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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.

Standing in the shadow of the moon

I was vacationing with my family in Oregon during the total solar eclipse this summer (08.21.17). We took advantage of an eclipse-related festival and attended educational / cultural events at my alma mater, Oregon State University, for a couple of days.

It was wonderfully nostalgic — here’s a photo of me in front of Fairbanks Hall, the art building, which seems almost entirely unchanged since I graduated. The atmosphere, with smells of paint and views out the old glass windows, is just as I remembered. The gallery inside was hosting a really well-conceived show, titled “Totality.”

On the morning of the eclipse, we positioned ourselves in an open plaza area where we could see shadows cast by the trees and watch the sunlight project the eclipse through those openings and onto the ground, as if through a pinhole camera.

I was totally enchanted by the cast shadows that were the reverse of what we were looking at in the sky (with our special glasses on, of course).

Adjacent to the plaza was a sports court with a smooth blue surface. The images were even more distinct there, some of them looking like marbled paper. Even our shadows began to have some of those eclipse shapes in the negative spaces.

I was alternatively looking at the sun with my glasses and then taking them off to see what was happening on the ground. All the while the air was cooling as the sunlight diminished. (The white stripe bisecting the image with blue/green background is boundary line on the sports court.)

Below is a photo taken right before totality, when all the shadows of the trees went away as darkness fell mid-morning.
Just before the eclipse became total, shadows on the ground appeared that wiggled like snakes, kind of like the heat wave you see over the road when driving on a hot day. It was the glowing activity of the corona very briefly projecting itself onto us and the ground… an odd, almost dizzying sensation.

Suddenly it seemed like the moon snapped fully over the sun. I felt that I heard a sonic boom. Then it was dark above, with a glow 360 degrees around the edges of the horizon as if the sun had set not long ago… simply gorgeous. We were able to look up without the glasses during that time and try to absorb what we were seeing.

The image of the moon in front of the sun was so powerful. We were awe-struck. I feel like the image is imprinted on my brain — I can be recall it in a very clear way. The eclipse tinted us and everything around us a metallic gray color. The shimmery glow around the moon was beautiful. Totality lasted less than two minutes and then the moon began to move off the sun. We put our glasses back on and watched the remainder of the eclipse until the sun shone fully again. I have a whole new recognition of the three dimensionality of the moon and sun in space now.

I’m wondering how experiencing the eclipse might affect my work in the future. I’ve always loved circles and have taught myself how to rip pretty good ones, if a little ragged, to use in my collages.

I was struck when I got home from the trip and looked anew at this collage, “Replay,” made in 2012, which hangs over my desk. The correlations are rather interesting… it has a painted background with salvaged and painted papers applied on top. And yes, I ripped all those yellow-gold circle shapes and the half circle negative strips.

“Replay,” 2012, 36 x 24 x 2″, salvaged and painted paper on wood panel. ©Janice McDonald.

While the rest of the family has declared themselves to be total umbraphiles, I’m still processing this stunning experience… not sure if seeing another would diminish or enhance the power of the first experience. If you’ve never seen a total solar eclipse though, I believe it’s worth making the effort to get a location where you can experience totality… as my favorite commemorative t-shirt read, “Totality Worth It!”

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Lull

You may’ve noticed that I’ve been quieter lately… not so present on social media or here on the blog. I’m recovering from a total knee replacement and that’s been my priority project since the beginning of the year. Sessions of elevating, icing, rest, physical therapy, walking and stationary bike riding have punctuated my days and been my focus.

Ice with a view, after physical therapy.

Ice with a view, after physical therapy.

I’ve used our Botanic Gardens membership nearly daily for parts of the spring… lots of surface types to walk on, uncrowded, and so much inspiration in nature. What a luxury to be close enough to do my walks there!

Exploring the gardens, spring 2017.

Exploring the gardens, spring 2017.

Thankfully my recovery has coincided with a period of time when show commitments were negligible. And while I haven’t completed much work lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about collage, concepts for future works, and the place of art in my life. Not to mention reading, looking at art, and watching way too much political coverage.

Since moving out of the studio at 910 Arts on Santa Fe last fall, followed by dealing with my Dad’s death, I’ve not finished moving back into my home studio fully… and simply haven’t had the mobility to muscle boxes of paper around until now. So organizing the space is high on my list of summer priorities. In the meantime, I’m enjoying working a bit each week at Denver’s super cool Art Gym.

Work table at the Art Gym and one of my sketchbook collages ~ 12 x 9."

Work table at the Art Gym and one of my sketchbook collages ~ 12 x 9.”

Just beyond the studio, the about-to-fall-down, 107-year-old, garage in the back yard has been demolished and we await the building permit variance required to rebuild. I’ve resigned myself to having the family bike collection in the dining room with miscellaneous tools and garage stuff on the back porch. Meanwhile, my stationary bike is positioned in the middle of the art studio, soaking up the crazy, unkempt, creative atmosphere — as I ride to nowhere! But it’ll turn out to be somewhere, no doubt. I’m ready to get back to work.

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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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Collage artist trading cards

Collage Artist Trading Cards, pack of 15 cards.

Lots to look at: pack of 15 Collage Artist Trading Cards,

You’ve heard of baseball cards, but do you know about artist trading cards (ATCs)? They are artist-made miniature works of art to collect and trade. Collecting ATCs is a popular trend right now. (An internet search of “artist trading cards” + “your city of choice” will yield information on local groups that meet to trade cards.)

Along those lines but on a larger scale, the publishers of the art magazine, Kolaj, have begun issuing packs of 15 Collage Artist Trading Cards. Their goal is to further disseminate the work of contemporary fine art collage artists and to encourage people to learn about new artists. These are professionally printed cards, each measuring 5.5  x  3.5″ with an image on the front and information about the collage and the artist on the back.

I’m happy to be included in Pack One of the trading cards (issued late 2013) along with international collage artists Bev Butkow, Ewan Aparicio, Holly Savas, Jeni Bate, Joe Castro, Kamee Abrahamian, Lita Kenyon, Mongobi-Bibbiana Mele, Nikki Soppelsa, Pierre-Paul Pariseau, Ross Carron, Sara Winkler, Stephen Tierney, and Vesna Vrdoljak.

If you’d like to start a collection of your own, the cards are available for $10/pack here from Maison Kasini.

A great collection of stamps arrived along with my pack of Collage Artist Trading Cards.

A great collection of stamps arrived along with my pack of Collage Artist Trading Cards. Very cool!

 

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Mail ingredients, collaged…

During my Overlooked Artifacts exhibition last fall, I never posted all the Daily Mail images. Here are the images made from mail received one year ago this week. As you’ll see, some days the mail gods were more generous than others :)

Each is an original collage on paper, 7.5 x 5.5,” framed in black metal frame 12 x 9,” with UV resistant glass and archival mat. ©2013.

March 11 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. $125.

March 11 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. 

March 12 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. SOLD.

March 12 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. SOLD.

March 13 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. $125.

March 13 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. 

March 14 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. $125.

March 14 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. 

March 15 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. $125.

March 15 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. 

March 16 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. $125.

March 16 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. 

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It’s been a year?

During all the lead up and busy-ness surrounding my Overlooked Artifacts exhibition last fall, I never posted all the Daily Mail images. Since I made those collages from mail gleaned in March, April and May of last year, I thought I’d share them fully now. Here are the images made from early March’s mail one year ago.

Each is an original collage on paper, 7.5 x 5.5,” framed in black metal frame 12 x 9,” with UV resistant glass and archival mat. ©2013.

Enjoy!

March 01 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. $125.

March 01 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. SOLD.

MAR 02 2013

March 02 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. 

MAR 04 2013

March 04 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. SOLD.

MAR 05 2013

March 05 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. 

MAR 06 2013

March 06 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. 

MAR 07 2013

March 07 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. 

MAR 08 2013

March 08 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald. 

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Composed landscapes

Aerial view of the studio: the calm before the storm! Wood panels and drawings ready to begin.

Aerial view of the studio: the calm before the storm! Wood panels and drawings ready to begin.

So I set to work. I had done very simple sketches of how the landing imagery would flow upward through the space. As you climbed the stairs, different views would present themselves. Beginning with level one, walking along a stream with broad views into the distance, level two at the edge of a forest, level three passing a waterfall, level four above treeline, and level five depicting the last few boulders at the peak with views of the sky and distant landforms.

Each collage would be composed of many pieces of paper ripped from magazines and repurposed to make new landscapes from my imagination. The studio quickly became filled with piles of sifted materials! These were more detailed and more realistic than any collages I’ve made in the past… they needed to be wildly interesting at nine times their original size so there was a constant concern about how they would translate once enlarged.

Here I'm working mostly on the "above treeline" collage but sifting colors into piles for potential use in other pieces.

Here I’m working mostly on the “above treeline” collage but sifting colors into piles for potential use in other pieces.

Collage work in progress… the usual paper mayhem ensues!

Collage work in progress… the usual paper mayhem ensues!

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Just one thing in the mailbox… an inauspicious beginning

"MAR 01, 2013," original collage on paper by Janice McDonald, 7.5 x 5.5," ©2013.

“MAR 01, 2013,” original collage on paper by Janice McDonald, 7.5 x 5.5,” ©2013.

"Harvesting" the potential collage elements from the postcard.

“Harvesting” the potential collage elements from the postcard.

This is the first collage created for the “Overlooked Archives” show. The only thing that arrived on March 1st, 2013 was a coupon/postcard from Bed, Bath & Beyond. It made me wonder if the concept of working with each day’s mail would provide enough interest and content. My persistence paid off though and the resulting body of work and  show were strong. Thankfully!

I referenced this collage in my artist statement. Most people could imagine where the pieces came from once I pointed it out… there are common elements delivered to all our mailboxes.

 

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Art of Rubbish video recap

Working at the "Rubbish" event.

Working on collage samples at the “Rubbish” event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see something of the Art of Rubbish event on video, scroll to  22:10 in Aurora’s News Weekly… the segment includes interview moments featuring me,

janiceinterview

artists Brenda Stumpf and Lily Erb, Art in Public Places coordinator Mary Koernig, and a cameo from Ken Elliott. I think I said more interesting things in the course of my five minute interview but here’s what remained after editing!

It was a really fun day and great to have it captured on video and promoted by the city. Hopefully there will be a repeat performance next year with more artists involved and an even larger community turnout.

 

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Recycling Reversal: Art of rubbish event

I’m looking forward to showing my collages and demonstrating some of my working techniques at “The Art of Rubbish,” a celebration of found-object/item artwork, on Saturday, September 21st, from 10 am – 3 pm at the Aurora Central Library at 14949 E. Alameda Drive, Aurora, Colorado.

Art of Rubbish

Other “Rubbish” artists are Brenda Stumpf and Lily Erb.

Meet the artists and work on your own art projects… more details in this Westword blog article: “Create art out of found objects at Recycling Reversal: The Art of Rubbish on Saturday.”

Stop by and see us… maybe make something out of “almost nothing!”

 

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