State of the Union

It took four months, but I have finally finished “State of the Union,” my 30×24-inch collage of triangular cut-paper collages.  This project turned out to be what my mother-in-law calls “un jeu de patience.”  It felt as though the tedium would never end.  Each individual triangle had to be cut to perfect size out of white paper.  I had to keep up with where I was on the canvas, on my paper chart, and in the original photo (expanded on my iPad), all at the same time; then I had to cut tiny snips of colored paper to glue onto the majority of the triangles (especially the small ones).  This is the first time I used only tiny, very sharp Fiskars scissors, X-acto blades (many), and tweezers.  I used rubber cement so that I could remove the excess dried glue by rubbing very gently.  There were days when my hands and the scissors got so sticky that every scrap on the workbench stuck to my fingernails and the blades, and all the flinging and rubbing couldn’t loosen them.  I ruined first an apron and then several t-shirts by wiping the glue and snippets of paper directly on my clothing.  The carpeting, pavement, grass, and deck between my workbench and the door to the house have been littered with sticky paper scraps adhered to the bottom of my shoes.  I have been dreaming in triangles and seeing usable colors and patterns everywhere—on people’s clothing, on the TV screen, in the trees.  Deep breath:  all that can end now.

Today I sprayed on three coats of UV-protective finish and varnished the surface with a sponge brush.  Tomorrow we’ll wire the back, slap on a label, and deliver it to an art show.  I will be glad to separate myself from this self-portrait for a while!

State of the Union 1920

“State of the Union,” 30″x24″, cut paper collage, based on a photo of reflections in “Untitled” by Anish Kapoor, a stainless steel sculpture at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA

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