I is for Insect

If you’re here for a post about insects, sorry. This is more about creating and failing.

And yes, I know that a spider is an arachnid, but the bee is an insect, so I used it.


Last fall I went to a collage art workshop in Nashville taught by Wayne Brezinka. His artwork is stunningly beautiful and thought-provoking. I had been dabbling in my little cards and thought it might be interesting to see how such an acclaimed artist tackled collage.

First, we all had to introduce ourselves, telling why we were there. Immediately I was intimidated. The others in the class were artists, museum curators, people who were somebody. Mary and I sat on the far side of the circle. When it was our turn, it was another instance of I’m-with-her, as we both slouched in our folding chairs wishing we could disappear.

 

Wayne had planned several projects. First everyone made a picture of either a coffee cup or an apple. Some turned out gorgeous. Mine turned out odd at best.

After lunch, we spent most of the afternoon working on our own project. With you-don’t-belong-here you-don’t-belong-here throbbing through my mind, I stared at my canvas and wished I could leave. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that Mary was there, I may have made some excuse and headed for the door.

But I didn’t.

I made this, a piece I still don’t really like. A house is adrift on stormy seas.  A man in a row-boat is about to be swallowed by a wave or a fish or a giant snake. The Mr. Peanut sun doesn’t shed much light.

It’s probably reflective of how I was feeling. Overwhelmed. Sinking.

When I got home from Nashville, I wasn’t invigorated to do collage. I felt so inadequate.

I really enjoy making collages though, so, good or not, I continued.

Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

’tis so true.

And Tim Gunn said, “Life is not a solo act. It’s a huge collaboration.”

My collages now bear a little influence from Wayne Brezinka. I had to realize that I will never make art like Wayne because I am not Wayne.

I’m just me, and what I do is mine.

This insect card bears his influence though.

Wayne uses a variety of materials in his collages — found items, sticks, rocks, as well as the obvious paper.  Our Christmas cyclamen was dropping its blossoms whole, so I pressed a few to see how they would dry. One appears on this card — a fragile white blossom for the spider to sit on.

Wayne adds physical depth to his work by layering and using cardboard to “pop” parts out. I popped the spider with a little cardboard behind.

I was frustrated that the child’s hand somehow got damaged, Mary said, “It’s okay. Nothing’s perfect.”

And she’s right. I kept the card because of Mary’s influence.

Now to unravel the rest of the (unwitting) collaborators — The background is from Ezra Jack Keats’ Over in the Meadow. The child is from The Silly Sheepdog by Heather Amery and Stephen Cartwright. The bee (and maybe the spider, but I’m not sure) is(are) from A Trip to the Yard, pictures by Marjorie Hartwell and Rachel Dixon.

 

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5 thoughts on “I is for Insect

  1. I love your work and I am daily looking forward to the next letter. You have the ability to make one happy; not a small thing. The work from the day you were so unhappy, reflects fear, angry, frustration and so much more. The use of the textures and colors conveys the storm of emotions you were experiencing. It is good, but not a happy piece. I can see why you don’t like it, because think of what it makes you remember. Also, I so agree about comparisons. I find writing such great fun, and it is stress reducing to have made something out of nothing, but then I read others blogs and feel like such a doofus. I am not fishing for you to say something nice to me, only to convey that I understand. Also, continue to be brave, along with Mary, and keep trying new things. I much enjoy reading about them when you do.
    Blessings Belinda

    • Thanks, Belinda! I’m so glad you enjoy my meager offerings.

      I know what you mean about feeling like a doofus when I read other people’s work. We can have a doofus club.

  2. I’m so enjoying your work Sally. I wish there was some switch you could simply turn off so the idea that comparison was even an option available to us was permanently deleted.

    I tend to move slowly, and so giving myself permission to simply absorb some energy and inspiration without needing to somehow “incorporate” it immediately is one way I allow myself space.

    • Thank you, Deborah! I think I may also need processing time. I like that you give yourself permission for that.

      And yes, an on-off switch would be awesome, especially for something like comparison.

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