Traveling on a 3D Road

Do you see your life in 2D or 3D?

I see life in both and I am constantly moving what I see and what I experience from one to the other.

I love it when I see parallels between my writing life and my artistic life. They are always there and every so often they pop out at me. This is what happened last Wednesday during my collage class at the Art League of Houston. The challenge for the day was to make a 3D collage piece of art. I had been planning this for weeks. I picked out the perfect box that I wanted to use. I found a music magazine from the early 1930s. I picked out some books by Jane Austen and Mary Shelly. I used these pages to cover all sides of the box. Then I collected found items. A bit of carpet found on the walkway of my apartment. I found some items at Michael’s. My Dear Friend made two grand pianos with a 3D printer. I found some items in my home. I am not finished yet. Here is my “work of art”, but it is still a work in progress.

What I realized was that as I learn more and more about collage art, I want to make more and more of the pieces by myself. I used to rely heavily on magazine pictures. Now I am developing an idea of what is not limited by copyright. My own photos are mine to use as I please. Works of some very famous writers prior to 1923 are not subject to copyright. What can I make of my own to add to a collage? What can I make that is thoroughly my creation? It’s a process and I am well on my way.

It’s the same way in writing. I can write a novel and tell you that a character named Sally is upset. Or I can give you a scene where Sally bursts into her living room, crying. She balls her hands into fists and looks up as if to beg the heavens for an explanation. She yells out to her sister, “I can’t believe this is happening to me!” This gives writing depth. It makes the writing more of a 3D scene and not just an informational narrative.

I guess I am always looking for ways to see my life in 3D. It is so easy to look at the world around me as 2D. Just see what there is to see and don’t look any deeper. It’s like comparing a picture of a flower to the real thing. I have had this painting of flowers up on my wall for years. It’s nice. I used to know the artist when she lived in Houston. I like the colors and the way it is framed. I can only wish that I could paint flowers as good as this artist. I haven’t yet.

Yet when I look at this group of flowers that I found at a restaurant called, Vibrant, I see the life of the flowers. I want to touch them, because they are such an interesting shape and color. I know they are local, but where did they come from? There is a story about these flowers that I may never know, but I can use them as a writing prompt for a new story.

So, how do you see life? In 2D or 3D?

Stay tuned for further developments.

Until next week.….

How Fascinating is Glue?

In days gone by, I never got very excited about glue. I have used it all my life, but there was a time during my long lost youth when I simply used whatever the teacher handed me or what I found at home.

I remember when a plastic bottle with an orange pointed cap and Elmer’s glue inside held everything I needed for any school or craft project. Then someone came out with super glue. You could hurt yourself with that by attaching your hand to a table or your hands to each other. Until everyone got the hang of super glue, one could wind up in the local Hospital Emergency Room. Luckily most of us have gotten a lot smarter over time.

Now my journey through collage and mixed media art work has caused me to discover how many different types of glue are available to me (or at least how many are sold at Texas Art Supply). During my most recent collage class, I actually used four different types of glue. Different materials require different glues. Our focus this week involved textiles. I used different pieces of cloth, paper, yarn, paper, beads, etc.

I was enjoying lunch today with my Dear Friend and I innocently asked him what he thought about glue. Since he is an Engineer, he had many bits of knowledge, factoids, and streams of thought about glue.

There is Elmer’s Glue and then there are glue sticks. Then there is epoxy. Epoxies are exciting because they come in two liquid parts that when combined creates a chemical reaction that makes one hard part. There are pressure sensitive adhesives. Some glues and adhesives need to be flexible; like when you are fixing a tire or fixing the sole of a shoe. Some glues are made of polymers and some are made of monomers. Converting monomers to polymers is polymerization. That’s what happens when super glue hardens. Sometimes you get a chemical reaction when glue is exposed to light. That’s called photo‐polymerization. Then if you want to talk about glue and quantum mechanics you can consider that the shorter the wave length of light the more energy each photon has. A photon, of course, is a quantum of light. And, as everybody knows, light is both a particle and a wave. Thank you, Albert Einstein. AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At this point of the conversation my eyes rolled in the back of my head and I stopped taking notes. I just want to make pretty, or at least interesting art!

My Dear Friend has a history of buying his glue and adhesives at a hardware store. I have always purchased my glue and adhesives where I find art supplies. I guess this is just the difference in perspective between engineers and artists.

Maybe this is the metaphor for life. Regardless of your approach, there are many ways to keep your self, your act, your art or your life together. Engineers want to make sure they keep things together in scientifically proven ways. I want the world to be artful and interesting.

How do you keep your life together?

Until next week.….

A Road Filled With Collage and Mixed Media

It seems as though any time I find myself on a writing spree, leaving procrastination and writing blocks in the rear view mirror, I also find myself engaging in other creative pursuits as well. Once the creative juices start flowing, they flow in all directions.

This summer I am taking an art class at the Art League of Houston on Collage and Mixed Media. What fun! It is taught by Sasha Dela, who is very good at simultaneously giving us direction and letting us have artistic freedom both at the same time. For three hours every week I can go into the classroom and create to my heart’s content.

One week we focused on color and another week we focused on composition. At some point I will attempt a 3‐D collage. Sasha encourages us to bring in whatever materials we would like to work with. So far I have found old photos in my home, I have shopped 2nd hand stores and Half Priced Books, among other places, to find interesting pictures and articles for my artistic creations. Every week I try to get a bit more creative and experimental with what I make. It is a very comfortable space for experimenting.

Here is a collage showing people who I do not know and am not related to. I just thought they looked interesting. Don’t you? The lotus came from a picture I took while vacationing at a spa in Austin, Texas. I used to visit that spa at least once a year, but then they were bought out by a large hotel chain and I haven’t been back. But I still like looking at this lotus and remembering the peaceful and wonderful times I had. The material came from scraps of paper I had and then I inserted brads on three different levels. Three different pictures, three different pieces of paper and three levels of brads. I think I was working on the rule of thirds that you hear so much about in art classes.

My favorite collage of the week involves a wall from the very same Austin spa. The wall surrounded a delightful and peaceful meditation area where I have spent many hours in mindfulness. This collage involves nine different pictures of the wall (did I mention that I liked this meditation area?). They are pieced together and overlapped hopefully in an artistic manner that leads the observer to introspection and thought. Are you thinking and introspecting?

And finally, when I am not writing or experimenting with collage, I am playing with Alcohol Inks. I don’t really strive towards an absolute realist picture with these inks, but I love the different color combinations. Again, what great fun!

And just recently I have been introduced to Brusho! Stand by for future experiments with this material.

But enough of all of this artistic expression. I have two writing workshops this weekend with Max Regan at the Spectrum Center. And, oh yes, I am in the middle of writing a book. I better get going!

Until next week.….