A lot of people ask me how I come up with ideas for my art. It usually happens in a roundabout way; I hear a song, or see something that gets me thinking.
Here’s how I came up with the idea for my newest collage. I’ve been wanting to do a collage with grackles for quite a while, but wasn’t sure what the composition would be. I started looking for some grackle photos online at PaintMyPhoto ( which has some great reference photos, by the way). I found some excellent references and then started playing with a composition on my photo editor.
To me, it looked like they were gossiping, so I was trying to think of a title about gossip. Gossiping Grackles wasn’t too exciting. Grackle Cackle was a strong contender, but it just wasn’t right. I like to put music and words in my collage, so I decided to do some research into songs about gossip. One of the songs that stood out was I Heard it Through the Grapevine, a song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966. My favourite version is by Marvin Gaye.
Well, that solved my composition problem and gave me a title for the piece! The grackles could be sitting on a grapevine, and I could have the music and lyrics throughout the collage. I hope to enter this into the annual Paint Ontario juried exhibit in a few days. Also, these are numbers 12, 13 and 14 of my 100 Birds challenge!
My flock is getting bigger! Here are two more additions, an Eastern Bluebird (#5) and our old friend, the Indigo Bunting (#6). These are torn paper collage on a mixed media background. (Which was really hard to photograph, BTW!) I guess I’m wishing for spring already, because this pair is called Spring Song.
The song that kept going through my head while I was creating these was:
Blue Skies by Irving Berlin
Blue skies smilin’ at me Nothin’ but blue skies do I see Bluebirds singin’ a song Nothin’ but bluebirds all day long
It’s a new year, and I’ve decided to embark on an adventure. This adventure will probably take more than a year, but I’m going to try to paint or collage 100 birds! Birds are one of my favorite subjects and there are thousands and thousands of species to choose from. Although I’m going to try and do as many different species as I can, I can’t promise that I won’t be sticking with a favourite or two! (Crows come to mind.)
Although I have done a couple of bird paintings fairly recently, I will start from when I decided to do the series, which was today!
This is a small watercolour, one of the contenders to enter the Twitter Art Exhibit this year. She is a lovely female cardinal and I’ve named her Northern Lady.
A while ago, I was going through some painted watercolor papers that were either failed attempts at something, or experiments gone wrong. Instead of throwing them away, I decided to cut them up into ACEO-sized cards and experiment with them further. I picked out interesting parts of the papers that had neat colours or textures and cut them into 2.5″ X 3.5″ pieces. Then they sat for another few months in a bag in my studio.
Yesterday, looking for something to do, I found them! I got out my small Gelli plate and added some fun textures, then got out some of my scrap collage papers. I’ve really been enjoying my coneflowers, daisies (although they are done blooming now), and Black Eyed Susans in my garden. I used them for inspiration for these little art cards.
And for those of you following the progress on the fawn collage, here is the finished version. This piece is now at ARTspace Gallery in Chatham, ON.