watercolor paint, and Neocolor 3 crayons.
I stitched a poppy seed-head design over a netting fabric to create a light shadow as well as to create the stitched image on the opposite side.

Here's a scan of the opposite side of the stitched poppy. I've added tiny bits of color by using the page to press against pages with wet paint - effectively removing the areas with too much paint and beginning the layering process on this background as well.

The last one is a compilation of things...
several different pathways, if you will.
The bottom layer consists of a light tan/brown acrylic wash. I stamped a couple of images, used masks on a couple, Shiva paint sticks on stencils, thermofax screens with watered down acrylic paint and made marks with a variety of sticks and  different items.
You can't tell on this scan but it has amazing texture and little bits of color peeking through.

I'll keep working on the theme...slowing pecking away at that rock wall that is trying to hold my creative energy captive.
My hope is that in talking about the creation of these collage pathways, I will stir up that energy that has been lacking within me.

Remember to post your photos and your sketchbook pages.
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This post tells you what to do in order to be entered to win them.
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  1. Carol,
    Your post was a wonderful mix of technique, art, inspiration and personal reflection.

    thank you! and kudos!

  2. Excellent entry for today. I eagerly check the day's entry and I am always thrilled to see a post such as yours. Thanks for the inspiration! Did you say you had a bit of a block? Can't see it here!

  3. Thanks, Carol, for articulating this process so well! It really is encouraging, and a beautiful "how-to" for beginning a pathway. I have yet to deliberately tackle the pathways theme, but it seems that all my art-making can be described as pathways. This is a great post!

  4. A few weeks ago I say some poppy seed heads and photographed them. I then made two lino cuts and I am very pleased with them.

    Then I see your post, Poppy seed heads are such lovely subjects.