Merriam Frank

Cut & Paste Artist


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practice rounds…

So holy moly, having an X-acto knife really changes the name of the collage game! There are NO limits to the detail work you can do with an X-acto knife. It’s actually pretty intimidating. I’m calling all my first (post-x-acto-knife) collages “practice rounds” because that’s really what they amount to! I’ve just been spending time getting used to handling the knife and seeing the clippings in all new ways… I go back & forth between being REALLY excited because of how much detail I can cut out now and being really discouraged because of how much detail I can cut out now… haha!

Practice round #1: “It Girl”

IT Girl

“It Girl”

I’m not really a big fan of this one, but it has some moments that I like…

007

005

Practice round #2: “Studious”

Study

“Studious”

…which I need to take a little poll on! I actually built this one oriented horizontally, like this:

Study

“Studious”

After it was finished, I turned it up vertically & decided that I really liked it that way, too!

What do you think? Do you prefer it oriented vertically or horizontally?

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A designated “studio space” & a collage in progress…

I don’t have a finished piece to share today because I spent most of my spare time this past week working on a collage space rather than a collage itself! It felt a little bit like procrastination, circling around the new ideas & tools I needed to start on instead of actually – you know – starting on them – but at the same time it needed to be done! Although my sweet husband hadn’t complained one bit, I was starting to feel apologetic about the stacks of magazines & clippings on our dining room table, coffee table, bookshelf, and end tables downstairs…  Especially considering the fact that there was an entire spare bedroom upstairs with a spare dining room size table in it for my use if I would only sort through all of the junk that had accumulated on it and then move my stacks upstairs!

So I did, & I LOVE it. I now have my stacks of magazines and mat boards all in one place, my clippings somewhat organized, and a nice, roomy surface area to work on – with the best part being, I can leave it all spread out and just close the door to the room to keep it safe from my cats! (Paper scraps are some of their favorite things, too!)

my little "studio" corner...

my little “studio” corner by lamplight…

The framed photo you can see on the stack of mat boards if of me as a little girl wearing one of my grandpa's undershirts as a smock & painting outside on their patio. :)

The framed photo you can see on the stack of mat boards is of me as a little girl wearing one of my grandpa’s undershirts as a smock & painting outside on their patio. :)

It’s so “my happy place” I actually have a picture of it as my phone background right now.

So after all that sorting & shifting around, I didn’t manage to create a finished piece, but I thought I’d share my (in-progress!) (rough!) first attempt at working with 2 new approaches: leaving blank space, and using markers to interact with the clippings and between the clippings/blank spaces…

securedownload2

As you can see – rough! Not much of this is even glued down and I haven’t gone back over any of my marks for precision. (This is only a cell phone pic, too.) But I was excited to already begin seeing the possibilities! Though gosh, blank space opens up a whole new world of indecision for me. Typically for me a piece is finished when the entire surface is covered & I like the arrangement. Blank space means I have to decide when a piece is finished! SO much harder!

I’m curious, where do you do most of your art work? Do you have a designated area or do you shuffle supplies around from place to place like I was doing?


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ROAR!

I’ve got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancin’ through the fire, cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me…

ROAR

ROAR

Here, finally, is “ROAR”! The first in a pop art series, this piece is 100% inspired by Katy Perry. It’s bright, loud, colorful, and fun! I may or may not have been listening to the song “Roar” on repeat almost the entire time I put it together…

It was a complete departure from my norm, since usually I like to work with little scenes and whole components (recognizable objects)… but for this, I let anything that was animal print, patterned, brightly colored, or all 3 catch my eye! Then, with just a few exceptions, I forced shapes onto the scraps: mostly triangles and hearts.

ROAR, framed

ROAR, framed

If you feel at all like confetti exploded in your face while you’re looking at, well… good!

I mentioned in my last post that when my dad visited us recently, he and I got into all manner of art-related discussions! If there is such a thing as a “former artist” then my dad is one. It’s been decades since he was able to give his artistic tendencies any time worth mentioning, but he has the born talent, education, and even professional experience, though from long ago. He looked over all of my collage efforts with me and we talked about techniques & ideas & multi-media possibilities… He introduced me to some new tools and even outfitted me with a few of them!

But probably the most valuable conversation we had was the one about loosening up. trying new things. not being afraid to try and fail because there really is no wrong or right there’s just trying and liking or trying and not liking so you try again and again and again and again until you do something that you like…

So that’s where I’m headed next! Opening myself up to the new ideas he gave me and trying out the new tools and techniques until I figure out how they fit in for me, with what I do already know I like: magazine pages.


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Fall’13(2)!

Ta-da! Here’s the whole collage from which the 2 corner sneak peeks in the post below were taken…

Fall'13(2)

Fall’13(2)

As you can see, I’m still really digging warm gold, brown, & red colors right now…  From my perspective, this piece turned out more architectural than instinctual in its overall design. It was a fun change for me to play with squares and circles and color blocks!

Fall'13(2)

Fall’13(2)

[Apologies to the lady with the teacup for putting her lips in the saucer… I’m sure it makes it hard to sip, but at least her lipstick will stay perfect, right?]

[Also: I love the tree growing out of the couple’s clasped hands. I imagine their relationship growing & blossoming out of maybe a first dance? Maybe a family tree? ]

Fall'13(2), framed

Fall’13(2), framed

This spot in my house where I take pictures is right by a window, which is great for the natural light, but sometimes is a challenge with the glare. I should have waited for a less-bright day, but instead I tried a few angles that didn’t reflect the blinds and ended up loving this one below!

Fall'13(2), framed

Fall’13(2), framed

I know I’ve been yammering on about fall for a couple of posts in a row, but I’m actually taking a break from it to start on a pop art series that’s been on my mind. I shared a glimpse of bright clippings on Instagram last night…

#colorexplosion

#colorexplosion

I’m almost finished with it & can’t wait to share! It’s quite a change from what I’ve been doing, but it definitely fits with its inspiration… [Hint: ROAR!]

[ ::edit:: It’s now Tuesday, which is rapidly becoming my favorite day of the blog-week, thanks to Artsyville’s Glue it Tuesday feature!!! I love having visitors & going to look at all of the other artsy-glue-blogs. ]


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fall daydreams & sneak peeks…

Ok, I’m totally just daydreaming this fall thing now. True to form, Louisiana weather is being contrary… the so-called cold snap might have left us with mercifully lower-than-summer temperatures but with the humidity hanging out at 96% there is nothing “crisp” about the cool! I’m still trying hard, though. I have yummy fall scents in our scented-wax-warmer (“crackling fire” and “candy apple” make a magical combination), all the fall & Halloween decorations out, and all my favorite autumn music loaded in my stereo. Does anyone else do that? Have certain artists you listen to more at certain times of year? Christmas is an obvious season for music, but for me fall is just as strong an influence. The second that my soul gets an inkling of autumn (you know the one I mean? The tiny little throb of nostalgia, the tender pang of restored wonder at the world around you? Maybe it’s just me, but I find fall so much more rejuvenating than spring…) – I start listening to my boys, as I affectionately call them, pretty much exclusively. James Taylor, Paul Simon, and Rod Stewart. Maybe it’s their warm voices? I listen to them all year long, but during the autumn it’s A Thing. James, Paul, and Rod, with sides of The Shins, The Format, and Five for Fighting.

With their help, I’ve almost finished another fall collage despite the lack of ideal fall weather! It needs a top coat & framing, but here are 2 sneak peek corner shots from Instagram:

fall2preview1          fall2preview2

Favorite elements are the architectural squares & circles in the left picture and the sultry eye under the tree branch in the right one. Plus “Great Scott” just makes me giggle thanks to the Back to the Future movies.

Fun fact: I include an ‘S’ or a ‘W’ in every composition. Sometimes they’re obvious & sometimes they’re hidden. You can see the ‘S’ in these sneak peeks! Do you see it? It’s not the S of GREAT SCOTT, either.


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Fall’13(1)

I’m so in love with this piece! I was tempted to leave it hanging on my own wall.

fall'13(1)

Fall’13(1)

It came out exactly like I wanted it to (after many, many rearrangements): warm & rich & completely fall without actually having a single pumpkin or leaf on it!

I die for: that hand on the tree holding up an end of the banner, the gold circled medallions, the Kerouac excerpt (“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved…”), the window with curtains…….. oh all of it, really.

fall'13(1)

Fall’13(1)

I enjoy the process of collaging so much. It’s like a puzzle, only you don’t actually know what it’s supposed to look like in the end and your pieces aren’t pre-cut. I can get lost in my own world for hours as I try to figure out where the pieces want to go to make a beautiful whole. When they don’t fit or work right, you just know, and you can’t force it anymore than you can force mismatched puzzle pieces together. The flip side is that when it DOES finally come together, you know, & it’s such a good feeling.

fall'13(1), framed

Fall’13(1), framed

[ Available at: www.etsy.com/shop/merriamfrank ]

P.S. Are you on Instagram? If you are, find & follow me! I finally listened to my sister & signed up: username “merriamfrank” (of course!) I’m absolutely loving it. You’ll get lots of “#behindthescenes” and “#artinprogress” sneak peeks! And cat pictures. But I’ll try to keep a handle on those.


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E812

E812

E812

E812 is another piece that I had to put away in frustration & pull out again later. Poor E812! I’ve restricted myself to one magazine & one magazine only for each piece in this first series, so at a certain point I’m just stuck & HAVE to make it work, which is exactly why I set the limit in the first place. I finally glued this one down, but I both like & dislike it. Then again, every time I decide I don’t like it, it pulls me back. It’s got a certain something.

E812

E812

I do love the faceless person under the umbrella. Whoever they are, I fought for them & they’re the reason this piece reached any state of finished. (I couldn’t scrap the piece entirely because I had that much and couldn’t let it go!)

E812, framed

E812, framed

[ For sale at http://www.etsy.com/shop/merriamfrank ]

I’m excited to have finished my first challenge (make 5, each from only 1 magazine, no hunting for perfect scraps elsewhere)… it was good exercise! But I’m even more excited to begin my next series – I’ve got ideas to last me for awhile!


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V612

V612

V612

As is often the case with anything that takes extra effort, this piece has ended up strangely dear to me. It’s actually the first magazine I started cutting (for the “make 5 and open an Etsy shop” project) and tried to start arranging, but it defied me at every attempt to arrange into a cohesive whole. I finally swept all the pieces into a baggie and put it away to marinate. A few successful pieces later, I went back to it! Again it wasn’t easy, but this time I was able to find something to pull out.

V612

V612

I can’t really explain this one. It’s more full of edges than I usually allow and it doesn’t invoke a specific mood or even have an obvious color scheme, but it still just pleases me to look at it. At the end of the day, that’s my ultimate goal. Do I like to look at it? Yes? Well alright then. Maybe someone else will, too!

V612

V612, framed

[ For sale at http://www.etsy.com/shop/merriamfrank ]


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V512

I was excited about this one as soon as I began to get a sense of where it was going! It turned out just oozing a darkly romantic kind of glamour that says roaring 20s to me.

V512

V512

It has that sense of urgency to hurry up & be young and daring before everything fades. …it’s never too late.

V512

V512

V512, framed

V512, framed

[ For sale at http://www.etsy.com/shop/merriamfrank ]


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E1211

Piece #2 proves right away how very different each one turns out from the others! No soft or serene pinks or blues here…

E1211

E1211

This one gave me a couple of fits before it would begin working for me! It actually started out horizontal, but I finally had to scrap it, turn it upright & try again. The only thing that is the same from the first try is the lion’s face with the female eyelashes & the dynamic between him and the half a girl/half a rose looking towards him. It was very “and so the lion fell in love with the lamb…” to me and I liked it very much. I also love all of the deep, jewel-tone colors (how appropriate to find text that said “living color”!) and the flock of tiny bows all over the piece.

E1211

E1211

E1211, framed

E1211, framed

[ For sale at http://www.etsy.com/shop/merriamfrank ]