It is always a renewed pleasure for me to see flowers growing back in the Spring.
As mentioned in a previous post, I am a “no-waste” girl. I never throw away scraps of paper, as little as they may be, and reuse them to create collages. I usually choose scraps of paper in various sizes and shapes, and in 3-4 different colors.
Since I mostly work on 9″x12″ paper, I have to create other formats of the scanned version (or parts of it) in Photoshop, so they better suit differently-shaped products.
These spring flowers on a pink or transparent background on different products in my shop at Society6.
My dear mother passed away a few years ago. I miss her very much, miss spending time with her talking about drawing and the arts, and miss the twinkle in her eyes.
As she grew older, she felt the need to pass on some special souvenirs that either belonged to her as a child or to her mother (handmade wish cards & handkerchiefs, for instance).
My mother loved to send us wish cards for numerous occasions, and since I lived far away we exchanged letters regularly. She appreciated that I took the time to choose pretty papers and often told me so.
While looking at these souvenirs and letters, I decided to assemble some of them in a collage. I used a photo of her, pieces of a letter that I find particular funny, sweet and loving, handkerchiefs that were somewhat damaged, a wish card, and some washi and textured papers.
Her letter is in French which is my mother tongue – English is a second language for me. I had the chance to grow up in a small village on the border of the United States and to learn both languages as a child. However, expressing my thoughts in English is not as easy as in French still.
My grandmother passed her love of art and her talent to my mother who passed it on to me and many others in our family – I feel I owe her. I don’t know who passed it on to her though, never thought of asking.
She was known to be a very respectful woman and never talked badly about anyone. She lived in her own house, made a garden every year and painted until she was 90 years old.
For my grandmother’s collage, since I didn’t have a letter from her, I chose one from a friend that related to the scene of the photo (on vacation at the lake). As both my mother and I, she loved flowers and that’s why I had to feature them in both collages.
I think of them often, especially since I’ve succeeded to spend more and more time creating over the last few years.
My parents taught us a very valuable lesson at an early age. Since money was not abundant and we did not own a bunch of stuff, we learned to take good care of our possessions, repair them if need be, and eventually repurpose them or give them away.
However, ingenuity, creativity and skills were abundant. For instance, my mother used scrap fabrics for quilts, and darned or repurposed old pieces of clothing. My father was ahead of his time with composting and collecting rainwater for the gardens. Food was abundant too and what we could not produce ourselves we could buy from farmers surrounding us. A lot of preserves, jams, jellys and much more were home made at the end of every summer and the whole family participated.
I don’t do as much as my parents did but I now choose to live a simplified life and buy only the essential. I don’t buy as much as I used to, preferring for better quality in lieu of quantity. But I still manage to buy too much, but at least I give away what I don’t use or don’t really need. Still learning.
No waste – I was reminded of this very valuable lesson from an art teacher who specializes in collages and who mostly worked with washi paper. She never threw away any scrap fiber or paper, as little as it could be, and made the most delicate and unique artworks.
In this spirit, I intend to pursue this practice as it allows me to experiment and discover something totally unexpected. Every piece of paper can become part of an artwork that you are not able to imagine until that moment.
These 4 abstract collages were made with scrap construction paper
Spring is just around the corner. It is always welcome after a long winter here in Canada, and especially this year after being stuck at home for several weeks already.
For now, I will only witness it briefly on my daily walks until I can, again, enjoy long walks on the mountain (Mount Royal), by the river (St.Lawrence) or even in parks. Any little bit a nature will do.
I am always amazed of how leaves grow back on trees, and how plants, bugs and critters come back to life. My recollection of spring is mostly the new leaf green, the crisp blue sky and the sun shining high. Here’s my interpretation of it in a collage. Products available in my shop at https://society6.com/francine4art
Soon also available in my shops at Etsy and Imagekind – links can be found on my home page.