Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Closing In

John Salminen's workshop, Day 3.

As BearGal likes to say, the first day of a workshop always start with an ecstatic "ah, this is going to be the best workshop ever!". The second day, you keep your optimisim with "well, let's wait and see". Then comes the breakdown, "what the hell am I doin' here!?". The next day is "hmm... I may still be able to save the painting", and the last day it's pretty much "I am soooooooooo outta here!".

Well, I jumped ahead: I wanted to be outta there on the first day, and what-the-hell was yesterday, big time! But - today was in fact really fun - we introduced collage into the painting. Some were appalled by the idea, pondering "Why would I want to cover parts of my painting with printed material!?".

As the instructor put it, "so you can say you did it!".

Honestly, I admire his patience. I guess one just has to adapt some serious survival skills when delivering many workshops to many people. Most of those who take workshops (and I know I'm optimistic here!) are open-minded and have a genuine desire learn; but there are always those who pay a bunch of money, dedicate days, energy and materials, schlep themselves to wherever the workshop is taking place - just to sit and do their thing, without paying attention to what the instructor says. Well, to each his own. It's quite amusing to look at the workshop participants and see how the same types keep occurring: the whiner, the rebel, the follower, the attention grabber, the one who never bothers to listen (but then bothers everyone around), the talkative (I am grateful to WebbieM for suggesting the use of an iPod, or in my case, an MP3!), the conqueror who keeps sneaking into your space - - - Ah, the joy...

So, after 2 days of gnashing my teeth and curbing the mutineer Aries in me that kept alluring me to throw everything to the wind (yup - I'm usually the rebel!), today came the reward.

I did a few collages with tissue papers I have dyed (one of them is The JohnnyB's favorite!), but never used magazines for that, so today was a very new experience.

The instructor told us the secrets to combining collage with a painting: start subtle, going with pieces that have the same value and color scheme as your painting. Avoid recognized symbols, words and objects. As tempting as they might be to use, they will distract from the painting itself. You want to enhance your painting, not let collage take over it - unless you want to turn it into a full blown collage. John delighted us with a story about a woman who took his workshop, did a great abstract painting, and then collaged an image of Snoopy in the center of interest. Why? 'cause her granddaughter loves Snoopy, and she wanted to give her a painting.
As a homage to that little tale, when my time came to get final OK on how I placed my collaged pieces, I found a pair of tacky green parrots in one of the magazines, and planned to put them in my focal area, just to see the reaction. But - we had to rush it, as a photographer from a local newspaper came to take some photos of the workshop for a cover story about our organization, so I had to give up on that, and just told the highly amused John about my vicious plan. Sometimes, it sucks when duty calls.

Anyway - I thoroughly enjoyed the collage part. I brought a bunch of magazines, and found a welath of pieces that had colors and textures that were just made for my painting - it was almost creepy how well they fit in, and added incredible touches.

Here's the current stage of the painting. There are quite a few pieces of collage in it - can you distinguish them from the watercolor paint? The JohnnyB could hardly tell most of them, even in close inspection.

Tomorrow the workshop is taking a turn: we can choose to work on our own thing, and the instructor will walk amongst his admirers and advise how to incorporate what we've learned into our work - which is the real challenge. I am extremely curious about this part!


Myrna Wacknov said...

WOW! Looking very very cool. I am anxious to see this piece in person. The collage makes it look less like a clone of his work on the DVD. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Mike said...

Wow! Is right! This painting is beeeeauteee full!!!! See? I always knew you had it in ya! This really is amazing!

Valerie said...

Hi, Nava: Love the three dimensionality you have in the right upper quadrant, makes me want to peer behind the floating white-ish area. So far it's a beaut...can't wait to see the final result.

Nava said...

Thank y'all!!

Myrna, you'll probably get to shake hands with this piece next Thursday.

Mike, yup, I have it in me - but this is not ME! this is a guided painting... so, hold yer horses, man! I know you love this kinda work, and I will definitely take some things from this process but I don't think I'm gonna paint like this.Although - never say never, Eh?

Valerie, you are welcome to come over and peer underneath the white... :-)