Weekly Photo Challenge – Corner

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This week’s Photo Challenge brought back so many memories of travels to Siem Reap Cambodia where every street corner is jam-packed with so much visual stimulation that it takes a while to digest each one. Layers and layers of texture, color and pattern….and in nearly every photo I, the artist, see an abstract composition. There is usually a path for your eye to follow, a focal point, and places for your eye to rest….in layer upon layer of surface and depth. As with abstract art, if you divide the image into quadrants, each square stands well on its own as a fascinating composition.

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Photo Challenge: COLLAGE

via Photo Challenge: Collage

I work primarily with paper collage and found objects, and have since I was a fine art student at CU in Boulder, Colorado during the 60’s when the process was relatively new in university fine art classrooms. Fortunately for me, U. of Colorado had a handful of cutting edge professors whose experimentation epitomized iconic 60’s art. Picasso, Raushenburg and other prominent artists worked in collage in the 20th century and became our inspiration and our guides; often using wood, scraps of metal, nails and other found objects to create compositions with heavy emphasis on color, pattern and texture. In my college art classes we had no special materials available to us and so we used newspaper, kindergarten glue, old tissue, wrapping paper, string and brown manila paper bags. We used rubbish, basically. We loved the process and we were innovative and excited with it. Among other pieces I completed a 3×4 ft canvas collage with powerful color and deep texture, titled Chicago Fire, which I kept for years and then my brother- in-law asked to have it so I gave it away…. sad.

I have also taught collage, and explained my techniques and my passion for the process to eager and imaginative adult students whose eyes were opened to the magical art of cutting, tearing, painting and layering exotic papers from around the world.

“Abandon your pre-conceived notions about traditional fine art and begin a mixed media journey where improvisation, freedom from boundaries, self-discovery and originality are valued higher than any predictable destination.”  – Jo Ann Brown-Scott

Fine art mixed media collage is not decoupage, is not scrap-booking, will not work well using  Elmer’s glue and does not work well with watercolor or oil paints. Since collage has morphed and changed and re-invented itself through the years, even centuries,  there are now available many new products for the sole purpose of creating collage. Acrylic paints are by far the best media to use. Liquitex Matt Medium is your glue. I work on canvas, not paper, because paper buckles and warps under the wet glue. I get my collage papers from fine art stores that sell gorgeous handmade papers from around the world, but I am also constantly on the hunt for unusual and marvelous handmade papers that I discover in all types of shops – wonderful tissue papers, fancy paper shopping bags and  packaging can be found everywhere but especially so in other countries as you travel.

Collage is a re-cycling art where papers, cards, old jewelry, small stones, shells and items you have saved for years simply because you love them can find homes in a fine art creation that not only gives your favorite things new life and purpose but display a creation that is unique to you and your personal experiences.

My collage creations range from small to gigantic and I have sold them in galleries across many western states. There is currently a mixed media collage market out there that will astound you once you know what to look for and ask for as you visit fine art galleries. Art stores carry many instructional books on the subject. You need not have any artistic experience to learn the technique and begin your collage journey – there are no rules – only techniques to understand and materials to acquaint yourself with that work for you. It is a highly serendipitous art form – happy accidents and new discoveries are common. Improvisation is the key. Freedom from any hard and fast rules is the norm. It is all about letting go. Therapeutic it is.

No two collages are ever alike – they are like snowflakes. If you layer the paper and paint and build texture and repeat, tearing your papers rather than cutting them because a torn edge is so beautiful, then over-lapping them again in some areas, painting on each layer as you build texture  – well you can seldom go wrong. It is fun and rewarding!

Jo Ann Brown-Scott – artist and author

http://www.thecreativeepiphany.com      www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

Book – The Creative Epiphany, Gifted Minds, Grand Realizations – non-fiction narrative about life-changing epiphanies in creativity

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Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Overload

 

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This painting was inspired by the Chatuchak Market visited in Bangkok, Thailand 2014, by Jo Ann Brown-Scott 24×36

I was on intense sensory overload for about 10 hours straight as we took in the sights, sounds, smells and color stimulation during this crash course in the cultural abundance of Bangkok, Thailand at the world famous Chatuchak Market. I will never forget it. It left an indelible imprint on my artistic soul, of action, energy, variety of music and people  and clothing and food , not to mention the merchandise in row upon row of cubicles. When I showed this painting to my instructor at the Denver Art Students League he smiled and approved. He had only two minor tweeks that he recommended and then he considered it finished.

You see Homare Ikeda loves paintings that tell a story, and he saw many abstract  stories here. If you divide this painting into squares, you will find a half dozen or more individual paintings that each work alone as complete compositions. The lower portion of the painting has a glow that comes from deep behind and is more blurred that the upper portions – an impressionistic painting or two unto itself.

This is also, in addition to the color and paint application, a mixed media collage – meaning that I have used various printed papers glued and layered and painted over to achieve a deep, almost sculptural texture in certain areas.

For me, it is just about as complicated a piece as I have ever done and that I am happy with. And since I am on overload today, with creative energy and ideas, it seemed the right time to post it.

Jo Ann Brown-Scott, author and artist

New 5 star Novel – A Canary Flies the Canyon, available on Kindle and Amazon

http://www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

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Women Artists of Abstract Expressionism

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Above – Painting by Lee Krasner, titled The Seasons, oil and house paint on canvas,  approx. 92″x 203″ 1957 Whitney Museum of American Art, NY

Yesterday we attended a member preview of the highly acclaimed Denver Art Museum show titled WOMEN OF ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM. These brave and innovative women of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s are my heroes, having charted the direction I would later choose to follow with my art. I did not make that phenomenal association until years later, because the emphasis and the credit was placed upon male artists.

As a dedicated student of fine art in the 60’s at the U of Colorado, Boulder I found myself artistically immersed and influenced during historically volatile times on a campus known for its politically active student body and its cutting-edge art department, among other fine attributes.  By the 60’s the world was rapidly changing, across the board, on all fronts, from religion to civil rights to politics to art, music and literature…

I was inside the momentous flux, historically, geographically, and creatively, in one of the right places to be at just the right time. The art world was evolving at an especially stunning pace; morphing; reinventing; branching off into new vocabularies of expression as art is expected to do when worldly conventions are spinning and older ideas are challenged. Those cutting-edge professors were learning and absorbing right along with students….we were all in it together, but few influential women artists were ever acknowledged or mentioned. If you were a young female artist of that time, that was the elephant in every studio and classroom. The world of art was dominated by men. I was one of less than a handful of women in the expressionistic painting classes where this stimulating, intoxicating new artistic action was happening.

I was vaguely aware of names like Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner (the wife of Jackson Pollock), Elaine De Kooning (wife of William), Judith Godwin, Ethel Schwabacher and the others included in this current show. These women were already  painting their hearts out in NYC and SF, often sharing studio space with their prominent husbands. In the words of Lee Krasner, “I was always going to be Mrs. Jackson Pollock – that’s a matter of fact – but I painted before Pollock, during Pollock, after Pollock.”

Fresh approaches, bold brush stroke gestures and odd new vocabularies of expression ran rampant in these womens’ art, if one cared to look. Helen Frankenthaler said it best: “One of the first rules is NO rules.” In the words of the museum, “While individual expression is key, several themes recur in works by the women artists seen in this show. These include responses to place, the seasons, time of day, meaningful events, and literature, dance or music. These paintings are almost always quite abstract, even when referencing something real. The true subject is never the thing, but the painterly expression itself.”

Quoting now from the Curator of Modern Art, Gwen F. Chanzit, Ph. D at this Denver show:

“…they helped forge the first fully American modern art movement. While there is no one prescribed style, Abstract Expressionist canvases are known for loose brushwork all-over composition, an emphasis on surface rather than depth, and a grand sense of scale. Artists experimented with process and materials to free themselves from previous conventions.”

My love for mixed media and collage art found its origin with the experimentation of these women and the larger abstract movement to which they belonged. Bits of string, tin foil and various papers chosen for their texture or pattern can be found, worked with paint, on the canvases of this show. If I ever needed validation, and that need is by definition part of being an abstract artist, I found it in the work of these women. For them abstract expressionism was risky and unheard of; for me it is the norm. The art of these women has been underreported and undervalued, although they participated alongside men – even husbands! – in studios, art clubs, exhibitions and shows.

The art displayed in this show is so alive with the joy of painting free that it almost brings tears to your eyes. The powerful colors, the textures and the wide open gestures and brushstrokes are screaming freedom – from conventional traditional style and conformity. Seeing it all was a lesson, loud and clear, in being brave, in being a risk-taker, in being unrestrained and fully expressive as an artist. These women were gutsy broads!

If any of you have potential artists in your family or circle of friends, especially girls, remember that women of astounding talent were often ignored, brushed off, undervalued and cast aside as irrelevant. It still happens…..but less consistently.

Thanks to the Denver Art Museum for allowing photos to be taken, and for the quotes I have used here.

Jo Ann Brown-Scott – new novel titled A CANARY FLIES THE CANYON, about the life of a young woman who finds her life’s passion in art

http://www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com   http://joannbrownscottauthor.com

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Your Life’s Collage

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Mixed Media Collage by Jo Ann Brown-Scott

I have always enjoyed mixing it up. I find it nearly impossible to swallow things whole without tweaking some little aspect here or there to achieve a unique recipe that appeals to my own particular sense of intellectual or aesthetic “rightness”. And we are not talking about food here folks.

I am hardly 100% anything.

My religion, if you can call it that, is a spiritual soup of many doctrines and beliefs. I am not strongly spouting off any hard and fast doctrines – there are aspects of Christianity, Buddhism, the Jewish faith and several others that when combined into one whole all work together quite nicely for me. I am a child of the universe. I believe the earth is alive – our hostess – breathing and in need of constant nurturing. We serve at the pleasure of the planet. And we are so disrespectful.

My art (my life-long passion) and the art of living my life are a collage of experiences which I stitch together as I go, adding new pieces of knowledge to the whole. Whenever a new snippet is added to the fabric I am weaving, everything that has gone before is slightly moved and adjusted and changed by the arrival of new information. Edges of things, sometimes cut and sometimes torn,  are overlapped and meticulously arranged; texture here – color there – lines naturally formed with paths of information and achievement and failure and loss and joy and wonder and discovery take my attention forward to the next thing. Texture, pattern and color are my  life’s manifestation of events – whether those events be happy, sad or somewhere in between. I see my experiences  in those artistic tactile dimensions.

Every single thing is of value to me. I do not miss much. I notice, I am aware. And I am often, daily and hourly and even minute by minute – AMAZED. Life is an ever-evolving tapestry – a blanket of layers – a textile of humankind. I am but one, but I am mighty.

Your life is the same. We all question things. Most of us  live in the space between the extremes of knowing absolutely and not knowing. I truly doubt that you are 100% anything at all, unless it is human. But there is great value in simply that.

Here is a quote from me, found at the PREFACE in my new novel A CANARY FLIES THE CANYON, available on Amazon and Kindle.  http://www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

 

Mankind is on an eternal march;

a trail of humanity driven by instinct

and perhaps divine inspiration.

Although we are at time directionless,

straying randomly from the path

an internal compass guides our way

and we are actually at one with the stars,

purposely aligned and aware

of our place in the universe.

book

 

Excerpt – A Canary Flies the Canyon

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Back from a little mini-vacation to the great Northwest – Whidbey Island and then Vancouver! I am happy to find that my new novel is getting more 5-Star reviews! I think that is a lovely treat to come home to….a HUGE thank you to all the people who cared enough to write a review on Amazon.com. Your comments are invaluable to me!

These days social networking is everything – it is word of mouth in its newest and most effective incarnation. There is simply no better way to get the word out, spread the news, show pictures and be an accessible author who will accept communication from anyone anywhere anytime!

Today I am offering you another excerpt from my book, from Chapter 18 – this time giving you a glimpse into a period of time when my heroine Annie worked as director of a very successful Denver gallery, owned by a woman named Kerri. This experience would eventually change Annie’s life, and in this brief excerpt I am introducing the reader to Kerri’s mother and some of the other staff  who also worked there:

I thought Kerri’s mom was an interesting study. She was an aging beauty, a little worse for the wear, highly eccentric, constantly nervous with several tics she kept repeating as she spoke – a cracking of her neck to one side, a thing she did with her shoulders that went up and down and a tendency to lick her lips excessively. Perhaps a bit unstable and hair-triggered, I thought. Rather impulsive; a reactionary personality. She loved men and she hated them, exactly like my own mother. I could not quite figure her out but I certainly did not want to get on her bad side for any reason real or imagined, and I had a slight suspicion that could happen at the drop of a hat. Her mood swings came and went twenty times a day. She wore things that wrapped, she was always swaddled in a bunch of fabrics of varying color and pattern. I had no idea where she was inside all that. She looked like she was running a fever for lack of ventilation. She was perennially flushed.

The guy, Troy, who shaved his head and oiled it up until it was shiny chose his words carefully so as not to appear stupid, and was so obviously in love with Kerri that it hurt to watch him. She was entirely out of his league; he would have cleaned the floor with his tongue for her. I liked him, but he seemed unsophisticated and naïve, yet we needed him because he was our muscles. He made himself useful with framing, doing any heavy lifting and art deliveries for clients.

Then there was another employee named Sandra who was a lady wrestler in her off time, with an alias lady wrestler type name which cannot be repeated here. She was a little hard looking, tatted up and muscular but she could sell art til’ the cows came home. In fact she could not stop talking, but in sales that is sometimes a plus. After I began working there I found out that she was sort of on probation, in danger of losing her position, because she was a little on the undependable side. Her boyfriend Chung was a rock star in the world of wrestling, with his giant chiseled body, long lanky hair and dozens of piercings. He was a scary dude. Having him in the gallery occasionally to pick up Sandra was both an attraction and a detriment – crowds of (also pretty wacked out) wrestling fans who recognized him quickly formed a gang asking for his autograph but then other potential art buyers, more cultured and refined, bolted for the door. It was never a dull moment in there. Psychos to the left of me and freak show on the right, stuck in the middle…welcome to the art scene. It sometimes reminded me of the bar scene in one of the original Star Wars movies, and if Jar Jar Binks himself had walked in to apply for a job or purchase a painting I would not have given it a second thought. Thank you very much, I thought, glad to be back. This is going to be entertaining. Is it cocktail hour yet?

Please read the book’s full description on Amazon.com!

Available on Amazon.com

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A CANARY FLIES the CANYON, available in about 5 days on Amazon.com

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BOOK COVER – A Novel by Jo Ann Brown-Scott, released in October, 2015

It has been a long time coming, and now I am able to say that in approximately 5 excruciatingly long days and nights this book of mine will be available anywhere in the world on Amazon.com. They tell me that my listing will appear in segments as it makes its total arrival on its Amazon page….kind of like waiting for paint to dry, jello to mold or rain to come.

I have published this book, my third, with the self-publishing division of Amazon which has been a creative, professionally rewarding experience; I received the hard-copy proof on Saturday, looked it over and found 1 tiny error that I decided to accept, in much the same way as the Amish women do when sewing quilts – they are not striving for perfection, because they know that is impossible, and so they purposely incorporate an abnormality into their quilts as an acknowledgment and an offering of human imperfection. Ok, I said to myself, rather than delay this book release one more single week I am just going to go with it.

There were several other terms of my surrender to the publishing process.

Other sundry aggravations, including a beautiful website I created through Yahoo SiteBuilder ( a DIY website builder that I am quite familiar with, having used it for over 7 years now) that will still not publish on all browsers, is still listed on my Yahoo SiteBuilder Control Panel as “Under Construction”  and which my tech support people in India still insist is in fact published. But it is not.

Try it for yourself at   http://www.joannbrownscottauthor.com

Lotsa luck with it…..I can sometimes get it to open on Google Chrome….but nowhere else.

I intend to get it fixed this week in another round of marathon phone conversations with Yahoo Small Business advanced tech support. The kind of conversation that has, up to this point, taken me to the brink of my patience and the edge of my tolerance with basic tech support people who are not able to rise beyond the glass ceiling of their tech knowledge…. and so you then have to purchase advanced tech support.

In the meantime I am over the moon with excitement about the book’s release. I hope nothing rains on my parade today!

http://www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

http://www.joann-brown-scott.fineartamerica.com

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