contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Creative Halloween Treats

This collage is 6 inches by 6 inches on paper. It includes papers I have prepared and a few snippets of found marks from the back of an old black and white photograph. As of yet it is still untitled. There is something cozy about making small collage in the evenings. And sooner than you think it will be time for the International Collage Exchange, an event in which I enjoy participating.

Today in the studio I was seized with some sort of energy and began to paint with my bare hands on a large birch panel. I had done a bit of that in my last piece, but today I painted and painted with the tips of my fingers, the palm of my hand and with gesture. It was fun, and resulted in a more organic set of marks. It seemed to me the marks I was making were more powerful than marks I have made in other ways. I’m curious to see how I feel about the piece when I go see it again tomorrow. I have also been marking on collage papers, some of which you see in the side bar.

I have always been the kind of person who prefers a treat to a trick. Here are a few blog treats you might enjoy.

As a visual treat I invite you to see the non-objective paintings and prints of Cheryl Taves, an artist from British Columbia, Canada. Her work can be seen here .

Here are some encaustic pieces I found interesting by Caite Dheere.

Annie Dillard is a compelling writer, as you know. If you wonder what it might be like to take a writing class taught by Annie you may enjoy reading this account of just such a class. The best parts are towards the last half of this essay. “You are the only one of you, she said of it. Your unique perspective, at this time, in our age, whether it’s on Tunis or the trees outside your window, is what matters. Don’t worry about being original, she said dismissively. Yes, everything’s been written, but also, the thing you want to write, before you wrote it, was impossible to write. Otherwise it would already exist. You writing it makes it possible.”

If you like poetry and the writing life you might like this blog by Rob Mclennan full of interviews of poets and writers. The most recent interview is of Poet Joe Rosenblatt. He said of his process “A poem might begin with a fragment, a musical line running through my upper story, and then this fragment germinates and tries to link itself up with other fragments and word linkages and then slowly ever so slowly a coherent pattern emerges on the page. The poem writes the poet, not the converse. It is a strange birthing process.”


  1. Many Oohs and Aahs starting with your new collage (which delights me) and on to the links (Cheryl Taves work is fantastic) and then exploring all the delectable morsals in your sidebar.I've been without a computer for several days so your blog has been a welcome feast back into the blogworld. I've caught some of that energy that seized you in the studio .... Thanks Leslie. You inspire me!

  2. I love your header! it's really wonderful - so much to take in in this post - I also love your description of how you worked today - nothing held back - will check out the links - this is a really nice piece - easy on the eye - man your sidebar is full of inspiration :)

  3. Leslie, this I think without a doubt, this is my favorite post and collage since I have been following you. A grandiose treat indeed Thank you.

    Have a great Sunday,

  4. I am full of admiration for your collage, it conveys a great deal of emotion in me with the very minimum of marks, I also love the small snippets in your sidebar. Thank you also for the very interesting links which I will peruse more closely during the day. What a great way to spend Sunday.

  5. You certainly have given us a treat with this post. Many artists work directly with their hands and find it produces more spontaneous work. See my Elena Popova post I've watched Elena work and it's sometimes like conducting a symphony and other times caressing.

    Thanks for bring me two new artists (and Canadian) that I didn't know. I like the work of both for very different reasons.

  6. beautiful collage; I tried to bring it up bigger to get a better look. It's the little details that make the mouth water!

  7. quite lovely. maybe a dumb question, but you have a lot of white in yr collages. do you gesso or white paint over the papers?

    I did the international collage thing once w/Dale. It's fun.

    thanks for the links. I'll check them out.

    oooh, a lovely gift for Mary Anne

  8. Leslie, you probably don't have any idea how much I look forward to your blog posts. First, there's the art. Always inspiring, amazing, wonderful. Then there are your words: thoughtful, beautiful, perfect. And today, some new artists' links to keep and enjoy. Could you post more often?

  9. Loved your treats, a great idea! My daughter lives in Victoria, BC (so far away from me), I will checkout Cheryl Taves the next time I visit. Thanks.

  10. All wrapped into one...great piece, sidebar and links...thank you for such a delicious treat!

  11. Leslie, beautiful collage with this post, and thank you so much for the inspiring links. I've just finished reading Alexander Chee's piece, and it brought back memories of wanting to be a writer. There are some excellent lessons to be learned in that piece. It made me want to write something again.
    Caite Dheere's encaustic work is right up my alley too!

  12. I love this piece! It reminds me of some type of "magical writing", and I am trying VERY hard to decypher the meaning!

  13. A great piece of art, as always - I'm interested to see the piece done "by hand". Sort of miss getting my hands dirty like that with my photography!

    Thanks for posting the links to the other artists - I always like seeing who the artists I admire are admiring.

  14. Leslie, I also enjoy just using my hands, with no intermediary tools. I try to remember to wear gloves, but sometimes my hands just jump in of their own volition! You could pick me out in any lineup: I'm the one with paint under my fingernails, on my cuticles, smeared on my elbows, dabbed on my pants . . . probably my forehead as well, but (mercifully) I can't see it.

  15. A very exciting, Asian feel to me, with the black marks/gestures.
    A lot of interest, that holds me!
    Thanks for the links,,,I'll be checking them out as I have time.
    A truly delicious treat, thank you!

  16. I like the paintings by Cheryl Taves - wil be back there.

    your small collage is a gem - your work dances - I know I am being redundant in this comment, but there is joy and freedom in your work and still it all works without being "unruly." Balanced it.

    Thanks for all your kind comments....regards.

  17. Thank you for the treats, including the lovely collage and the description of the fun childlike feeling as you describe painting with your hands.
    Happy painting and reading to you!

  18. Hi Leslie,

    Thanks for the interesting list of goodies. I've snatched at look at them and liked the colour in Cheryl's work and the delicacy of Caite's. I would like to read some of Rosenblatt's poetry to see just what his work is like; the idea of his angels is intriguing. And, though I couldn't read the whole piece, I enjoyed flipping through the essay on working with Annie Dillard. I must learn to find the correct verbs when I write!

  19. I can just feel your energy and passion for life and art as it spills over onto the page. Wonderful inspired writing, wonderful inspired art. What a gift you offer to all of us who visit.

    I love the quote about the talent and the artist. So many wonderful tidbits sprinkled all over this blog. I was pleased to see you mention Cheryl Taves. She lives in my neck of the woods and I love her work.

    Thanks so much for the wonderful post.

  20. Robyn – welcome back to the blog world. Much of the fun of blogging is the Mutual Admiration!

    Jeane – The side bar is a place I enjoy playing. These are scans and photos of my collage papers.

    Egmont – Thank you.

    Ian – Thanks. I am a minimalist by nature. I really think I could appreciate a framed piece of white paper.

    Margaret – Thank you. I live near Canada and know it to be a country of great beauty. We visit often and I have a goal of being able to sing “O Canada” without help. I’m almost there!

    Suzie – Thank you. I think you can click on the image. Most of my work does have little details.

    Suki – Most all of this is white paint – often transferred on.

    Mary – Just for you I did another post. ;o)

    Lia – Victoria has great energy. I want to see Cheryl’s work next time I go too!

    Mary Ann – Thank you!

    M – I always thought you were a writer!

    Cynthia – Marks help me say what I can not say with words.

    Bob – Yes, there is that tactile part of non-digital creating that is satisfying and fun.

    Carole – me too!

    Babs – Gee, thanks!

    John – Balanced chaos – somewhat like life at times.

    jgy – Thanks. It’s so nice to have you visit. I am enjoying your great blog.

    Derrick – I like the colors Cheryl uses too.

    Zen Dots – It is thanks to you and your lovely blog that I found the work of Cheryl Taves – and other great artists as well. So thank you!


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