Sunday, April 3, 2016

Kands and bottles - done

Here is the finished collage. It is 30x36 with 4 main levels of collaging.

The first level is invisible. It was a mistake because I had never done collage before and didn't know what I was doing. I just ripped up some water colour paper and stuck it on in patches. I didn't like it  but it wouldn't come off - so I created the second level - nice round discs which I stuck on top of  the ragged bits to make them disappear. I painted them different colours.

The next level of collaging was the black twirly bits - actually the trimmings from the circles. I stuck them on while they were still unpainted and they were tricky to paint neatly. I thought they would look better with white sides to make them look sort of three dimensional. But that was almost impossible to do neatly and there got to be way too much white which I had to paint out.

There my picture sat for about 5 weeks because I was pretty sick - first with a "nasty" bacteria which required super nasty antibiotics and then with an uber cold (rhinovirus) which rapidly turned into a super bad asthma exacerbation. The asthma required a prednisone burst (50 mg for 7 days) which made me shake so much I could barely do anything let alone try to paint. I kept looking at my picture and not liking it. It sort of tormented me but I couldn't do anything about it.

After the prednisone  - a few days of post-prednisone misery  mainly consisting of nausea and loss of connection between brain and body. I hate that part - but it was a prelude to getting grumpy and wanting to take action against or in favour of something. My progressive spirit woke up and said - "make a statement about something in your painting."  "Plastic bottles." I thought. "They are a curse on the earth. When people who have perfectly good tap water get convinced to buy water in bottles (it looks so clean and shiny) they more often than not don't bother to recycle and the bottles end up everywhere." Even worse - they eventually they turn into micro-plastic bits and poison creatures who mistakenly eat them. Truly a curse on the earth despite the fact that there are some people who have to buy clean water in bottles because their water has become polluted - another disturbing story.

That's when I came up with an idea for the fourth level. Cut-outs of plastic water bottles floating on the surface of my Kandisnky inspired web of discs, checkerboards and twirls. They are mostly Nestle's products since I only had one cut-out of a Dasani bottle (by Coca Cola) which I had been keeping for years hoping to put it into a painting but I could only find a good image for Nestle's "Pure Life" on the internet. So I made 16 prints of Pure Life, cut them out  and stuck them plus my Dasani. They float, in a backward S shape, on top of everything I had painted so carefully. 

Happily the prednisone worked and I mostly got over the post-prednisone part. Now I can walk up hills again, I'm not coughing, I can cut and paste, I can get interesting ideas and maybe even do some painting.

I should mention the sad fate of the 100 year old Jean Burns building in downtown Nanaimo which burned down last week. One of the small storefronts in the complex was the new Nanaimo Arts Council  space which features unjuried art shows. It burned down the night before the Spring Exhibit to which I was planning to submit "Time Line." Very sad for art in Nanaimo and all those who had works on display  at the time - not to mention all the other small businesses who lost everything. Nanaimo will never be the same again.

I now realize I will never display "Time Line" in its current form. It is not interesting and mostly looks like a map of the London Underground. Maybe it just needs some plastic bottles or other call to action to make more interesting. If I stuck bottles here and there - it could become the second of a series of call to action against wasteful plastic.  Then again - what about plastic bags? Tricky .. Hmmm... That will probably be my next project.

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