Collage images, gesso, acrylics and charcoal on 18x24 cardboard.Today’s artwork: the rare, elusive art made for nothing other than personal growth. It’s the first of a series of pieces I’m doing on cardboard, inching my way into larger work. This one is 18×24, and I’m working my way towards 24×36. I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to work on a piece that large in my studio that’s set up to work on things that are book-sized or smaller, but I’ll figure that out when I have to. It may involve actual cleaning of my studio, which is something I try to avoid at all costs.

So, I flashed this piece, and its earlier incarnation, around some art groups this weekend, just to remind the world I’m alive, and creating. I belong to a handful of groups on Facebook, of varying sizes. Smaller groups let my pieces linger at the top of the page longer, while in the very large, 20,000 member group, it’s really difficult to get a piece seen at all, with all the artwork whizzing by. It did well with likes and comments in both a small and the very large group, which generally means I’m onto something that catches peoples’ eyes.

In among all the comments about the piece, one woman asked me how I deal with the fact that cardboard isn’t acid-free. She was persistent, posting the same question on both the work in progress and the finished piece. And it wasn’t one of those nicely phrased questions that encourages artists to share. It was, “Cardboard is not acid-free. How do you deal with this?”, but with bad spelling, no capitalization, no punctuation, and no comment about the piece itself. What I read is “You are using materials that are substandard. Give me information that justifies this.”

Yeah, I know, there’s a little bit of my own sensitivity thrown in there. But seriously, I would never post something like that in a large public group.

So, I answered honestly. I told her very few of my supplies are acid-free, so I really don’t worry about it. Twice, because she asked the same question in two different places.

Really, I don’t worry about how long my work will last. I’m not Michelangelo. 500 years from now, nobody is going to be hovering over my paintings, wondering how to best clean and preserve them. The altered books, and the mixed-media pieces on cardboard I create today will age and decay, just like any other piece on non-archival paper would. I think that’s as it should be. I’m not creating work for history, or posterity. I’m creating it for today, for growth, and maybe, to hang on someone’s wall for a few years.

Not every work is the Sistine Chapel…