Q&A from Craft Shows: Is it Paint-By-Number?
This week, I'm tackling a question I got at the Harvest Market in Jericho, VT last year: Is it Paint-By-Number?
My first reaction to this question was to chuckle. I was reminded me of my grandfather's work, which was sometimes paint-by-number and of doing those as a child. I suppose that technique does influence my work in some way. However, my work is not paint-by-number.
The question helped me realize that people entering my booth or viewing my work for the first time come at it from their own, unique perspectives and experiences. This person was trying to make sense of what was being offered and my work doesn't look like "traditional" painting. And it isn't. My work is a cross between quilting and collage using hand cut paper.
When I start a collage, I hand-stamp paper and then start cutting. Sometimes, I just start gluing cut paper to canvas. Sometimes, I sketch out at least part of the design. I've been working with squares of paper, lately, and the results can be, as one person at a show in Orono, Maine so delicately put it, "clunky."
Depending on what I am working on, I use tissue paper, reclaimed book paper, magazine paper, mixed media paper. Sometimes, the paper is so thin, it's hard to tell at first that the paper is in layers and the design is not actually painted directly onto the canvas. Sometimes, the thickness of the paper stands off the surface of the canvas a bit and is quite obvious.
I work in sections that can look like paint-by-number. Often, I want to get a feel of quilted fabric, only with paper and no sewing machine.
Part of the tradition of collage is to juxtapose one image with another, making something completely different. Perhaps I am bending the "rules" a bit by using bits of paper with more subtle transitions, more like a painter would. I am (so far) not out to "shock" people with my work. At the same time, I am interested in keeping the collage feel. I want it to look like cut or torn bits and not one polished or painted finish.
What's great about shows is the wide variety of people that visit my booth. I love these questions and hope people do continue to ask me about my work. You can get in touch with me here, by commenting on this blog post, on Facebook or Instagram. I also hope to see you at the Greater Gardiner River Festival on June 17, 2017.