Crazy country redux

At first I was psyched by Acey’s collage challenge prompt #20

“Sun and wind,” I thought, “light to expose the evil done in darkness, wind to sweep it away.” And on a more practical note, solar power and wind energy to replace the oil and gas that fuel our wants and needs.

But as I started to go through the book cover stash, it occurred to me that wind is challenging to find in static imagery. That was when I started to notice words and phrases, started tearing into them, started the adrenaline rush that would leave me feeling like hell by the time I was done …

Don used to love a roadside sign in Austin (no longer there) that read, “We the people don’t have a clue.”

For sure recent events (defined as anything and everything over the past four years) have been, are, “CRAZY.”

And I think of our grandkids … “someday all this will be yours.”

“The great transformation” would be, could be great “strength in what remains … when the king/man is gone.”

Fingers trembling (like a dose of too much caffeine or the drag of low blood sugar), I pasted the scraps down … then recklessly tore the backing, realizing too late how badly off square it was. The collage was/is also far too large to fit into the journal, or onto the bed of our copier. Ugh, seriously?

So I photographed the collage and did some major keystone adjustments to square it up, then printed it at reduced size …

and added it to the journal …

Fortunately, Don is back to painting, having finally reached the point where all is well-ordered (enough) in our world …

Such a rest-full place for my eyes after the intensity of the collage.

Wanting to put the morning behind me, I decided to get this post over and done with. As I considered a title, I recalled a long-ago post written about our journey to Texas. Entitled Crazy Country, it reminded me not to take myself so darn seriously … again.

A sense of proportion

Acey’s prompt #14 suggested exploring a design principle, something that I haven’t studied in any formal manner (at least not that I can recall, although I did take two art classes in college, so I suspect the lessons simply didn’t “stick”).

I did buy a copy of the textbook Deb Sposa used during her many years at Whitney …

hoping, I suppose, that some of her instructional magic would rub off on me if I could work my way through. And I did start to do that last year, but …

Anyway, Acey’s list of principles included “proportion” … so that then. And I’ve been thinking about how I rigorously avoid anything “figural” even as I admire that element in others’ work. More specifically how Dee has used a particular element in her work of late, what she refers to as “the hooded guy.”

If you haven’t seen them, please go take a look at the two links … I’ll wait.

So anyway, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I began by noticing this figure on one of my book covers (I confess to having five banker boxes full of book covers from my days at the Texas State University library, where “to be discarded” book covers were circulated to a list of interested parties to pick and choose and save from the dumpster) …

I rough-cut the figure and placed it on the remnant of book cover from yesterday’s collage …

Then turned it over, which had the effect, in my mind anyway, of morphing the figure from a male looking up to a female looking down …

Definitely liked that better and glued it down. Then started thinking about proportion and grabbed a screenshot of the “golden ratio” …

printed it on “vellum” inkjet paper in order to overlay it on my figural image …

then hinged it with washi tape in order to do this …

and learned a thing or two in the process.

Skipping ahead

I still haven’t done #14-16, but Acey’s collage challenge prompt #17 was too good to wait for:

What could be more literal and mundane than the alphabet? And what could be more central to my life than reading and writing?

And then, how best to exalt it? Would hymns of praise do?

So first a story of my young mother self, home with a newborn who was averse to the 1980s-conventional-wisdom that babies should sleep on their tummies (right?) … daughter Meg was having none of it. So I walked her, for literal miles, singing.

What evolved was my own version of the ABC song, sung backward … over and over and over.

And so it has been, with each successive grandchild, my go-to mama-rock (now nana-rock) anthem.

Coming back to now, I thought of prayer flags … of synesthetes …

wondering how I might meld words and music and color and imagery into a collage that would lead to the sense of stillness I experience when a child finally embraces sleep while in my arms …

In so doing I embraced another aspect of self … intense focus bordering on obsession … further highlighted by photographing the resulting collage with four levels of lightbox intensity, ranging from lowest to highest …

And finally, looking at the images right now and realizing, “I actually perched the letters on the limbs like birds, rather than hanging them off the limbs like flags. Oh well … ha!”