Last Autumn I was invited to get involved in an art swap with a small group of other artists connected to the OCA (Open College of the Arts) It felt like a good opportunity to be in touch with old, and new student friends, even though I'm no longer officially a student. It also offered the refreshing opportunity to create small, spontaneous pieces, totally different to the commissioned paintings I mostly make.
Each of us was to put forward a group of 5 random words to inspire a postcard sized piece of artwork. We were instructed not to look at our given words until ready to do the work, so that inspiration would be immediate, and not over-thought. I might have cheated, if I hadn't been too busy at the time. So the words were relegated to the 'I'll get around to that later' place on my laptop. Then, when for various reasons the timing for the process was extended to the New Year, it seemed like I had all the time in the world, and promptly forgot all about about it.
This week, when Ange finally sent the DEADLINE APPROACHING! style email, I was up to my eyes in paid work, finishing a couple of portrait commissions with a queue of others waiting.
After 30 seconds of panic, I realized a little time off for good behavior was just what I needed. I make three categories of art; paid work, experimental/learning art and just play.
Playtime began with a cursory look at each set of words. I deliberately didn't over analyze and merely expressed the first reaction to how the words made me feel. It seemed most of the word-sets had notions in common with each other. I decided to work on 4 of the pieces together, using the same large piece of paper as a support to collage onto.
Media used; torn painted and drawn papers from my stash, drawn/painted into using acrylic paint, inks, graphite, soft pastel and oil pastel. After some interesting things started to happen, I made a postcard sized aperture in a piece of white A4 paper, providing a template to isolate the compositions I wanted to develop. Further mark making followed. After cutting out the small abstract compositions, the remains of the large partly developed support has been added to my stash for the next time I want to play.
One set of words resonated differently to the others; a cry from the heart. And this I worked separately. I hope the art swap wasn't too stressful for this collaborator and that she has as much fun as I did in the end.
It’s weighing on my mind.
Collaboration: Ingrid & Bee
Fly away on gossamer wings.
Collaboration: Alison & Bee
Iron ore vein Dark Dangerous
Collaboration: Mark & Bee
Whispering halfpenny water
Collaboration: Ange & Bee