"Birdsong" 10" x 14" Mixed Media - Glenda Goodrich
February 2014 will go down as the year I cross-country skied in my own Salem neighborhood. What an unexpected treat. After complaining about no snow in the mountains this year for skiing, snow came to me. What would've thought? If you would have told me a couple of weeks ago that my Saturday Poetic Word Art class would be canceled due to snow, and I would be skiing to LifeSource to get my groceries, I would have laughed at you.
Besides skiing in my own neighborhood, the other joyful part of my snowy weekend at home was watching mixed media art videos on CraftDaily.com. I came across Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. I nicknamed her “Balzer to the Walzer” because of her enthusiasm and messy over-the-top style. She’s a “color outside the lines” type of artists, and just what I need to help free up my own work.I’ve been looking for ways to challenge my love of symmetry and repeated patterns in my work. Don’t get me wrong, I like my work. But artistically I think it’s fun to find my edge and then push it just a little. Do you know what I mean? Just where is that line that we are timid about crossing, and how can we fool ourselves into crossing it? This is all part of my quest in this lifetime to discover my full creative potential. What am I capable of? What kind of art could I make if I step out of judgment and just let ‘er rip?
I know one thing, that a good starting point for me is to get out of my mind and more into my body. That’s where watching Julie’s mixed media helped. I watched her quick and care-free movements—not going back and fixing little things here and there, but just letting the lines and the color “be” as they land. She shared the quote “Competition is the thief of joy.” In my mind I changed it a little to “Perfection is the thief of joy”…either one fits. Anyway, I took notes and did some sketches, then went down into my studio and started in.
I had a great time getting big and bold in my work, and didn’t go back over anything—just let each step take its place on the paper. It’s interesting: I try to be very encouraging to my art and SoulCollage® students to step out of any judgment and let creativity from the heart lead them…whatever they make is exactly as it ought to be because they created it and they are unique. While I was doing this mixed media process a thought came to me: the same encouragement and open approach I offer to my students can be offered to the paper and paint, as if they were creative Beings in their own right. In other words, let them Be as they show up; don’t go back and pick here and there at them as if they aren’t good enough and need to be constantly fixed and re-fixed. Of course, there are some pieces that ask for primping and arranging, and believe you me I’m there for those little beauties.
This piece, “Birdsong”, I really like. It’s made with cut and torn paper strips of book print added to a watercolor paper with matte medium, then covered with gesso and cut out transparencies of birds and music; lastly it's sprayed with water soluble ink sprays. What I like most about this piece is that it doesn’t look over-worked or forced. It looks like just what happened—I let the paper, images and color land where they landed.My new mantra? “Let them Be who they are!” The “them” I'm referring to here are me, you and all the mixed media paper and paint Beings who have shown up in my studio ready to be employed! May sound a little strange, but it’s workin’ for me in my effort to rock on with my bad self! I’d love to find out the mantras you use when creating. Or post a mantra you think you might want to starting using. Let's share the love of art and encouragement for one another!