artlab: print a bouquet
Here is one of my favorite sentences: It’s summer. It’s the season of sun, flowers, long days outside, and swimming, swimming, swimming. And here in Maine, due to the short season and the stark contrast with the cold, long, icy winter, every summery thing seems to do its thing more vividly, more brilliantly, with more sparkle, more color, and more warmth. This expansive, radiant, summery spirit was in full form yesterday in the ArtLab at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, on what easily felt like the hottest day of the year.
The tables in the ArtLab surrounded pedestals with bouquets of flowers I had picked from my garden that morning.
The front table was set with: paper, pencils, paint, scissors, stamps that could be used to create petals, strips of cardboard to print stems, and cool, patterned papers that would be, at the very end, cut and collaged onto the work as a vase.
Because of the basic premise of ArtLab for All Ages workshops, there are a number of things that always occur : people of all ages work alone,
grandparents work side-by-side or collaboratively with their grandchildren,
people approach the project in their own way.
As with this table of boys, who wanted to focus not on printing and collaging,
but on drawing and painting…and with great care and sensitivity, it must be said. Below are a few of the works that the boys created. Note the added signatures on the bottom two, and the addition of the title on the work on the bottom right: “Plants of No Color.”
People will come into the ArtLab, and without much ado, find their space, both in the room and in their work.
But there is something else that happens in a community art-making environment. It’s beyond the individual, but a result of individual experiments and discoveries. These “happy accidents” can electrify the room. We don’t work in silence. So when some interesting experimentation and decision-making happens, it’s a moment to (with permission from the creator), hold the work up and share it with the group. As with this boy’s work below, where he accidentally dropped the beige piece of paper he had cut for a vase into some splotches of paint, and then decided he liked those marks enough to add a few more splotches to the rest of the piece.
This kind of sharing can be a catalyst. It opens doors, allowing everyone to become freer in their work.
Suddenly splotches and bigger brushstrokes appear around the room…
which leads to more and more expressive mark-making, collaging, and titling of works…
By the end of the workshop, each person had created more than one piece, and the collective works were a reflection of a room full of happy accidents, doors opened, and the merging of the individual with the collective consciousness. “Summer Time It Is.”