Archive for the ‘Collage’ Category

Capturing an Arcadian Sky

Monday, March 25th, 2024

“I have learned to expect nothing of the weather but what it gives us.”
— Rockwell Kent
 

Last September at nearby Arcadia Farm, I fell under the spell of a horizon and stuck with the mood of early-morning clouds for the rest of the session. With the prevailing heat, other members of the PAACK may have been praying for more breeze, but I was grateful for hours of no wind. I wasn’t even using clothespins! I wanted to interpret the viewscape as that huge land grant might’ve looked to the original Shelby family in the 1700s. Although pleased with the result that I took home, I knew I wanted to make studio additions at the base of the artwork before declaring it ready for a signature. And so here we are, March of 2024. As I look ahead to a new season of taking collage outside, it made sense to finally complete the studio refinements on one of my favorite landscapes from 2023.

 

Arcadian Sky
collage en plein air by J A Dixon
11.375 x 7.875 inches
available to collectors

Dreaming of Wind Harbor

Tuesday, February 27th, 2024

“Nothing happens unless first we dream.”
— Carl Sandburg
 

Today’s featured artwork is a studio collage landscape inspired by a dream and finished from imagination. I believe it was triggered by a combination of time spent outside observing earth, sky, and water, with the natural reservoir of so-called talent cultivated from childhood.

Dream-inspired images are rare creatures for me, but I grab one when it emerges. More often than not, my waking imagination falls short when trying to capture it. Over the years, I’ve had more success in that line coming up with graphic design concepts than I have with artistic impressions. It probably has something to do with how my subconscious responds to an explicit problem-solving setup, in contrast to more undefined visual images (which in my dreams tend to be preposterously complicated and nearly impossible to retain).

As happened when I shared this image elsewhere, I have often received the remark, “You’re so talented.” Many artists have heard this, too, and would relate to my mentioning it. I usually respond by saying something like this: talent alone goes stagnant early on if an individual doesn’t develop it with a life of effort and follow through. I appreciate what these people mean and their sincere intent to praise, but they usually don’t grasp the full picture. A refined trust in intuition is often mistaken for talent, but actual talent is a creation of the Universal Source. Artistic talent, intellectual talent, empathic talent, athletic talent — there is no difference, because we all get our start with some kind of talent as a divine inheritance. For some of us, it might’ve been more obvious (especially if we liked to show off for others). How many “talented” young athletes are age-group champions into later life? How many “talented” young musicians or dancers become professional performers with the respect of their peers? There you have it. Any talent can be lost without the effort and stick-to-it mindset that overcomes challenges and builds effective skills and attitudes. And make no mistake about it — such acquired discipline comes from God, too, so let’s give proper credit and keep working!

 

Wind Harbor
collage on canvas panel by J A Dixon
studio landscape from dream / imagination
14 x 11 inches
available for purchase

Down Side Up

Monday, January 8th, 2024

 

Down Side Up
collage catharsis on book cover by J A Dixon
12.5 x 8.75 inches
available for purchase

the LITTER-ALLY KENTUCKY collection

Monday, October 16th, 2023

 

Thank you for your interest in my new collection of landscapes. This original collage artwork is infused with litter to promote stewardship of natural places. Premium giclée prints are available.

 
   

   

   

   

   

Saturday, October 7th, 2023


 

My solo landscape show: “LITTER-ALLY KENTUCKY”

Sunday, September 24th, 2023

“At some point, the virtuosic construction of these works seems to fade in the mind, leaving in its wake only the images themselves: soft, somber, complicated skies worthy of Turner or Constable; rolling fields that would have attracted Thomas Hart Benton or Grant Wood.”
— Kevin Nance
 

A year after an update here about progress on my grant-supported body of new collage landscapes, I’m pleased to announce that this en plein air artwork will be revealed next month.

 
The exhibition will open on October 5 at the Woodford County Library in downtown Versailles, Kentucky, and continue through November during regular hours. The library will host an opening reception on Sunday, October 8, from 2pm until 4pm. I’ll give a gallery talk Thursday, October 12, at 6pm, and again on Saturday, November 11, at 2pm.

I’ve devoted much creative time and energy to this project over many months. Public funds have provided support and enabled me to bring a higher level of presentation to the most in-depth investigation that I’ve made into representational collage, but the endeavor could not have been possible without the hospitality of those who opened their rural places to my grateful scrutiny. Fortunately, only one person declined to grant permission for me to “paint in papers.” Everyone else was astonishingly trusting and helpful. Of course, they know who they are, and I can’t thank them enough.

The artworks that I created at locations in six Central Kentucky counties are infused with fragments of litter accumulated along local streets and roadways. The concept of using collage art to bring awareness to the ongoing problem of littering was the theme of my application for support during the aftermath of lockdowns. I received a Kentucky Artist Rescue grant from the Kentucky Arts Council with federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Since I intend to have this show travel around a bit over the coming months, I want to acknowledge the individuals in Woodford County who offered my first opportunity: Karen Kasacavage and Tommy Dennison. Leave it to a pair of helpful librarians to get me out of the starting gate! Because part of my overall effort is to engage both children and adults during the show’s run, this will be an ideal setting to carry an unconventional message about achieving a cleaner environment in the Commonwealth. With this recent body of work, I’ve repurposed the products of our “toss-it” culture as interpretations of specific natural places. My hope is to bring awareness to the role of individuals in reducing consumer waste and to promote a more conscious stewardship of the land that surrounds us.

Each of the 16 artworks (ten verticals and six horizontals) is matted and framed in the “gallery style” within a 16×20-inch proportion. In order to allow a series of showings in different counties, the originals will not be available for purchase at this time. Instead, collector-quality glicée prints of all the landscapes on display will be offered through Fine Art Editions of Georgetown, Kentucky. You are invited to visit the exhibition and attend associated events. I also will have original collage artwork for sale across the street from the library at Art Space Versailles.

As LITTER-ALLY makes its journey around Kentucky, stop back here for more information, new developments, and to dig a bit deeper into my adventure creating collage landscapes en plein air.
 
 

High Bridge Vantage
Garrard County, Kentucky
 
collage en plein air by J A Dixon
10.9375 x 7.9375 inches
20 x 16 inches, framed
giclée print available

A Cyclic Occurence

Monday, June 5th, 2023

“The healthiest response to life is joy.”
– Mark Twain
 

If we understand anything about the many strong characteristics of collage as an artistic activity, we surely know that it has significant therapeutic attributes. I came into the studio to shrug off some negative vibes and to create a pair of new miniatures for an upcoming gallery hop at nearby CAMP. Connie Beale, fellow collage artist and owner of the unique retail space, had just sold two of my paper landscapes the previous week, so replacements were in order. I wanted to use a bright palette and appealing fauna as ingredients. Could I bring a bit of delight to my disposition and to anyone who showed up to discuss the result?

Mission accomplished!
 
 

A Cyclic Crunch
collage miniature by J A Dixon
7 x 8.5 inches
available for purchase

 

A Cyclic Hum
collage miniature by J A Dixon
7 x 8.5 inches
available for purchase

The Lived Life: Finality

Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

Three more solutions that use two Februllage prompts, plus a single-catalyst collage for the 20th and final piece, and the series is finished. I even tricked myself into creating a miniature self portrait. This project has provided a stimulating acceleration into March, traditionally one of my busiest studio months of the year. See you in April!
 

The Lived Life: Duplicity

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023

I’ve stuck with doubling the Februllage prompts to close out this series. A few of them have pleased me conceptually from the point of completion. Many of the others still look a bit bizarre to my eye, even though they work from a distance as successful color-quantity abstractions.
 

The Lived Life: Adaptability

Monday, February 13th, 2023

In order to preserve more time for the completion of plein-air landscapes, it’s necessary to reduce the Februllage series, and so I’ve started “doubling up” on the catalyzing prompts. Apparently the impetus for Merz has been formulating for awhile. The classical methodology can dominate my workload if permitted. So far, this series has been a stimulating experiment with distinctly surreal tones. It’s interesting to notice a boost in manual dexterity when I increase the pace of intuitive assembly. Instead of getting “sloppier,” I tend to tighten up and attune to mechanical and compositional precision, even as the juxtapositions become more illogical. I never run out of steam with this medium.

Such a splendid blend of craft and psychological dynamics!

 

The Lived Life: Priority

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Daily collage miniatures at this level have a way of elbowing their way into a sense of one’s studio priorities. If I don’t accommodate a comprehensive intensity that includes appropriate progress on my landscapes, a February mid-course correction will be in order.