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Welcome to the business and personal website of me, Jan Burch - aka Jan4insight - owner & practitioner of Geo-Glow Consulting. Call me a “Renaissance woman” > My business aims to be your go-to source for holistic energy work and intuitive readings. My creative side makes (and sells!) gorgeous one-of-a-kind handcrafts and fabulously colorful print-on-demand gifts and more. Here at my site, you can find me on the Web, order a reading, learn more about my energy work services, and check in with my occasional musings. Legal stuff: This site uses cookies, and some posts may contain affiliate links. Thank you very much.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Coming apart, and Gluing Back Together - or, how collage/visual journaling saved the day!

Yesterday was just one of those days, folks. I won't go into detail because we've all had them. I felt crummy and couldn't get my act together, or get anything "accomplished." So I released myself from all my promises, headed to my workroom, and made this collage ~


~ original collage by jan burch ~
You might call this an exercise in fragmentation - which suited my mood perfectly. I had been reading about altered art techniques, and wanted to try one that basically involves cutting a photo into various rectangular pieces, then reassembling them into a new, mosaic-like image. Of course, lots of embellishments are added in the process. I don't have any pics of the in-progress work, so this isn't a true tutorial, but I'll walk you through what I did in my spare time yesterday:

First I grabbed one of my working journals, this one being a desk calendar that's serving as my 2009 book, and opened to a two-page spread. I colored in the pages by scribbling over with markers, using my trusty silver Sharpie to free-write what I was feeling. Since I was in a funky mood, this was really jumbled - but that's okay, because it's only a base layer. (I sometimes sardonically think that collage work is the art of making beautiful backgrounds, and then covering them up - but this is a "scrambled" image to be covered :-)

Next, I pulled some images from my stash. (Note that I was working FAST for this step and the previous one - not only was I seeking mood management, but I wanted to work fast to sidestep the internal editor that was seething at the time.) I didn't find the images I'd thought I wanted, but I came up with a few pages torn from magazines, and a photocopy of a previous journal page. (I like to recycle my art by keeping photocopies and working from them in later projects.) You can the remnants of my page in the abstract background behind the figure in the upper left corner, and in the word "forever" on the right.

I took out my handy tearing ruler, which makes tears with curved edges (much better than boring straight lines) and tore the images up into rectangles. By then I had calmed down enough to lay out a pattern of the pieces on the background. Interestingly, I found that words from my pages could be patched together to make a sentence ~ I make my sketches to declare peace forever ~ a bit of found poetry. So that became my theme.

After gluing everything down, I looked again the pages. They seemed rather bland, so I grabbed some highlighter pens and started coloring in the photos. This is where the fun began! Something about adding color not only makes the pictures pop, but it also anchors the transformation of fragments into something much greater. Now, for example, when I see the forest/mountain scene in the right page center - which was originally a rather bland sepia-tone - it becomes a compelling and soothing vista that draws me in.

With the pieces glued and colored, I needed to integrate them into the page. I used some new paint pens I'd recently purchased, in metallic colors - I love metallic, and sparkle is always a good thing! I have no idea how kids actually use Elmer's squeeze pens - I've never been able to squeeze and paint with their stubby brushes. It must frustrate a lot of parents, too! I just uncapped the pen, squeezed a little paint on a tray, and used a regular brush to spread the paint between and slightly over the picture fragments. Any paint that went where I didn't want, I wiped off with a baby wipe.

My pages looked almost done, but there's always room for embellishment. My stash yielded some narrow painted strips I'd cut when trimming a previous batch of ACEOs. They fit between the cut-outs, and the colors blended perfectly - which justifies my insatiable habit of keeping every scrap! I cut and pasted the strips to fit between the picture fragments, and felt very satisfied at this unifying layer. I added the Japanese lady, a photocopy from a Tarot deck, because she seemed to go with that background, and as the Queen of Swords she's one of my personal iconic images. A bit more labelling to secure the realizations, and I'm done: back to relative mental balance again, and ready to return to my Etsy projects - I'm making Father's Day gifts and coordinated cards. Stay tuned!
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5 comments:

Christie Cottage said...

Wonderful collage!

We can all flush bad things from our minds bu opening our creative window :-)

Jan 4 Insight said...

TY, Christie - and what a lovely thought! The pictures in the collage do look like windows, don't they?

Almost Precious said...

We all get those "bad" days when we feel out of sorts with the universe. It was inspiring to read how you tackled the situation.
Anna

Jan 4 Insight said...

Thank you kindly, Almost Precious, and welcome to my blog's followers! I'm now following your lovely blog, too :-)

Jeanne Selep said...

This part made me laugh out loud -

(I sometimes sardonically think that collage work is the art of making beautiful backgrounds, and then covering them up...)

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