Calmer Waters // Collaging with Found Media / by Taylor Adams

One of my favorite ways to find inspiration is visiting the used book section of thrift stores. Among shelves packed with old books, I've found some true gems - Nature in Design, Surface and Structure: Contemporary Japanese Textiles, The Living Planet... just to name a few of my favorites. These books come packed with beautiful photographs that make the perfect content to pull inspiration from, and the best part is they're usually less than a dollar.

My work is created with a mixture of thread, ink, acrylic and watercolor on a cradled birch wood panel surface. Sometimes I'll work strictly with wet media to create the abstract painting beneath my threads, but other times I'll introduce another layer to the surface of my panel before picking up my paints. Tearing pages from my collection of books, I construct a collage with pieces of found media that catch my eye - fragments of lush forests, aerials of oceans, rocky cliffs and looming mountains. These various bits and pieces of the natural world come together to build one landscape on my surface.

After sanding down the collage, I apply a thin layer of white acrylic, masking it entirely. Once it dries, I sand it down once more, rubbing away at what I have covered up. It's a give and take. The translucent layer of white combined with sanding allows some of the original color and form to reappear on my surface. When I pick up my inks, this history of mark informs the colors I introduce to my panel as I explore which fragments of media to pull inspiration from. It's a process of masking and revealing, of building up and breaking down, observing the world that lies within my panel and constructing a version of my own.

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My work has always held a key interest in bodies of water. For this particular series, it came as no surprise to me that I pulled many fragments of different bodies of water from my books. From aerials of oceans, to gushing waterfalls and winding rivers, I wanted to pull out a sense of calm among this chaos of form and constant motion. I wanted to capture those fleeting mystic moments when water lies enveloped in sheets of fog - the hazy blankets slowly releasing water from its sleep and revealing a new day, a new horizon line. As I dropped inks upon my surface, I reflected on the swirl of colors that hide within these organic bodies, constantly shifting and changing with the light. A symphony of color and movement, there is an element of tranquility that water carries with it - it's rhythmic motions have the ability to calm even itself.  With each thread I wrapped, I worked to imitate this therapeutic nature and capture the ethereal beauty of the break of morning light upon its surface.

Meditation / Thread, Ink & Mixed Media / 8 x 8 in

Meditation / Thread, Ink & Mixed Media / 8 x 8 in

Softly Morning Comes / Thread, Ink & Mixed Media / 8 x 8 in

Softly Morning Comes / Thread, Ink & Mixed Media / 8 x 8 in

Shoreline / Thread, Ink & Mixed Media / 8 x 8 in

Shoreline / Thread, Ink & Mixed Media / 8 x 8 in

Pieces from the "Calmer Waters" series are available for sale here.