On reach exceeding grasp

July 14th, 2012Posted by Nancy

That sums up my “career” as a visual artist. While I like art, own a fair bit of it and am known to swoon over lovely shot composition in films, I’m also the person who passed art in public school only because I handed in all my assignments. My creative activities have always been literary, except when I took an oil painting course as part of my research for A Terrible Beauty. That experience proved I could not draw and even falling back on the tried and true Neil Young line “That’s my style, man” and claiming a deep love of abstract art (which is true) did not really help.

Then my mother took up scrapbooking with my aunt and pretty soon I was going along, mostly as an excuse to hang out with my family, gossip, and eat very well indeed. To my surprise, I enjoyed the process itself. I happily sat there moving coloured paper and pictures around on a page until I was satisfied with them, even if my explanations for my choices sometimes baffled others (“The red and yellow strips fanning out from top of the page represent the rays of the god Amon-Ra.” Though, to be fair, that was in a scrapbook about a trip to Egypt.) I even liked the physicality of it and still prefer the old-fashioned method of playing with paper and scissors to the new electronic options. I realized that it was because my work life is lived with numbers and my other creative life with words and I needed to exercise that other part of my brain, as inadequate as it might be.

When I decided that one of the main characters in my current novel was going to spend part of her time repairing a mosaic, I did what I always do – I took a course. I turned out to be much better at mosaics than at oil painting and proceeded to make a flaming heart cocktail table and some skeletal fish panels on my own. I entered my sugar skull in the AWOL Gallery Square Foot Show and someone actually paid $200 for it. With my subsequent entries (a stylized Louise Brooks image and an attempt at an abstracted Provence landscape) my fuzzy artistic vision definitely exceeded my technical abilities and those currently adorn the walls here at home.

I bailed on last year’s event but finished off the mosaic this year and decided to enter it. Again, the image in my head worked better than the finished creation, but at least it’s done. Now I just have to starting finding a space on the wall for it…
Crane Moon (180x178)
If you want to see the real thing, go to the Awol Gallery Site for details.
You can see some of the earlier creations in past posts on this site.

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1 response

  • 1 toveen · Oct 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Nonsense! Amon-Ra needs no explanation. Even scrapbooks require a good dose of sun god adulation, or else all our crops would wither.
    The colours of your finished mosaic are very lovely.

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