Saturday, June 29, 2013

Forcing the funny

I joined a postcard swap called "wicked funny captions."
Create a postcard with a person on a patterned background with a snarky, humorous caption.
It seemed a no-brainer.
I love postcards.
I love captions.
I love funny.

The deadline approached, I had no card, I wasn't worried.
I'm the queen of funny captions.  I can procrastinate.
Finally, I sat down to do it, and my funny was gone.
Completely dried up.
Apparently, I can't be funny under pressure.
Pressure made worse by the fact my swap recipient is Steph - coordinator of the swap group, and my funny-caption idol.
I had a stack of potential pictures, and a stack of potential captions, and none of them were even close to good enough.
The night before the deadline I had to email her and confess that my funny was MIA.
I filed for an extension.

I made these index cards:


Some of these are marginally funny, but they don't seem to qualify as "wicked funny captions."
Besides, they are 3 x 5 index cards - too small to mail as postcards.

Tonight I started to get my groove back.
Four postcards, three with found text.
Can't decide which like best.
Will I send one of these to Steph?
Will I send all of these to Steph?
Will I wake up in the morning and decide they are all crap and start again?


What happens to these remains to be seen.
I'm going to ask Steph to host one of these swaps again, only next time she should name it "crappy postcards with stupid sayings" and I'll knock it out of the park.
I'm funnier when I'm not trying.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


As I've been working on my index card collages this month, I've come to rely on an extremely valuable, high-tech tool:  a piece of paper with a hole in it.

Let me 'splain

When I'm trying to decide on a composition, I do a lot of paper shuffling to see what works.  I don't want to tear or cut a paper until I'm sure where it will go.

The problem is, the index card is now completely invisible and it's hard to see what the composition will looked like once it's trimmed, but I don't want to trim it because maybe it will look horrible and I'll want to use one of the pieces somewhere else, but now the piece is too small.

The simple solution?
Cut an index-card sized hole in the middle of a piece of copy paper and use it as a view finder or frame.

Now I can tweak the background layers, and start playing around with a focal image.
How about this moving van from a 1950's magazine ad?

or maybe this piece cut from a beautiful note card Gina S. sent me (it's from a picture of one of her art quilts)

Maybe I should combine the two images?

No, no, no, no, no!
Ditch the van, stick with the quilt.
Glue it down, trim away the overlapping bits, and add a word from the leftover scrap of dictionary page - circumsolar.
Love it.

On this one (from a few days ago), I knew I wanted to use the donkey and the orange.  I was even pretty sure I wanted to use the trees, but I had no idea what to do for the background.

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

The last one was the winner, but it would have been hard to figure out without my frame.

Here are a few other recent index cards:


#174 (gelatin printed deli paper from Leslie)

#175 (gelatin printed background from Corrine)

#176 (bane of my existence)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Caught up

In a stunning return to form, I have come back from a 40 day deficit on my 365 collage challenge. After taking six weeks off, I have managed to make 60 small collages in the past 20 days.
(Thank you Index-card-a-day challenge for kicking me back into gear!)

First up:  Two postcards for the MMSA "eyes" swap.


This next one is so totally and completely not my palette. Plus I hate roses. I don't know what I was thinking. It kind of disturbs me.

Ah, but THESE.  These are my colors:



In fact I liked that color scheme so much I used it again two days later to create a bunch of thank you cards for Max's teachers:





  I went neutral on these next ones, using lots of little squares cut from donated paper:


This one used tissue that came in a swap envelope, and an eye image from one of Gina's envelopes:

Here's one using table scraps, paint and cards from an old game:

And here I am, with tonight's card, officially caught up.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Index card collages made with swap papers

Yesterday's mail brought an envelope full of nature related images.  It was from a swap-bot partner, and the object of the swap was to create a cool envelope using the nature theme and include at least a dozen images for your partner to use in future collage.

Here are both sides of the envelope I created and sent to my partner last week:

and here are the four index cards I made last night using some of the images my partner sent me:

I was so tired last night after a wonderful full-day family outing that I didn't see how I was going to make an index card.  My cloudy brain felt overwhelmed and at a loss for ideas.  I remembered the swap envelope, still on the kitchen counter, unopened.  I poured the contents on the work table and decided I would use only those images. (I ended up adding my own tissue paper to #2 and #4, and the text to #1, otherwise all the images came from that envelope.) 

I just sat there pushing the images around for the longest time until eventually the chicken one came together (with a little help from my typewriter and the song stuck in my head).  After that, I was inspired and all tiredness was forgotten. And this is exactly why I love the ICAD challenge so much.  Without having made that commitment to myself, I would have fallen asleep on the couch without making any art last night.  Instead I came away with four small collages that make me smile, I pushed myself to look at fairly conventional images in new ways, and had a thoroughly enjoyable and energizing hour of creativity.
Oh yeah - and I brought myself four collages closer to my goal of 365 in 2013.  Win!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Yes, but is it a collage?

I was playing around with transparencies and came up with this index card composition:

I started by painting directly on a transparency, spritzing it with water and blotting it with an index card.

I created another transparency with this homemade foam stamp:

I added a piece of it to my index card

Then I added the transparency from the first picture

I snipped some little squares from black paper and created a line

The next layer is a transparency on which I painted a circle, and blotted off some of the paint so it would be more translucent.

One more transparency was added - this time it was stamped with circles made from plastic canvas

The final layer is this line of ink, drawn directly on the top transparency:

It was an interesting experiment, and I kind of like it.  Up close it has some interesting depth, but all those layers of glue and plastic make it kind of hazy and muddy.
Here's question that arose as I went to scan and label it - is it collage?
It's got six layers of paper/plastic glued together into an interesting arrangement, yet I classify it more as a painting than a collage.

Out of curiosity, I recreated this composition without using any transparencies.  I simply painted and stamped directly on a single index card.  Here's the results:
It's much more colorful and vibrant.  The layers show more detail.  And it's unarguably a painting, not a collage.

So what about these?
This next one is a painted index card (orange), a painted transparency (red circle), stamped tissue paper (black circles), book page and paper squares.

This one starts as a painted index card, adds three painted transparencies, a scrap of paper and a scrap of fabric.

This next one has two pieces of hand painted paper glued to a blank index card (turquoise and black stripes) followed by two layers of stamped transparency (text and white dots) followed by two layers of stamped tissue (white circles and black leaf)

Finally this one doesn't use any transparencies.  It uses a painted index card as the base and has paper scraps and stamped tissue on it.

They can all be defined as mixed media pieces, but which ones would you call collage?
For the sake of my "365 collages" challenge, I'm calling the bottom four collage.
How do you define collage?