Day 140: Good Times

Good Times, a colorful 9"x12" mixed media painting incorporating vintage ephemera.

I’ve been culling local thrift stores and homes of my relatives for awhile now, collecting bits of interesting vintage ephemera as if I were some kind of art bird building a giant mixed-media nest. Come to think of it, with all the piles of completed pieces, stacks of books, bags of paper, fabric and scraps in my cozy studio, it pretty much is my little art nest right now. And I have to say, I do feel safe and happy in there. Rob even visits me from time to time to make sure I’m watered and chapsticked, so I’m well taken care of. 🙂

That’s something I’ve come to realize about this project. Even when I don’t feel like making art, the process of working on it brings a mental relief and joy of presence that I don’t often experience otherwise. It’s made me start to think of how great it would be to get involved in implementing art therapy programs for people who could benefit from it in ways they may not expect.

I got a mental image of a mixed-media abstracted landscape in a kind of assembled grid pattern the other day, jotted it down in my notebook and decided to take a whack at it today. Embedded amidst charcoal lines, glazes of acrylic paint and oil pastel on this 9×12” canvas are pages from piano hymnals, a child’s guide to maps, a book on public speaking, a Spanish/English dictionary, an atlas, a good housekeeping book and sewing patterns.

Detail shot

What I love about putting lots of different paper bits together in my paintings is the way they are both random and somehow connected. When I make a piece like this, I first pick out bits for no particular reason. As I put them together, I start to find connections that seem to evolve on their own. In a way, I see this kind of work as a metaphor for humanity- we may all be doing different things and considering ourselves to be extremely distinct from one another, but at the same time, we’re all part of one colorful composition. I like using vintage papers because they invite me to explore to concept of nostalgia and sociopolitical factors from the past and present.

A sewing pattern sky

Plus it’s good, clean fun! The title-“Good Times”- is from some words visible in this piece from a title page of a children’s library book called “Good Times with Maps”. Apparently they decided to give it to a thrift store since maps have been replaced by GPS devices.

Don't worry, mom, I'm going to paint the edges of the canvas black.

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