Hansel and Gretel

This week, I happily received the copy of Clive Hicks-Jenkins’ book, Hansel and Gretel. In it, he has brilliantly reimagined the fairy tale.  I ordered it last week from the U.K. and it arrived faster than some packages from other parts of Canada!

Clive Hicks-Jenkins is one of my favourite artists. He shows a wide array of his artwork on his blog and talks about the process that went into making the pieces.  His artwork in this book is tremendously engaging with both terrifying and beautiful renditions of the characters and the settings. I’ve been pouring over the book and love the layers of paint, drawing and collage.

On the artist’s blog are many posts about the complex process he went through in making the book. The link above is to just one of those posts and also talks about the Hansel and Gretel toy theatre kit he designed. Below are the front and back covers of the book.


Learning

Last week, while I was home with a cold, I began experimenting with an old water soluble crayon set I have. I find painting/drawing on an easel a lot easier physically than printmaking with the pain of repetitive strain I’ve acquired from lino and woodcutting. So, I’ll return to the latest print after a break.

For the drawing below, all I started with was a desire to draw a human profile. The rest developed from there. I mostly used the crayons dry and combined some pigment markers with them. The drawing has a controlled feeling to me because of the outlines throughout. I was interested in experimenting with layers of colour and texture. At times when I was unhappy with the results and redid them, I managed not to destroy the image in an attack of self-criticism. I find making artwork is a dance between creation and destruction. There’s a line between honestly facing mistakes and shredding myself for making them. Now that the piece is finished, I think I’ll try making further works using this drawing as a starting point. I want to practice a looser look, perhaps bringing out the watercolour properties of the crayons. As for the content, for me it reflects some of the different voices or faces within a person, coupled with strange sci-fi or unconscious looking elements.

The next experiment I did pretty quickly, as a reaction to the first one. I cut up part of an earlier crayon watercolour and adhered it to a sheet that I loosely marked in black. I like the feel of this one. There’s the contrast between black, white and colour. And there’s the contrast of the controlled edges of the cut outs with the loose scribbles of both the black crayon and the colours within the shapes themselves. Perhaps this collage technique is one I can develop. It could stand alone or be part of larger works.

 

You can also see my work at artsofmay.etsy.com


Mail Art from Nancy

Mail Art Envelope

Mail Art Envelope from Nancy Bell Scott

This week I received beautiful mail art from Nancy Bell Scott in response to some work I sent her.  A lovely surprise.  The envelope is from old sheet music and the work inside is one of her wonderful collages.  

Mail Art Envelope

The back of the mail art envelope made and sent by Nancy Bell Scott.

Mail Art Collage

Mail Art Collage by Nancy Bell Scott

Thank you, Nancy!  

P.S.: If anyone wants to send me mail art, my address has changed!  You can contact me for an update.


Mail Art from Portugal

Mail Art Portugal

Mail Art received from Ana Isabel Morais from Portugal.

This week I received a wonderfully colourful envelope from Ana Isabel Morais in Portugal.  Thank you Ana Isabel!  Inside were many paper cutouts that will be great for collage work.  On the envelope itself, the blue plastic tape with Portugal embossed on it took me back to embossing machines we had when I was a youngster that produced white letters and numbers on red tape.

A lovely surprise!

P.S.: If anyone wants to send me mail art, my address has changed!  You can contact me for an update.

Mail Art Portugal

Mail art paper cutouts from Ana Isabel Morais.


Small Collages Out of Old Prints

Collage Card by Lily S. May

Collage card by Lily S. May made 2013 as mail art

I often find that during the process of making art work, I experience physical pain from repetitive movements.  Oil painting at an easel was the only pain free work that I’ve done.  And so, a few weeks ago, I took a break from making booklets out of old prints and rose from sitting to standing.  I then made a few small collage cards using an old colour woodcut, some linocuts, a photocopy of my favourite fortune cookie fortune and pigment markers.  I’ve sent out one of the collages as mail art and will send the others out in future mailings.

Collage Card by Lily S. May

Collage Card by Lily S. May, made 2013 as mail art

Collage Card

Collage card with fortune, other side of image directly above, Lily S. May, 2013

Having given my body a break, I’m back to making more booklets and I made a couple of origami models from halves of another print.  I’ll show you these soon.  As I varied the work, I found new ideas arose that I will soon follow.  The creative process for me has always taken its energy from rambling.

Woodcut, Lily S. May

Woodcut by Lily S. May (under former married name), 1972, used in collage cards.

About the colour woodcut I used in the collages—it was a favourite of mine, again from the 1970s.  It’s another subtraction print, using one piece of wood that I carved away and printed in stages.  I thought of the image as an ancient rock painting.