I've been taking an online class with collage artist Jane Davies, and it's been very enlightening. I've been introduced to new ways of using text and images, and most interestingly, paint. Now, I've spent most of my life painting, but for some reason it never occured to me to use paint on my collages. It certainly adds a new layer to them.
She also has a blog where all the participants (from all over the world) download their projects and we can comment on each others, etc. It makes for a very interesting method of learning, as besides what Jane demonstrates in her weekly vids, we can see how everyone else is interpreting the assignment.
Very much fun!
I recently took a collage class, and didn't have an idea about what content I was going to work with. I shoved a bunch of envelopes with old collage images into a portfolio, and brought along my computer and printer. I figured the class would energize me and I'd come up with a new idea once I was there.
Unfortunately, the class was geared for beginners, and really didn't address what I'd hoped it to, so I decided to just go ahead, and use the time to make a bunch of pieces with whatever I'd brough with me. It turns out that many of my images were old family photos that I'd scanned for a potential book. I started using them, and soon got totally involved in telling the story of my family.
Since my parents died a long time ago, my kids never knew them, and I thought this might be a way to tell the story of my childhood. If you go to my website, www.lizdemaree.com, you can see more of these.
For the last year, I've been making gel transfer prints, mainly of collages. I have taught a couple of workshops, and have decided to teach a few more this summer at my studio in Riker Hill (in Livingston). It is one of the most fun processes I've learned, and it an excellent way to showcase photographs or any other sort of art. Anything that can be scanned and put on a computer, can be used.
I'll be sending out information on the dates soon. If you're interested, send me your email address, and I'll add you to my list.
Josh in Nice
You’re not sure why you and Erin ended up together on the Riviera. You’ve been friends forever - Chatham Country Day, Pingry. Then you were at Villanova and she was a Swartie. Your roommate even dated hers for a while. It seemed too good to be true that your junior semester in Florence coincided with her’s in Paris. When she called and said let’s meet up in Nice, you said sure without really thinking about the details. Now you’re both staying at your Aunt Clotilde’s apartment on rue des Anglais, overlooking the prussian blue Mediterrean. It is much larger and much more dilapidated that any place you’ve stayed in thus far. You wonder, after a day or two, if it isn’t exactly Aunt Clotilde’s apartment that brought Erin to call you.
This feeling is reinforced the night you bring her to a “little” French bistro, supposedly only patronized by locals. However you’re banished to the back room - air conditioned - and seated impossibly close to two tables where other Americans who could easily be your parents sit and listen to every word Erin says. She’s talking quite loudly, mostly about how she determines who will be her next boyfriend. It slowly dawns on you that she is telling you all these intimate, very boring stories, so that you will realize that she will never think of you in a romantic way. Blotching red creeps up your cheeks in humiliation. All you can think of is how to stick her with the bill and get her out of the apartment tomorrow. A gypsy girl lingers in the doorway of the restaurant. Erin has her back to the front room and doesn’t even stop talking as you get up and go to breezy young woman, feeling as if you’ve met her in a previous life. You glance back inside. Erin has gone to the toilette. You hand the waiter a bunch of euros and follow the gypsy girl down the alley.
©2013 The Colcord Press
"Sad Story #2"
My writing now seems to be inspired by the art I create. This past month I took a monotype class at the Baird in South Orange with Debbie Livingston. I wasn't particularly pleased with what I did in the first class; I was trying to make something like paintings, and they just weren't very good. But in the second class we did chin collé, which I'd never gotten the hang of before. I really liked what I did using pictures of houses printed on very fine rice paper. So after the last class I made a bunch more. And while I was working came up with two titles; the first bunch are called "Dark Houses" and each one represents a disturbing event. The second group are called "Sad Stories." I haven't written anything down yet, as I'm still working on my sci-fi prequel (which started out as short stories, but is evolving into another novel I think). I have some vague ideas floating around in my head, but nothing I'm ready to put down on paper yet. I'll publish the first one here, I think.
So, in addition to making collages, writing, making artist books and selling real estate, one of the other things I do it to chair a group call The Content Group. It's a sub-group of a much larger group, The Book Arts Roundtable. Early on in the beginning, there were a group of us who were interested in how to develop content for our artist books. At our last meeting I brought a bunch of pages of images, and we all made collages, using the same images. Next week, we'll do the same thing, only everyone will bring pages of their own images to share. This is my collage from last month. And if you're interested in joining our group, just email me. You don't have to be a professional artist; we welcome anyone who wants to give this a try. It's called "As If We Could Fly."
I have redesigned my website so that there is now an area devoted to my novel "Chronicles of the 2nd Scythian War." There is a pdf of the first chapter that can be downloaded. I have sent the book out to beta readers, and will be trying to publish it online in the near future.
I found the writing of the book to be much easier than the editing process. Because I'd written the book without going back to re-read anything, I had some major re-arranging to do. And of course I continue to find typos and their/there errors.
I've heard the story of a guy who was so successful in self-publishing online, that he turned down major offers from traditional publishers because he was making as much money as they were offering on his own. He finally got a deal with Simon and Schuster to have them publish just the paper version of his book - he kept the digital rights, which is unheard of these days. The books is called Wool.
It' nice to have such an impressive accomplishment to inspire one!
I titled this collage "The Aunts Who Always Know Best," even though I didn't really have any aunts growing up. My father was an only child, and my mother's sister was hospitalized with schizophrenia for most of her adult life. In my new story, I have Aunts being a major factor in the way certain villages treat their children; how they help them through adolescence, etc. Anyway, as they are a made-up race of half human/half bird creatures, I can create any sort of social world for them that I choose.
Now, however, I'm attempting to write a series of short stories that are pre-quels of some of the main characters' lives, and I realize that I don't know lots of things that I need to, in order to make the story more believable. For instance two of my human characters are Drs. One is a cultural anthropologist, which ok, isn't that hard to research. But the other is a genetic scientist and I realize I need to have some more information about gene splicing, cloning, etc., in order to present her past in a realistic way. The book doesn't take place that far in the future, so I can't just assume that the world is totally different. Ok, in some ways it will be, but in others it won't be, and I have to guess what will work. It's easier to imagine the thoughts of the Scythians!