By now, you know what happens when a collage sits - unsold - in my studio for a while. Yep. I dive back into it. In this case, the collage is "Over the Summer Sea," above. It's an early piece, which means it's about 2.5 years old. Yeah, ancient by my standards. It was made when I was experimenting with a long, narrow, non-narrative form.
Well, last week I came across a few engravings of bathing "dresses" while scouring the fashion files for another collage. I looked up from the work table, caught sight of "Over the Summer Sea" and decided it needed a lift via some people.
After removing it from the frame, I cut out and tested the group above from an 1888 issue of The Delineator magazine. They felt too big.
So, I cut out another group from an 1868 issue of Godey's Lady's Book. Though the group is larger in numbers, it's smaller in height and by turning the collage on its side, they were a perfect fit.
I liked the way the first group extended over the purple backing board and onto the creamy front mat, and decided to have this group do the same. After painting them with markers (Copic Sketch, Prismacolor, Zig Photo Twin), shells were added as bathing caps. Nothing was glued down at this point.
The shells were repositioned, colored and another one added - behind the second woman on the right - as a fan. Still unsure of the direction, I let it sit overnight. In the morning, I looked at the photos again on my computer, and it struck me that in the original layout with the larger figures, it seemed as though they were standing on a shell-strewn beach and that the shell at the top was like the sun.
So, yes, it was back to the original group. I colored them, added shell hats and, this time, glued it all down. Um. I think it's done ... though there is a cool octopus I cut out, too.