Young daughter to father, while pushing her small hand against his belly: “You need to get some exercise. You’re out of shape!”
Father to daughter: “I’m not out of shape. Round is a shape!”
What kind of shape are you “in”— or “into” right now?
Round seems to be the shape I often fixated on during my “31 Days”—er, I mean 29.
(Admittedly, I have no Day #29 or 30. But I excuse myself—like the above dad—by pleading a late start. As for the 31 collages promised: Delivered, as pre-announced! You can go back and count…)
Anyhow, I realize in retrospect that rounded forms caught my attention and dominated the design in six more of those 31 collages. These:
In addition, circles or rounded forms play an important part in all of these (ten more):
We could even stretch it and say the hearts are very rounded in this one…
and the distant umbrellas in this one, though technically octagons, look very like circles…
And oh, yes, the flowers dominating this foreground are round, aren’t they?
That would make 20 out of 31. Almost 2/3! No other particular shape predominates so much.
Is this important? Maybe. I need to ponder it more myself as I review all of these.
The thing is, collage—like any expressive art form—can show us things about our inner thoughts, feelings, and desires that we might not have noticed. Sometimes contemplating it helps uncover obscured issues we need to work with—therapeutically, or as a means of setting and assessing goals that match our inner climate.
At the silent retreat I attended last January, in an optional “creative journaling” session, we attendees were asked to draw a shape: without overthinking, just draw whatever our hand happened to put down on the page before us.
We were then invited to consider why we chose it, and what thoughts and feelings it seemed to conjure as we gazed at it. Then anyone who wanted to share their reflections could do so.
Someone displayed a triangle, sharing thoughts it brought to her mind, someone else an elongated rectangle. Me? I felt like the odd man out. It seemed all the others had chosen a simple geometrical form. I had drawn, and kept retracing, a free-form label-less rounded shape. I felt somehow embarrassed, like the kid who thinks she “didn’t do it right” because her product seems so different.
When considering what might have prompted me to choose it, I felt reticent, shy, embarrassed. After returning to my room, I thought, oh, this is silly, rumpled the paper and tossed it into the wastebasket. But after thinking about it more later, I ended up retrieving it and flattening it out on the tabletop, smoothing with my hands. Emerging from my mind were reminders of a deep disappointment in my life. Soon I was realizing here was something well worth bringing before God during my retreat.
I know I’m not revealing my innermost thoughts here, but that would take some time, be deeply personal, and involve other people who wouldn’t appreciate being the subject of a public forum blog post. Also, as they say, “it’s complicated,” and I still need to give it, and all these rounded patterns, some further pondering.
So, this 31st mini collage rounds up this series. I not only “feel” finished, but I’ve already started working on a new challenge for November: to write a 50,000 word “novel” before December.
I may even illustrate it with collage—or with that shape from January’s retreat—because what I’ve begun writing is bound to touch on the subject revealed in my heart.
What about you? Want to try it? Just take any old piece of paper, and any old drawing implement, and draw the first shape your hand finds itself making. And ponder: Why did I do that? What was I thinking, and feeling, down deep inside? Should I take this before God? Better yet, start by asking God to reveal anything important before you draw.
Previous posts in this series:
Day 23 Collage: Start Something New Before Finishing the Now
Collage Day 24: Eight Women and an Unseen Guest