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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Precious Papers Everywhere

Working in collage changes the way I see paper. Suddenly, everywhere there's paper, and much of it has intriguing images or wonderful colors or text in eye-catching fonts.

Sometimes, a fixation on paper can even be a little embarrassing. A recent incident at my granddaughter’s birthday celebration is one example. Once Sophie had opened her gifts, I couldn’t help but ask her mom to not throw away the wrapping paper with the butterflies. You can see it towards the lower left, tucked behind other great finds.

Those other pieces are seed packets. I gave them to my sister and she, knowing my interests only too well, saved the empty packets for me. She was disappointed that she’d forgotten about the light colored ones and had left them outside where they got rained on. But that’s even better! Now those papers were crinkly. Perfect!

I saw some fireflies in my yard the other nights and was enchanted by them. I remembered them from my childhood in Ohio, but they’d been absent from most of my life. I lived in California from the time I was 21 until nearly three years ago when I was 75. There were no light-emitting fireflies back there. But they're here in North Carolina. The light display they treated me to was such a delightful sight that I thought it would be fun to make an art journal spread featuring them.

And that’s what I’m working on here.

This is the first layer, and as far as I got this weekend.

In my mind, it represents the jewels of the day on the left and the jewels of the night – yet to appear, but they will be fireflies – on the right.

It’s a little hard to make out, the the “day” portion is a bit wider than half the spread. At this point, all I have is collage and a little paint. I have a long way to go, but I hope it will turn out well. I’m thinking that the next thing I’ll do is extend the design on the black-background seed packet in the right half with paint – just finishing the flowers and leaves that are on the packet. Then I’ll add some grasses and leafy ground plants below that, creating a suggestion of the foreground of a landscape in the dark.

That’s about as far as my imagination goes at the moment. And, you know, that’s one of the reasons I like working with collage so much. I just let it lead me and together, the art journal spread and I will both contribute to the finished product. I’m not sure I explained that very well. It’s just a process that starts with a concept and some paper pieces and then each step of the creation suggests the next.

I’m looking forward to getting back to it, but between now and then is a week’s work on other projects. But I hope to show you more next time. Meanwhile, enjoy what you’re working on! Oh, and keep your eyes open for those paper bits which most of the world may see as nice enough but really rather ordinary. You, however, know the truth! They’re precious!


An Invitation

Join Me On a Virtual Sabbatical,

the Creative Time-Out

I’m so excited to extend an invitation to you. It’s for a free on-line event that I’m organizing, having been inspired by the sabbatical I gave myself about a month ago. In short, it’s an on-line get together for people who give themselves that same great gift I gave myself, but with one super important change. Even though we’ll each choose our own topics to work on, we’ll have each others’ company, inspiration, and encouragement through a private Facebook Group and Zoom meetings.

The event will run from Saturday, July 27, through Sunday, August 4. During that period, simply devote as much time as you can carve from your schedule and we’ll see what wonderful things happen.

To find out more, just watch the video, by clicking on the image just below of me talking!

To sign up, just go to the Facebook Group by clicking here and click the JOIN button.

Hope to see you there!

P.S. To read my past blog posts about my sabbatical, just follow the links here:


I publish a weekly email newsletter, An Artful Path, which contains brief articles on art, animals, writing, and musings on life. You can subscribe on the home page of my website (just click the button below and scroll to the bottom of the page). Don't forget to claim your thank you gift for subscribing - an art instruction video complete with supporting PDF. And while you're on my website,, take a look around!

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