22 November 2008

Thoughts on "Beginnings" of All Kinds

Our challenge topic for November/December is "beginnings", put forth by myself. We are taking two months to do it with all the holidays, Thanksgiving travel, etc. I am making lots of Xmas cards and trying not to stress myself out too much. My mind keeps saying that I "should" be doing lots of things, but I try to cut that off right away and just enjoy playing around with different things.

I am amazed at how fast the transition has been for me from following very detailed instructions to create a clearly defined end result to just playing around and seeing where it takes me. Really, I thought that would be much harder for me to do! I think that all the projects and reading I've done have really paid off, which is how I typically do things--immerse myself in information for a while, then I surface and start synthesizing what I've learned to execute it in my own way. From somewhere I have gained a lot of confidence that I didn't have just a few months ago.

One of the things I did that has produced some lovely embellishments to use on my Xmas cards was to make some monoprints with alcohol inks on glossy white paper (I think I used red pepper, oregano, and the gold metallic mixative). I thought they might work as background panels for something else, but they didn't, so I then put some gold peel-off stickers I got in England last summer on them. They looked nice but like stickers put on paper (which they were, of course!), so I put Glossy Accents over the exposed parts, and they really look quite nice now.

With all the coupons Michael's has been handing out the last few weeks, I've been adding some neat things to my inventory. One is the Sophisticated Finishes Patina set, which I'm dying to play with but may not get to until after the holidays (sob). An idea for one of next year's Xmas cards is to cut a big Xmas tree with upturned corners, patina it, and punch holes to hang little ornaments from on tiny jump rings. Or, maybe, just do the tree as is once it's patina'd--embellish it by putting a star on top or something.

Anyway, about beginnings:
--One idea would be to do a collage with many different images of beginnings on it--January calendar, blank book (3D element), wedding ring or announcement, graduation picture, clock or timepiece of some sort, etc. This could be good practice for identifying a focal element and arranging different items, and it would be fun to use the different media for blending things together, especially now that I have the encaustic medium.
--I really like the idea that a beginning is also an ending and have found it very hard, in fact, to separate beginning from ending when thinking about this challenge. It would be another mixed-media piece, but maybe I could fashion a Mobius strip out of something, perhaps with words or a quote written along it?
--I also thought of doing a sunrise somehow, maybe in Art Deco fashion and tearing strips of paper to serve as the sunrise. This would be a landscape-oriented piece.
--I could make it personal and do a collage of beginnings for me: first house I remember, anything else significant. Must admit this seems the least interesting of all so far though.
--Some artistic representation of the beginning of a fractal--see quotes below. Now that could be quite fun!

Quotes about beginnings that might be interesting to muse over:
--The beginnings of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. ~ Kate Chopin
--"In my beginning is my end." ~ T.S. Eliot
--"Play is the beginning of knowledge." George Dorsey
--"Solitude is the beginning of all freedom." William Orville Douglas
--"At the earliest drawings of the fractal curve, few clues to the underlying mathematical structure will be seen." Ian Malcolm