yes, the frigging houseguest from hell is back, and right in the middle of cutting the collage into strips. so jim and i moved the whole shebang upstairs into the spare bedroom, because i can’t go into the studio when he’s here. not only does he mess up my studio something terrible, but i have a pheromone problem with the man, and can’t stand to be in the same room.
before i came upstairs, i started cutting the collage apart using a mat knife. this was very difficult. the mat knife had to go thru a sheet of muslin (piece o’cake) and a layer, or two, of fabric glued down with gel medium (if only i’d known how hard it was going to be). i could cut maybe 4 strips before the knife became too dull and i’d had to switch out the blade. my poor wrists, already damaged from having to lug overweight luggage thru the airport in march (and it’s the middle of june now).
anyway, you can see in the picture above where i’ve got the collage laid out on the floor to the left, and the background canvas is up on the table getting the seams glued down into their final position.
all this went upstairs with me. you should have seen the precautions we took in order not to disturb the cut strips. i just couldn’t imagine trying to put them together again should they have become disordered. fortunately, a layer of plastic underneath and 2 sheets of heavy duty cardboard underneath worked well enough.
here you can see the (dramatically overexposed) strips of cut fabric as i laid them out on the floor, on top of the plastic sheet that served as a template. i left a long strip of muslin for a tail; why i couldn’t have told you at the time. i wasn’t concerned with matching them up.
i noticed right away that the collage seemed to be much bigger than the canvas backing, even tho i used the template drawn from the background to design the collage with. you’d think it’d be the same size. but especially when i cut it up, it turned out much bigger. which is going to be a real problem when i go to stick the strips down on the canvas.
that’s my problem. whenever i do a painting, i go to the edge of the paper and over, never minding the fact that i have to leave a margin so i can frame the thing. i just can’t resist.
i finally reached the end of cutting the collage into strips. i figured out right away that i couldn’t rip the mat knife thru it face up, because of all the folds and crinkles of fabric on the face of it. so i turned the whole thing over and sliced thru it with the mat knife. well, hacked thru it. it was so difficult to do. it took so long. my wrist hurt so bad. so finally i tried a pair of kitchen scissors (no way was i going to use my good fabric scissors, not with gel medium to cut thru – my mom taught me that. good shears are for fabric and hair, and never to be used for paper or anything else.
it was very problematic cutting thru the collage. the fabric kept coming away from the muslin, even tho it had been glued down with gel medium. so i had all sorts of uneven cuts, and with that knife, having to hack and hack and hack at any doubled-up fabric areas, i cut some pieces into shreds trying to get it separated. it was very frustrating.
even with the scissors, when i got to the knit fabric that made up the furze bushes, with the lace overlay and the thick coat of indian yellow paint on top, i still had to start it with the mat knife, and once i was almost thru the thickness, then go in with the scissors and finish the job. whew.
when i was all done cutting the thing to pieces, i went and took a pencil and numbered each strip along that long tail end i’d left, not knowing why. this was in case the cat and dog had a fight on top of my laid out strips on the floor, at least i cold put everything back together again without driving myself crazy. i cut 103 strips. argh.
the next step was to lay out the background canvas, which of course i had to iron first. i’d already traced the outline of the template onto the fabric with chalk. this means i’m going to have to remove the chalk somehow before i glue the strips down, but i’ll burn that bridge when i come to it.
i took every third or fourth strip, starting with the hotel, which only occurs as a white dab of paint in the middle ground. i laid them out and then had a look. and it doesn’t read this way. there are too few strips of collage over the background canvas, and it’s impossible to tell what the subject is. oops.
so then i added more strips. now it reads okay, but i can’t see the background canvas, and that was the whole point of cutting it into strips.
what now? should i cut the strips down, make them skinnier so they look more like rain? should i take a third of them back off and make the read more obscure but preserve more of the canvas?
i’ll decide tomorrow.