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I retain copyright to my work at all times. However, you may use my words and photos on your blog without asking for permission, as long as the following conditions apply: 1) it’s not a commercial use, 2) the work is attributed to me, 3) copyright notice is included (© Janice McDonald), and 4) you link to this site. If you wish to use my words or images for anything that might be commercial in nature, please ask.

Collect, Compose & Create — a collage workshop

There have been a lot of requests to learn more about my collage processes, so yes, I’m finally offering a one-day workshop! It’ll be happening on Sunday, October 16, 2016 from 9am to 4pm at my studio in Denver, Colorado. 

Demonstrating techniques at the Art Gym last spring... no microphones will be needed at the workshop!

Demonstrating techniques at the Art Gym last spring… no microphones will be needed at the workshop!

I’ll be discussing collage in general, collecting materials, and composition — as well as reviewing supports and adhesive techniques, including my signature wet working process. There will be plenty of materials to work with and finished examples to enhance our conversations along with ample time to experiment, work on collages, and discuss.

Attendance is limited to six people so there will be plenty of space to work and so that I can spend adequate time with each person attending. Workshop cost is $120. plus a $10. materials fee.  Information about what to bring will be provided to all registrants by September 20. Most materials will be provided however you may want to bring special items that are of interest to you.

I’m really excited about spending a day immersed in collage activities with some of you! For more information or to register, please contact me via the connect page on my website.

***9.21.16 Class is now full. However, please contact me if you’d like to add your name to a list to receive advance notice of future classes.***

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Un-Masked… unveiling a collage for The Mask Project

Last fall I was invited to create artwork to contribute to The Mask Project, an auction to benefit Denver Hospice. Once I agreed, I received my “canvas,” — a cold-looking, almost life-sized, white plaster mask.

Mask upon arrival at my studio.

Mask upon arrival at my studio.

The raw mask sat in the studio looking blankly at me for quite awhile before I had time to begin working on it. I’d wondered how well papers would adhere on the curved surfaces but my wet working process allowed them to flow with and adapt to the shape, attaching well. Granted, I was working with fairly thin papers and small pieces and I’m sure that helped. It was fun to work on a different kind of support and to respond to the facial features in my own whimsical way.

mask work in progress

Just beginning work on the mask… to almost finished.

The mask, “Foundling,” will be on display as part of an exhibit in the Kaiser Permanente Grand Court of Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver, Colorado from September 12 through October 25, 2016. A number of masks from celebrities and artists are available for viewing and auction. Online bidding on the masks begins September 12 — view (or perhaps bid on!) mine here. Bidding ends October 9.

My mask comes with an added premium item: a $150 Gift Certificate for Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, an amazing restaurant / bar / performance venue. Thanks, Ophelia’s!

Final mask for Denver Hospice’s The Mask Project, “Foundling,” by Janice McDonald.

Final mask for Denver Hospice’s The Mask Project, “Foundling,” 8.75 x 6.75 x 1.5″, collage by Janice McDonald.

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Unboxed… a stealth project (until now)

And now for something completely different…

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate to work on many commissioned collages, most with references to landscape, assembled on sturdy wooden supports. My last solo show, Paper Trails, reflected and continued that series. As I was working on those collages, I started to wonder what it would be like to work on more casual pieces with random edges, pushing collage beyond the boundaries of straight edged boards/supports.

So I’ve been quietly working on a new idea for about a year and a half now, first thinking and sketching, then exploring some trial pieces and musing about the possibilities, collecting materials and beginning to work on the new series in earnest. I was really unsure that it could be the basis for a show, but wanted to push in that direction.

It all started with boxes…

An avid recycler, I find myself carefully deconstructing and flattening the many boxes that flow through our household. I’m struck by the beauty and craft in these common materials. The packages have surprising perimeters, that are revealed once taken apart, and unexpected details in their construction. Each box comes with its own history of purpose, content, transport and consumption — ending as a void, an emptied container, just debris.

"Unboxed 003," 17 x 9" collage on granola bar box. © 2015, Janice McDonald.

“Unboxed 003,” 17 x 9″ collage on granola bar box. © 2015, Janice McDonald.

It seemed natural to try using the unfolded boxes as platforms for collage compositions. I like the idea that the salvaged papers are resting on, and relating to, a salvaged support.

I’ve enjoyed responding to the boxes’ varied shapes and scored fold lines with found / recycled papers. The hard edges of the diecut boxes contrast with the ripped paper elements. While the collages are non-objective works, some of the pieces have a whimsical, almost totemic feeling about them. I think it’s a function of the edges. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of impression they make collectively. That’s something I won’t know until they’re hung on the gallery walls.

Once I had a significant start on the series, I finally determined that the collages are strong enough to make a compelling show. “Unboxed” opens at Spark Gallery later this month! Perhaps you can join me at the opening reception on Friday, August 19 from 6-9pm.

Stealth because…

For a long time, as the collage works progressed, I was quite unsure of their merit and didn’t want to be influenced by feedback from others. And I was oddly possessive about divulging this concept! So I haven’t shown any of them, anywhere, except in a postage-stamp-size image on a gallery promo card. Especially not on Facebook or Instagram, where I have often posted work in progress. Only in recent months have I finally started to show a few samples and discuss them with close family and friends. Now that the series is established, I’m comfortable posting collages from the series here, on my website gallery, and social media. Stay tuned to see more from the Unboxed series as it unfolds, literally!

 

 

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Sequence / collage work in progress

Everyone is always intrigued with work in progress and the sequence of how a collage comes together, so thought I’d do a quick slide show documenting a recent work: “Honey,” a 36 x 36″ collage on wood panel. For whatever reason, this composition developed mostly from the center out toward the edges.

I am working with found and salvaged papers, including chunks ripped from old art posters… so anything that appears painted is appropriated from the poster imagery. When using bits and pieces of other’s artwork, I always try to rip/crop the elements in ways that take the color/texture completely out of their original context so that they become simply an ingredient to use in an entirely new composition.

Lately I’ve been trying to document work in progress on Instagram (along with other inspiration/adventures)… so if you are interested in how collages develop, please follow me there @janicemcdonaldart!

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Happy New Year!

Somehow the last half of 2015 has escaped me… I actually haven’t quite regained my sense of work/life balance (if there is such a thing!) since the death of my Mom in May. I’m getting there though… and aside from that loss, so very many good things came to pass this year that I’ve not taken the time to post here.

Me and Mom, circa 2013.

Me and Mom, circa 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So a quick recap is in order!
Accomplishments… woohoo!

—Completed a 11-piece series of nature/landscape-inspired collages for installation at a hospital in Nebraska.

—Made a large composed landscape for a lobby installation where an image of the original was enlarged and then printed onto 32 separate foot-square wood panels, then hung in a grid.

—Had a very successful solo show that featured my composed landscape series, titled “Paper Trails,” at Spark Gallery.

—Showed with my To Expand artist friends in “Here to There” at aBuzz Gallery this summer and in “Running Dialogue,” currently on view at the Lone Tree Arts Center.

With the "Expand" crew at the installation of our work at the Lone Tree Arts Center in December.

With the “Expand” crew at the installation of our work at the Lone Tree Arts Center in December.

—Completed my two year term as Co-Director of Spark Gallery. I currently have a large new collage on view there in the Annual Members’ Show, through January 9.

—Rented a studio in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe. Opened the doors to celebrate First Friday in November, just a few days after signing the lease. I now have S P A C E to get some perspective on my work!

First Friday in October 2015 at Paper Trails exhibition, Spark Gallery, Denver.

First Friday in October 2015 at Paper Trails exhibition, Spark Gallery, Denver.

Just getting settled in new studio space... every day I take more paper ingredients down there!

Just getting settled in new studio space… every day I take more paper ingredients down there!

—Took beginning mandolin lessons, cleared and rented my Mom’s condo… and continued my half-time design practice!

Guess it’s no wonder I haven’t posted here in a while. As 2016 approaches, I’m hugely grateful for your interest in, and support of, my work this year and look forward to new artful adventures! Stay tuned. Happy New Year!

"Western," collage enlarged and reproduced for lobby installation at 250 Columbine in Denver.

“Western,” collage enlarged and reproduced for lobby installation at 250 Columbine in Denver.

 

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Collages at Robert Anderson Gallery + Daily Mail Catalog

One of the collages in the exhibition, 17 MAY 2013, collage on watercolor paper, framed 12 x 9."

One of the collages in the exhibition, 17 MAY 2013. Collage on watercolor paper, framed 12 x 9.” ©2013, Janice McDonald.

Some of the collages from my Daily Mail series are included in an exhibition of the Denver Collage Club at the Robert Anderson Gallery through May 30, 2015. The show features the work of more than 20 collagists and was recently written about in L’Oeil, an online photography journal, as well as Kolaj magazine. The gallery is located at 2426 East Third Avenue, Denver, Colorado. Hours are 11am-6pm Thursdays through Saturdays.

I’ve recently (finally!) organized all 75 images from the original series into a catalog, now available for purchase online. Each collage is reproduced at almost full size… so for those of you who felt these pieces should never be separated from each other: an intact collection is now available!

The Daily Mail catalog in its native habitat, amongst the wild paper debris!

The Daily Mail catalog in its native habitat, amongst the studio debris.

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Denver International Airport Installation

Here to there collaborative art installation at Denver International Airport.

Partial view of the ‘here to there” collaborative art installation at Denver International Airport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denver International Airport ‘here to there” art installation in main terminal.

 

 

 

I’ve somehow neglected to post news about my artwork at Denver International Airport (DIA)! Several enlargements from recent travel-inspired collages are part of an ongoing exhibition in the Main Terminal. An associated DIA Art Gallery show has already ended.

You don’t need to go through security to see the artwork. The installation is located on the 5th level—in the passageway directly below each of the east/west bridges, behind the rental car counters. Ask one of the cowboy-hatted greeters if you can’t find it!

One of my contributions... “Mapped,” 18 x 24″ collage with acrylic on wood panel.

One of my contributions… “Mapped,” 18 x 24″ collage with acrylic on wood panel.

Details from three of my collages, all interpretations of travel, were enlarged and are included in the “here to there” installation along with those of fellow Expand artists Mary Williams, Ken Elliott, Carol Ann Waugh, and Victoria Eubanks. The panels were designed so that the elements from one image “travel” to visually connect with another — quite a collaboration.

Just making connections in Denver? You’ll need to leave the secured concourses and head to the main terminal to see the work… a fun diversion, near a brewpub, if you have the time!

The words that accompany the installation read:

here to there

we are wanderers
we leave trails as much as we take trails

foot steps through cities, woods, prairies
threads that tie us to these places and each other
fragments of vistas and color
bits and pieces — we collect and leave behind
corners and u-turns that bring us full circle
we amble, we soar, we connect

we are masters at getting
from here to there

It’s been a real thrill to see my artwork whenever I’m coming or going… or meeting up with friends/family who are! Check it out if you are traveling through Denver.

"Speed," by Janice McDonald, 18 x 24" collage with acrylic background on wood panel.

One of my here to there collages: “Speed,” 18 x 24″ collage with acrylic on wood panel.

 

 

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Botanicollage

About this time last year I was working on a series of nine collages with a botanical bent… and I’m really excited that they are now on view at the Loveland Museum Gallery as part of Xylem, a show of contemporary botanical artworks. The exhibition runs through March 15th in Loveland, Colorado. (Botanicollage has such a nice ring to it that I may have to continue the series!)

"Unfurl," by Janice McDonald

Unfurl,” 10 x 10″ collage, composed of salvaged and repurposed paper, on wood panel. © 2014, Janice McDonald.

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You’re invited: open studio this weekend

Actual unedited image of one of my table surfaces, photographed just this morning... I won't be cleaning up too much so visitors can see what my process is like...

Actual unedited image of one of my table surfaces… I won’t be cleaning up too much so visitors can see what my process is like.

October 17th-19th:
Friday 5-8pm, Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 10am-5pm

Here’s your chance to visit my collage studio! See work in progress, check out the abundant paper stash, and peruse available collages, both small and large. I’d love to show you around…

Park Hill Studio Tour to benefit the Art Garage*
My studio address: 2212 Ash Street in Denver
A map to ALL open art studios in the neighborhood is available at
the Art Garage, 6100 E. 23rd Avenue, Denver, Colorado
Free event.
*10% of sales benefit the Art Garage.

Hope you can drop by! And for my far-flung friends, I’ll post pictures next week.

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Collage commentary: Eric Fischl

fischlbookI’m in the midst of reading artist Eric Fischl‘s autobiography, Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas — about the vagaries of the art market and his career trajectory. Whether you appreciate his work or not, the story is well-told and pretty fascinating. He writes about art and process in a way that is refreshingly approachable. I really liked his comments on collage, excerpted from the hardback edition, page 214-215…

“Early on in my life I wanted to embrace the margins, but as I grew up I came to realize that so much of my life has been a search for normal. I have consciously tried to make work that took fragments and pieced them back together—impressions and bits of memory collaged into foreign lands or suburban settings, all with the purpose of making them appear seamless. I was reliving my experiences as I was painting them, always at the point just before things fall apart.

Collage is the most important innovation in art since perspective was discovered in the fourteenth century. It’s one of the defining techniques of modernism, especially for the surrealists. Perspective is a mathematical construct that creates the illusion of deep space. It enabled painters to move art away from the religious icon and into the realm of realism. Perspective imitated how we see. Collage, on the other hand, is an artificial construct that imitates how the mind works. It breaks down the world of images into fragments of memory torn from their original context. It’s ahistorical, which is why avant-garde artists embraced it. My colleagues eagerly employed the collage technique and made it central to their art. They experimented with how far apart—at what distance both physically and intellectually—you could place two disparate images on a canvas and still create a formal composition that had dynamic tension, even if the juxtaposed images were essentially arbitrary.

I was uncomfortable with fragmentation and meaninglessness even though I appreciated it in other artists’ work. I needed the world around me to make sense, though not in a stultifying or overdetermined way. Rather, I felt an obligation to give my audience the impression of a coherent moment that was emotionally charged and fragile, but still holding together long enough so viewers could reflect on what it meant. Except in the case of the multi panel paintings, I did not want to make my audience put something back together in order to understand what it means.”

I never tire of working with fragmentation in my own artistic practice… Ripping remains my favorite artistic gesture. Salvaging, editing, and re-ordering fragments to create new imagery, relationships and meaning continues to engage my curiosity day in and day out. I believe I compose with fragments to create some level of coherence that reveals itself to the viewer over time, perhaps not immediately… interesting to think about artistic motivations.

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