Friday, January 12, 2018

collages as inspiration

by Rain Trueax

Every now and again, writers are asked from where came their ideas. The answer is usually a mix of places-- where we've been, something we read, the Muse/muse, our own lives-- maybe even past lives. Sometimes though, they come from something we don't really connect at the time and only later in looking back realize-- you've got to be kidding.

Making soul collages held that moment for me. In 2001, I read about doing these collages. The idea is you take old magazines, cut up images, and with the ones that resonate with what you want in your life, you put them together and then paste them to a board. 

So, I sat on the floor with stacks of my art and western magazines, which I had decided had been saved long enough, cut out photos, paintings, advertisements, put them out on a board, arranging and rearranging and then gluing them in place. The collage below is that first attempt, which I had framed behind glass and put on my wall behind my desk in Oregon.

That year ended and I considered-- uh what's this about? Nothing seems to have changed-- not that I was sure in what way they could have. In Tucson, I created another one for 2002. I found images that I hadn't considered so important in the first one. I also had that one framed and hung it behind my Tucson desk.

Another year passed. In 2003, I created another, adding words to go with the images. It was as satisfying as the first two. They were all full of ideas I loved. It was fun figuring out how to put them together. By this time, I wasn't sure they were getting me where I wanted to go. Their creation was not exactly fitting with the clay sculptures I was also doing (wet and muddy hands don't handle images well). I did no more but did study them on the walls now and again-- often wondering why I'd chosen this or that image.

During those collage creating years, besides the sculpture and painting, I was continuing to write, as I always had, historical, contemporary, and paranormal romances. I was not trying, however, to get the books published. It was not until 2011 that I read about indie publishing and decided to take the risk (and putting out creative work always is a risk). With books I'd written as far back as the 70s, I spent 2011 editing and editing again. In December, I sent off the first.

It wasn't until 2017 that I looked at my collages with a new understanding. Those images represented my books-- even the ones I had yet to have written when they were created. They were visualizations of the books I had been creating and hoped to create.

As has happened a lot in my life, what I had actually been doing was feeding the energy I needed for the work. I just hadn't seen how it was coming together. For someone who likes to always be in control, that might have seemed a problem. For me, I loved the insight, as serendipity has long played an important role in how I see my life.

I recommend doing soul collages to encourage creativity-- especially if you want something in your life you don't have. What I had wanted, but had not known, was more writing and actually getting those books out where they could be seen. The energy of those collages is all so western and so much what I have wanted for my romances whether contemporary or historical. The collages tell the stories before they were told.

To do soul collages, buy a foam board of the size you want, corral your old magazines and begin going through them for images that speak to your heart. The result might not end up as you expected but it can be a creativity boost both in the doing and the outcome.

a few of my links:



  1. I was noticing your romantic western themes that ran through each one. Interesting how things turned out ten years later.
    Why is it that so many of us are also artists? Must have something to do with right brain dominance. I'd love to see some of the things that you've done with mud. I never had much chance to play in that medium. But what I've done, I've enjoyed.

  2. I did romantic western themes in clay too. I'll share some of those maybe sometime here. Lots of Native Americans, cowboys and romantic themes. It all came together for me as one energy and seems ironic when I look back now to what a strong degree.

  3. Rain, now I have to dig my collages out and look anew. My teacher/editor ran classes a few years back that combined meditation, inspiration and collaging. I loved it and was sorry when she no longer did these. Hadn't thought of doing them on my own...thanks.

    1. I think there is real benefit in these kind of imagination boards. I just never realize mine were my books but makes sense when I think about it.


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