I painted at the water's edge in Provincetown. That was many summers ago. I never completed a painting but continually investigated, explored and discovered color.
Even still, I am fascinated and drawn to how color changes with light, how it affects the mood of the environment, and ultimately, the self. In my work I am always excited at how color affects color, and the balance between light and dark shapes. In collage, the elements of color and shape are brought together.
My collages can be very illustrative but are necessarily looser because I work spontaneously, intuitively and with speed (as I work in watercolor). I am continually informed by the collage with each piece of paper I put down, be it ripped, torn or cut. There is discovery, as the process of putting down paper or paint leads me to define my impression of the particular image. I always think of my collages as paintings. The medium is paper.
It may be paper I've painted first, or it may be paper from magazines, newspapers or catalogues. As one of the functions of paper is to bear text, I came to incorporate text in my collages. Text, as part of the image, is part of my medium. Articles, advertisements, the printed word permeate our everyday experience. It is an element of my work that consistently engages me and surprises.
As a child I discovered my ability to copy what I saw. I spent Saturday mornings at the Cleveland Museum - drawing, copying what I chose that particular day. Study at the Cleveland Institute of Art (formerly the Cleveland School of Art) encompassed fundamentals of mixing color in different media, drawing, perspective, composition anatomy, sculpture, even drafting.
I worked as a fashion illustrator in New York. It was during this time, the mid '50s, that I began working extensively in watercolor. In New York I studied with Carl Ashby and Henry Pearson, and at The New School (where I also taught). Summers spent in Provincetown were under the guidance of Henry Hensche, working in the plein air method. I worked briefly in acrylic and extensively in batik, but returned to watercolor, being attracted to the speed with which I could work and the portability of my paints - and, of course, the color. In the mid 1980s I was introduced to collage by a colleague from The New School.
I want my work to excite people. The excitement is what compels me to continually make my art. I experience joy in the creation of this work. And through the work, I hope that joy is shared.
Postscript: Ada Stallman passed away April 15th. The Cooperative Gallery expects to have a retrospective of her work in September 2016.