Before the operation, when I thought about my weeks of recovery (6 to 12 depending on who you listen to) I imagined myself following in Matisse's footsteps.
Matisse creating cut outs after his operation in early 1940s. Image from here.
You know, lolling around in bed surrounded by sheets of coloured paper, scissors in hand and churning out works of such exquisite creativity. A surge of creativity. Exploring new techniques and creative styles. Yep, that was going to be me.
The Clown, from the JAZZ series. Matisse's cut outs had a HUGE impact on my design work and style. The flat blocks of colour. The graphic silhouettes. The tension and play of shapes. Positive and negative spaces. Image from here.
Images from here.
I have always loved Matisse's cut outs. Some of his forms, composition and colours have found their way into my design work over the decades.
I first discovered his cut outs in the school holidays between Years 11 and 12 at High School. I can date this discovery so precisely because my art teacher, Mr Phillipson, told me to immerse myself in art, to find artists whose work I loved, that inspired me. He was helping me to find my voice, my style, though at the time I didn't realise it.
That summer I discovered Picasso, Matisse, Leger. All great artists indeed, but what I loved was not their traditional paintings, but their more graphic work.
Picasso's posters, ceramics, drawings.
Matisse's cut outs – amazing compositions of colour and form.
Leger's strong black linework and bright colours.
And later came Wharhol and Haring. Again, masters of form and colour.
So while I haven't yet become Matisse, I have rediscovered my passion for collage. I am itching to get back to my studio and surround myself with pages of vintage text, maps, postage stamps, scissors and my sewing machine. I can already see in my head how my creations might look, but the actual act of cutting into paper and moving it around on the page has a way of transforming things. I can't wait.