I have always been a maker. Always. Always asking myself the question “What if?” and experimenting. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not but always learning in the process. Always desiring to encourage children and emerging artists to experiment and try something new too.
Experimenting has brought me to question texture in my work and push watercolor to the breaking point. The process first begins with applying gesso to my paper then working on unconventional surfaces such as “Yupo Paper” and using found objects to paint thru or stamp into wet paint.
One day, as I was trying to come up with a cheaper way of teaching my middle school students about mono printing, I ran across an article about using Jell-O for the printing plate. Once again, “What if?” came knocking and I was off to the nearest Walmart to purchase Knox Unflavored Gelatin. By the next morning, the floor was covered with the greatest prints made on old newspaper, using all kinds of things to add texture into the wet paint rolled out on my Jell-O plate. The kids loved it and were very successful at creating wonderful prints.
I kept experimenting and soon I had bags full of these crazy abstract prints. What is a girl to do? I had made hand-printed cards and prints of all sizes, using stencils I had cut by hand. I had so many prints sitting around but, at some point I had to ask another question: “Where is this going?” And my favorite question came back to mind. “What if?” What if I use these crazy abstract prints and collage them into something not so abstract?
By painting an acrylic under-image, tearing and then pasting the prints onto the surface, a new body of work was born. There was no looking back. I was addicted. I found the process of tearing and gluing down the bits of hand painted paper much like sculpting. My years of watercolor painting had taught me about color, temperature and form. The tactility of the printing on the papers and the tearing of them become almost “Zen”- like, resting my mind into a place of more creativity. I began to work more and more solely in my new art form in my very public studio in our local Coffee Shop.