Painted, drawn, hand-printed and calligraphed art

Look into the Abyss

Look into the Abyss

We look into the abyss and say “come out, come out from wherever you are”…
And there you have it in a nutshell: what most inspires each of us: looking into the abyss. Sitting with ourselves and allowing the outside world to recede; moving further and further into the world of color, form, and process. Allowing it to coalesce into something. Something we’ve not seen before; something that surprises and brings a smile. Something that resonates with who we each are.

Art Comes Through Us

We both feel that the art comes through us. And that we are most effective when we stay out of the way and let it have its way. That’s not to say we don’t pay attention. Of course, we look and notice; it’s more like a “sense” of wonder and “this resonates”. Just like life, sometimes the art just flows up and out. And often, it is a long arduous journey. Meredith is fond of saying that her favorite paintings have emerged from her most horrendous messes.

Tearing into the Process

For instance, when I do collages, I often start by going through magazine images and tearing out the colors and/or shapes that make some sort of sense. I feel that simple process of tearing paper up moves me into the project. After that, I will pick up a piece of paper that grabs my attention and see if it wants to sit anywhere on the working sheet. If it does, I glue it down. Sometimes a color calls out to get positioned. Sometimes a shape does. Many times the next piece is sitting beside a piece already positioned, just waiting to be seen. Sometimes, it wants to go “over there”. Lots of times, when it asks to be placed “over there,” I look at the work carefully. I wonder. Specifically, I marvel at how on earth it is ever going to become something other than a disparate collection of magazine scraps! Yet, I keep going, gluing down pieces because they resonate in that space. Until I notice that it is done. That’s sort of how the process tears through. How it works for me.

Embracing the Abyss in Your World

Are you ready to try a magazine collage? All you need are magazines (or even one!), paper (heavier is better than lighter), glue; but scissrs and a straight edge (ruler) are optional tools. Add some time—real time to relax and play. And see what happens. See what tears your make, or which cuts and scraps speak to you.

You may be surprised. — Judy Tollefson

More about our inspiration can be found in our playful weekly email, The Back Story.

Leave a Reply