The last project for my collage workshop was to incorporate handrwriting:
I have just a meager stash of collage materials (I will never quit you, Brown Paper), but had a surprising collection of handwriting samples. In the past I would have been reluctant to use them, though that feels completely silly to admit... Why get protective and hoard-y about bits of paper? They're speciaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllll.
But this turned out to be the funnest assigment for me: I was protective about nothing. In fact, if there was a bit that I liked too much and was trying to work the entire composition around, I deliberately covered it up.
That sounds kind of silly, too. WHY AM I SO PROTECTIVE ABOUT PAPER.
But every time I covered up something I thought defined and anchored the whole piece, the whole piece got better. Like Annie Dillard says, sometimes you have to take out a wall. Sometimes it is the bearing wall.
These quick little pieces are a good place for me to practice this.
So many of my paintings have suffered because I was protecting them -- couldn't push them past that layer that was supposed to be just a warm-up layer but had some interesting little bit that I got weirdly attached to and wouldn't want to cover up.
But here, all the truly interesting bits happened in the covering up... I hope that lesson translates from paper to paint.