contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Destination Series #11, By Donna Watson

By Laura Lein-Svencner
I write this post with dried white gesso on my finger tips. This week has been life, interrupted. Kurt had a foot surgery (and is doing fine, thank you), which has affected a real change in our routine. Which affects my art creating patterns. Which has been like being in another world – you know the one – ginger ale and ice packs, crutches and needing to watch movies. More than we watch typically by far. The best one to date has been Australia, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
So this evening, an unusual time for me to be in the studio, I was able to spend some time in my creative space. I have felt the sense of completion from the Bone Prayers, and was anticipating starting in a slightly different direction. But I have been out of the studio long enough that I have lost my place, so to speak. I know where I intended to go, but I’ve lost my flow.
So to get back into my groove I decided to make myself a painting for our mantel. I’m feeling the need for a change. I love homes that are decorated with great arty objects and arrangements. I looked at one of my decorating books, got some ideas and went for it. I’ll probably finish it tomorrow, and I’ll show it to you.
But it is time to get going with a new series. I have ideas. So I applied gesso to one of the big (for me anyway) panels, the ones that are 36 inches by 36 inches. That is a nice amount of space to work in. And I added a second coat of gesso to some other panels. That isn’t very exciting, but what happens for me when I do the repetitive work of brushing on gesso is that I realize I am in a state of incubation. The ripening kind. I can feel the anticipation as I lay the groundwork, and I think about what is to come.
This week the much anticipated collages from the International Collage Exchange arrived in my mail box. So I’m sharing a couple with you here. They were both a testimony to presentation – finished edges, crisp white paper support and care from the artist. One is by my friend Donna Watson, and one is from a collage artist whose work I enjoy, Laura Lein-Svencner.


  1. Hi Leslie,

    I hope you are bursting with creativity today and I look forward to seeing your mantle painting.

    I like the colour in Laura's piece very much. How big are these works?

  2. it is hard to fall back into step the longer you're away...hope you find your groove again!
    Luck with the Mr's foot. Also, like the greener artwork, especilly this time of year.

  3. Incubation is a perpetual state for most artists. I think we all have our own way of supporting it. Even when I'm not physically manipulating materials I feel like I am "doing my work". Reading art books in the morning with the sun streaming into the room puts me in a similar spot.

    I admire that you create on such a consistent basis. I've watched the development of the bone prayer paintings with great interest. They please me in every way. I've not been commenting on them because I like to see a series as it weaves its way to completion.

    Thanks for sharing the work you received from the International Collage Exchange. I am familiar with Donna's work and I have a link to Donna on my site. I shall explore Laura further.

    I'm off to my summer home (it's finally a sunny day) to paint for four days and enter an "internet free zone"and withdrawal from said activity.

  4. I'm glad Kurt is doing well and that you've had time to go into your studio. Getting back into the flow can be quite difficult but I've no doubt you will be creating beauty on the birch panels soon. I have a feeling that once you go "big" you won't want to work small again.
    I love Laura Lein-Svencner's collage.

  5. Lucky girl to receive these collages from such wonderful artists. Laura received one of yours, I believe, according to her blog. I hope Kurt is up and around sooon and I, too, look forward to seeing your mantle painting.

  6. sounds like you are on the brink of something new. Looking fwd to seeing your next series.

  7. Wonderful collages here Leslie...I say that allot while visiting you, don't I :)
    Glad things are settling down and you are back in the studio and thinking of a new "series".

  8. glad to hear Kurt is doing well after his surgery - lovely collages and I see you have a new blog for your life coaching - a very busy woman you are!

  9. Love the concept of the incubation of an idea or an artwork. Those two collages you received are really wonderful. Great exchange.

  10. I am just catching up on your blog and seeing what you have been up to. Your wrok is of such a high standard and exactly to my taste that I am finding it hard to find new words of praise!

  11. These are great pieces Leslie.


  12. Incubation is good and beginning is to the middle and end...I await the photos of this large piece...already loved!
    I see you have launched your website on coaching...Congratulations Leslie!

  13. It is a good thing to be able to distinguish an incubation period from a fallow time. For some artists, it is a stressful time when one is not working on a project to completion. Enjoy the incubation. I'm sure something fantastic will come from it.

  14. Hi Leslie,
    I have not been good at blog commenting lately or abstract work either but I intend to change that this weeks, as things have gone back to normal after the flu outbreak. I'm glad to hear your husband is doing well and I am sure that for you, a time away from art does not affect your incredible art at all. The work done of the Bone Prayer is fascinating and I looking forward to seeing and reading your blog more frequently.

  15. Art as alchemical process, beginning with incubation then all the stages until you hit gold. You've done it with Bones, no doubt more is on its way!

  16. beautiful series. and i'm curious to see your next works, after the bone prayer paintings. incubation is good. have you ever read some of the texts by Lygia Clark? she is such a great Brazilian artist. she speaks a lot about the making process, the birth and re-birth.

  17. I hope your husband is doing better, and how exciting to start a new series... I love the two art pieces you shared and thanks so much for the links! Roxanne

  18. Can't wait to see the piece - and best wishes to Kurt. Foot surgery - ugh - been there...

  19. hi....just got back to the computer, home from the outer banks and the "northeastern" that blew in and changed things (like my expectations)..ha.

    i appreciate the way you share your thoughts on incubation, repeated gessoing.,,,process. gives me a boost back up into my little studio space again!!
    great idea to look at some images, and paint for your mantle!! kurt's lucky to have you give such time with him, movies and all. best to you both, and i look forward to seeing what you "HATCH" on that gesso!!


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