I joined the Papirmass Collage Scrap Exchange last fall, because it sounded like a fun way to de-stash and to connect with another fellow creative. Almost a thousand people signed up for the swap, and lo and behold, I got paired with a someone who I actually know and am inspired by in many ways. How fun, and what an absolute gorgeous box of papers and ephemera she sent to me! Like serious goodness.
The theme for the exchange is "Landscapes" and I had no idea what I was going to make. The challenge was that you had to create a mixed media piece using only the supplies that your Scrap partner sent to you. So I just started painting.
It's been almost a year since I've made an actual painting. I've art journaled and collaged and made loads of other things, though lately I was feeling a strong urge to just move paint around on canvas. I started with where I am… shades of gray and scraps from the box.
I love the first layers when they go on. A color story always emerges, as well as a certain tone and energy. Beautiful textured pieces that I actually used to print with, delicate gold patterns, and fine mulberry papers added warmth and shimmer. And of course a map, often an anchor in my paintings, a symbolism I love.
Adding color and circles and blasts of gold, I still had no idea where this painting was going. Until I added the first tree, cut from a large sheet of printed paper amidst all the treasures. Then I knew. This painting would be called Red. Not just because it is a mythology and archetype I have always loved, but because it is also a resonance we two artists share and have had exchanges about. It's a theme that seems to be really present in my life right now. Total serendipity.
And so the forest grew, and the shadowy places slowly emerged….
Then the pathway into the darkness, but also into the light, toward the map that is leading her home. I love when the essence of a piece is so achingly clear, the vision and energy of it at the tip of my fingers and racing through my blood.
Finally, in crimson glitter, Red finds her way onto the path. Going deeper. The brave wanderer and seeker.
This piece felt so gratifying to finish. It's one one those, that afterwards, I sit back and think to myself...wow, that came out of me. Because it feels like such a deeply connected part of my personal narrative. A story made of so much more than paper and paint. This one is born of friendship and connection and utter raw desire. What a beautiful adventure it was.