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!





Minding my own beeswax

beacon-hill-art-walkEvery June I look forward to participating in the Beacon Hill Art Walk in Boston – the venerable old red-brick and cobblestone neighborhood opens its courtyards and gardens to over 100 artists for a unique event that includes music and food.

This year, inspired by Clare O’Neill and  the work that my students did in our first Beeswax Collage workshop, I’m including some of my own encaustP1100506ic beeswax collages for show & sale. I’m also developing a new eBook about the process called Behind the Veil – it’s almost ready for publication. And I’ll offer a new workshop on this Beeswax Collage process on July 12th, and another one in the fall, so stay tuned for those things. The new eBook will give you several tips on working successfully with this process, including:

  • Limit your palette, both in imagery and in wax color
  • Work small scale at first
  • Use a good substrate such as Arches #300 watercolor paper

Taking any art to Boston is kind of a challenge because it has to be lightweight, packable, and easy to set up. These collages fit the bill – I’m hoping they will be popular with Boston patrons. Two years ago, my work won a third place ribbon, last year I took home a second place ribbon – maybe these little pieces will snag a first place at the show on June 7th! Here are a few of the new beeswax & collage pieces that are completed. Do you think they will be a hit on Beacon Hill? Fingers crossed 🙂



Setting out to set up . . .

Today is the Beacon Hill Art Walk and my friend Pat Semmes and I are making preparations to get the artwork and setup stuff from Here to There, which is about half a mile up Beacon Hill. Another friend, Danny, will be the muscleman on the team and help us get the carts up the cobblestone sidewalks. Yay. Our location, which we will share with two other artists, is just off Revere Street in Bellingham Place, a shady courtyard – well, more like an alley :). This is gonna be fun! At least we’re pretty close to the Gelato shop.

Here’s the artwork semi-packed upbasket

Here are the art supplies, semi-cleaned up:


And here is some additional Paper Cut-out Art from my Boston kitty who evidently thought I could use a bit more variety:

Onward and (quite literally) UPWARD! Report to follow!