strange correspondences


When photographs of pictures happen by chance to appear side by side, sometimes you discover relationships between images that you didn’t know were there.  And so it seems that the Little Collage has some sort of parallel relationship to the Lattice painting that I made many years ago.


Maybe I’m crazy.  But I feel as though they share some inner logic, as though they are versions of the same thing.

flowers in boxes

I was thinking about making a still life using pictures of flowers from a calendar.  And I took it a bit literally.  I kept the flowers inside the pages of the calendar and imagined the pages laid out above the vase.  Makes prisoners of the flowers.  And yet a drawing on a sheet of paper with the square edges is a little bit like this idea.  To see the world around you as material for drawing.  Everything being laid down into the square edges of the page.  Lines around everything.  And the pen lines being like thoughts that put them there.

The Real Me

I was going through a closet at my parents’ house, in the back room that was mostly my dad’s domain.  I was very curious what he had squirreled away over the years, and I found plenty of junkque to be sure, but I was very surprised to find hidden away at the bottom of the closet a bunch of drawings I made my first year in college (that would be during the Jurassic period for any geologists reading this).  Thank you, Dad.

Woaw.  It’s like going back in time and meeting yourself.  I found stuff I didn’t remember ever making, as for instance this collage above.  And the collages (there were three of them) were especially intriguing because I thought that my interest in making pictures by cutting up and gluing bits of paper was of fairly recent vintage, but I see that I was doing the Matisse thing for about as long as I’ve been an artist and long before my love affair with Henri.

There’s More to Me than Being Koi

collage flowers

Sometimes I like to use collage to design things.  It’s very freeing.  Almost no matter what shapes you cut out, you get something attractive.  And it’s the ultimate in bold drawing.  There’s no opportunity to hesitate about cutting paper.  No half measures.  It’s all or nothing.  No smudges.

In a painting that I’ve been fiddling with for a long time, a woman sits on a chair covered in exotic flowers, and I have played around with the design of the flowers.  Just for fun.  These cut flowers are one version of my playtime activities.

Kids’ paint.  Scissors.  Glue.  Paper.  That’s all you need.

collage flower

From that Nest Hatched These

I guess the nest pictured in the previous post hatched these.  (Making imaginative allowances for time.)  After I became a mom, actually some many years after I painted the bird’s nest, my daughter drew these baby birds.  I assembled them as a trio and put them into the nest she’d made.  A xerox version of them now appears in a collage I’m using for a picture I’m painting.  It’s the same collage of the “weird lizard.”

One Weird Lizard

There are many paths to invention.  My daughter made this lizard by one of them.  Let me see if I can recall the details because it was a complex process. 

I made a line drawing based on a photograph in a book that sort of resembled this guy to click.  Then I xeroxed the drawing I’d made and cut the xexored copy into several same-sized squares.  I reassembled the squares in random order as individual blocks and taped them down onto some pages.

All together they composed a “drawing test.”  The objective was to redraw each, now very abstract looking individual square, using a set of blank squares (the test paper) the same size as the originals. 

My daughter took my “test” and afterwards we reassembled her lizard “copy,” putting all the boxes into their proper order.  Then she made a new drawing that copied the newly assembled lizard made of little squares.  (Are you still following me?)  The lizard above was the result.  We rexeroxed him to have bragging copies, one of which I put into a collage that became a detail a large painting.  That lizard in the collage is the one pictured above.

I think he’s a perky looking little guy!

You know, funny thing, but I don’t get a lot of people asking me for driving directions.  I wonder why ….

[Top of the post:  Very complicated reconstruction of a Veiled Chameleon, by Aletha Kuschan and daughter]

Collage as “Environment” and Ideas

To make this photo, I took two collages and set them at 90 degree angles, one lying flat on the floor, the other propped on the wall, and I photographed them from the center.  The result is the dimensional blending of the two.

The wonderful thing for artists living today is that modern technology offers up so many new avenues for getting ideas.  I take things like this and paint them.  I still pursue my thought in direct and traditional tools, but I use the new gadgets to produce ideas.

When I look at something like this, it’s like trying to enter a dream.  This is my way of looking for the doorway that opens onto thought.

[Top of the post:  Two collages photographed together, by Aletha Kuschan]

Collage of apples, close up

Here’s another shot of the “Heirloom Apples” collage, a detail of two apples first posted June 22.  This kind of collage is similar in character to what Henri Matisse made in the latter part of his career.  The paper is painted with tempera and then cut into shapes.  Streaks from the application of the paint show in the cuttings and become accidental elements of the work, giving it additional texture and interest.

This is like drawing with scissors.

[Top of the post:  Detail of a Study of Apples, by Aletha Kuschan, collage]