Seeing Things Differently

Dear Liza,

There is nothing like art to change your world. I don’t necessarily mean it changes the world on the outside, although that could be nice.

Shapes and reflections in Van Gough

I’m talking about when looking at art changes the way you see the world in general. Spend an hour or so in an art museum, staring at shapes and shadows and reflections. Then go outside, and what do you see? More shapes and shadows and reflections, art forming from reality right in front of your eyes.

It is wondrous, and it has happened to me many times.

Shales and reflections in a town square

Making art is a newer experience, but it has the same effect of altering my observation. It’s like my brain has created a new network that allows me to connect different parts, seeing a new whole.

My creation, “Paradisi Crow”

A few weeks ago I made a collage based on Julianna Paradisi’s “Quickened Towards all Celestial Things”. I wanted the shape of the crow to be just right, so I cut a prototype out of cheap paper and then traced that onto card stock for the collage.

Just being a crow…..

Then I had this perfectly good template. Just sitting there. Being a crow.

I kept looking at it over a few days, knowing I wanted to use it but not knowing how. Over the last however-many-months of quarantine I have learned that if I take my time, the right idea will come. Finally, it did.

Starting with watercolors and working up to acrylics, I laid down some patches of color and then used an old toothbrush to flick paint, layer by layer, around my crow stencil. It took days, flicking and staring and adjusting. And last night, it was finished. The background layers of crow silhouettes became dense enough just as the built-up speckles on the crow became dark enough. So I glued the crow in her final position, and …. done.

I wish now that I had taken pictures of each stage, but I think I was afraid of jinxing the process. This sort of creation is still new enough to me that it feels like a delicate magic.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Orange

Dear Liza,

A few weeks ago I painted a bunch of bright orange cards. I have never really cared for orange, but with the skies dark from forest fire smoke, I needed the brightness.

My first ORANGE!

And I liked it! Orange is a bright, cheerful, aggressively happy color. How had I not seen this before?

I discovered my love of orange just in time. Ruth Inman’s friend Jody Tockes ran a class where we used torn paper to make a sunflower. And guess what? More orange!

And this week, Ruth is running an “Art Journal” class, and I got inspired. Of course, the class isn’t until tomorrow, but I felt the need to get an early start.

First layers of crayon and watercolor wash…

As usual in watercolor, I was disappointed by my first layer. It looked pale and boring. But Picasso said that unless you hate a piece somewhere in the middle, you will never make something you love. So I kept at it.

More crayons and watercolor…

I got some purple in and laid in some more layers, and liked how it was looking. I decided it needed some words, so I browsed magazines for whatever seemed appropriate.

And words….

As always with art, I’d do a little, walk away, then come back and see what it needed next. I fiddled a little bit more and was done. But that’s okay! There are lots more pages in the book!

Love,

Grandma Judy