At a meeting of my small Artist’s Way group last Sunday, we talked about why we value making art, be they stories, painted chairs or collages. One person said she had discovered that she likes herself when she is caught up in writing a story, laughing at her own words and the characters that come to life. My first response was to say that art brought what was in me to the outside, a rather inarticulate statement. I know I like taking scraps of this and that, be they images or words, and weaving them into some new whole. Many of us said we made art for the sheer joy of it. You do it because when things are going right, it feel like you were born to do it! And that feels terrific.

Another aspect of it for me is that when I am making art, I encounter problems I CAN solve, versus other issues or problems in life that don’t come so easily. Every collage composition presents challenges in balance, color, texture and/or theme. Recently I watched as a certain theme evolved in my so-called scrap collages. I’d been mostly playing with color and form, somewhat abstractly. But then images of doors and windows started sneaking in, and they seemed to ground the compositions. Before too long, houses became the entire theme, though I was still using some abstract elements. And, so a whole new theme was born. Perhaps you can see the trend for yourself in the collages above, with the older collages towards the bottom, and newer more house-centric collages at the top.

Talking about the value of making art, I couldn’t help but think of my friend Albert Huffstickler (1927 – 2002), who said this about the path of art in his poem “The Way of Art”: 

It’s the willingness to be a window

through which others can see

all the way out to infinity

and all the way back to themselves.

I am humbled to think my art might do that for someone. May it be so.  

illustrations by KAO: Scrap Collages 37, 28, 23, 24, 16, September, 201o