Collage play

Quinacridone Gold – the all-purpose “band-aid” for any art project, and a great color for collage backgrounds

I had some unexpected time in the studio yesterday because of the threatening  weather, so I worked on some small collages for the upcoming Beacon Hill Art Walk in Boston on June 4th.

In my mind, I knew exactly what kind of collages I was going to create, but as usual, the process took over and drove the bus, and nothing ended up as I had planned. But the results were fun.

One of the background materials I played with was Yupo synthetic paper – if you haven’t used it, it’s really almost impossible to mess up. I painted some diluted Quinacridone Gold acrylic on the Yupo, then scraped and brushed and distressed it, and wiped the paint off through some stencil shapes.

You can see this technique in the background of the collage below, called “Asian Pear.” There are layers on top of it which have been glued to squares of archival matboard to create dimension.

Here’s another “pear-with-Yupo-background” piece, below. This one is simpler, but I like the simplicity. The scrap of blue paper went on as an afterthought, and it really makes the piece. The title is “Comice.”

The next collage also has a Yupo background and features a stock photo of an amaryllis that I altered in Photoshop. Those spatters that I flicked on just happened to follow the lines of the flower stamens!

Again, it’s a very simple collage with just three layers. I use a Scotch permanent glue stick as an adhesive for most of the layers. You can even heat-set the glued layers with a warm iron and a cover sheet to super-adhere the layers.

The next two pieces are kind of a set – both include tissue paper that I printed in my inkjet printer and then layered onto the Yupo background. I added some Portfolio oil pastel marks to both of them and stamped one with “No” and one with “Yes.”

Renaissance faces continue to fascinate me as collage images, and the titles on these are “The Game #1” and “The Game #2.”

This last one might be my favorite – it has more layers than you can shake a stick at. I tried to control what went on it, then painted the whole thing white in frustration, then wiped most of that off. It got uglier and uglier.

Finally, I just let it be itself and added a “ghost bird” as a top layer and stamped the word “Caw” on it.

The layers that were created as I kept trying to rescue the thing by adding more stuff actually gave it a richness and a history. Here’s a detail:

If I had to sum up yesterday’s collage play, I’d say it was a re-affirmation of my mantra, Trust the Process. At every stage, I looked at what the piece was trying to ask for, then tried to find it – sometimes it wasn’t what I would have chosen if I had been driving the bus. But it pretty much worked. Trust the process, y’all.

PS If you want to see a very cool woman experimenting with Yupo paper, check out Miss Millie on YouTube!





Friday Freebie: Rock Paper . . . . .

Were you gonna say “scissors”? Nope, this is about Rock Paper! I got this email from my uber-talented pal, Sherrill Kahn, right before I went Boston – “You have to try Terra Skin—paper made from stones.  I bought a lot of it. It is really amazing.  I think you would love it.” So I ordered some. It came while I was gone, and I played with it this morning. It’s very cool! The Terra Skin surface reminds me of Yupo, but it’s totally fiber-free and mineral based (no trees were killed). Here are some of my first test scribbles (I labelled them with Photoshop):


You might want to give this stuff a try – it says the surface is appropriate for mixed media, acrylics, graphite and inks, and oils – doesn’t say anything about wax, but hey – why not? And if you need ideas, check out the TerraSkin blog, titled (appropriately), GET STONED. Love it.

OK, so the Friday Freebie is a five-sheet package of TerraSkin paper – I’ll mail it to you if you’re out of town, or you can pick it up at the Studio if you’re nearby. There are two rules for winning the random drawing – ONE, you have to be a SHARDS subscriber by Sunday at midnight (just enter your email on the blog homepage at the top right) and TWO, you have to give us a report on how you like using it and what you did with your very own Terra Skin rock paper. Off to the Studio, happy to be home – happy weekend, everyone!

Serenity and Serendipity

Michelle Belto and I spent a serene and serendipitous day with our workshop group making and celebrating happy artistic accidents (and a few on-purpose creations). We constructed book/boxes with rich collaged exteriors and a space for our Yupo inspiration cards on the inside. We also built a sense of community and retreat as we worked in the Studio space together. One participant said, “I haven’t thought of the outside world all day – I’ve been so focused on my work here.”

When Michelle and I plan workshops together, we want to bring this sense of retreat and contemplation to the experience as well as ensuring that everyone has a finished piece to take home with them as a celebration of their accomplishments and growth. And it worked again with our Book of Serendipity workshop – take a look at the video!