Monday, June 28, 2010

I am SO not a girl

In  decorating, design and in crafts, my tastes run toward the masculine. My idea of a perfect room is the Victorian Men's Club reading room, with floor-to-ceiling bookcases and a brass ladder on a rail. Leather club chairs with rivets on the edge. Plush Persian carpets muting the sounds, and wood paneling surrounding all. Marble topped tables with isolated lighting. Dark, with lots of heavy materials and cozy in a masculine sort of way.

My art tends to the masculine subjects too. I try once in a while to do a lighthearted ladies piece with fringes and pastels, and sewing and light fabric. No go. It just isn't me. The fru fru is pretty, but I am not fru-fru-ish. Karen has a beautiful blog with lots of curlicues, and her stuff is great. But it's not me. And I wonder why, when most women on the planet love the frills, the cute, the charming, and the feminine. Me, I like this:

A few years ago I splurged and spent $30 on an ebay box of collage "stuff" with over 500 items inside. It is great stuff, but much of it is tailored for ladies, having sepia Victorian greeting cards and lace and butterflies. Now, I like butterflies. This panel was one of the over 500 items included in the ebay score. It is a paper panel of German-produced vintage butterflies

 Here are dried butterfly wings from a real butterfly. They were laying on the ground, no butterfly body to be seen. I picked them up and dried them. I plan to use them. Someday. When I get in touch with my feminine side.

I never know how to deliberately compose a more feminine piece. Left to my own devices, what always comes out is less lady and more testosterone-ish. So for a while I tried to include butterflies in more light-hearted collages and book illustration pages. This one is a clip of a larger piece titled "Sweet soap for ladies." I like handmade soap a lot too. I thought the combo of butterflies and lavender soap would do the trick. But I wasn't satisfied with the finished piece and didn't connect with it.

Below is another deliberate attempt to create something with brighter colors and would represent my feminine side. I thought, well, flowers are pretty. It's called Amaryllis. The butterflies are a smaller excerpt in the lower left corner of the larger piece, about to alight on some leaves.

Another crop. The overall piece used purple acrylic paste paper as the backdrop and pasted on top were figures of women representing some favorite women I admire. In between the dividing line a flight of butterflies takes off in formation. Like the Blue Angels do. Uh-oh. A bit of testosterone creeping in there.

This was the last page of a booklet I wrote and illustrated. The butterfly is separating from the evil cord that bound it to hell, and it is flying high, and away to a brighter future. Well, that's sorta happy but the heavy-duty tinge is creeping in for sure...

This aggravated angel with butterfly wings for wings is sitting atop a scorched tree, sad that the demons are still fighting each other, amid the sulfurous scents swirling up from their hellish abode. Aw, nuts. I give up. Butterflies are pretty but I guess I'll leave the fru-fru charm to other women who are so much better at it. I'll pull up my club chair and switch on the brass banker's lamp and settle in for a bit of reading in my wood-paneled apartment. Cheerio!

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