Saturday, 17 September 2011

On collages and commissions and what to do with your wellies in the dry season.

Well, Autumn has well and truly begun.   We had one last day-outing to a nearby lake with our bikes.

Cows watched us with minimal interest. 

As we went, the foothills of the Alps were a constant reminder of expanse and distance; of how close together and far apart countries are.

At the edge of the Staffelsee there was a welcoming shore.

  Fallen leaves on stones were a sign of the seasons on the cusp.

More foothills.

A hunting perch which I saw as the perfect writing room.

Back home.  Things have been hectic these past few weeks.  I've been in the middle of a couple of projects.  

My tiny painting/collage/writing room is overrun.  In a fit of where-on-earth-do-I-put-this-paper I rediscovered my Wellies.  Unfortunately there's not much use for them here in Munich, but I love having them around as a reminder of soggy green fields, clambering over wooden stiles, and hours spent exploring the English countryside.  

These are the papers I mentioned in the previous post, along with some old letters and some of my tools.  I am in love with my paper cutting knife.  Many a journal and collage have been made with its help.   

One of the nice things about collage is that you can keep every single scrap of paper.  Often I find just what I'm looking for in this box of skinny chaos.

Some of the flowers and leaves I picked and pressed this Summer.  I was hoping to pick more, but didn't get around to it.  I kept thinking that I had all the time in the world.  Nope.

This piece isn't finished, but I wanted to show a bit of my process.  Basically, I just start laying papers and other items onto a stretched canvas; playing with colour and shape and composition.   I love this playful aspect of collage.

I've only finished one more collage in my Spitalfields series.  Her first line is:
"It was only in the morning's solitary twilight that she could hear that feathered song murmur through her thirsty bones."

I keep telling myself that I'll get around to writing the stories for these women, but it hasn't happened yet.  I have to start heeding the lessons of nature...

A few weeks back, I was fortunate enough to receive a commission from one of my husband's cousins.  Her father was going to celebrate his 84th birthday.  She wanted a pair of collages in the style of the Spitalfields ones, but with photos of the family farm they lived in and worked for years.  It was my first commission, and I must say that I was rather anxious, hoping that they would like what I'd done.  Luckily I know the family and could add elements which I thought would be apropos.

I've also been busy with an upcoming exhibit of my paintings.  There is a large medical arts building in the neighborhood (Aerztehaus-Harlaching) which displays works on rotation.  I went in about two weeks ago enquiring as to whether they had a waiting list for artists, and whether my paintings might be suitable.  When I heard back from the doctor in charge, she told me that the artist who was to hang this month (and display into December) had cancelled and if I'd like, I could hang mine.  I was thrilled.  I was also a bit overwhelmed as it meant doing a tonne of work in a very short period of time.  

All of the prep was incredibly tiring - and it coincided with the first week back to school for my two boys and they spent a couple of late nights with my husband and me in the clinic, but it's done.  Finally.  The paintings are up (40 of them - it's a large building with three floors).  I've even sold two to one of the doctors there.  I just about fell off my chair when I heard.  What's interesting, is that the two which he purchased are of entirely different styles and from different years.  

 (blue 8 / oil on canvas / 153 x 92 cm / 2011)  

(red / oil and acrylic on canvas / 123 x 61 cm / 2007)

I'm very happy that they've found a home.  The red one was always a particular favourite of mine.  Perhaps I'll return to explore that style again at some point.  Perhaps not.  

For now, I have two very large blank canvases up on the living room wall (120 x 180 cm each).  There was no possible way of them fitting into my painting room, so I've had to encroach and take over the living room.  (I'm sitting at the kitchen table writing this, as there isn't room in my room.  I am taking over our apartment one room at a time..)

I'm very happy that Autumn is here.  Always a time of beginnings.  Of new projects.  The crisp, clearer air seems to tighten everything up a bit.  

Just hope I don't need my Wellies any time soon.