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The Muse's Storage Box

The Muse's Storage Box
Copyright Diane Lou.

Alchemical Dreams and Disparate Realities

Rust and bones, broken toys and old text, game boards, gears and nests. Even as a child such odd, unwanted items evoked a pit-of-the-stomach response that bordered on exhilaration.
While I make no attempt to conjure up specific feelings in the viewer, the ambiguous juxtapositioning of familiar materials creates art that evokes half-forgotten, dream-like visions that beg to be interpreted by the viewer. There is a sense of deja vu (the already seen) tempered by a sense of jamais vu ( the never seen, or the illusion that the familiar does not seem familiar), and this contradiction asks the viewer to dig deeply, to look inside her own repository of wisdom, intuition and experience to find her own meaning in the familiar objects she sees.
The once-private discards of people's material lives that I collect for my art seem to carry universal memories with them, memories that can engage and mystify the viewer. Their beauty lies within the rust, the erosion, the wear, and the mere fact that they were once possessions.
I play with abandon and with no forethought. Each piece of detritus seems to suggest to me a relationship with some other piece, and I begin to put them together and wait for the mental "buzz" that lets me know I am proceeding as I should. Even at this point, I continue to remain in the play state and will not allow myself to direct the outcome of the piece, a process that requires complete trust. The outcome often mystifies me as much as it might any viewer.
Remember when, as a child, whatever was in reach became the instrument of your creative exploration? That is my life. A rusty, flattened piece of metal on the street, a gnawed bone by the roadside, a unique twisted branch from a tree, a fallen nest, a broken egg, a snake's skin, a dead butterfly...all will be added to my collection and eventually have their beauty honored in one of my pieces. The resulting art creates a new story with its own imagined history, one that invites the viewers to lay some claim on it by allowing themselves to be enveloped by the sight, the history, and the ambiguity of the realities before them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book busy now...

For the past few days, I have been book-busy again, creating a book of my Transfers and Transparencies class that I will teach at Art & Soul in Portland in early October. This class has been the gift that has kept on giving, since I have been teaching it for about 6 years now.

As anyone who has created a class knows, it is a lot of work...and sometimes you end up teaching it once or twice and then there is no interest. Not so with this one. It is a packed 3 hour class (which always fills), full of learning image transfer techniques, and then shifting gears to learn to use transparencies to create what I call "glueless collage" or Photoshop without Photoshop. Much of what is learned involves using your inkjet printer that you probably already have at home.

So, the idea of doing the book came about because despite the handouts attendees receive, people wanted a more complete reference with photos, and, those who could not come to Art & Soul or other locations where I teach wanted to learn the techniques. The book will have the entire class contents with photos (thanks to granddaughter Abbie for being my hand model) plus additional techniques, as well as two full-page prints of my collages that can be cut out and framed. I'm now on page 50, so I think it will run about 80 pages, 8x10 portrait format. It will be ready in time for Art and Soul.

The past couple weeks have been full with grandchildren Abbie and Jake spending time here, golf, other trips and outings...just all the end-of-summer things before Nils started teaching again (today)...and boy, does it feel like the end of summer. Nights have been down in the 40's (I'm now covering the tomatoes at night)...and the high today is a mere 56 degrees with the sky darkened by clouds and a light rain falling. Feels like October to me. Let's hope this isn't the end of a seemingly very short summer....

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