Tuesday, November 3, 2009

if these words look like nonsense to you, get an IMMEDIATE eye exam!


obviously. these words ARE nonsense. but why have i filled one transparency with nonsense words and another with splodges of paint?

well, you see, it was this way: i made a collage as the base of a birthday card for my friend paul, who's an amazing painter!* (ok, this thing is 12 x 12" and one-sided...i am using the term "birthday card" a bit elastically) anyway, i really liked how it came out.

but i also wanted to include my favorite barnett newman quote** about aesthetics***, and thus needed to fit the words on. and i wasn't sure they'd still show up on the busy backgound. and i knew i didn't have time to start over if they didn't. so i stuck some "junk letters"on a transparency... (ok, a lot of them, technically speaking, are *NUMERALS*; but they're the approximate size & shape of the letters i'd be using--which essplains the nonsense words!) ...and placed it over said collage.

and i was soooooo right, wasn't i? they really don't stand out enough. so then i thought, i'll slop a bit of paint over the parts of collage which are right under the words, so they'll be more visible. but what color of paint would i use? and how sloppy should it be? and which bits exactly needed to be covered?

so i tried out some color/style swatches out on another transparency...and then i went back and forth between the two until i knew what effect i wanted...

and finally, when i had made all my "mistakes" and figured out how to correct them, i actually put the paint, and then the text, on the collage.

if you think this whole rigamarole sounds insane...well YEAH! but who else do ya know that's gonna be both daring (assaying several untried techniques on the same project!) and over-cautious (trying them "safely" before committing!) at the same time??! see, right there is EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about me!!! :)

in the end, it was worth the fuss, because i ♥LOVE♥ the way this turned out, and it's a really good example of what i meant when i said i'm always "chasing" a mental picture i can sort of only see out of the corner of my eye: this baby probably comes as close as i've ever been to reproducing what was in my head! (dontcha LOVE IT when that happens?!)

(materials & misc. details: vintage dictionaries and a german bird book; scraps of vintage sheet music; elderly vinyl letter stickers from staples ("liberated" from work--hence the lack of S's T's & N's...i like the improvised letters however!); several coats of folk art metallic pearl white paint (mixed with a few drops of liquitex white gesso); colorbox creamy brown chalk ink; i machine-stitched rather wonkily around the edges several times and then inked and distressed them. my only regret is in justifting the quote to the right instead of the left...i like the look, BUT...the birds are almost all facing the other way, and they'd've been interacting with the text more on the other side. but i'm nit-picking...only b/c i am otherwise quite obnoxiously happy with this!)

happy birthday dear paul, and many more!!!

*if you're thinking, "hey wait! what happened to the notebook paper collage?" wellllllllllllll... as much as i looooooooove that thing...it was totally wrong for this. so i'm usin' it for something else (which i'll show ya when it's done) and i started over for paul.

**if you like modern art i recommend the fascinating and informative film who gets to call it art? if you DON'T like modern or abstract art...i recommend it TWICE AS MUCH, actually! :)
***aesthetics being the branch of philosophy dedicated to the critical interpretation and cultural significance of art.


  1. You are so cool. Totally. The champ. Undefeated for eternity. Love YOU!

    I nominated you for a blog award today...hop over to check it out.

  2. That is so cool!! I really like the use of the transparency. I'm totally going to have to try that out. LOVE This!!! So pretty. :)

  3. i have been SO looking forward to seeing what you'll do with that notebook paper collage, but this will tide me over!

    i'm sure paul is going to LOVE this, and i think it's quite aesthetically pleasing. ;)

    spiffy, darl.
    got your freaking package today. CRIPES. (that's spaz-speak for "thank you, you're too kind and simply awesome")

  4. What a totally awesome gift. I really loved seeing/reading your thought processes and experimenting as you created this beautiful piece of art. Toooo cool!

  5. If the birds were looking at the quote, it would imply that they somehow cared about ornithology, so I actually think it's more effective with the birds all looking away ... absolutely fabulous my dear ... and I love reading your process.

  6. now thats a wonderful birthday card (elastic or not) - suitable for framing at the very least! i'm sure dfp loved it! and i'm passing along the movie recommendation to art school daughter who spends time at school debating such notions (as we do when she is home as well - perhaps we'll watch together!)

  7. Brilliant. Love the "attitude" the birds are giving to the quote by not paying it any attention. Love the collage background and your process and the way you use the substitute letters/symbols in the quote. Love it all.

  8. Hmmm, 12 steps to accomplish 1...sounds like something I would do! However, in your case it was totally worth it...the end result is spectacular!

    (-: Heidi

  9. I love this, a lot, and I have to say I kinda like the garbled letter/numeral version too - somehow you can tell what it says, even when it's garbled! Cool project, and fun techniques :)


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