Every now and then, I get this urge to do collage.

Generally, I confess, there’s a tendency on my part–and a few other artists of my acquaintence, who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty–to mutter “I don’t need to do collage, I know how to draw.” Which says more about us being bad people than about collage as an art form, but there you are.

Still, the stigma’s there. You can paint, why are you foolin’ around with paste?

But occasionally I get these urges. And I hate that, because the dire truth, like abstract art and cartooning, is that it’s incredibly easy to do badly and bloody hard to do well. And I’m not terribly good at it. I like some of it very much, there’s at least one abstract painting on the wall, and I’d buy more if I had the income to burn, but I am admiring it through the bars–whatever makes it work is locked up tight, and I don’t hold the key.

There may come a day, ten or fifteen years down the line, when I am middle-aged and much more accomplished an artist than I am today, and I’ll crack the secret of abstract art. It’s possible. I have my doubts. Abstract art requires an ironclad sense of composition, and that I don’t have.

Plus, it’s hard to write an amusing story about bright red blobs and a newspaper clipping.

My compromise, in this day and age, is flailing, random abstraction as a background for a more detailed painting. Which is probably what I’ll wind up doing with this thing I’ve been poking at. Or else I’ll throw it on the heap with the other confused canvases that never quite got anywhere.

Every now and then, I glance through this stack and have a crazed urge to draw cartoon chickens on the lot of ’em. Which is probably as good a use as any, come to that.

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