some of the papers used are from the artist Anahata Katkin
What does it take to make a interesting collage background, that gives way
to light, dimension, and texture?
I started making collage backgrounds at the Art Nest in 2008, with artist Misty Mawn, and Sally Jean Alexandra. Since then I have taken classes from many mixed media artists, like Anahata Katkin, Pam Garrison, and Stephanie Lee.
What have I learned from these artists is really quite simple. Don't Think!
"Windows of Light"
I know what you are thinking? How do you do that? Here are the steps that I have learned, and am still learning on my own artistic journey.
- Have your supplies ready. I like to either start on thick heavy watercolor paper, or vintage wallpaper (the ugly type) that is strong and sturdy. Set out your paints, glue, and paper collection. I use golden gel medium for adhesive, and some of my favorite paints are yellow ochre, burnt umber, and titanium buff.
- Prepare your surface. Give your background a coat of gesso if needed. I only do this if I am using something other than watercolor paper. You may want to do this a day in advance, to let it dry completely. This allows for a good sticky base, and will save your paints from playing tricks with your color palette.
- Start gluing your papers down. I have a collections of black and white copies of architectural buildings and spaces that appeal to me, also wallpapers, newspaper clippings, vintage scraps, and words are a good start. I like to use a brayer to flatten out the paper as I go.
- Try not to compose your work, just let it develop however it does. I know when I am trying too hard. I am in the "think" zone. You want to be in "the flow" which means that you are relaxed and the composition is flowing out of you. This takes practice. I am still working on this. Artists who have felt this are very aware of the difference.
- Use your inner artist, for me this means using my hands. I like to put down the paper, glue and paint with my hands at first, this allows me to add paint with the medium and saturate the background with light or dark.
- Resisting. Try no to take a break when you feel resistance this a natural process, and working through this will give you the ability to see the work differently. Try looking at the work standing up, turn your work around, try it in a different room with additional lighting.
- To tie the work together, use one color over the top of the piece, then quickly wipe it off where you want emphasis. I like to use burnt Umber or Titanium Buff. Then use wipes or a wet cloth when bringing out the color hues.
- Use your finished backgrounds for journals, as a background for another piece of work, or just as is. I have a hard time cutting them up, so I have a pile that I don't really now what to do with yet.
- Enjoy the process, making art is not a means to an end, but a process of expression and delight. hey that sounds like a quote, blah blah blah, If you are still reading this you are either bored out of your wits, or you haven't quite had enough caffeine for the day. I do believe.... What??? no matter how a piece is finished it has the ability to move us forward artistically, and is an expression of our creative journey.
- Start again.. See quote below, and if you made it this far, make a comment below telling me "why you need to create art" and I will select a random winner to receive a box of my favorite art supplies for making a background. You deserve something free for getting this far.
"a work in progress"
I did find this fabulous quote here which applies to every medium, or anything really.
To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there is no guarantee that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters. - Harry Callaha
Rena, Shannon, Diana, Cheryl, Amanda, and Julie
Here's to the journey....
Candice and little Gracee ( my shadow)