The Mysteries of Effort

The first three collages came in a rush with virtually no effort.  The fourth, “Mother” was a horse of a different color.  The central image happened quickly, but having such a strong focal point turned the rest of the composition into a wasteland of too many possibilities.  I wanted to balance the center with everything around it, to end up with more of a mosaic than an icon.  It took many hours of labor and much trial and error before things knitted together.  More than once, I wondered if the first three weren’t just a one-time spurt of inspiration not meant to be sustained.  Perhaps I had lost my touch, or maybe it was never really there in the first place.


“Mother” by Lynda McClanahan

I persevered, but it’s a mystery why some works fly easily onto the board and others don’t.   This one only fell into place by repeatedly placing it in front of a mirror and working out the trouble spots.   Like my paintings, the visual approach is heavily influenced by the fabric arts.  This could easily be an art quilt.



Looking for the New

A month-long road trip out to Seattle and back gave a much needed break.

We traveled through dramatic landscapes ranging from mountains to deserts, but what impressed me most was the utter vastness of the terrain.  Everywhere one looked, the horizon stretched beyond the mind’s ability to contain it.  This proved unexpectedly restful, an escape from business-as-usual mental habits.

Since returning home, I’ve tried to paint but find I cannot.   The creative impulse wants to roam across a larger landscape and I’ve decided to let it.

I’ve hauled out a stack of old calendars from under the bed and am working on a series of collages.  “World’s Most Terrifying Creature” was the first, followed by two others.  I like doing things in threes, so this fits the normal pattern.


“World’s Most Terrifying Creature:” Collage by Lynda McClanahan

The first suffers a bit from ignorance of technique, but each one gets a bit better.  Even so, I’m pleased with the results and can’t help but notice the difference between this and painting.  There’s little or no conscious thought involved in the enterprise and I only spend a few hours instead of a whole month.  Why haven’t I tried this before?


“Madame Noble” by Lynda McClanahan


“Amusement Institution” by Lynda McClanahan

Now that I’m a lady of a certain age and no longer marketable as a sex object, I look back at the first part of my life with amusement, irritation and wistfulness.  What formerly seemed like free agency now seems little more than living out the prime directive of the Life force. Perhaps being alive just means being in service to being alive.  I’m setting free all my losses, resentments and wonderments and letting them go where they will.  May they stream across the page like herds of antelope breaking through a hole in a the fence!