There is joy in creating, there is joy in travel, there is Joy in Collage!
Where o where do we find us experiencing all of this joy? Lecce, Italy.. a small gem in the south, part of the Salento peninsula in the heel of Italy’s boot. Known as the “Florence of the South” with its astonishing archaeological ruins, rustic restaurants, and robust wines, a region fused with richness and exuberance. This is where Suzanne Siegel will be sharing her joy of collage with us!
“Collage is all about the joyful, experimental, and freeing process of cutting, arranging, and pasting painted papers, yet it’s a meaningful enough process to have satisfied Picasso, Braque, Matisse, and many other well-known artists”.-Suzzanne Siegel
Q: Please tell us a little about yourself and your art.
A: I have been a “maker” for as long as I can remember, creating has always excited me. My interest in a formal art education came about when I was making art quilts in the 70’s and 80’s, and I realized that art principles interested me more than sewing. I earned a BFA in 2000, an MFA in 2004, and discovered that I loved to teach art as well as make art. A few good galleries accepted my watercolor landscape work, and I reached an important goal of becoming a professional artist. To keep myself visually excited, and to grow, I kept experimenting with ideas. My work became more abstract using watercolors and cut paper collage. It feels just right to use collage as my medium, my primary interests are the elements of shape, color, and texture. And I love working with fluid mediums on paper.
Q: Can you describe a time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
A: I clearly remember a time – my mother made a pastel drawing of my Raggedy Ann doll to cheer me up when I was 4 years old and had a bad cold. Watching the drawing appear on paper was a magical moment for me, it felt like the drawing was every bit as real as the doll sitting on the shelf!
Q: Tell us about a day in the life – or a day in the studio, to be precise! What does it look like (and feel like)? What can you share about your process or routines?
A: I like to get to work in the studio early in the morning. I always leave something unfinished or a to do list on my table so I can eagerly anticipate diving in as soon as I wake up.
Q: Where does the magic happen? What does your creative space look like? We’d love to see some photos, if you’d like to share.
A: I am fortunate to have a large studio space on the lower level of my home, where the magic happens.
Q: What piece of equipment, tool or color could you not live without?
A: a pencil and paper, and any kind of blue
Q: Where do you derive inspiration?
A: Mostly from nature, but really from everything I see
Q: Do you have any routines or rituals that get you into the creative zone?
A: I paint some collage papers, using experimental methods and colors or textures that draw me in. This process never fails to put me into a creative zone!
Q: Does your creativity ever stall? What do you do when that happens?
A: That never happens!
Q: How does travel inspire your work?
A: Seeing new landscapes immediately inspires me visually. Spending time in a culture that is different from what I am used to makes all senses come alive, ideas flow non-stop as my brain goes into high gear.
Q: What do you love most about teaching?
A: I love the enthusiasm and excitement that arises in participants as they find themselves forming new ideas and making beautiful work.
Q: What are you most looking forward to during this workshop?
A: I look forward to sharing my knowledge with like minded and people.
Q: Do you journal or sketch?
A: Yes, I do a lot of both. Sometimes when time is short, I draw and make color notes in the drawing. I learned to do this from studying about a favorite artist of mine, Paul Signac.
Q: If you could take only five items to create with while on vacation (not necessarily a workshop – any vacation), what would they be?
A: pencil, paper, watercolor kit, glue stick, acrylic markers
Q: So many of us believe our art can only ever be a hobby. How did you make the leap from passion to profession?
A: I always wanted to be a professional artist. After having the fortunate experience of earring a BFA and then an MFA, and doing a lot of hard work, my dream came true.
Q: What mediums would you like to pursue but haven’t yet?
A: I’m always interested in more types of mixed media, and experimenting with acrylic mediums mixed with watercolors
Q: Any tips for balancing creative time and administrative duties?
A: I keep a daily list, and when there is a deadline for something, I put it at the top of my list.
Q: If you could share an afternoon with any artist, dead or alive, who would that be?
A: Ellsworth Kelly
Q: Favorite books that help keep the creative juices flowing?
A: There are too many to list, Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit” is one.
Q: Where can we find you and your work?
A: my website is suzannesiegel.net
Join us in Italy! September 2020 The Joy of Collage with Suzanne Siegel