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I have no earthly idea what my blog will be about. Obviously, I hope to write about my collages and art work, but I write just as I do art...free from and spontaneous. It I set out to do something a particular way, I always get it wrong. I've found that being intuitive is what works for me. So, that's the way I 'm going to approach this blog. Some days I'll talk about my collages and other days I'll probably just ramble on about whatever strikes my fancy. 

 

I live in Phoenix and am married to a man named Ray. We live in the center of this big city in an old Spanish style house that's filled with our collections that we have gathered over a lifetime. Sometimes the house gets a bit overcrowded and the collections need to be sorted and curated. I've been doing that the past few weeks. I'm a huge fan of thrifting and have been for most of my life. Needless to say, I've had some great finds. I've also purchased stuff that I look at in disbelief and and cannot imagine what possessed me to buy that particular thing. Those were the things I tossed out during my recent "decluttering" mania. I will never be a minimalist but I don't want to be a hoarder either. I try to strike a balance. 

 

Ray and I are both going to turn 65 next month. I cannot quite fathom that I'm the age of someone's grandmother. I certainly don't dress like my mother or grandmother did at the same age. Because we are semi-retired and because Phoenix is pretty laid back, I have been able to return to my old hippie look of my youth. When I was teaching, I thought I should look somewhat professional. Now I am freed from that need and I have grown my hair out and wear it in a long braid. My uniform consists of tee shirts, yoga pants and old jeans. I wear sandals most of the year (it gets really hot here) and boots when it's cooler. I wear lots of silver jewelry and long dangly earrings. 

 

Moving to Phoenix from East Texas seventeen years ago was a sea change. I moved here to marry Ray and I gave up teaching. I had lived in a small East Texas town and it was a place where everyone knew everyone else. That has its good and its bad points. In Phoenix, I really felt free to be the person I felt inside. I love my husband and I love the southwest. 

 

The move from the pine forests to the desert has had a major change on my aesthetics. Different colors appeal to me now. I like to surround myself with turquoise and orange and, of course, my basic black. The light is different here as well. In the piney woods, light was diffused through many trees. Here, trees are at a minimum and our yard has fig trees and orange trees. Across the street are towering palm trees. My environment is so different from what I spent 47 years of my life in! I loved the flowers and hills of East Texas and still do. But, I think you can love two places equally. 

 

I began doing my collages about 3 years ago. I had suffered from one of the longest creative blocks known to man. I was all about art until my mid-30's. Then, the necessity of making a living came to overshadow art and I truly believed I would never return to that love of mine. Several years ago I began to make altered books. Mine weren't cutesy or prim and proper (though there is a place for that)..they were a bit dark and satirical and full of black humor. From doing these altered books, just for myself, I began making collages and pasting them to 8-1/2 x 11 sheets of cardstock. This medium worked perfectly for me. It was intuitive, spontaneous and seemed to flow easily. As a painter, I had been very slow. I labored over every little brush stroke. I worried endlessly about what my painting "said" and how others would view it. My collages, however, have freed me from all that self-critical chatter in my brain. 

 

In my late 20s and early 30s I apprenticed with a master artist who had once painted landscapes, portraits, old houses and old barns. When I met him, he was in the midst of a change in attitude and style. He was becoming the surrealist that he had always been deep inside. Certainly, his surrealistic works influenced me. I read Jung and all the books about surrealism and dada. I delved heavily into the philosophy of art. But,I was still unsatisfied with my work. I think that I hadn't lived enough to have a set of symbols that spoke for me and to me. Now, with age, I have so much more to draw on than I did as a pigtailed young woman in overalls.