My Quirky House Full of Quirky Animals

I vividly remember sitting on my Grandpa’s lap as a little girl, cheek nestled against his soft denim overalls, telling him that someday I was going to have a place where all the homeless animals would come to live.  In my child mind, the animals all got along, there was plenty of food, never illness, and we lived happily forever after.  I have never dreamed of having a fancy house, just a cozy one with its own quirkiness and personality.  It is warm and light, and always has a cat looking out the window. This collage piece pays homage to my childhood idealism. 

My collage contains some of the treasures found in my Grandma’s attic last summer.  Her house and farm were the center of her life, so it’s heartwarming to use these materials in a piece of art that represents the significance of home.   All the photos are from my personal collection, featuring several generations of my family’s farm life images.

I have attached a snippet of an old school paper hand-written by my aunt, where she wrote of slowing down and enjoying life, being mindful of everyday little things that we sometimes overlook.  I love how she references riding “that old forgotten bicycle, singing at the world all around you” in her paper.  I spent days in my own childhood that way, stopping to pick wildflowers growing along the road.  We come from a musical family and in my mind, there is constantly music playing.  Everything reminds me of a song!

I painted the nest and eggs to represent a sheltering and nurturing home, a place of security and new beginnings.  The nest is made of shredded newspaper, in loving respect to all my grandparents who reused and recycled, way before it was the trendy thing to do.  The old metal buckle was once worn by one of my ancestors, and it reminds me of how family holds my life securely together.  I think of my Grandpa’s overalls that had buckles like these.  The green buttons were given to me by a very dear friend from home, and they symbolize friendship that also holds the pieces of my life together.

I have painted white clouds across the sky of my collage.  As far back as I can remember, if someone suggested I think of a relaxing image (most likely an attempt to make this night owl get to sleep), I imagined floating on a fluffy cloud, weightless and overlooking my little corner of the world.  All these years later, this is still my go-to relaxing scene.

I appreciate that the idea of my place to call home seems rather starry-eyed and impractical.  A quirky house in the country filled with lots of quirky animals.  But still, a girl can dream.

And so she does.

 Materials and Techniques:  My mixed-media collage is composed on a 12” X 12” canvas.  To create the textured background, a layer of crumpled tissue paper was applied with gel medium.  Photos and vintage papers are adhered with gel medium and all-purpose glue.  Other embellishments are adhered with E-6000.  Paint is acrylic.  Antiquing gel was applied to some areas.  Graphite pencil was used to outline some images.

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