5 years ago

Every Thursday for the last eight weeks I've packed up all my gear, loaded the car, and headed to my Mixed Media art class. Each week another technique is explored—some more successfuly than others. Over the weeks our class has thinned out— several people always drop out of classes. This week only three others showed up—six were no shows—several were sick, one was in Hawaii and two just opted out.

This week our instructor wanted us all to go outside and forage for items in the woods or dropped on the ground. Trash bins, I gathered were out of bounds and removing items from the sculpture garden would be unacceptable. Whether I participated or not had a lot to do with time.

Because I was interested in finishing a piece I had started the week before, I chose not to roam the woods looking for treasures. Two of the remaining three left to find these natural gems. They returned with bark and polypores, twigs and acorns.

I worked on my piece—a tight, controlled piece with colors selected in accordance with proper color theory—attention paid to color saturation, hue, value. After two hours I had completed a meager amount of work—certainly less than I expected.

The two forest scavengers spread their gatherings across the table, took out items they brought from home and began to create assemblages. They worked with abandon—gluing, snapping, adding items. At the end of class they both had finished an assemblage—just some additional gluing required.

The other woman who chose to remain in the studio was busy printing—but did not feel the output was successful. "A wasted time," she said.

What does that mean? Does it mean success—something that works, completion of a predetermined amount? Whose definition do I accept?


in medias res

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