An improvisation with legs

The Artdog Image of Interest 

This is the first spark of the idea–an image finished at last! The First Guardian (2013-18) still needs a mat, but I hope to start exhibiting it soon.


rediscovered a forgotten piece of artwork the other day. Well, it was part of a piece of artwork. I knew it wasn’t finished yet. I’d put it together sometime back in 2015 or 2016 (I’d like to say I keep better records than that, but no. There are gaps).

At the time, I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to finish it, so I did what I usually do with such pieces. I set it aside. Recently I figured out a background and color scheme I liked, put them together, and as soon as I can get it matted I’ll begin exhibiting this work at science fiction conventions.

Part of this piece was based on a corner of my much-exhibited “mainstream” piece, Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy (2013), which made the rounds of national juried shows all over the country in its two-year heyday.

Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy (2013) was a success, by certain standards. However, it now resides in a box on a shelf in my studio. Meanwhile, more and more of my “Guardians” multiple originals series have found new homes and given pleasure, thanks to art shows at science fiction conventions.

Those “mainstream” shows cost a lot to enter, and a lot to ship a framed piece to (not to mention the cost of framing the piece in the first place). They are somewhat prestigious, but I never sold anything at any of them, and my quantity of output was always too low to interest a gallery. I have stopped exhibiting work in those shows since then.

Originally, there was going to be a “light cycle” of Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy and a “dark cycle.” I had several of the “nine parts” finished or partially finished for the “dark cycle” when I shifted the focus of my art exhibition efforts to smaller and more overtly fantasy artworks, designed for science fiction conventions. Those suddenly-orphaned parts joined bits and parts from at least a dozen other projects in a collection of storage boxes.

You might recognize some of these “art parts” from other finished artworks I’ve created. In the future, you may see more of these bits, bobs and elements used in new artwork I haven’t created yet.

Periodically I’ll pull all the boxes of pieces-of-pieces out, play with combining them in different configurations, and see what kind of compositions I can come up with. Sometimes I’ll see possibilities for combining parts from two or more different former projects, often with new pieces added, new backgrounds, or other additional elements.

These are the “Guardians” multiple-original compositions. They are: Top row L-R: Fierce and BraveBottom row L-R: Defender and Protector. I am delighted to report that they have been well-received each time I’ve exhibited them.

There are several differences between the piece I finally just recently finished and have titled The First Guardian, and the multiple-original editions I call the “Guardians” series. I based them on the earlier, improvised piece, but I think you’ll notice several differences, too.

For me, this is one of the fun things about my paper sculpture–but it’s also one of the frustrating things. The creative process isn’t always (make that: is almost NEVER) straightforward. An idea I’m sure will be fantastic . . . doesn’t always work out that way. Parts don’t always go together the way I think they will. And sometimes things come together in ways I never would have imagined when I started the earliest parts.

IMAGES: All of the photos in this post were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, of my own artwork and art-making materials. If you wish to re-post or re-blog any of them, please attribute them to me and include links back to this post. Thank you!

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jansgephardt

Kansas City-based Jan S. Gephardt is a writer, artist, and teacher. She makes nationally-recognized paper sculpture and writes sf mystery novels about a sapient police dog.

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