How Do I Know When it is Done?

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About a year ago, when I first started thinking about being creative every day, I was very excited about collage. I saw a lot of mixed media art that I loved and wanted to emulate in some way–not to make the same projects, but to take the idea of creating something new out of disparate parts and make my own projects.

I wasn’t sure where to start, so I just dove in. I painted a canvas with a an abstract grass and sky theme.

painted canvas

I really liked this canvas, and I didn’t want to mess it up by just diving in with no plan, so next I spent some time experimenting. I glued yarn to a practice canvas I had laying around. I tried a couple of different glues to see what would hold the buttons best. I got out a few different colors of yarn and experimented with making the trunk. I tried crocheting a trunk, but it came out too big with the multiple yarn colors I wanted to use, so in the end I decided to just twist the colors together and glue them down that way.

I worked on this over several weeks, working for a bit, then leaving and coming back the next day. The original plan for gluing the yarn down was  to make the roots relatively shallow on the canvas, trailing off, with a huge tree above with lots of button leaves. When I stepped back and looked at it after I got most of the yarn in place, though, I realized I had done it completely backwards–the long branches were in the green ground part, and the shorter roots were in the blue sky part of the canvas. D’Oh!

I certainly wasn’t going to try to take the yarn off and re-glue it. After I thought about it a bit, I decided that long roots are better anyway–much of a tree really is in the root system. So, I started gluing on buttons.

collage in progress

I  really enjoyed the process of coming back to this over and over again, sometimes stealing just 10 or 15 minutes out a busy day to glue on some buttons and look over the project. Sometimes the canvas would sit for days at a time without me looking at it all (which reminds me of the need to get more of a studio space than the corner of my dining room table…), but I found that valuable, too. When I came back, I had fresh eyes.

This week I got it out and looked at it again, and I find myself not sure what the next step is. Is it done? Does it look a bit barren at the bottom? Should I put a few button-leaves along the trunk?

current collage

I am not sure if it is done or not, but I don’t see anything that it needs, if that makes sense. Always before I would look at it and think it needed more leaves or something at the ground level, but now I look at it and nothing jumps out as necessary.

I am still pretty new to collage, so I am not sure exactly what I want, but I am enjoying the process!

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