I was fortunate enough recently to take a workshop conducted by nationally known mixed media artist Lynne Whipple. Lynne and her husband (an outstanding artist in his own right) held a collage workshop in downtown Ann Arbor last week hosted by Found (a wonderful little shop in Kerrytown which specializes in art and found objects just waiting to be turned into art).
My art journey in recent years began with collage and eventually evolved into assemblage. I signed up for the workshop in an attempt to return to my roots. I wanted to revisit the techniques I had used in early journals and collage efforts. This is a particularly turbulent time in my life as my son is shortly getting married and I have been hip deep in launching my art business. I thought that a lovely collage course taught on a sunny Saturday afternoon in one of my favorite cities would be soothing for my stressed soul, a balm to my raw emotions sorta speak.......
Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. Ms. Whipple's techniques along with the persistence of her talented husband had me so on edge by noon, that I nearly use the lunch break to jump in my car and go home!
The problem? The techniques being taught to me were so far out of my comfort zone, that I became increasingly agitated. I had a beautiful collage assembled on canvas. It was well composed, interesting, and whimsical. In short, it was exactly like many other pieces I have made over the years. Once I had completed it, the peace and calm I had achieved while pulling it together was instantly shattered. John Whipple came to my table and instructed me to edit my collage by painting over most of it with white paint! What? Cover my collage?? He then took particular interest in me as he sensed my reluctance to "let go" of the tried and true. Each time I tried something new at his insistence, he would come over and challenge me to do something else. A soothing balm? not even close! But, a wonderful, frightening, agitating, exhilarating experience? Absolutely! Thank you Lynne and John!