I love Maxfield Parrish too, and thanks, LilyPat, Free; I also love to read about the creative process and techniques artists use to construct their visions.
So, risking a presumptuous assumption that others feel the same, I'll describe working with collage, which I believe to be a wonderful vehicle in which to travel into the unconscious and let the mind wander through its maps of images and symbols. (It's also the most forgiving medium, because screw-ups are so easily corrected, and the pieces are literally movable compositions-in-progress. A collage I had the most fun with, and was the most challenging, was of a woman standing in front of an ornate dresser, looking into a real mirror that reflected back her 'real' face.)
My pieces (images of which I can't upload, so thanks to those who took photos!) in the show are constructed on gesso panels. For the interior collages, I drew the floors, rafters, woodworking, etc., in pencil and, to enhance a 3D effect, scored the lines with a woodworking knife, before painting the rooms with acrylics mixed w/gesso, or sepia ink. I added 'windows' that are (literally) cut from the panels, behind which is a painted landscape, or another collage.
The fun part of constructing room collages was filling the scenes, like erecting small stage sets. I 'sculpted' 3-dimensional figures and still life, using rice papers, fibers, veneer strips for furniture, and other materials, applied to pictures of figures and animals cut from books. I found that figures and objects painted by Renaissance artists to be especially transferable to collage; perhaps because many painters of that time used the camera obscurer as a tool.(David Hockney researched the use of ancient optical tools and wrote a wonderful--and controversial-- book, "Secret Knowledge". When I bought his book, I promised myself
I wouldn't cut it up, but I broke my promise.)
I've drawn people and painted landscapes for as far back as I can remember, but architectural renderings come neither naturally nor easily. I never mastered perspective drawing, with its laws of vanishing points, perpendicular and parallel lines, etc., and I greatly admire (and envy) those who have. Instead, I've spent hours with pencils, rulers and plenty of erasers, applying simple math, rather than geometry, to 'measure' and draw rooms while studying photographs of monasteries and old farm houses. Drawing interiors became a kind of focused meditation; something to look forward to, rather than a frustrating task or just a means to an end.
I've stopped making collages--just the idea of cutting, assembling and gluing countless pieces of paper is exhausting. Besides, I've cut up enough books. Maybe someday I'll go back to painting gesso panels, the smaller the better; tiny, postage stamp sized painted tiles....
"We may not choose the parameters of our destiny. But we give it its content." Dag Hammarskjold ~ 'Waymarks'