March 7, 2017
I posted a recent blog titled Hearts for Valentine’s Day, dated Feb 13, 2017
The first image shows magazine papers in red, painted papers, and papers with text in black, red and white. I cut the papers and created hearts in halves to show that two halves pieced together would make a single heart. I believe relationships are about how we connect. We start apart and we come together. Collage is about putting things together.
I included some of the backstory in the blog about Valentine’s Day, and showed collage versions of Valentine’s Day cards with heart images.
The image nearby is a Valentine card I created with hearts and a figure from a fashion magazine. The model is seated on a plush red sofa and the hearts are floating above her head – larger than life. See more traditional cards with hearts in the Hearts for Valentine’s Day blog post.
The Art of Collage is about Cut and Paste
I always look online for what people say about collage. Frequently it’s described in terms like cut and paste. I believe we live in a cut and paste world. That’s a big reason why collage is so contemporary.
I found an article online from the Financial Times – Visual Arts (March 3, 2017 by Emme Crichton-Miller) titled Cut and paste: the art of collage – works of fragmented reality come together in two concurrent shows in New York and London. The exhibit is in New York to April 15 and in London March 10-May 13. It’s a fascinating article and references historic and contemporary collage. Read about it here.
My studio practice is painting and collage, but I make collage differently than most collage artists. I paint papers for collage and cut and paste them into geometric grid patterns. I put the papers together in ways that emphasize color relationships.
The image nearby is titled Blue & White Diptych and is made with painted papers in shades of blue, cut into triangles and pasted on 2 wood panels. Together, the panels are 24 inches high and 32 inches wide. Notice how the triangles move left to right and go from lighter to darker as they move within the collage.
The image nearby is titled Blue Triangle Diptych, and done as two panels that are 24 inches high and 32 inches wide. The right panel is an acrylic painting, 24×16 inches, that looks like a collage. The left panel is a collage with painted papers, 24×16 inches that has a triangles done with layered paint. Some of the underpainting shows through. The colors in the painting are blue, green, pale sienna, white, black and grey. The left panel has only right angle triangles made with two pieces each. The right panel has triangles with all different angles and shapes. I did the painting and collage separately. By chance, I put them together, and decided they speak to each other and belonged side by side. If I flip the panels left and right, they look different, so it’s important to keep them exactly as they are.
I work with acrylic paints and mix all my colors. Everything I do is about color – even black and white are colors because they are mixed. My current studio focus is about triangles and the colors blue, white and black. My previous focus was grids and the series titled Metro. I wanted to learn to love the color green. That meant a serious focus on one color. When I paint, no color is straight out of the tube pure. Nothing is exactly red or blue, yellow or green. Nothing is exactly white or black. I play with the basic colors and paint colors in layers to show how they interact visually. If you want to learn to paint papers, see my video tutorial Painting Papers with Nancy Nikkal. Please also see my green paintings and collages in the Metro Series.
Are you fascinated with color? I see color, not just as art, but as everything in my everyday life – in the city and in the parks, in plants and trees, the ocean, the sky, in cinema, television and magazines I read, the flowers I arrange, the clothes I wear, the design and furnishings, paint on the walls at home, table settings, even the food on my plate. Color is everywhere.
Here’s an extra – a little information about the science of color: In physics, a color is described as visible light and has a specific wavelength you can measure. Black and white are not considered colors because they do not have a measurable, specific wavelength. Black is described as the absence of light. White light (seen through a prism) contains all wavelengths of visible light and reveals the entire color spectrum. If we discuss paints and dyes, we understand what we see is a reflected wavelength. So there’s a science to paints and dyes also.
Thank you for reading, and for your comments – Nancy
February 13, 2017
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you send or receive cards, candy or flowers?
Do you know why we associate the day with love and romance?
I made a collage with paper hearts (ab0ve). It’s a sample and not finished. I would add red glitter and lace. I cut magazine papers and pasted the papers into 7 hearts on a substrate paper with stamped red circles. Each heart is made with 2 parts. Some hearts are painted with red acrylic. Some show white on black magazine text and some show red on black magazine text. Very important: every heart has two halves that touch. Each heart has a right and a left side to show how two become one.
A very brief history of Valentine day cards
Sending notes and letters for Valentine’s Day started in the 1700s in Great Britain.
Esther Rowland (1828–1904) is known as the “Mother of the American Valentine” She was an artist and businesswoman responsible for popularizing Valentine’s Day greeting cards in America.
The History of St. Valentine’s Day
Historians identify Valentine’s Day with the Feast of Saint Valentine, a martyred Christian saint . FYI: There was more than one Valentine martyred. Read more about the saints Valentine.
In the Middle Ages, people believed birds began mating on February 14. February was the month of love.
In the image above, 2 black doves are facing each other with a red heart outlined above them. The heart connects the two birds and symbolizes the love they share.
The connection to birds and mating goes back to pagan Rome and a holiday called Lupercalia – a purification day to avert evil spirits and accomplish health and fertility. Very pagan.
Link here to see a very witty, entertaining video about the original Roman holiday Lupercalia.
Victorians assembled original valentines from lace, bits of mirror, bows and ribbons, seashells and seeds, gold and silver foil appliqués, silk flowers, and clichéd printed mottoes like “Be Mine” and “Constant and True.” Victorian valentines commonly feature churches or church spires, signifying honorable intentions and fidelity.
You can make your own card. All it takes is birds, words, and hearts. The image above is a contemporary card with glittery encrusted hearts in all sizes.
I created the image above to add to this post. It has new cut paper hearts pasted on top of a fashion magazine page image. Some of the hearts are painted papers with oil pastel embellished on top. Some of the hearts are cut magazine papers. I like the scale of the paper hearts contrasted with the scale of the model sitting on a red sofa.
Did you exchange Valentines cards and candy when you attended grade school? Do you remember the tiny candy hearts in pale pink, yellow and green?
Do you give or receive chocolates in heart shaped boxes?
Hearts dominate. That’s why I chose the collage with hearts for the top image. Valentine’s Day is about connections and relationships and red hearts. I cut the hearts so each was in two halves. They touch to show how important it is to connect.
Do you think this is a good way to show connections? Please send me your comments. Please share images if you make your own Valentine cards. Email me your image.