Art Technique

"Panamint Mountains"; based on a photo taken in Death Valley, CA

“Panamint Mountains”; based on a photo taken in Death Valley, CA–Purchased by the City of Decatur, GA

The idea of using the colors, patterns, and textures of magazine and calendar artwork to substitute for brush strokes literally came to me in a dream in 2010.  (The fact that I was able to “dream” of visual art was directly linked to quitting public school teaching, but that’s yet another story.)  For my first unnamed piece, I found a loose photograph of red desert hills taken on a camping trip in Utah in 2003, ripped the cardboard off the back of a tablet of drawing paper, pulled out my sewing scissors and a partially dried-up bottle of rubber cement, cut up my husband’s Smithsonian magazines and an old calendar, and began.  As if by magic, the picture grew from sky to sand before my eyes, and I was thrilled with the results.  Of course, now I use better materials and have a large and varied inventory of magazines from which to develop my “palette.”   (Part of the pleasure of this technique is the surprise element of where/when I will find magazines with quality paper and ink that otherwise would end up in the trash.)

My technique begins with personal photos taken at various times and locations.  Interesting combinations of color, texture, composition, and memories become my inspiration.  The images I create with paper, scissors, and glue can appear hauntingly real from a distance, and only up close can one see the individual pieces—almost non sequiturs–that make up the larger piece.   The challenge for me lies in figuring out how to transform an advertisement for a pale green knitted sweater into a wind-blown desert tree, or how to use the images of a diamond pendant to create the bright center of a life-like flower.


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