Thursday, November 29, 2007


I just had to start this painting. I have been dying to work with my collage papers since I cleaned up the studio. Now that I have the papers on the canvas, I hate to paint over them! Somehow they seem like a finished painting. I think I will paint on plastic first and see how it will look overlayed before I paint on the papers. I feel like I have all these starts but I couldn't help myself, the collage was definitely calling me today. I will muster up the energy to work on my ink drawing tonight. Then, I will get back to my commission tomorrow.

I am working on a gallery wrap canvas for this one. I have done this same technique on watercolor paper and it works well there, too. I drew the grid pattern on the canvas with my ultra wide Copic pen in a light orange. Then I decided to color in the various shapes using the markers in different colors. In the first image you can see some of this initial phase. Then I took tracing paper and made pattern templates for each shape and cut them out. I layed the paper pattern on top of the collage paper and used a wet brush with a fine tip and drew around the shape with water. The paper will separate along this wet line. I wanted definite shapes but not a cut edge. This technique gives me a torn edge. I glued the papers down with a 50/50 mixture of acrylic gloss medium and water. I always use an old bristle brush for this so I don't ruin a good sable and the bristle brush smooths out the paper. I made sure the papers wrapped around the sides of the canvas so I don't need to provide a frame when it is done. By coloring the shapes first, it influences the final color because the collage paper is tissue and therefore has some transparency.

I started painting my own collage papers after I discovered that the colored tissue available in the stores is not light fast! That was a rude shock to me as I had done a few pieces I really liked with colored tissue. Now I can have an art show in a closet! I used the video from Creative Catalyst Productions by Carrie Burns Brown. She shows some great ideas for coloring the tissue. Once I got started, I soon created some of my own techniques along with hers. Painting the tissue with acrylic makes it light fast and permanent plus gives the paper some body so it isn't quite so fragile. The great thing is you can't make an ugly tissue. It is so freeing to know there are no mistakes.

I have posted 3 images: the first is in the beginning stages, second the finished collage and the third a detail.

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