Growing Is Beautiful: The Collage, Part 3

If you missed Part 2 of this post from last week, click here to catch up.

If you missed Part 1 of this post from last year, click here to find out how this all began.

If you're all caught up and ready for the next installment, you're in the right place!

When I was in the 8th grade, my language arts teacher gave us an assignment to cut words out of magazines and create some form of poetic art piece with them.  I loved that experience so much that I saved the leftover words in a Ziploc baggie, anxious to use them in another project.

14 years later, I still had that collection of words.  I hadn't forgotten them.  I just hadn't figured out a way to incorporate them into something that was both beautiful and meaningful to me.

But then.

At the beginning of last year, when I wanted to use art as a means of processing my grief and redefining my life, I realized that these cut-out words would be the perfect thing.  And I was ecstatic.

So ecstatic, in fact, that I started this blog just to tell you about my project.

As I wrote last week in Part 2, I couldn't have imagined that it would take me 18 months to complete this art piece that I had begun with such gusto and excitement.  But during that year and a half, I had the chance to play around with the collage medium a bit and discover exactly what I wanted my "Growing Is Beautiful" collage to be.

My first two collages ("Love At First Sail" and "Heritage of Hope"), which I created one right after the other, were mostly photography based with a few background colors and textures thrown in.  And although the words were a significant part of each project, they weren't the main attraction.  The end results felt more like scrapbook pages than art pieces to me:
"Love At First Sail"  (Click photo to enlarge)
"Heritage of Hope"  (Click photo to enlarge)

Don't get me wrong--I liked them both and they were very fitting for their intended recipients. But I wanted to play around a little more to find something that would let the words take center stage.

A few months later, I tried again with my "Spring Is Now" collage.  I didn't use any photographs this time, instead utilizing acrylic paint to create the colors and mood I wanted for the piece.  And it worked beautifully:
"Spring Is Now"  (Click photo to enlarge)

When I finally sat down to finish the infamous and long-awaited "Growing Is Beautiful" collage, I knew I wanted something similar to "Spring Is Now" but I was interested in trying larger swathes of color as a background.  I also wanted the colors to support my theme of "growth" and the messy, painful, and beautiful process of "becoming."  For this reason, I wanted both warmth and coolness, light and dark--but all the colors needed to have some depth in order to reflect the complicated, powerful, and rich nature of this journey.  I first painted this color test:

Believe it or not, it was completely by accident (on my part, at least) that the colors moved in a diagonal warm-to-cool progression from the top left to the bottom right.  But accident or not, I knew it was perfect as soon as I painted the last section.

I had already picked out all the phrases I wanted for the collage way back when I first began the process last year, so once I settled on the color palette and design, I was ready to put it all together.  And miracle of all miracles, it turned out exactly as I hoped it would.

My cut-out words, inspired by an 8th grade assignment, had finally found their perfect home after all these years.

Here is the final piece with the frame I chose (with my mom's help!):
"Growing Is Beautiful"  (Click to enlarge)

And believe it or not, I'm going to be writing yet another installment in this saga to tell you the significance of the phrases I chose for this collage.  I had intended to fit all of that here in Part 3, but alas, my wordiness has gotten the better of me...again!

Come back for Part 4!

And let's hope I reach the end of this series in the not-too-distant future.

(Click here to read the end of the story in Part 4)