Saturday 17 September 2011

On collages and commissions and what to do with your wellies in the dry season.

Well, Autumn has well and truly begun.   We had one last day-outing to a nearby lake with our bikes.

Cows watched us with minimal interest. 

As we went, the foothills of the Alps were a constant reminder of expanse and distance; of how close together and far apart countries are.

At the edge of the Staffelsee there was a welcoming shore.

  Fallen leaves on stones were a sign of the seasons on the cusp.

More foothills.

A hunting perch which I saw as the perfect writing room.

Back home.  Things have been hectic these past few weeks.  I've been in the middle of a couple of projects.  

My tiny painting/collage/writing room is overrun.  In a fit of where-on-earth-do-I-put-this-paper I rediscovered my Wellies.  Unfortunately there's not much use for them here in Munich, but I love having them around as a reminder of soggy green fields, clambering over wooden stiles, and hours spent exploring the English countryside.  

These are the papers I mentioned in the previous post, along with some old letters and some of my tools.  I am in love with my paper cutting knife.  Many a journal and collage have been made with its help.   

One of the nice things about collage is that you can keep every single scrap of paper.  Often I find just what I'm looking for in this box of skinny chaos.

Some of the flowers and leaves I picked and pressed this Summer.  I was hoping to pick more, but didn't get around to it.  I kept thinking that I had all the time in the world.  Nope.

This piece isn't finished, but I wanted to show a bit of my process.  Basically, I just start laying papers and other items onto a stretched canvas; playing with colour and shape and composition.   I love this playful aspect of collage.

I've only finished one more collage in my Spitalfields series.  Her first line is:
"It was only in the morning's solitary twilight that she could hear that feathered song murmur through her thirsty bones."

I keep telling myself that I'll get around to writing the stories for these women, but it hasn't happened yet.  I have to start heeding the lessons of nature...

A few weeks back, I was fortunate enough to receive a commission from one of my husband's cousins.  Her father was going to celebrate his 84th birthday.  She wanted a pair of collages in the style of the Spitalfields ones, but with photos of the family farm they lived in and worked for years.  It was my first commission, and I must say that I was rather anxious, hoping that they would like what I'd done.  Luckily I know the family and could add elements which I thought would be apropos.

I've also been busy with an upcoming exhibit of my paintings.  There is a large medical arts building in the neighborhood (Aerztehaus-Harlaching) which displays works on rotation.  I went in about two weeks ago enquiring as to whether they had a waiting list for artists, and whether my paintings might be suitable.  When I heard back from the doctor in charge, she told me that the artist who was to hang this month (and display into December) had cancelled and if I'd like, I could hang mine.  I was thrilled.  I was also a bit overwhelmed as it meant doing a tonne of work in a very short period of time.  

All of the prep was incredibly tiring - and it coincided with the first week back to school for my two boys and they spent a couple of late nights with my husband and me in the clinic, but it's done.  Finally.  The paintings are up (40 of them - it's a large building with three floors).  I've even sold two to one of the doctors there.  I just about fell off my chair when I heard.  What's interesting, is that the two which he purchased are of entirely different styles and from different years.  

 (blue 8 / oil on canvas / 153 x 92 cm / 2011)  

(red / oil and acrylic on canvas / 123 x 61 cm / 2007)

I'm very happy that they've found a home.  The red one was always a particular favourite of mine.  Perhaps I'll return to explore that style again at some point.  Perhaps not.  

For now, I have two very large blank canvases up on the living room wall (120 x 180 cm each).  There was no possible way of them fitting into my painting room, so I've had to encroach and take over the living room.  (I'm sitting at the kitchen table writing this, as there isn't room in my room.  I am taking over our apartment one room at a time..)

I'm very happy that Autumn is here.  Always a time of beginnings.  Of new projects.  The crisp, clearer air seems to tighten everything up a bit.  

Just hope I don't need my Wellies any time soon.  


  1. Congratulations on the painting sales, and for the exhibition! It sounds great!
    And also really interesting to see some of your work in progress... yet again I just love the ambiguous phrase you have captured for this woman, such evocative wordcraft, so intriguing. A series of those together would also make a fascinating exhibition, especially if it was in some old Victorian building somewhere...!

  2. what a wonderful post Lynn - so much going on in your life - congrats on show and sale - loved the photos of the countryside - aren't cows just the funniest animals :)

  3. YESSSSSUH! It appears that you have caught up to your good ... I (since I've known you as a blog pal) never doubted that you would succeed in a commercial way, so hoorah for the universe's impeccable timing and your sales* ... very affirming indeed Lynn, and much deserved.

    You've had a full schedule ... and just completed so many pieces ... and attended to being a no-doubt great wife and mother ... wowee! that's a lot going on. Hopefully now you can take some nice deep breaths and admire your laurels. Soak in this amazing success you are having my friend. :D

    *First peek on the Red painting ... it looks amazing ... just was looking at Rothko pieces in calendar form. Color-ful like yours: color + full = conversation.

  4. Great news and gorgeous art! *applauds*

  5. Great! Always wonderful to sell work. Commissions are always a challenge for me, I don't really do them anymore, but glad yours worked out well?

  6. How wonderful to start outside and then to come into your studio and it seems as if a little of outside came with you... the influence of nature is very strong in your work.

  7. Thank you, Carrie. And I love your idea of showing the collages in a Victorian building. (That's something I miss. In Toronto there are neighborhoods filled with Victorian homes - we lived in one from 1885 just before moving to Munich.) Some dark, satiny, gas-lit, angular Victorian room would be ideal!

    Cows can say so much with a look, or a flick of the tail, can't they, Jeane. Thanks for your comment!

    Thanks so much, Jan. It was a huge thing to get this break. My husband and I are both freelance (he's a singer/voice teacher) which, while rewarding artistically, can be more than a little stressful in other departments. It's always good to have that affirmation.

    Thank you, Donna!

    Thanks, Valerianna. I was lucky that mine worked out well (they being relatives of my husband and very lovely and open people made it somewhat easier). There has been talk on various blogs about commissions - Terri Windling's and Rima Stains' posts on the topic you've probably read. It's not something I'd want to do as a rule - and I can imagine how easily things could go awry. The challenge was interesting, and knowing the people helped, but I can see how the stress of a commission could stifle artistic expression and freedom; to be always looking over ones shoulder as one creates. An interesting topic.

    Thanks, Donna, I'm always pleased to bring a bit of the outside in. I'm just going to need more shelves if I'm to continue doing it in such a literal way!

  8. Exhibitions in Clinics are always great, as you get lots of viewers and potential buyers - especially in Munich. Doctors' surgeries are excellent, too. I sold quite a few pictures like that when I lived in Munich.
    Your collages are lovely. I'm sure they would sell well where you live, and you certainly would find more commissions if you'd like.
    Thank you so much for your nice comments about my work, Lynn. I'm quite inspired at the moment and must benefit of it...

  9. You're right, Sue, clinics and doctors' surgeries are a great way to go in Munich. I was surprised how few small galleries there are here, and how there are not so many restaurants and cafes which display work (as was the case in Toronto), but there are so many clinics and surgeries which hang works. It's a great idea - good for the artist, and it's nice to have original art on the wall, rather than the usual posters.

  10. Beautiful work Lynn! Your collages just get more and more gorgeous every time I pop by :)

  11. Love the new writing room. I could feel the panic as you had the news, the days fly by, time racing as you have so much to do. It is a wonderful feeling of achievement to see all your work together in one place, congratulations on the exhibition and enjoy it.
    Hope you get to use the wellies soon. Looking forward to seeing the giant paintings.

  12. Thank you, Milly! It's nice to have it all done. I could use a bit of a hike in my wellies to that writing room for a bit of breathing time now.