Friday, November 23, 2012

My "Altar Art for Labyrinth Lovers" Collage Series

I've been in holiday production mode for the last two weeks, getting ready for an arts and crafts sale next weekend at the home of a fellow crafter, as well as restocking the shelves at shops where I consign my collage prints.

Because I decided to redesign my "Altar Art for Labyrinth Lovers" collage series to include text, some computer manipulation was involved. My skills with Photoshop Elements need improvement and I was not up to the task. Luckily I was able to call on a friend to help me get the final design hammered down. Then I began the joyful wok of mixing and matching paper elements to complement the various labyrinths. My printer broke down during this period, so I was forced to rely on the public library and Office Depot to get some of my bits and pieces printed. To make a long story short, today I finished the last batch of a few dozen collages and will take some over to Lucia's Garden tomorrow.

I decided I needed to analyze the steps involved in making the labyrinth collages. These small art pieces are only 4 x 4", made to prop up on a shelf or spiritual altar. But I know now that at least thirteen steps go into the process, yikes! Sorry, but I can't resist subjecting you to my process list. Writing down the many steps made me realize how complex the process really is. Not that I'm complaining; I love doing them, but there is more to it than meets the eye. As for cost analysis, I'll leave that for another day. Affording my art supply habit is no joke.

1. Acquire papers, matboard, paint, ink, glue, acrylic medium and cellophane bags.
2. Cut matboard and text squares with paper cutter.
3. Print and cut out labyrinths of different sizes, color as needed.
4. Assemble collage (my favorite part, of course!).
5. Press collages in wax paper between pages of a heavy book overnight.
6. Clean off any glue smears using vinegar and water solution.
7. Scan images into computer; edit as needed (more for my records than for actual selling).
8. Seal collages with protective acrylic coating.
9. Photocopy packaging inserts.
10. Sign collage backs.
11. Attach collages to inserts with sticky squares.
12. Seal in a cellophane bag.
13. Sell or consign!

So, today there is peace in my art room. All my little labyrinths are ready to go. This series has been selling pretty well without text, but I'm hoping some people may appreciate the educational/inspirational intent of the words which explain the labyrinth process: Release your concerns on entering the labyrinth, Receive, Renew, then Return. This form of walking meditation either works for you or it doesn't. There is one way in and one way out. At the center seekers often find peace. It always works for me. For more information about labyrinths, see the Veriditas website. Veriditas is having a Bidding for Good auction right now, and I am delighted to have donated some of my artwork to the cause.

photos: Altar Art series packaged and ready to go; AA #90 collage by Keddy Ann Outlaw

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig

It was so great to be back in the hands of Ivan Doig again! The Bartender's Tale (Riverhead, 2012), a father-son novel set in small town Montana near Doig's beloved English Creek, has a real flavor of its time, circa 1960. Young Rusty worships and reveres his bartender father. Yet he is mystified by him too, having been separated from him for a number of years. Things all come together during the summer of 1960, when Rusty, about age 12, becomes best friends with the new girl in town, Zoe.

Because much about Rusty's absentee mother as well as his father's history has been kept from him, he and Zoe conjure up all kinds of dramatic explanations. Zoe's parents run the cafe in town where Rusty eats every night. Those two have so much kismet together, they delight the heart. That summer they take a strong interest in acting. They also enjoy listening in on events going on in the bar from their perch in the office, where a hidden vent gives them a peek into the strange world of adults. More minor character come strongly to life, including sheepherders, a visiting oral historian, and others even closer to the father and son who I won't enumerate here for fear of getting into spoilers. The Bartender's Tale read like a classic, one I won't soon forget. Another Doig title I highly recommend is The Whistling Season (2007), one of my all-time favorites