The thing about being in the middle of not great stuff happening in your life is that the really important things, the things that really mean something, start to stand out even more. I think we as society get so caught up in work and money, and the race of every day life we sometimes tend to only look at the big picture, and lose sight of the small things, and most of the time those are the things that mean the most. I have a beautiful home, and it’s full of beautiful things, but these days I find myself not caring about “stuff”. Instead I find myself appreciating what it means to have a home when so many people don’t, and being grateful that we had a little money when trouble hit. I have been married for twenty-four years, and have been spending every minute of every day for the last three months with my husband, and what has come out of that is the really, really important stuff. Such as? Despite troubles, a lot of support, a lot of understanding, a lot of worrying together, surprising to some, a lot of laughter, and most of all a lot of love. I was thinking about that earlier today and it inspired what I did tonight. I was in the mood to something different. I have a couple of photos I’ve taken over the last few years of hearts. Not the typical Valentine heart, but just noticing the shape in structures, in nature, and weirdly in a tar formation in a parking lot. inspired by what is the focus of my life these days, and the photographs I’ve taken, I wrote a verse and created a collage. Collage is definitely outside my comfort zone. The randomness of it is at odds with the perfectionism issue I have.
I only know this, whatever happens in our life we will always have what’s important, and that is each other.
I love words. I love quotes. I love the way the manipulation of a few characters of an alphabet can change the course of a relationship, can propel a person to success, even sadly, when used to break a heart. I decided about two years ago to take up collage. This again for me is an exercise in frustration, collage really has no rules to follow, and how can one be perfect when there is no guideline? But what I do love about collage is that it is a place for me to add some words, some phrases, and a quote or two. I have a very different piece of art for tonight. Last night was a tough one. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to let things get to me. I promised that today would be the day where I put my art first. Did I? Of course not. We had plans this evening for dinner at our daughter’s apartment. I needed to bring something so I baked brownies. Then my son told me that while we were out he would be having friends over. You know what that means. On the chance that even one of the twenty-somethings would notice, I cleaned, and cleaned, oh and then, I cleaned some more. We were leaving at three. What time did I start my project for today? 2:45. On the forty-five minute drive to our daughter’s I sat in the passenger seat of the car sorting words. I mentioned above that I love words. I have a box of them. Single words, phrases and quotes cut from newspapers and magazines. All cut out with the intention of working on those collage projects. (I actually did do three or four small ones) Hundreds of little pieces of paper, each one speaking to me, and almost all of them having to do with changing my life. I had decided that for tonight I would use some of them. I’ve been cutting them out for years, and they waited for me to get where I am now. That was the first part of the project, choosing words. The second part was deciding how to use them. It came to me as I looked through the box. I find that I have taken quite a few photos of fire escapes. (Dan believes it is symbolic of how I felt about myself, I think I agree) When I looked at this particular photo, which had somehow found its way into my box of words, it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. This isn’t a completed project, it is actually part of a larger piece I started a few weeks back. Tomorrow I will marry them together, but for tonight, and particularly if you read last night’s blog, you will get it. I hope.
The night before last I posted a photo of the cigar box that I had begun to work on. I left it yesterday because I wasn’t sure where it was going. I had written about chapter titles that spoke to me. When I revisited the box today I knew what it needed to be. A journal of sorts about the journey I am on now. I will make the pages as they come to me, using collage and possibly some paintings, again by what I feel in the moment. When I think I am finished I want to make a paper accordion that can be pulled out of the box. Over the last few years I have collected words and phrases that appeal to me. I must have hundreds of these cut out words in a box. I’ve used some of these words tonight, alongside a childhood photo of me (cute, right?) I guess in my own way I am going through artistic therapy. I want to explore what I feel and why I feel it, and exactly how that affects who I am as an artist. I am hoping through all this self exploration I will discover my voice not only as an artist, but in other parts of my life. One of the sentences I added to the collage tonight states, ” your only regret is that you didn’t do it sooner..” That is more true that I could possibly tell you. I can’t focus on that, I have to move forward.