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Still here….

Glass collage in window, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

I think I’ve been in the creative doldrums lately, or maybe I should define it as a state of procrastination instead. Either way, there is sense of listlessness and also a sense that there is too much to do, so, overwhelmed, you put off and keep putting off. I could blame it on the pandemic, I suppose. We are both a couple of high risk people and have been staying home A LOT. It does have an effect. But at the same time, I can’t say we haven’t been busy, since our attention has been turned to other boring things that just have to be done. We’ve had to have our greenhouse demolished, which is attached to our home, due to the fact that it was just falling down. And like a ripple effect, we ended up working on the moving of all the stuff stored there and making space for it in our basement or in the garden. So there has been a lot of actual work done in organization and garden work and dealing with construction and builder people, not much has happened creatively. Too tired physically.

Not that there aren’t creative plans being made, ideas being considered and mulled over. It’s just that everything seems to be taking longer. For instance, I’m planning an overhaul of the website/blog. I want to totally redo our galleries and even add more. And also, I’ve decided to get onto Instagram. So before I even post, I want to make sure I’m doing it all correctly. Of course, that has it’s own procrastinational element, as I suddenly find that I need to follow all sorts of artists that I’ve discovered on Pinterest. And mostly, the biggest reason for procrastination mentioned earlier, is that there is so much to learn, re-learn even, so many tutorials to watch, or re-watch. So much research to do.

It’s like, although there is nothing happening visibly, there is all kinds of action going on behind the scenes. I couldn’t decide what to title this post, “Watch this space” or “Still here”. All tongue in cheek of course. It will be happening soon. Maybe today’s post will set me on a roll. At least when I’m not in the garden with Will on sunny days. So I leave you with a sunny little window vignette of one of my stained glass collages….

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A little Christmas Greeting

Collage card by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Haven’t done much posting lately, but I have been busy now and then, in my studio. A few months ago I treated myself to a gelli plate, as a new way to create textures and colours for my collages. Many of those are still a work in progress and I’m hoping to post some of that soon. But, this little card was made with papers that I’d created by superimposing one design over another. It occurred to me that the colours were sort of “seasonal” and started just cutting up and arranging elements until I was fairly happy with them. So here it is, a little abstract image to express our wishes to you for the holidays!

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New Collages in our FoundMadeArt shop

I’ve slowly been adding some of my recent paper collages into our shop FoundMadeArt on Etsy. So I thought why not feature my little gallery in our shop. Each is a small abstract on paper, each very colourful and also quite affordable with free shipping to boot! It’s kind of fun for me to see them all displayed in one place. And there’s more to come. click the pic to go to our shop on Etsy.

My small abstract collages in our Etsy shop FoundMadeArt
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How Our Family is Doing a Remote COVID Christmas

Paper Lanterns for Christmas summerhouseart.com

We live on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada and like everyone else we’ve been dealing with the Pandemic. We’ve stayed home, ordered our groceries online, been super careful going out to shop, or to the library, making sure we use a mask, sanitize our hands a LOT. And it’s been OK. Really. We’ve managed and more importantly, we’re still healthy. We’re so thankful for all the health care workers, all the people who are still working to keep us in food and everything we need. We’re especially happy that our provincial government has taken the Pandemic seriously and taken care of us.

Luckily we’re both artists, busy in our studios, or doing art research, or gardening, so we haven’t been bored. We have each other so we haven’t been lonely. We don’t take any of that for granted, especially now. We have a family that is all grown up now. We’ve kept in touch with the ones that live in another city by Skype for years. In fact, our grandson really enjoys calling up and asking. “Want to visit? We’ll fire up the Skype!” It’s been a huge help over the years, in staying close, just having that visual connection, a boon in a Pandemic. With the family in town, we’ve kept in touch by phone and by keeping our distance when we do see them. And again, it’s been fine, not a big deal.

Paper Lanterns for Christmas summerhouseart.com

But now, well, Christmas is almost here. We do love the baking and the getting together with a big turkey, lots of goodies and crazy presents. But this year, we’re all agreed, it has to be different, so we’re going to do a COVID Christmas! And it’s going to be remote! All of us together but via Skype.

Plus, it’s going to be just Will and I, at home, just the two of us on the day. So we’ve actually made some adjustments. Kind of toned it all down. We’re still baking, but a bit less than usual, just the most favourite goodies and we’ll be dropping off some of those to our local family, very carefully, of course. Usually we do lots of local shopping for Christmas at thrift stores, finding vintage and used treasures. Our usual recycled gifts. But not this year, just a bit of online for the family out of province. We’re still having a turkey, but this year it’ll be a little turkey breast with all the trimmings just for two. Indulging in a few treats for ourselves as well.

Paper Lanterns for Christmas summerhouseart.com

We’re reminding ourselves, it’s only for this year, this Christmas. NOT forever. We’ve decided we’re going to make the best of it and still make it special.

Paper Lanterns for Christmas summerhouseart.com

As for all the lanterns in this post… well, they’re another way we’re scaling down a bit. Not dragging out ALL the lights, just enough. These actually have been languishing in the greenhouse, found at a free box at a garage sale years ago. They were a bit torn and worn, but we did some artistic repair with glue and coloured tissue this week. Looks pretty cheerful too. My favourite is the green one above. The tears become lovely little lines in the random abstract composition. As for the rest of the decorations, most of them are staying packed since we’re planning a natural décor with greenery from the garden arranged in wreaths and vases. Looking forward to it, too. A nice relaxing Christmas. Hope you have a lovely Remote COVID Christmas too. Take care but keep having fun.

Paper Lanterns for Christmas summerhouseart.com
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Five New Abstract Paper Collages

As I work on new collages, I like to experiment a bit, with colours, composition and even the kind of glue. So far, all the collages have been on paper and adhered with Gel Medium. I also enjoy finding other collage artists on youtube and began to do a bit of research into what they were using for glue. One artist that was really interesting and doing fantastic work is 104 years of age! In the video she was in her 90’s,going strong and actually working on the floor of her attic studio. Beautiful work! You must look her up if you haven’t seen her work yet…Eunice Parsons. Very inspiring!

As I watched her arrange and re-arrange her torn bits of old posters and magazines, I happened to notice when she got to gluing down, she used a glue called “Yes”. So I went right out and found some at our local art supply and started experimenting with that. It’s sort of like the glue from a glue stick, but acid free, and comes in a jar. Eunice used a brush to apply it but I found spreading it with old gift cards worked quite well.

Here are my latest efforts. The first three have a colour theme, with yellow-orange and teal blue predominant.

Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Small abstract collage, mixed media with pencil crayon, ink, various created painted papers, on paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with pencil crayon, ink, various created painted papers, on paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with pencil crayon, ink, various created painted papers, on paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell

But the last two are much more jewel coloured, teal, magenta and black and white. As with all the paper collages so far, many will be posted on our Etsy shop FoundMadeArt. My next collages are started, but again, something different, on cradled wood panels and will be done again using gel medium.

Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with pencil crayon, ink, various created painted papers, on paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with pencil crayon, ink, various created painted papers, on paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
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My Latest Set of Small Abstract Paper Collages

The beauty of being an artist is that I’m rarely bored. There’s always something to try, something to research, something to mess around with. It can make having to stay home in a pandemic and perhaps suffering from what I like to call “the-four-wall-bouncies” quite a bit easier. I can divert my attention and get into a meditative space in my studio. Making the paper collages has been a great diversion and an excuse to try out ideas, and see where they lead.

This next set is a little odd. I’ve been finding that each of these sets is sort of like a little series but this time 5 of the 6 collages are in variations of the same colours.

And one, totally different. The odd one out, just seemed to come together immediately or close to….

Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, sweet pea seed photo copy paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell

The other five all have elements in common, either the colour, mostly turqoise and orange, or textures or just the “feel”. These collages didn’t come together easily. In fact , I pushed bits and pieces around over a few days. And then, voila, one day I walked into the studio, moved a few pieces around and hey, all of them seemed to get to the finish point. These will be on our Etsy shop, FoundMadeArt, eventually. Still catching up there. They are priced at $60 each and we do offer Free Shipping.

Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with pencil crayon, various created painted papers, on paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with pencil crayon, various created painted papers, on paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with pencil crayon, various created painted papers, on paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with pencil crayon, various created painted papers, on paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with pencil crayon, various created painted papers, on paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell

I’m already working on the next set on paper. And I’m planning to do some on small cradled panels and also some small stretched canvases. Got it all ready to go.

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Another Six Little Abstract Paper Collages

Today I’m posting another set of six small abstract collages that I’ve been creating lately. I’m quite enjoying working on these, finally finding a use for all those scraps of tissue and painted paper. Some of these have as an element, scraps from photographs of the seed pods of a wild sweet pea that comes up in our garden every year. I’d taken the photos into Photoshop and upped the contrast and created some interesting lines and textures. Now was my chance to use them. Others have scraps of sewing pattern tissue, just for the lines and colour.

Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell

The fun thing with creating these is the layering of colour, textures and lines, each piled on the other. I work from one composition to the other, loosely and intuitively. I enjoy taking my time, pondering, and often trying the same scrap in each composition, until I find the one where it fits perfectly. Once I have it all laid out as I want, I take quick photos to remind me of where everything went before I go back and slowly fasten each layer down with matte medium onto acid free mixed media paper. It’s quite the process!

Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, sweet pea seed photo copy paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell

Each collage is quite small, only about 5.5 x 5.75 inches or approx 13×14 cm. I think they tend to have a cohesiveness and would look quite good in groups. I hope to have all of them posted eventually on our Etsy shop FoundMadeArt soon. They’re sold unframed, priced at $60 each and we offer free shipping too.

Working on a new set now, so more to come! The next set looks to be quite different in composition so far. Experimenting again….

Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, sweet pea seed photo copy paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, s 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Small Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, sweet pea seed photo copy paper, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
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Another set of Small Abstract Collages

I’m back in my studio, creating a new set of collages and I’m finding it very interesting and fun. They don’t happen really quickly, they take time and lots of pondering of each little composition. Today, I’m posting another 6 paper collages with another 6 still to come. This set is again very colourful. I do like lots of colour. The surfaces are a collection of painted papers, very colourful tissue, bits of pattern papers and even some seeds. The images of seeds are from photos of seeds in our garden. I had a bit of fun taking those photos and manipulating them to high contrast images which ended up being a nice source of texture in the collages. These collages are built up in layers, each layer attached with matte medium onto the paper and then onto the next layer. I will be posting these as well on our Etsy shop FoundMadeArt. They are priced quite affordably and we also offer Free Shipping anywhere. I’m hoping they find homes either alone or in groups.

So, here is my second set of abstract collages. I haven’t given them titles. I like the idea that each one is left to be interpreted by the viewer.

Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, fennel seed photo copy 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, sweet pea seed photo 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, ink pen, various saved and painted papers, 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, various saved and painted papers, cardoon seed head photo. 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
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Next Installment of My New Paper Collages

I was expecting to post the next sets of collages much sooner, but, due to a few health problems, NOT COVID, thank goodness, I had to delay. So although these collages have been done for a while now, there was a lot of scanning and preparation to deal with before I could finally post.

I have also taken a big step, for me, and decided to put the collages in our Etsy shop FoundMadeArt! I’m hoping they’ll fall nicely into that “affordable art” niche, something colourful and small to jazz up someone’s walls. I’ve kept them priced quite inexpensively ($60 Cdn), for a one-of-a-kind art work, and hope that they’ll make a nice gift for someone else or just for yourself. We all need a little treat, right? Although they are being sold unframed, here is a little example of one framed. We love to find frames at thrift stores and really encourage everyone to try that too. Great recycling! We’ll be adding more as we go along.

Framed small Abstract Collage by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small Abstract Paper Collage,5x 5.5 inches (approx 13 x 14 cm)created with paper, tissue, paint, pencil crayon. Helen Bushell

The next batch of 6 collages are again very small, just image size 5 x 5.5 inches (approx 13 x 14 cm), and would work quite nicely framed and hung in groups too. Each composition is created with layers of paper, tissue, painted paper, black and white prints of seeds from the garden like cardoon or sweet pea, even fennel seeds. In some, there is even a bit of tissue from patterns for sewing. Nothing wasted around here…

Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, various saved and painted papers. 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, various saved and painted papers. 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, various saved and painted papers. 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, various saved and painted papers. 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, various saved and painted papers. 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
Abstract Paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Small abstract collage, mixed media with tissue, pencil crayon, various saved and painted papers. 5 x 5.5 inches, Helen Bushell
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Making the Switch from Fabric Collage to Small Paper Collage

Here we are, Will and I, basically still at home, staying safe. Making little forays out now and then for curb pick up or quick shops, masked up, sanitizer hand cleaner at the ready. Summer has zoomed by, today the calendar says it’s the start of Fall. But, the time has not been wasted and has been, for the most part, put to good and I may say, even enjoyable, use. The upside of being an artist I suppose. We’re rarely bored, even stuck at home.

I’m taking a short break from the frustrations of dealing my new sewing machine, all that thread changing, stitch setting, constantly reading my instruction manual. Lol. Yes, sewing is not second nature to me. Even though I love playing with the fabric, pushing scraps into pleasing collages. And even though I love zooming around, the feed dogs down, drawing and scribbling with threads and stitches, I said to myself, enough! Time for a change…..

Fabric collage creation in my studio, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

So, I decided to transform my little studio from a sewing studio into a paper collage studio instead. Luckily, I’m quite organized, but then, I have to be. My studio measures about 10 ft by 12 feet (3 x 3.5 m). It’s full to the brim with shelves stacked with dishes for mosaic, a large easel for painting, shelves holding fabric scraps, paints, brushes, glue, tools. All this not to mention, 3 or 4 sewing machines, one new but most rather vintage bargains found at garage sales and thrift stores brought back to life by Will’s talent with oiling and cleaning, So after the work table is cleared, the fabric packed into recycled plastic storage bins, the little ironing board folded and put away, it’s just a matter of bringing up the boxes from under the work table full of folders of paper scraps and voila!, I have the paper collage studio!

Creating paper collage in my studio, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Most of my paper collage is made with paper design and textures of my own making. I’m not one for using much from old mags. Lots of mark making is saved. I do like to create abstract collage and for that I need lots of colour and texture. So, every time I paint, before I clean off my plate of leftover wet paint, I use paper from old envelopes, junk mail, whatever and rub the the paper on the leftover paint. It makes amazing one off prints and you get some interesting textures. These are all saved for later use in paper collage. So, before you know it, the table is now piled high with scraps of paper, pencil crayons and matte medium.

I’ve decided to have a bit of fun, work small (around 5.5 x 6in or 14 x 15 cm), do them up, 6 collages at once on mixed media paper. This approach has had the added benefit of keeping me loose and intuitive as I work, each piece is not getting too precious. So I’ve been taking my time, playing with each arrangement, fiddling with details, and enjoying the process. But they’re starting to pile up a bit and I’m planning on putting them up on our FoundMadeArt shop. Some will also be scanned for use on products on our Print on Demand shops too and may become prints, pillows, clothing, furniture, all sorts of things. I’ll be posting each group as they become scanned and ready. Hope you enjoy! Here’s batch #1.

Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
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