I lose track of time when I make collages, take photographs, and assemble short videos. Constitutionally built to be active, I get cranky if I have to spend too many hours sitting at a computer. Creating visual art provides a perfect counterbalance to writing and editing.
As a youngster, I took pictures of people, pets, and vacation spots with my beloved Kodak Instamatic. I used some photos to make gifts for my family. My sister saved one of the first calendars I made when I was twelve years old.
Several decades and cameras later, I capture the beauty I find in everyday scenes near home or in other favorite places. Walks with my camera in hand help me summon joy no matter where I am.
I am a scissors-and-glue collage artist. I prefer to minimize use of computer applications that manipulate or combine images electronically. I like getting my hands dirty with this art form.
I rarely complete a collage by sitting in one place for a few hours. I can leaf through magazines and cut things out standing up if I want. Sometimes, it is a struggle to find the right combination of words and images. I have had my fair share of flops, too. But sometimes things gel; happenstance is often in the mix. That is when my joy quotient rises.
It takes a lot of computer time to produce short videos. The payoff comes when I find the right combination of images, words, and sound to create a comprehensive whole. In that compelling groove, there is no clock-watching and the hours pass by too fast.
There are other payoffs, too:
Memorial videos for both my brother and sister helped me digest my grief. By combining sad or sick images with those that were more joyful for our family, a re-balancing of reminiscences occurred.
A commissioned video for a young woman’s graduation gift provided an intimate window into how much we evolve in the first twenty-one years of our life.
A reading of Louise Erdrich’s fabulous poem, Advice to Myself, with accompanying photos and music, got me to take the poet’s awesome advice to heart.
The first draft of an unfinished movie about a very special dog, Bandit, helped me summon great compassion for the losses I have weathered thus far. Hopefully, I’ll get that movie finished one day…if I can tolerate sitting at the computer long enough!