Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ripping Paper

"Work Kit"
24" x 24" Found Paper on Canvas"

"Point of View"
24" x 24" Found Paper on Canvas
In October, I created a pair of collages, "Geisha" anticipating my trip to Japan later in the month. I completed "Work Kit" first, stylizing my design. "Point of View" was done second. I was challenged to create the traditional white makeup while suggesting planes on the face and neck.

My artist friend Joan and I plan one art-related vacation a year. This year, Joan came to California and stayed with us in October. The Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society sponsored a workshop by Derek Gores, who had previously taught a collage workshop in 2012. I took that workshop and found paper collage became a favored medium. I was happy to retake the workshop, as did a couple other artists, to continue building my skill. Derek is an accomplished, energetic young artist and an excellent teacher.

Part of the success of the paper collage depends upon a range of values, to model forms and create transitions to soften and vary edges. This is done using papers of varying tones and shades of color. Another way is to use text.  If you view some of my other collages, you will see text creates the planes of the face. Now that I had a few years experience on my own, I could focus on the finer points of Derek's demos and lessons. During critique he said he loved the text next to the eye in "Work Kit." On "Point of View" he was taken with the china plates in the upper right quadrent.  Making the background interesting is all part of the package.

Derek calls his work "Fearless Play" and creating the art is a unique challenge. I love finding interesting papers and then creating a way to use them. Also, I cannot exactly plan how the piece is going to come together. Each piece influences the choice of other pieces. There is a randomness in how the image emerges and I could never create an original copy.

There are several guidelines to creating interesting work. The first is to tear the paper so that there are some interesting edges that contrast with the hard edges found in the magazine or memento. The second is to find the edges within the paper. In "Work Kit on the upper left side, you will see a women in a long dress forms the hairline near the red ribbon. There is also a window in the forehead. The woman was standing in front of a window and I liked the unexpected element in her face. The third is to vary the edges so the image doesn't just looked glued onto the canvas. The fourth is create interesting backgrounds. If you want to enhance your understanding, study Derek's art.

I have always been drawn to geometrics and shape, a reflection of the family engineering gene. Thus my backgrounds are somewhat grid-like, though I like to interrupt the grid with an occasional diagonal, as you see in "Work Kit" in the darker values next to the head on the right quadrant. The kimono is pure fantasy. I wanted a red, black, and white scheme.  When I found a magazine sheet with wrought iron fencing, I had aha moment for the trim. I felt it said "Japan.

We went to Japan on October 29 for a bit over two weeks. While in Kyoto we learned that geisha's still entertain in a theater district that was fairly close to our hotel. However, all the geishas we saw were visitors, especially from China, who went to shops near the shrines and temples to be dressed as geishas for the day. They did not, however, wear the white makeup. Their kimonos were colorful prints. Our guide explained that most Japanese women who wear kimonos select much more subdued designs, and wear their kimonos only to special events. The real kimonos usually sell for  thousands of dollars. So there are geisha's, but I did not likely see any real ones.

I will write next about the Japan trip, complete with travel sketches.

1 comment:

Barbra Joan said...

Hi Mary, these are just beautiful... Although I've not tried this yet, I appreciate all the work that has gone into them... Outstanding. '
Barbra Joan