I have been introduced, thanks to Jill Elhert of StoneyGround Studio, to the process of Zentangle. If you've not heard of it, it's a great doodling technique; quite meditative and a really good way to engage the right-hemisphere, and to just get some marks made on paper, without feeling committed to the final result (and hence without getting stuck on the starting point).
I've been in quite a creative slump for months. Mostly I've been stuck because while I enjoy doing realistic work, I wanted to somehow incorporate more abstraction to my realism.
Thanks to the Zentangle, I think I've figured out a way to do so.
It's been percolating in my mind actually for at least a year: I somehow wanted to print and collage and get something out as a result.
The plan (and please bear with me, because it's going to take an awful lot of work to get to the point where I have a finished product):
1. Create multiple, uniform sized blocks that are each carved with a unique pattern (based in nature to start, but also I'd like to use man-made and geometric patterns).
2. Print off those blocks, either a full sheet of one block prints repeated, or combining blocks to fill up a full sheet.
3. Cut the prints into shapes and collage in a somewhat random, spontaneous manner, onto a canvas support.
Now, I can either leave it at that, just as interesting monochromatic print collages, presented either individually or in an array or mosaic, like tiles. Or, I can continue:
4. Add acrylic washes and brush work, maybe some texture work, still keeping it abstract, using colour themes for example, or playing somewhat with colour theory.
5. Or when I'm composing the collage, be deliberate and follow a specific composition (realistic or not), using the darker prints for the darker values, and lighter prints for lighter values, etc. Then add colour to build a painting on top of the collage, using the values created by the print collage to dictate the values of the final piece.
As you can see, there's a lot of opportunity for play and spontaneity. I'm hoping this will help give me something to work on, yet not get frustrated that I'm not "finishing" anything very fast.
I find patterns, either in nature or man-made, extremely compelling. I love the rhythm produced by repetition, and I love trying to make shapes more graphic in my work. I am quite looking forward to working on this project. Stay tuned; I'll continue to post my Zentangles as I work on them, just so you can see some of the process of thoughts and creativity behind the project, since it's going to take quite a lot to get a finished piece!