Highways - How the Inspiration Behind My Mixed Media Collage Reflects the Journeys We Take in Life

I find highways to be my inspiration as a mixed media artist because highways represent what they actually are: roads to get somewhere physical, definitive. Highways also represent our life paths and the different kinds of psychological, mental and emotional ways we become involved in moving beyond where we are right now. We all go on journeys on the highways of our lives.  

Go with the Flow , acrylic with combined media on paper mounted on wood panel, 22" x 28"

Go with the Flow, acrylic with combined media on paper mounted on wood panel, 22" x 28"

Each of my mixed media collage paintings capture a different way a highway mirrors our lives. Sometimes we opt to ease out of the strain of traveling and “Go with the Flow”, instead. Sometimes our travels seem like we are on a merry-go-round, getting nowhere real fast.  In this case we are on a “Round About” unable to “Exit” from the maddening traffic that spins around on the asphalt. Sometimes we feel like we are getting somewhere with our life, but are unable to pin it down. We are “On the Road to Somewhere”, if only we knew where that somewhere is. Then we can also feel like we are “Circling Around” something, but what that is we do not know. Often when things get really frustrating we feel like an “Exit” from life would be the best option. Just to be able to stop the traveling and have a look around before we take off again.

As a mixed media artists I try to capture some of the more difficult parts of life in my collage paintings. Sometimes our traveling is not very successful at all and we emotionally hit a “Dead End Street”  We can only turn around and head back from where we came and start again. Sometimes the phrase, “End of the Line” expresses the same feeling. If only we could travel down the “Easy Street” we’d have it made. We could know what direction to head in and know what our goals are. If we could “Dart To and Fro” maybe we’d have our bases covered. We could travel down this road one way, then that road another way. Our goals would be varied, too.  

Dead End Street , acrylic with combined media on canvas, 24" x 48"

Dead End Street, acrylic with combined media on canvas, 24" x 48"

My abstract collage art is also inspired by when we feel like we are in a “Traffic Jam”. We started out on our mental journey just fine, but something happened along the way that just made us stop because we are in a jam. Our road is less defined than we would like it to be and there are too many people on the road we have chosen. Our goals are confused, too. We will never reach it or them because we are stuck on the highway.

Loco Driver , oil on canvas, 24" x 48"

Loco Driver, oil on canvas, 24" x 48"

As a mixed media artist I also try to capture some of life’s happy moments in my abstract collage. Sometimes we feel like we are headed for a rainbow. We are “Going to the Sun” on a “Highway”. We’ll reach our goal because it is well defined. Little do we know that following along a “Straight Street” will not get us there any more “Quickly” than we could if we went another way.  

There are crazy drivers out there trying to stop us from driving to our goals. There is the confused “Loco Driver” who impedes our progress because of his or her antics on the road which makes it difficult and dangerous to be out there. We head off in the direction of our goal, but then we must turn around and “Advance to the Rear” because we are losing the battle of life on our psychological highway. We are on a “Collision” course with something more powerful than we are. We “Wander” around searching and searching. We ask the question “Which Way to Go?”  do we arrive at an answer. Not so fast. We need “Acceleration” to pass through the emotional tests which confront us daily.

Are you on a “Detour?” are you “Sliding Off the Road” or do you have the “Right of Way?” These are questions that I try to reflect in my mixed media collage. Maybe we should join a “Caravan” of like-minded folks so that we can travel together and support each other. What a good way to travel - with the help of friends and family. They can help us develop healthy “Pathways” through our life and bring us out on top without having to make any ‘U-Turns” along the way. Wouldn’t that be good - to know where we are going and why. Life is as complicated and varied as a super highway. My work as a mixed media artist in this collage painting series is inspired by my desire to capture all these different facets of the journey of life.