©Annette Bartlett-Golden, Sea Cycling. Mixed media, 28 x 22 inches. $550
Sea Cycling: A Sudden Inspiration
By Annette Bartlett-Golden
For days, I've been cutting out little paper fish for a new sea themed collage. In all, there are about 120 fish: red, yellow, orange, blue and silver in a variety of shapes and color combinations. I also made a sea turtle and a snorkeling cyclist, a rather strange combination, I know, for the underwater ocean scene. Brightly colored handmade, marbled, and watercolored papers with both torn and cut edges make up a coral reef. While I was working on the collage, my studio was littered with rolls and sheets of all sorts of paper and a confetti of tiny paper scraps. I also had paint pens, markers, and watercolors out at the same time for special detail work. It was a merry state of creative chaos!
This all came about because of a sudden flash of inspiration as I was driving home from teaching a collage class. During the class, I had been watching and helping students make the components of their deep sea collages. Besides basics such as coral and fish which were in the example collage I had designed for the class, students made sea turtles, starfish and even a seahorse. Seeing how they were having fun expanding the sea theme got me thinking about a composition for another deep sea collage that I wanted to create and what sorts of elements I wanted to include. Then as I was driving home, I thought about a call for art for an upcoming bicycle show that I had considered entering. Somehow the two subjects melded. Suddenly I saw the image of a cyclist riding amidst a school of fish with various kinds of corals below. That image was my inspiration for the subject of my new collage called Sea Cycling.
Most of my collages have been abstracts or loosely representational compositions that evolved during the making. Creating a representational collage based on an image I saw in my head, bigger in size than most of my other collages, with this level of detail, and a whimsical spirit is certainly something new for me. I greatly enjoyed the process, even though working with small pieces and facing unexpected challenges was intense at times, and I’m very pleased with the outcome.
Annette Bartlett-Golden paints a wide range of subjects from landscapes to animals and makes abstract works with paper. Using vibrant colors, she imparts a sense of immediacy, vivacity and optimism to her paintings and paper collages.