Brainstorming Bird Collages

Brainstorming Bird Collages

 Brainstorming for my very plain powder room.
The footprint measure 6 feet by 5 feet.
Just enough room for toilet and sink.
And one person to twirl around… if she really wanted to.
White trim.
Light grey walls.
Empty walls.
That need a little something.
Starting with two white CB2 metal bird candle holders.
And a pad of Recollections “Tattered and Worn” cardstock (purchased from Michaels).
Think I’m going bird themed.
And working with paper.
First powder room art project will be a set of three bird collages.
I want simple lines.
A juxtaposition of muted cutouts.
With pen and ink worked in.
Accenting the shapes without cheapening the results.
Maybe something like what we see here.
But this little guy alone is rather plain and flat.
How do I work texture in?
Should I quilt the cutouts onto the paper?
Or should I add a more 3D element?
Ideas brewing.
Studio getting neater with every stomping circuit.
Muttering to myself.
A little cranky.
Which is how it always is before inspiration kicks in.
Which will hopefully be soon…
So goes my artistic process.
“My Words”

“My Words”

“My Words”
(Art Journal)
Val Chan
It’s about process.
Not product.
Easy enough concept.
But something I struggle with.
I remind myself it’s ok to be on this journey.
What I learn along the way might just be the real point.
Hence these words to myself:
“The Good Life?”

“The Good Life?”

“The Good Life?”
Collage & Ink
(Art Journal)
Val Chan
September 30, 2015
Reasons to schlep across town to attend an art journaling meetup:
1.  To step away from everyday chores and routine
2.  To meet new people
3.  To share ideas, inspiration and supplies
Because of space constraints in my past NYC life,
I purged and donated art supplies regularly.
Now, as I begin to work with collage and mixed media,
I find myself in short supply of papers, old books and miscellaneous ephemera.
Planning to hit yard sales, thrift shops and antique stores soon.
In the meantime, I’m grateful to have connected with a meetup host willing to share supplies.
Thank you Brooke!
I started this session by sifting through the piles of old magazines and papers.
The cover of a 1968 McCall’s Needlework & Crafts magazine caught my eye.
As did some patterns and a roll of wrapping paper with a sewing theme.
The initial idea was to put together a collage about crafts I enjoy.
However, once I started cutting and pasting,
Something different emerged.
 A new thing for me to express angst through art.
Not sure if I like this since it makes me feel exposed.
One perk –
My kids think this collage is creepy.
Perhaps I’ve finally found a way to produce creepy and weird instead of just cute

“My Hands”

“My Hands”

“My Hands”
Pen, Ink, Washi Tape & Pencil
(Art Journal)
Val Chan
September 24, 2015
Here are my two biggest challenges with art journaling:
1.  Sitting my butt down.
2.  Making that first mark on a fresh page.
Once I get going, I love working in my art journal.
I don’t expect to create a finished product.
I might have an idea of where I’ll start that day.
Or I might have no ideas at all.
 I try not to get discouraged if I draw a mistake.
If I can make it work, then great.
If I can’t, I keep chugging along anyway.
Perfection is not the point.
Keeping an art journal is just part of the process.
To capture a thought or feeling.
To experiment with a technique.
To try out new mediums.
To warm up or prepare for a bigger project.
To discipline and train myself.
There are some fantastic mixed-media books available.
In Misty Mawn’s “Unfurling,”
She suggests tracing your hand as a way to start a drawing exercise.
So that’s what I did.
What came out it was “My Hands.”
I think some of it works.
Other parts could have been better.
Much of it are reminders to myself.
I’ve discovered drawings with words can say so much more than words alone.
Some questions I have:
What does it take to become a mixed media artist?
Can I be one?
Not just a dabbler.
But recognizably one?
Or does that even matter?
I suppose the answers to these are irrelavent.
There’s something about mixed media that fascinates me.
Whether or not I ever get the label,
I’m going for it anyway.
Which makes me glad to have these hands of mine.
“Where Am I?”

“Where Am I?”

“Where Am I?”
Collage & Ink
(Art Journal)
Val Chan
Sept. 17, 2015
Attended an Art Journal open studio this week.
My first meet up ever.
No particular agenda or project in mind.
Just hoped to connect with others and to create a little.
A moment of awkwardness as I joined a group of strangers.
But strangeness doesn’t last long
When you’re coming together over journals, scissors, glues and paints.
Soon enough,
We were laughing and chatting as we worked alongside each other.
What fun to have access to our host’s art supplies and ephemera.
(Thank you Brooke!)
No goal or vision of what I wanted to make.
My hands sifted through supplies and chose what they wanted.
An old Georgia map.
A tear page of a paperdoll.
One lone mailing label.
A time for light conversation and moments of pondering.
Cutting and pasting all the while.
There really is a meditative quality to collage art.
When I finished,
I realized I had something to say this day after all.
How intriguing.
Mail Art?

Mail Art?

I’ve been pondering “mail art.”  What is it?  How does it work?  Who participates?  Can I play too?

My friend, Kris, introduced me to the idea when I watched her create a really cool postcard during our February craft night.  I’m itching to join in on the fun, but first, I had a few questions about how this whole mail-art-thing works.

What is mail art?  I went to Wikipedia to answer this question.  The short answer is that it can be just about anything so long as it is dispatched through the postal service.  It can be a stamped and painted postcard.  It can be a collage or made from a piece of recycled cereal box.  It can be a poem or even some kind of music.  It can be whatever you dream up so long as you stick an stamp on and send through the mail to someone.  Remember, it doesn’t become mail art til it makes it through the mail!

How big (or small) is mail art?  It seems that mail art is mostly sized to limit postage to either a postcard or letter-sized stamp.  To qualify as a postcard, the card needs to be rectangular, at least 3.5 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inches thick but no larger than 4.5 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.25 inches thick.  Any other sized “postcard” will require a letter-sized stamp.  Adding stickers to the postcard might bump it into the letter-sized classification as well.  If you want more details on postage requirements, here’s the link to the USPS page I looked this information up on.  By the way, I think part of the mail art fun is pushing the limits to see what our postal system will actually process and deliver.  Can anyone expound on this idea?

Who does mail art?  Apparently, lots of folks.  You can have just one mail art buddy.  Or you can form your own group.  Or, you can even search for mail art groups online & join one of those (I’m not ready for that option yet).

Why bother?  Well, you don’t have too.  But doesn’t the idea of receiving a bit of art with that bundle of junk mail make you smile?  Are you curious to see what techniques other artists are experimenting with?  And to actually hold their work in your hot little hands?  Do you want to surprise a friend with a funny stamped comment?  Or maybe send a goofy sketch to another friend?  My answer is “yes” to all of these.  I’m intrigued about this low-key, low-cost way to share inspiration and to connect with my friends.  Can’t wait to get started.