Archive for the 'Demonstrations' Category

Local Art-A-Thon successfully concludes

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

I am convinced that supporting the arts makes for a more livable community, and calls for generosity, so I took part in the local Community Arts Center’s Art-A-Thon campaign this spring.Art-A-Thon ~ Danville, Kentucky The CAC funds summer art-camps for young people, plus many worthwhile programs to nurture personal creativity in every segment of a diverse community. As part of the Art-A-Thon, I demonstrated my technique during a full day of arts activities in downtown Danville, working on collage miniatures and putting the finishing touches on my contribution to the Art-full Affair (the other big fundraising event this month, sponsored by the Arts Commission of Danville / Boyle County). More thoughts to come about To Peach Is Owed, my newest collage on structured panel.

My sincere “thank you” to everyone who helped me reach my Art-A-Thon goal. Your generosity is an inspiration! The last time I looked, the Arts Center had exceeded its target by nearly 50%, and my “team” landed in seventh place with $526 raised. Special appreciation to Katie Blake, who sent a generous donation all the way from Alaska!

I kept my nose to the collage grindstone all afternoon
at the local
Art-A-Thon event on Saturday, May 13th,
and put some final touches on To Peach Is Owed, my
donation to the Art-full Affair drawing for art scholarships.
(photo by Kendra Peek)

There I Was

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

“He spread flour and water over the paper, then moved and shuffled and manipulated his scraps of paper around in the paste…. Finally, he removed the excess paste with a damp rag, leaving some like an overglaze in places where he wanted to veil or mute a part of the color.”
— Charlotte Weidler

It has been more than a year since I had the humbling opportunity to study dozens of Kurt Schwitters originals at the Berkeley Art Museum. I read the description by the art historian Charlotte Weidler that same day, but I only recently decided to experiment with the paste method she observed. I have always worked with a variety of adhesives, and I often combine more than one in a single collage, never hesitating to literally mix them together (white glue + acrylic varnish, for example). I was impressed with how good some of Kurt’s compositions had held together after 70 to 80 years. I dug out a small package of paper-hanger’s wheat paste acquired in the 1970s, with the new intention of using it to produce a collage on canvas that would stand on its own as an object when finished. Although I expected to coat the final surface later with gel medium, for my first piece based on using the same adhesive as the pioneering artist, I was mainly interested in how wheat paste would affect my process.

The artwork is undone, but I share one of my separate experiments below. I could not be more pleased with the results of this approach. The paste dries slowly. This allows for repositioning, easy removal of excess, and it cures to a flat, velvety finish. I am especially pleased with how conducive it is to manipulating coated paper torn from magazines, an ingredient I am quite fond of. I lightly sand the reverse side, adding a bit of white glue to the paste for good measure, and, using this hand-pasting technique, I have never found “mag scrap” more easy to work with. It may not seem like a big deal to those who attend diverse workshops and demonstrations, but, as a self-taught collage artist, it feels like a significant breakthrough to me.

Now, the only question that remains is one of durability. The seminal works of K.S. show every sign of lasting a century in decent shape, but I am no museum expert, nor have I been as fixated on archival longevity as some collage artists I know. I expect my creations to age, perhaps in unexpected ways. This reminds me of an online discussion not long ago about using elements taken from newspapers. Many collage artists may share my expectation that a newsprint ingredient will simply mature as nature sees fit, adding a certain “wabi-sabi” aspect to a work of art that relies on found material. Who knows what Picasso or Braque thought about the nature of impermanence when each created their first collage with that famous wood-grain paper found in a store? Or, for that matter, what Schwitters himself thought when— with seemingly little regard for acid-free niceties —he built the enduring concepts of Merz on the detritus of ordinary life?
 

There I Was by J A Dixon

There I Was
collage experiment by J A Dixon
8.75 x 11.5 inches, not for sale