Sunday, July 5, 2009

a lot of words about one thing.

Last year sometime our neighbors across the street had a yard sale. I bought this big print from them for $5. I liked the scene and I liked the price. After a year in this house, our walls are still fairly empty, so I am always on the lookout for affordable art.
The frame on the print was not very attractive. The main wood color was pleasing enough, but there was a speckled wood stripe that made it look really dated. My first plan was to paint that stripe. I did that, but it came out very poorly. The paint bled under the blue tape and looked terribly sloppy.
My next idea was to paint the rest of the frame black and keep the pale blue stripe. That way I could touch up from both directions and end up with a clean straight stripe. After that effort the stripe remained impossible to clean up to my standards and I ended up painting the whole frame black. The most significant development at this point, though, was that when I ripped up the painters tape (even though I used the "delicate" variety), pieces of the print came up with it.

I thought about imitating one blogger's clever fix, but Nate wasn't sold. Ever since the poodle portrait incident, I'm trying to take his tastes more into consideration. I decided to go in a totally different direction. I created several collaged vingnettes, then tried to pull the whole large piece together with a web of sorts, a sprawling structure of black and grey triangles.

The collage work on this piece was very much inspired by the collages of Lisa Congdon, especially her recent work (see here, and here, and here). The bright colors I used were directly inspired by the great neon shades she has been using lately. I also used some geometric shapes similar to those showing up in her art recently. I've been a big fan of her work for years and hope that if she ever runs across this piece, here or on flickr, she'll be more flattered than insulted.

To make these little scenes I used black and white prints of our family, along with a selection of brightly colored papers, some small paper doilies, and a few vintage photographs from my stash. Can you recognize all of us?

Here Nate, S, and T walk through the woods. The business on Nate's feet in this scene was directly inspired by an AMAZING embroidery artist whose work I admire on flickr, Jennifer Porter, aka Porterness. Love her work.
Here I am with Nate and S on a vintage photograph.
Another vintage picture, which I used because the image mirrors the forest/stream scene on the large canvas.Here T pulls me as I ride a cow in a boat.
Another vintage picture, a blurry shot of leaves.
T scales a mountain, S runs past, Nate claps his hands.This is the boys' favorite bit. They say they are "zapping" like superheroes.

The size of this print was a challenge for me. As evidenced by the tiny vignettes, I'm much more comfortable working on a small scale. I probably could have done a better job balancing all the elements within the larger scene, but overall I am happy with how it turned out. It's a fun piece of art for the wall. Now on to other projects!


sarah hedman said...

great job laura - you are amazing!

Colin said...

that's awesome! Way to be be brilliant, L-Train.

kristin said...

Nice! I think I told you about this before but have you seen the 20x200 website? They were selling one of Lisa Congden's prints on it recently. ( Apparently she went to my alma mater in Kansas City, but I think before my time.

Angela said...

You are so cool. Way to follow collage artists.