Tree Song for My Country, mixed media collage, 24 x 24 inches

Tree Song for My Country–A Mixed media collage with multiple realities

This moment in time has multiple realities. People are divided and hold such different beliefs about what is real and what is true. My challenge as an artist is to create work that speaks to this moment. Mixed media collage is a process that allows me to represent multiple realities in one work of art. There is the material itself–sheet music, a block print, and patterned paper. Then there is the process– I cut and arrange the elements, bringing the composition to life. I can imply movement or create a new relationship between these different materials. Does the torn sheet music represent the sky? Does the patterned paper stand in for foliage? Can you see painted brushstrokes?

Night Blues, mixed media collage, 16 x 22 inches, 2020

Night Blues. Honoring the energy of night in my garden. As a woman I have not always felt safe outdoors in the dark. Here I am exploring the light of the moon and taking back the night as a vibrant creative space. I can be safe out in the world at nighttime. The night is a garden of delights.

Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Remembering RBG, mixed media collage, 11 by 14 inches, 2020

Remembering RBG. This collage came together intuitively. I created it just after learning of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s passing. While there is nothing explicit in the collage that explicitly references RBG, it is my own reflection on her legacy. The window with blue sky, feathers floating, light and flowers all suggest the passage of time. The antique tea cup says something about the past and gentility. The skeleton key talks about opening up the past and making it part of our present. the vase of flowers exists but the woman pictured, my avatar, turns away from beauty. Rather, her mind is on truth and justice. What will happen now that we no longer have RBG on the court to protect women? What will happen to her legacy?

We are on Wabanaki Land

Blueberry Hill, Schoodic (Wabanaki Land), mixed media collage, 2020

All of what is now the state of Maine is the ancestral home of the Wabanaki confederacy, the Penobscot, Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy First Nations peoples. Blueberry Hill is located on the Schoodic Penninsula in downeast Maine. During my artist residency at Acadia National Park I spent many mornings at Blueberry Hill. This collage shows a view of the land looking away from the cobble beach toward Schoodic Head. I was there in late April after winter’s snow had faded but before the greenery of spring appeared.

This small landscape collage, 8 1/4 x 11 inches, emerged just as I returned to the studio in earnest after retiring from teaching public school. The urgency of this work may not show in the soft textures and muted tones but it came together almost without effort. I had seen it in my minds eye for some time.

Reflecting on our stories allows us to heal

It is my fervent desire that upon seeing and reflecting on these collages, you will be inspired to reflect on your own stories, both personal and cultural. Until we confront the wounds of our personal and collective past we will never heal individually or as a society. It takes courage to do so. My mind and heart says it is the only way forward.  Art can be the glue that binds us, and it can be a force for good.