Copyright: All artwork/content protected under ©2007-2011 Lynne Ciacco

All content herein copyright © Lynne Ciacco

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Whatever Passes Through my Head

"The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, 
and I paint whatever passes through my head 
without any other consideration."  
Frida Kahlo

This quote resonates with me.  I may not be making art that will shake the world or move markets but it satisfies an inner need that I have to express what it is to be me... and what passes through my head. This is a page from my ongoing Art Journal.  I leave the book on a desk in my studio and nearly every day, as I go into the studio to do something else, I almost invariably feel the urge to add something to a page within it.  Consequently, I have several pages in development...quite randomly and unexpectedly.

This Frida collage resulted from my cleaning out the little tower of plastic drawers where I keep various scraps and papers and odds and ends that might be useful for collaging.  I came across a few images of Frida Kahlo, downloaded from the internet, stashed at the bottom of one of the drawers, obviously intended for some long forgotten project I had had in mind.  I tossed them into the garbage, but moments later, was inspired to glue one onto a particular page in my art journal.  Working around it, I felt the need to dig out the second image and add it to the composition.  Okay, so anyone can make a collage!  But everyone's will be different and unique.  I added

  • a scrap of words from an old diary of mine, 
  • a little slip of wallpaper, 
  • a torn fragment of a failed painting on paper, 
  • a little bit of sheet music, 
  • a torn-up line drawing I'd done
  • a red envelope that had been ripped up and tossed in the garbage 
  •  likewise, a corner from a notebook because I liked the circular shapes.  
  • I emphasized a white moonlike shape and added some green and red depth with  pencil crayons. 
  • The Kahlo quote was another download from the internet.  
I wonder what I had originally intended to do with these clippings.  No matter.  They found their way into this spontaneous composition.

For me, collaging is like  shorthand for painting; 
though, at the same time, an art form in and of itself.


  1. frida is one of my favorites and that quote is perfection. thanks for sharing...

    1. Beth,
      Frida's bravery and unique artistry certainly serves as an inspiration to us as female artists. She was remarkable, and her spirit lives and breathes through the tortured and beautiful art she left behind. Thanks for stopping by my little wayside shrine to her and leaving a "flower" (in the form of a comment).

  2. Isn't it satisfying to make art from what would otherwise be tossed in the garbage? Love seeing some of your journal pages and reading about each element on them. This work is rich and certainly a healthy endeavor for psyche and soma.

    1. Bonnie,
      "Rescuing" things that would otherwise be thrown out (or that were thrown out) gives me a sense of satisfaction in that it justifies my "hoarding" all sorts of odds and ends that I feel may be useful for making art at some future time. It's akin to having one's own personal art store, and so much more affordable. Art at the drop of a hat (retrieved from the bin). I actually have a lot of journal pages in development, which is really fun and leaves a lot of door open for psyche and soma to play.

  3. Lynne,thanks for sharing your process,we all have our unique ways of stepping into the flow. Frida's life and work was exceptional and she certainly had plenty of personal stuff to work with.
    Have you seen the beautiful Spanish film "Frida" made in the 80s?


    1. Ruby,
      You know, I hesitate to include the steps I go through in making an art piece, so I'm really happy to hear from you, as well as others, that you like hearing about them. I very much like what you say about how we each have our own ways of "stepping into the flow." Lovely. I hadn't thought of the process in that way before. Sometimes a gentle stream of consciousness, sometimes a raging river of creativity, often just flowing with what appears in the moment.
      I haven't seen the Spanish film about Frida, though I did enjoy the American version with Selma Hayek which I thought was visually stunning. How could it not be if it's about Frida Kahlo? Have you seen her published art journal/diary? Intriguing.

  4. or spontaneous combustion perhaps. i love the way this all evolved from scraps you threw into the trash and the rescued. i like your idea of leaving the book on a desk, calling to you. my written notebook is like that but my sketchbook is not. considering all the left brained stuff i am having to do right now, it would be good to do some right brained artwork.

    of course, i always love Frida. a true free spirit when it comes to art.

    1. Sukipoet,
      Ha ha! Spontaneous combustion! I was very intrigued by this concept for a number of years. I began leaving my art "journal" open on my desk so that the pages I had been working on would dry without sticking together and then I found that because it was open, I was drawn to frequently leafing through it. That way, I became more familiar with the content, so when I came across an odd scrap of paper or such, I had an instinct for which journal page it might fit into...and things would just spontaneously combust from there. I've never worked on multiple pieces at one time before. It seems to open a lot of doors and playgrounds for me to explore.
      Right brained/left brained/half brained...we all need to find a balance I guess. Though I think the most creative artists are those who are obsessed...and I would put Frida in that category.
      Be kind and gentle with yourself, and patient with the process that you are having to go through at this time.

  5. I like the idea of not finishing a page in one sitting...this is a new concept for me. I am only on page three of my very first attempt at art journaling....and I am not starting it because I feel as though I need to set aside enough time to finish it...not so...thank you so much for the inspiration!!!

    1. Danielle,
      This is a new concept for me as well, working on several pieces at the same time, or having several pieces in development. Usually, I work on a painting or collage until I feel it's complete before moving on to a new one. I rather like this process, though. Especially in such a forgiving format as a personal art "journal". I'm glad my experience has opened up the possibility of a new approach for your own journaling. You could even go a step further and make a few random marks on various pages throughout the book and just see what develops there over time...or find little surprises as you venture along in your journey, page by page. Have fun with it--that's what is important!

  6. I've so enjoyed this post, not only for the finished piece but the insight into this on going process of collage making. Love the getting pulled in, the scraps and tossed items retrieved for the perfect place, words and colors added! This is art making at its personal best. All yours and a dance for sure....Delight!

    1. Blue Sky,
      I'm so pleased to hear that you've enjoyed this! I really did hesitate before outlining the steps I went through, wondering if it was too many words or just not relevant to anyone else. It's all a discovery for me as I go, so it's fun to leave a little map for others to see how I arrived where I did; or to try to follow on their own, in their own way. When I get back (I will be away for several weeks), I'll try to keep on with these insights into my "process" with each piece.

  7. What a wonderful description of this creative process. When my daughters were in college I had a "book" with each of them which we mailed back and forth. We wrote our thoughts, made pencil drawings, painted, collaged, etc. There was no time frame for its return and no rules for the message or creativity. I have not looked at the books in years but will pull them out today. Maybe it is time to restart this traveling journal with the one who lives a two-day drive away.

    Thanks for the idea!


  8. Genie,
    What a brilliant, sweet, and touching idea that ongoing art journal between you and your daughters was! Such a unique and fun way of keeping in touch and sharing. Even though it's a while since you've looked at it, I know you treasure it. Yes, maybe it is time to get one going with the daughter two-days' drive away! I like the no rules and no time restrictions!