Photo Credit: Jennie Anne Benigas



June 2014

“What did I do on some days to keep from falling into the abyss? I began to make a series of collages.”


Collage = Balance

Dear Reader,

Years ago, my sister Jennie enclosed small rectangular angel cards in correspondence. Each held a single word: Light, Creativity, Release, Courage, Inspiration, Education, Understanding, Love, Balance, and Patience. Every card she chose felt miraculously appropriate and gave me strength. I glued them all on the edge of the book shelf above my computer. When I glance up, either in desperation or with joy, those little reminders float there and encourage me not to give up.

Last month, I finished a major writing project, the culmination of five years of research. Looking back (and up), I remember the angel card that gave me the most consolation: Balance.

What did I do on some days to keep from falling into the abyss? I began to make a series of collages.

Ever since high school art classes, collages have represented total freedom. I don’t know why, but I felt that the time was right.

First, I set out my acrylic paints and heavy watercolor paper. I paint wildly. Crazily. Shapes and colors do what they want. I am just the messenger.

I cut several pieces of paper to serve as supports for my play time, all the same size (10” by 8”). I paint them. They are kind of like trampolines. I mix colors happily. There they go! Palette papers, covered with colors, are used up and thrown away. I keep going.

With enough raw materials, I start to cut and tear. I scratch into the paint and reveal colors underneath. Colors dance and gyrate. Wow, this shape looks like an animal kicking up its hind legs! Oh, my, she has six legs! Hours go by.

Because all pieces are loose, my easel is useless. So, I use the floor. I look down and arrange. I walk around it and arrange, poking at this piece and that. I wish I were taller, so there was a greater distance between it and me. I remember Paul Cézanne’s studio in Aix-en-Provence --- the high ceiling gave him the opportunity to climb a tall wooden ladder and peer down at his work. Darn.

Once each collage feels complete, I use gel medium to seal the pieces. I have been free from the written word, until… the titles. Keep it simple. I count the pieces on each collage. “Six on One.” “Three on One.” “Four on One.” You get the idea.

Balance. Collages - something out there was available to help me achieve it.

"Four on One"

"Two on One"