Updated: Feb 19, 2020
I set aside the time to do a new collage yesterday. I spent approximately 30 minutes, maybe a little more ( I usually end up trimming as I go), until I had a nice stack of pictures, colors, words and phrases. I was actually surprised, even as I was discovering these images, at the pattern that was emerging.
There were also several full-page, pictures/ articles that appealed to me that I did not want to tear apart, so those I set aside for a different type of collection that I will talk about later. Although, I did end up using several large pictures as the base of my collage.
So, the surprising part of my collage? Red, White and Blue! America – Land that I love. Everywhere! I was pulling photo after photo of things that were red, white and blue, or some combination of those colors. And happy scenes of summer. (Maybe because of my deep longing for warmer climes, no doubt!) But the patriotic-ness of all the pics was astounding to me. But certainly not without a little bit of Paris thrown in for good measure!
So, I asked myself the fundamental questions.
My overall impression was one of happiness and excitement. Splashes of Red, White and Blue call forth deeply patriotic emotions for me as I am proud of my American heritage, AND, my Mom was born on the 4th of July. So, Independence day, has always been a big celebration in our household for a multitude of reasons.
The large handmade Flag quilt in the middle is both beautiful to me and intimate because of all of the handmade details. I don’t have any preconceived notions of Lauren Bacall (the woman in the center) but always admired the fact that she kept the gap between her front teeth as a signature look, rather than using braces to erase what most would have considered a “distraction” from her good looks. I love old quilts, and especially love ones with red, white and blue combinations.
The words and phrases, I think, are pretty typical of those I would normally collect, with a few exceptions: “Rockets Red Glare,” (patriotic theme); “Roll out the Red Carpet,” – Not sure what this is referring to – but RED as one of my theme colors; and “Show Your True Colors – All of Them,” – now this would not be unusual because I am an open book on many levels, but this, well, I am not sure if the world is ready for all my true colors – and maybe I don’t need to show them all!
There are at least four, possibly five, references to Paris. Two things come to mind – 1) I do love Paris, and am planning to run my first full marathon there in April, and 2) It remains a dream of mine to take my children and head to Paris for a month. So, I refer you to the very middle of my collage: “It starts with a dream…”
There are six women in my collage: Lauren Bacall – I think she only got in there because the quilt was my favorite image that I pulled; The Red Tuxedo girl – I love, love, love the jacket, It is elegant and tailored; presents a bold and strong image – and well, RED, again; The woman in the black and white image, kissing behind the hat – certainly my nod to the romantic in me; The mud covered running girl who has obviously just finished a race of some sort – this is my hope for Paris. That I will finish the marathon, no matter what it takes; and the black and white image of the woman emerging through the paper – this image is the closest thing I have seen to a self-portrait I tried to paint a few years ago, the idea, not the details. The “emerging” of who I was meant to be was the idea I was trying to express. Don’t know that I will ever paint this, but it was fun to see a conceptual idea of what it may have felt like. And lastly, the marble bust of a woman – tender, vulnerable, naked. This image was part of a larger red, white and blue room that I pulled, but the marble bust was essential to the feel of the room. I like the antiquity of the bust, I like that she is a woman. I could write for an hour on her. The sculpture rooms at the Louvre in Paris are some of the most hauntingly beautiful spaces because of sculptures just like this. They are cold stone marble, many purely white, and yet there is an aliveness, a tenderness, a thoughtfulness about them that can bring you to tears.
There are also no less than six references to palm trees, or tropical scenes which also reminds me that my “first love,” will always be the beach. I never long for it more than in the throes of winter. It is always what urges me to make my summer reservations.
All in all, my “take away” from this collage exercise is that I am on a good path toward some fun goals. The political climate of our times, as volatile as it is, does not detract from my love for America and all things patriotic. Red means anger to some folks, but to me the red in this collage represents joy and boldness. The blues seem to stand for a levity and joy (I have overcome great depression in the last year), and the whites definitely symbolize peace and tranquility.
As I sit here this morning the climate outside is grey and drizzly. In front of me is the fire with my children sitting before it doing their school work. All is well. They are delightful and surprising. Today they both listen to the New Testament on MP3 players. Dylan pipes up and asks “What is betrothal?” I give him the most concise answer possible and think to myself: It is more than a promise. It is a holy allegiance to your commitment. Sometimes, it starts with a dream… I can imagine them sitting on the floor in one of the grand halls of the Louvre taking in the paintings, and sculptures, and doing school the way it is meant to be done – by doing.
And I will think back to this day, the day of Red, White and Blue… but on that day it will be Blue, White and Red.
Finding Joy in the Journey,
P.S. Tomorrow - What I think this does for my creativity...