Thursday, August 6, 2009

Nature Girly-Girl Defeates the Snarly-Toothed Vamp

I am finally getting a moment to lift my head and post some photos of my assemblage submission for Gallery Route One's Annual Box Show. It was a struggle getting this box done this year, but a good exercise in creativity -- surrendering to the creative process and letting the process dictate, not my judgemental, perfectionistic mind! I picked up my box in early June and for 2 months it sat on one of my studio tables before I had the will to pick up a brush and cover it with gesso.

At first I thought I was going to do a vampire theme, and arranged a lot of images around it to see how that felt, but when it cam time to lay down color -- bright greens and yellows rose to the occassion instead of moody vampire blacks, grays and reds.

I started playing with colors on the back of the box and worked with a few layers of dark greens over yellow and etched some designs into the back. But the front seemed to want yellow yellow yellow so I mixed some Titan Buff in to soften the yellow, and slathered it on. The box started to feel like it wanted a nature-oriented them. No people images were coming to mind, so I started thinking about leaves, and the hollow of a tree trunk/ I considered making leaves out of copper sheeting, soldering them and place them inside the box. But when I got down to it, they seemed too cold and unnatural. So I went into our yard and collected some leaves from our oaks and traced their designs on various types of handmade papers from my stash and placed them here and there in the box. The oustside seemed a little bare, so I wrapped the box up with two different leaf-motif sheer ribbons.

Then I thought what would I want to keep in this tree? Something useable -- a useable piece of art. I took one of my small journals and gave it a nature theme and prepared spreads that had an outdoors and people in nature theme. I covered the front with some of the leaves I cut out, and a hawk's head. I also made an oriel pendant of an altered book spread I made a few years ago. I found a stand for the journal, and hung the oriel. Then, looking at the box, I decided it was becoming more and more feminine, so I added rhinestones to the leaves, stamped a swirly leaf design on the front edge, added some rhinestones there and on the front of the journal. Voila! the finished box reveals that I am a nature girl and most definitely a "girly-girl" -- I love nature, but I love sparkle and shine, too!
P.S. I don't even know why I am talking about this process. But this blog is part of my artistic journey and I thought it was an amazing process to be so filled with discomfort and doubt the whole time -- until I wasn't anymore. It was very interesting to hang in there with it, and to see a part of my inner nature claim itself!
To see more photos of the Nature Girly-Girl box, journal, and oriel pendant, go here.


  1. omg! Virginia.. this is gorgeous.. i clicked on each pic here and the colors and textures are awesome...

  2. That's good to hear! It was really great to do a box again. Maybe I should set another challenge for myself -- an assemblage every 2 months?????? I don't know if I am ready for that -- but heck why not? I can always revise it, right?

  3. Virginia, I looked at one of your other posts where u had gone and bought some lilys at Trader Joe's... U are good at arranging.. and I love the colors u pulled in that photo....Did u ever think of making boxes and selling them? kind of the same premise as the custom oriels u make?

  4. Beautiful, beautiful!! And I so enjoyed reading about your process - the discomfort and the fact that you went with that... This really resonated with me. I think I'm slowly learning to trust my intuition and not want to control everything, and the outcomes are often far better than I might ever have anticipated.

    The vamp girl will no doubt have her day too. It'll just be another day :)

  5. Chrissy -- I've sold a couple of my boxes that I created in the 80's...I have quite a few of them hangin' around here -- they are like old friends that I don't want to say goodbye to. But I am thinking that I may give myself another challenge to create a box every few months.

    And thank you Kendalee. I am now off to another discomforting challenge -- the opening for the Box Show. Oh well, let's see what comes of it -- something always does when you step over a fear of self-perceived limitation!