I realized the other day that I’ve been working on my mixed media collages for a couple of years now and that I’m in a rut. Or was in a rut. I climbed out of it today.
When I started the collages after years away from doing art, I took the safe way, and I think that’s a fine way to begin. I didn’t want to spend good money on supplies that might or might not lead me anywhere. I dug into my boxes of pastels and small tubes of paint and watercolors and charcoal sticks I’d carried around for longer than I want to admit.
I don’t regret carrying all that “art freight” through one move or another because it was the realization that of all the things I’d paid to have shipped from place to place, the art freight always came with me. I figured it meant a lot to me. And I was right.
But just as I wanted to economize on supplies, I economized on supports. Collage is a great way to reuse all kinds of things, and it’s conducive to all kinds of supports, but I’ve reached a time when cutting up and covering pieces of old cardboard boxes is just not as charming or rewarding as it once was.
It’s time to pull on my big girl paint-covered sweatshirt and go long. Today, I visited the art supply store and brought home a beautiful gallery wrapped heavy duty canvas, 18 x 24. Canvas costs way lots more than old cardboard boxes. I’m not ready to use it yet, but that white surface reminds me of things to come and inspires me to be brave. I do know buying it ready-made from the art store separates me from the harder working real artists who build their frames and buy the canvas and stretch it themselves. I’ll get there.
Artists will tell you that the blank canvas is as daunting as the blank page to a writer. They’ll also tell you to just begin. Put a mark on it – or a word on the page – and something will happen.
This week, I just want to look at the lovely white canvas. Next week I’ll be ready to make a mark. I can’t wait to see what happens.