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

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My Summer Festival 2014

photo 4   photo 2   photo 1   photo 3

The universe and the light of the stars come through me. I am the crescent moon put up over the gate to the festival.

The soul at dawn is like darkened water that slowly begins to say THANK YOU, thank you.

I am not contained by this universe. RUMI

I hope you are all enjoying the summer of 2014 to the fullest – including whatever activities define your favorite summertime theme. God knows the international news is chilling, disturbing and so difficult to watch unfold. I cannot overestimate its importance….but from where I sit there is little I can do about it except to carefully choose accurate, unbiased media outlets and read the WordPress blog titled THE HUMAN PICTURE by my wise friend ShimonZ who lives in Jerusalem, hoping that he continues to stay safe, and offer us his first-hand accounts.  http://thehumanpicture.wordpress.com  How fortunate we are, here in the USA., and I am all too aware that it must not be taken for granted.

My own personal summer fun involves live music, gallery shows, outdoor mountain adventure, great fresh food, best friends, loving family and one special man. All that good stuff is wrapped around a pulsating cultural scene in the greater Denver area and beyond. Denver is ALIVE here in 2014 – electric and eclectic, pulsing with new jobs and construction, cutting edge restaurants and shops – growing by leaps and bounds into a gorgeous environment with everything available to satisfy many kinds of people and lifestyles. cThe foothills and expanses of parkland are greener than I have EVER seen them – the rains have been good to us this year. That life-giving liquid Mother Nature gift can all change in the blink of an eye, so better to love it and capture it in pictures while we can.

Yesterday I purchased more collage paper for my mixed media abstract paintings, using a gift certificate from my son that he had given me for Mother’s Day. You could offer me a clear, perfectly cut gemstone, and given the choice I would be more thrilled with the collage paper. These days I am able to find unique and exotic papers from all over the world – I buy them in Hawaii when I am there because they have a special Asian flavor, I bought them in Singapore when I visited my daughter, I find the most enormous selection I have ever found at FLAX in San Francisco….and I can find a perfectly wonderful variety here in Denver at Meininger Art Supply,   www.meininger.com  where I have been purchasing art supplies since the 60’s or in Boulder just 45 minutes up the highway. I have a discerning eye – I have been doing this for years – so a paper that you might think is extraordinarily  beautiful might be something that I used for a long period of time in my artwork 25 years ago and finally got tired of – but each to his own and if I could educate you a bit about what is out there you would understand.

These papers are made for collage art – they are most definitely not wrapping papers, or drawing papers, and certainly not scrapbooking papers…they are a cut above all that. They are colorful or stark white, highly textured, sometimes embossed with a sculptural motif, sometimes cut-out with a delicate lacey, light-as-air look, solid in color or  elegantly patterned, handmade (often embedding organic matter such as leaves, heavy fibers such as straw and fabric, even bugs and such in the papers) and they do sometimes have an ethnic theme indicating where they originated – Africa, India, Asia, France (where book binders used fine marbled ink papers) Japan, Thailand and many more amazing places. The colors, the feel and the quality of these art papers has enhanced enormously over the past decade or so. It is a big business, this paper production. Knowing your papers is a way to know the world!

On many occasions I find my first inspiration for a mixed media painting in a selection of papers – they speak to me – they beckon me – they seduce me into a flow of creative action that is almost beyond my own worldly confines. On a lovely summer’s day, if I am inside, I am painting….and that process can take me around the world.

Please enjoy some of my favorites with these photos from my studio…..

Artist & Author Jo Ann Brown-Scott

www.epiphanysfriends.com

http://joannbrownscottart.artspan.com

Book – The Creative Epiphany, Gifted Minds, Grand Realizations

by Jo Ann Brown-Scott, available on Amazon.com

 

Honored for the Second Time…Denver’s Painted Violin Fundraiser

 

2014VIOLIN 011   2014VIOLIN 003   2014VIOLIN 009

2014VIOLIN 004  2014VIOLIN 013

I am honored and excited to announce that for the second time I have been selected to participate in the Annual Painted Violin Fundraising Event for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra of Denver, Colorado. Each year the committee selects (it is not a contest – artists are invited) about 20 artists to paint, 3-dimensionally, an actual  violin that has been put out to pasture,  all 20 of which are then displayed and available for sale  at a selection of Denver art galleries in a traveling show lasting several months, ending in a gala event. The violins are sent out to artists many months in advance of when they must be completed and delivered, all painted and transformed into a masterful work of art with a theme, back to the committee. They will then be photographed for publicity and introduced to the public at the opening gallery show in the fall of the year.

The Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO) was founded in 1977 and performs at Boettcher Concert Hall in the heart of Denver’s City Center, home of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. “DYAO’s mission is to provide the finest possible youth orchestra programs, inspiring and educating young musicians through the performance of great works of music and offering valuable cultural opportunities to the community.” Excerpted from the DYAO Brochure.

My violin arrived today! It is like Christmas!

The anticipation of opening the shipping box, then the violin case, to meet my particular violin…artists are told to expect anything – including the possibility of pathetically broken pieces of an old violin screaming to be rescued and given a new life. You must be prepared to work with what you get. Some of the creations from past years are quite spectacular – you can see all previous years’ honorees by visiting http://www.paintedviolin.com and/or http://www.dyao.org.

My previous violin, titled Scheherazade, was displayed in the 8th Annual Painted Violin Fundraiser ( see “painted violin” or “Scheherazade” in my archives) several years ago. The circumstances of that occasion are unusual and have almost a fairy tale quality in the way they unfolded for me. I will fill you in on that in the near future because it is a story worth repeating.

This newly arrived violin has been requested for the 12th Annual Event of the 2015-2016 Season. Photographs of the 12th Annual violins will not be available until 2015, so it seems that I have another YEAR LONG PROJECT on my art agenda. (Read about my Year Long Canvas Project in my recent blogs).

The above photos of my BEFORE violin, delivered this afternoon by Fed X, were taken as I opened the box to see her for the first time. I found a gorgeously weathered and worn old, old violin, abundant with character, inside a beaten up black leather case that has tape holding the handle together. The case, lined with dingy, torn turquoise felt (my mother’s favorite color) and laced with cobwebs and sawdust-like material collected in the corners had long been home for my violin. It was love at first sight when I took her out and inspected her. She has been so lovingly used – obviously – proudly – she provided many years of heavenly music. She is not sad, but wears her history like a patina of honor. There is a compartment that opens with the pull of a tab on its lid, and inside is her resin box. Two people have printed their names on her interior felt – COMPTON and HERRMANN – mysterious violinists who obviously put her to rigorous use. And there were probably more that just the two…

I am not permitted, by painted violin rules, to show you my progress on this project. But I will let you all know from time to time what is going on, without revealing any secrets or photos. I feel so fortunate to have it ahead of me. Once again the Art Buddha is smiling on me and my work with this special, inspiring project. I can already feel it.

 

The Creative Epiphany – Back to the Classroom; Seeing Things Again for the First Time

dasl   room  Art Students League of Denver

This afternoon at 1pm sharp I found myself in a bare-bones art classroom again, awaiting the arrival of my instructor for Advanced Contemporary Painting at the Denver Art Student’s League. I was excited to such a degree that I could not help remember all of my “first days” of school, from kindergarten through college at CU in Boulder, and the many art instructors I have enjoyed (one or two not so much) over a long and winding career in fine art. That I still have such a passion for painting speaks to how powerful the pull of creativity and the artistic process can be, should you choose to surrender yourself completely to it. I am an art slave, owned by and under the spell of art. The smell of the room, the years of dripped paint dried all over the floor, the organic nature of the spattered shirted people struggling through the door carrying all the magical paraphernalia required to nurture each artistic soul – that is what turns me on. It was like being in the legendary Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory only with paint. I was giddy with anticipation and nervous, hoping I was not assuming too much by choosing that class….

One particular relative of mine, although near and dear to my heart, keeps urging, almost demanding me to paint as I did 25 years ago when my subject matter was Colorado landscapes and they were selling like fine art hot cakes. But all of you who pick up brushes to express yourselves know that one must grow and evolve as an artist and that any self-respecting painter who does the same kind of theme all the live-long day through all the live-long years of his life is a boring person indeed. It is like reading and re-reading the same books, watching the same old movies you saw 25 years ago to the exclusion of all the new award-winning films, and it is certainly like living constantly in the past, resting on one’s past accomplishments until they get so raggedy that one is called an arrogant has-been in ridiculous denial of the NOW. Creative people, if nothing at all, must live in the NOW.

I have done that – I have kept current, tried much of the new wiz-bang stuff, produced a huge body of work, taught my skills to other people, showed in gallery situations and private shows and sold a good percentage of what I produced. But still, I need guidance from someone wiser than me – someone who sees my art in a different light. I want to do the best art of my life in this very decade of my life and be remembered for it. If there is ever a retrospective show in my honor, please let there be clearly visible, stunning evolution evident in that body of work.

I am again the student, and it feels so good. My first challenge, from Homare Ikeda my instructor, is to begin a painting and allow a full year to finish it. Obviously this is an exercise in patience, steady progress, resilience, determination and the evolution of working on a project with no pressure. Sounds easier than it will be, I am sure, but I cannot wait to get started. This painting would be done at home, using most class time for other paintings, so it will be picked up and continued at my own pace, then put down again for a rest until I am in the mood to pick it up again and add to it. Periodically I will take it into class for critiques and classroom work. What’s the purpose? To show change – to indicate progress – to evolve – to grow as an artist. To surprise myself! Exactly what I was hoping for.

I am going to keep track of this progress, take photos, and from time to time I will report here in this blog with a photo of my current incarnation of THE YEAR LONG PAINTING, so if you care enough to see what’s going on, please stay tuned. I will be as surprised as you are, I am sure.

The Creative Epiphany – What Goes Around…….eventually shows up again in abstract form

circles  Title  “What Goes Around…”

Mixed media Collage, copyright 2013, by Jo Ann Brown-Scott

The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive and more constructive, a lot madder and a lot saner, than the average person. (Frank X Barron)

If I choose abstraction over reality, it is because I consider it the lesser chaos. (Robert Brault)

Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for color, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential. (Wassily Kandinsky)

This blog entry is brief, offering some thought provoking quotes, but posted primarily as a test to see if I can post a blog that does not get screwed up by the WordPress process as yesterday’s did! It was not my fault!

Many thanks for the exceptional collection of categorized quotes from the website of Robert Genn – www.painter’skeys.com.

visit:   http://artquotes.robertgenn.com/getquotes.php?catid=2&numcats=372#.UxeKhxTTmpo

The Creative Epiphany – Exploring a New Creative Direction

attack

Let my first say that when I speak about artists, or creativity in general, and the creative gifts you received free at birth by the luck of the genes that the fates awarded you, I am addressing each and every one of you. We all receive creative gifts – in music, art, writing, photography, banking, engineering, cooking, dancing, designing, sports and I could go on and on. We all get some of the creative pie. The challenge in your life is to find your unique gift and use it well for your own satisfaction and for the greater good, as I often say.

For about six months now I have been stretching my artistic muscles – venturing forward into new territory whenever the fancy strikes me –  sometimes bravely, but more often barefoot and clueless, wearing pajamas at times – experimenting across artistic horizons. I have been attempting to find a new-ish artistic expression that will satisfy my constant need for creative adventure – thus tweaking and slightly altering my older style in that process. Since I have been painting for many decades now I do have a characteristic style, as is appropriate. It seems that no matter what I try, where I go creatively, and how much I rebel against myself, my distinguishable approach to art is a recognizable thread that runs through all. It can be maddening or it can feel comforting like an old blanket. The thought of drastic change feels rather…well…drastic. I am looking for a deep, soulful change that is a bit off-beat but still comfortable and satisfying for me. Many weeks I take two steps forward and one back, swaying back and forth into and out of my own damn self, looking hopefully for the day when I can take three steps forward and stay there.

Of course your art is a visual diary, revealing your unconscious but read-able state of mind as you paint images down through the years. If you have a body of work that goes way back, you will be able to remember what you were living through during each and every piece you painted. You will know instantly, by the level of skill and risk-taking in each historic and archival art piece, what it was in real life that prompted those mirrored emotions proudly displayed on canvas or paper. You are immensely proud of that creative record – you see it all as a timeline of your life. You are always curious to see where the bumpy and broken road will lead you next.

So when someone in your life does not understand your recent direction in art, nor does that person have the broad knowledge of art principle and history and theory with which to make an educated assessment of your new, risk-taking work, and/or does not have the self-awareness to realize that his/her critical remarks made to you are obviously built upon a house of cards that has no basis in art education – well then, that is pathetic and also hurtful. It should not be hurtful, considering the source, you think to yourself, but it is. We artists are all accustomed to criticism, of course. We are calloused and beaten up. We try to become accustomed to criticism in sheer self-defense because we get it by the boatload, not just from the art experts and the gallery owners but because everyone and their uncle has hollow remarks to make about art. Still, that particular kind of criticism spun of ignorance and innocence coming from the totally uninformed does not excuse it or render them worth polite and tolerant listening. It is not in my job description or yours to educate and inform people about art, so we need to be like Teflon and repel the unusable, unproductive critique. If push came to shove, however, I would be able to talk those people under the table – to bury them – on the subject of art. My passion and understanding of the subject knows no bounds.

Our primary job as an artist is to stretch – to grow – to continue to evolve, to whatever extent our skill level and our gift of creativity has afforded us. If we can manage to do that, then our message will always show up  in our art as freshly expressed and it will keep not just ourselves but our audience engaged and interested in our careers. People hate boredom and so do artists because we are people too. Things need some shaking up every once in a while when we get to the point where we can almost paint blindfolded because our work has become  – that dreaded word – predictable. We all know that we owe it to ourselves to keep moving forward. The people who are genuinely moved and fascinated with our art, at any stage, will continue to  be inspired enough to ask intelligent questions about what has been the catalyst for our recent evolution. They will remain our enlightened followers.

The others, the non-learners, the ones whose appreciation for creative growth and knowledge has been stunted, will eventually drop by the wayside and walk away shaking their heads in perpetual confusion. It is of no use to try and explain the whys and the wherefores of our changing art to them, and that is not our concern. People who truly care about art make it their passion and seek book-loads of information on the subject. I say, put your money where your mouth is and get thee to a library! And if they don’t care enough to research, just let them go – we do not have to ever make excuses for our art or attempt to explain its adventurous direction. That is not a good use of our time. It is no one’s business but ours.

It all boils down to the question of freedom of expression and the yearning to grow. We need to shake off the most idiotic of the inquiries and walk back into our studios and paint, smiling as we go.

The Creative Epiphany – People Who Need People

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Sculpture near the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore, river flowing below

Hope you are enjoying this series about Singapore and Thailand. I believe that this will be the final blog on my experiences there, but then again one never knows.  It struck me today, especially today, now that I have been home a week and have some perspective under my belt,  that the backbone, the heart, the soul of anyplace you go is of course the people and how they represent themselves in art, sculpture and real in-your-face life. What a person like me chooses to make permanent with a photo says so much. I, personally, look for moments that capture a variety of emotions that float my personal, uncomplicated and joyful little boat. I was on vacation – I chose to be easily entertained. I saw wonder everywhere.

In many of the places I visited, accompanied by my daughter, we were met with the friendly question – Where are you from? The curiosity was enormous and reciprocal. I wanted to ask many things of the people I encountered along the way but at the risk of being perceived as rude and pushy, I did not. You must remember that the Asian people are usually more reserved than the typical American. Someone asked me when I got home if I believe that the people where I traveled like Americans – if I had to guess, I would say that in a small group, almost as small as one on one, they generally do. They seem to get a kick out of us. But many people listen to CNN and BBC, Aljazeera  and other far more objective news reporting stations than we offer here in the USA, and so they are very much aware of our recent Congressional dysfunction and governmental foolishness because it is on display to the entire world. I never asked what they think of the USA because I didn’t want to hear what they had to say, really, and I was at risk for putting people in uncomfortable situations with little time for a totally thoughtful response. My choice was to enjoy the light-hearted and brief exchanges that came my way and call it a day.

But of course people fascinate me. Thus the following selection of pics that made me smile because of the universality of them, the sense of humor they display, and how flattered and happy most people are when you ask to take their picture. AHHH…that is nice. Now we are friends, they say with their eyes. We have made a personal connection and I will be with you forever, held in touch by the tiny thread of one photo in your forever collection. Thanks go both ways. The epiphany here is the human connection, and that without specific words exchanged, we know we are all souls together in this life.

antoinettes  guard   hindu  fishguy

newclothes1newskirt   bobby  monk

paella2  paellaguy0ne  panda  people

school  Thaiguyone  Thaiguytwo  lunch