Following a Thread of Inspiration

Charles Demuth

Last Friday my beloved and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary. Since we are both artists, we enjoy including handmade gifts. I was inspired by a postage stamp of this painting by Charles Demuth to create an assemblage with the theme of 2.

Starting out in Publisher, I created a collage of the elements I had in mind, the most significant being a bronze number 2 that I picked up on our recent trip to Vancouver BC. I scanned the number and then placed it on a copy of a monoprint that I made a few years ago.

Two Years beginning

Then I added some color blocks using the monoprint palette, added a vintage bicycle ad and an old camera photo.

Two Years

My plan was to use the actual bronze 2 for the smaller 2 in the design so I printed the page and placed it inside of an elephant board that I turned around. Now it was time to add some embellishments for dimension. I wandered the studio looking into drawers and shelves for interesting items and I found these corner reinforcements from an old trunk, a brass bell, some used number 2 pencils…

Two Years stufftwo years original 2I wanted a better patina on the brass corner pieces so I spent hours removing the coating with steel wool and then attempting to add back some aging. My efforts were unsuccessful in spite of numerous processes so I abandoned the brass pieces.

Along the way, I recognized the familiar waves of creativity. There is that initial spark of an idea followed by the first rough mind sketches. Physical manifestation follows with numerous evaluations: Is the idea working? And then, often, the trough of failure. The no…it’s not working part.

I used to be very discouraged by this rising and falling. Now, I find some way to keep moving.

In this case, I also didn’t like the white border around the large 2 so I cut it out and glued it to some card stock. That didn’t really look good either, so I tossed it in the garbage. Then I did some easy work: I stained the frame dark brown, I printed out a copy of the print minus the numbers and glued it in place, always aware that I had a deadline which forced me to make decisions and stay with the process.

Once I had completed the background, I nailed the bronze 2 in place with spacers to give some height and then wandered the studio some more. When I found the label from a vintage speaker, I got excited again and the next rising wave began. I found an iron piece and wire mesh…an old watch with a strange green face…a marine key for water tanks. I needed some color behind the label, so I printed out some hand written music on red paper and added it to the frame.

Two Years montage

When I drilled the holes for the key, I made a mistake, so I added beads to thoses holes and tried again. Into the mesh squares I put scrolls with titles of places we visited over the last year… also in red. I cut small pieces of copper, textured them with the hammer and aged them for brackets to hold the wire mesh. Then, with a sudden panic, I saw that everything was small. There was no variety. So I grabbed the big number 2 out of the garbage and added some walnut oil to dull the finish, then stuck it in place with foam spacers.

Finally, I placed the assemblage on a shelf and stood back to review it. One more something was necessary for balance…something red in the lower left corner…thread of inspiration complete.

Two Years final

This entry was posted in Assemblage, Creative Process and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Following a Thread of Inspiration

  1. Carol says:

    Wow, what a heartfelt process. Your beloved must be thrilled.

  2. Pingback: Transformation | Stella Sunday Afternoons

  3. Pingback: The Necessity of Having Lots of Stuff | Stella Sunday Afternoons

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