April 26, 2013
I exhibited original collage paintings at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show at Pier 94 in NYC from March 21-24, 2013.
I planned my booth (M135) and designed it to be all about bright colors – hot pinks, warm reds, greens, blues, darks and whites to make the colors ping.
Every piece of art – every painting and collage that I hung in the booth was selected for its color in order to attract an audience. And it did.
The 2 images below are installed as a diptych – 2 works hung together as one. They are titled Musical Notes 1 and 2.
The work on the left is a painting in acrylic on canvas, 24×24 inches. The work on the right is a collage with acrylic painted papers on a 24×24 inch wood panel. My studio practice is mainly collage, but I love to paint so some works are paintings and some works are painted paper collage. The image above was taken by Marcy Michaud. She wrote a blog about the show and included my image.
When I do painted paper collage, I paint papers first, and then, when the paint is dry, I play with cut paper blocks and organize them into grid patterns. I almost always work with a grid. Sometimes I change the size and shape of the papers as I make the collage. Sometimes I paint back into the papers after they are glued down. The color relationships are the most important part of each work.
The images below are 2 collages with painted papers and assorted magazine papers, framed size 13.5″x16″. The works are titled Color Game Hidden Spaces (top) and Color Game Green & Red (bottom). They were installed on a side wall in my booth.
On the opposite wall, I hung a horizontal framed collage I titled DNA. See the image below. I want people to be attracted to the power of color. It’s painted paper collage on paper, framed: 22″ x29.5″, 2012.
I was asked – why did I title the collage DNA? Answer: The color blocks made me think of uncurled strands of DNA. A little bit. My approach to naming the art was very unscientific. Someone said: DNA would only show in 4 colors. My collage had more than 4. I had 3 greens, 2 blues, a red-purple, a reddish brown and several yellows.
I checked out images of DNA online and learned that the DNA molecules are paired chemicals – hydrogen bonds given the letters A,T, G and C (A pairs with T and G pairs with C). The letters stand for adenine-thymine and guanine-cytosine. Here’s more information…
See the image below (image courtesy the Internet). It’s an uncurled strand of DNA that does look a little like my collage.
I know my collage DNA included too many colors – but I love color.
I found a link to a letter from Francis Crick to his son Michael explaining how he (Crick) and Jim Watson discovered and built a model of D.N.A. It’s a lovely hand-written note from a father to a son. Read more…
VARIETY IS IMPORTANT
People want to see variety, especially at a trade show. So I included about 30 additional unframed works for all the people who visited my booth to look at and hold.
I tucked these smaller unframed collages into 11”x14” clear vinyl slipcases and placed them in an art bin freestanding on the floor. Each vinyl slipcase was numbered to match a price list with titles, image sizes and media for each work.
Many works in the bin combined printmaking, drawing and collage.
The image below is titled Random Squares in a Grid 2 (Brown & White Stripes). It’s collage with assorted papers and acrylic on paper, 11.5″ x 11.5″, 2011.
The image below is titled Random Squares in a Grid 7 (Azo Yellow). Its a collage with assorted papers over painted paper, 11″ x 12″, 2011.
It pleased me that people took time to handle the unframed works. People like to touch. I took the works out of the slipcases so they could see and touch the surfaces.
The image below is a collage of colorful striped papers on top of a silkscreen print card (the card is a print from an original drawing). I like to collage over hand-made cards. The paper is fine printmaking quality, folded like a card, 8″ x 7″, 2013.
The 2 images below are 2 more small collages on top of hand-made cards on printmaking paper, folded, 8″ x 7″, 2013. The cards were very popular at the show, and priced to sell.
It was a good thing that I included the variety I did. Many people loved the pinks and reds of the framed works hung on the walls. Many people were interested in the variety of different works in the art bin.
Please visit my website to see 28 images that were at the show. Click on each image to enlarge and get a better view of the detail and collage layers.
THE WORK CONTINUES
Follow-up is so important after the trade show closes. I am still contacting designers, architects and others, sending information and image files they’ve requested.
A trade show offers incredible opportunities. The networking is amazing.
Please contact me if you want more information. I am happy to answer your questions about how to organize work for exhibit in a large show like the Architectural Digest Home Design show. My booth was located in the “MADE” section with more than 150 designers, artists and craftsmen – from lighting, fine crafted furniture, photography, sculpture and fine art paintings and collage. I think I will participate in the show again next year.
I will probably play with painted paper collage in the studio, and explore the idea of DNA paired as blocks. I am intrigued with mixing art and science. Do you think art and science work well together? Many people do. Thank you for reading and for your comments.
December 5, 2012
What can you do with Collage?
Two weeks ago at the Pelham Art Center, I talked about collage projects during the fall term. Many of the projects included recycling and repurposing papers. The class is titled Embellish An Image – Play With Collage.
Almost every class project I teach involves working with paper. We also work with found media and fabric. Everyone likes the idea of recycling junk mail, catalogs, magazines and cards. We say – don’t throw anything out because you can find a way to use it.
I stress 3Rs: Recycle, Renew, Repurpose.
If you doodle, do drawings, paintings, or prints, you can use the drawing, painting or print in your collage, either as the base for the collage (it’s the substrate) or as collage papers on top. It’s easy to start a collage when you build on top of something else.
The image below is my collage with pen and ink drawing in a series titled Strata. It’s on 8×8 inch paper. I made 16 different drawings and added collage to each one. I showed the images to my class and explained that strata is about horizontal layers. In this case the layers are a drawing and papers on top.
I like to combine drawing with collage and I encourage students to add drawing.
A hand-drawn element makes the collage personal. Anyone can do drawing. Doodling is drawing. If you think you can’t draw, try tracing. Gather images and papers you like as inspiration. Do a copy of the image. You can start with a tracing on vellum paper. Draw with pencil, pen and ink, crayon and pastel onto small pieces of paper. Add your drawing to your collage..
Explore Theme and Variation
If you create your own greeting cards, you can use the cards as a base for a collage series.
If you don’t want to cut up the originals cards, take a digital photo or photocopy them if they are small. Make multiples and use the copies for collage media.
If you create a wonderful collage, don’t cut it up. Make multiple copies and use the copies as a base for more collage or as collage media.
Possibilities with Painted Papers
We used wallpaper from a donated book in a recent project. The paper was oversized, strong, and free. Some of the wallpaper was patterned and textured.
Each person painted a page with blue and green acrylic and created a background for a landscape collage that included an island surrounded by water and sky. Each person worked with a palette knife and used 2 greens, and mixed blue and white. The painted wallpaper became the substrate (the bottom layer). Some students added gloss acrylic medium to the paint. It made the paint more transparent and gave the colors depth in layers. After the painted wallpaper substrate was dry, students added various collage papers.
The image below is by Marlene Furtick. She added magazine papers and papers she painted in a previous class.
Many collage artists use heavyweight watercolor paper or museum board as a substrate. It’s expensive. Sometimes the paper warps or buckles because of the water in glue or in paint. Wallpaper is a good substrate because it is typically coated and will not absorb water and will not warp or buckle.
Everyone Loves Painting Papers for Collage
Painting papers is a way to create collage media. You can paint on magazine pages, scrap paper, fabric, newspaper and wallpaper You can photocopy or scan and print the painted papers and create multiples. You can also use the original painted papers as a substrate. I always encourage students to create a painted substrate. It’s a great way to begin a collage.
For another class project, we worked with medium weight scrap paper that was plain white, and painted it with gouache (opaque watercolor). Students used a 1 inch wide soft straight-edge (bright) brush and worked with diluted paint applied as a single color. Students painted more than one color on separate papers.
The image below is by Joyce Dutka, and shows the worktable and oil pastels nearby.
The papers are painted with gouache.
I encouraged Joyce to add drawing to her collage papers because doodles and drawing give the work more personality. It also added color, pattern and texture
Joyce cut her papers into shapes and embellished the papers with oil pastels. The project was inspired by the artist Henri Matisse, who worked in collage at the end of his career. Matisse called his collages paper cutouts.
We used fabric for collage in a recent class. The fabric was donated. Students cut up the fabric and glued it down onto canvas I supplied. We worked with carpenter’s wood glue because it is heavier than white PVA glue.
Carol Frank created the image below. It’s upholstery fabric and paper on natural unprimed canvas. The project is called Strata. Carol placed the horizontal strips so some edges were under and some edges were over others.
Here are more ideas for collage projects:
Explore black and white and red. Find magazine images and newspaper text. Play with shapes and line. Cut words into strips. Turn them upside down and on edge.
Find a large magazine image you like and glue it down on Bristol or another heavy paper. Select an image that is big enough to cover the paper substrate. Add collage elements all over to create something that looks new and different.
Explore a grid design. Cut up 6, 9 or 16 small blocks of medium weight paper. The blocks can be 2×2, 3×3 or 4×4 inches. Add drawing or collage to each block. Organize and glue the blocks on a heavy Bristol or watercolor substrate. When you rotate the blocks as you place them, you get different patterns.
Play with layers. Work with thin paper over thicker papers. Let the edges peep through. Cut and open out top layers to reveal layers beneath.
Cut out text from books and magazines. Draw or write on cut papers. Glue Japanese washi papers on top to reveal line and text underneath.
Play with colors and tone. Work with a selected palette of collage papers that you create, collect or purchase. Choose colors that show contrast in color saturation (pale to bright) and in value (dark to light).
Play with edges. Cut and tear collage papers. Overlayer so edges peek through. Cut papers into curved shapes. Glue papers to create rhythm and pattern.
Explore examples of art by artists you admire. Copy (interpret) a painting, but do it in collage.
Interpret the style of 2 artists. Do a collage that includes elements of both.
I will teach 10 classes on Monday evenings (7-9) at Pelham, starting in January 2013. Contact me if you want to join the class.
Thank you for your comments. Please take the survey nearby and tell me what you like.
October 18, 2012
Last weekend I visited the Studio Museum in Harlem to see the exhibition Bearden 100, a centennial tribute to the great 20th century artist Romare Bearden (1911-1988). What I saw was the 3rd and final installment of Bearden 100. It closes October 21, 2012.
I promised to write about the Bearden 100 exhibition in a previous blog about a Bearden workshop I lead on August 5, 2012 at the Newark Museum titled Conjur Woman: Portrait in Collage – inspired by the artist Romare Bearden.
The workshop was offered in conjunction with the exhibition Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections at the Newark Museum (closed August 19, 2012).
The image above is by Romare Bearden and titled Conjur Woman. It was completed in 1964. It’s only 9×7 inches, and was created with snippets from newspapers and magazines such as Ebony and the Saturday Evening Post.
Bearden turned his tiny collage into a huge black and white print (called a Photostat). The Newark Museum had small works and large prints on display. The large black and white Conjur Woman Photostat is in the collection of the Studio Museum.
Read more about the meaning of the Conjur Woman and more about my workshops.
22 ARTISTS AT THE STUDEO MUSEUM IN HARLEM
Here’s a link to see images of the 22 works at the Museum. The link is from the Bearden Foundation.
I was drawn to several works.
One was a figure by Elia Alba titled Portrait of a Young Girl, 2012 (see the image below).
It’s a 3D figure in a prayer-like pose. She wrote: It wasn’t just Bearden’s collage, but his merging of cultural and artistic practices that left the strongest impression on me.
I really liked a collage by Noah Davis titled The Frogs (2011) seen below.
It looks like collage with many magazine papers and fractured faces (it’s definitely inspired by Bearden media and technique).
I was drawn to a mixed media 3D work by Xenobia Bailey, titled Endless Love: Conjur Kit, 2012 (see below).
I love the fact that the artist named her work Conure Kit – maybe she is inspired by all the Conjur Women in Bearden’s oeuvre.
The artist wrote: I love the continuum that his (Bearden’s) collages have to African-American quilt-makers and musicians. Mr. Bearden constructs everything in his artwork as if he is patching together the idea of the New African in North America.
See #66: Bearden, In the Garden 1974 (image below). It includes red striped fabric on a figure, and abraded painted papers.
The Bearden image was selected by Tanekeya Word, a visual artist living in NYC.
See her mixed media work (below) titled Pretty Dope-a-licious Cameo #11, acrylic paint, gouache, watercolor, acrylic ink, gold leaf, embroidery, floss, pastels, latex paint on watercolor paper, 2012.
Willie Cole selected the collage by Bearden, #57 Gospel Song 1969 (below) It includes multiple pieces of abraded papers, a gray background, and shows what Bearden did to his media to create unique surface texture. It also shows how he used pieces of papers to create a sense of dimension, texture, and rhythm.
Willie Cole, a Newark, NJ artist, said he selected this work because it sang to him when he saw it.
See his work tiled Sole to Sole (below). Cole works with found media and creates/constructs metaphor about race in prints, sculpture and other media.
Cole describes himself: Today I am a Perceptual Engineer. I create new ways of seeing old things. and by doing so inspire new ways of thinking. I’ve also been described as an Ecological Mechanic, a Sacred Clown, a Transformer, the hardest working man in Shoe Business, The Original Iron Man, formerly known as the Dog Man, and once known as Vincent Van Black.
Willie Cole is one of my favorite contemporary artists.
More BEARDEN 100
The Studio Museum plans to extend the Bearden Project. They say:
The site will be frequently updated with new participating artists, sharing their story of inspiration and will include a high-resolution image of their artwork. We hope you’ll share your own artwork, stories, and comments with us by email.
Romare Bearden was involved in founding The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Cinque Gallery (initially funded by the Ford Foundation). Bearden and 2 other artists – Norman Lewis and Ernest Crichlow – established Cinque to support younger minority artists.
Bearden helped found the Black Academy of Arts and Letters in 1970. He was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1972.
He is recognized as one of the most creative and original visual artists of the 20th Century. He worked in many different media, including painting and printmaking, but is best known for his richly textured collages
September 13, 2012
When I started making collage more than 25 years ago, I liked to use cut-outs from magazines.
I never had enough papers with the right images and it took a really long time to collect the papers I wanted.
I always needed more papers. So I added handmade and decorated imported papers to the magazine cut-out papers.
Handmade papers can be very expensive. I didn’t want to use junk papers. I love saturated color and texture and pattern, and that usually costs more.
I started to paint magazine papers with acrylic paints. The bigger and fatter the magazine, the better. Heavy body acrylics are the kind I like. I also work with “open” acrylic paints because they stay wet longer.
Recently I created printed papers for collage and used the open acrylics. It was an experiment. It didn’t work.
Open acrylics work so well for painted papers, but I don’t like the way the paints transfer image and color when it’s a print. It’s not as rich as printmaking with oil and water-based inks. The acrylic colors are flat and dull when the paint is transferred to the paper.
Exploring Printmaking with Intaglio Inks and Oil Paints
I tried printmaking with Akua intaglio inks. I like the way the inks transfer pattern and color. I love the mellow surface.
The image below is a sample of the papers created with the Akua Intaglio inks. I will use these papers for collage.
I was able to get transparencies and also texture.
Read more about how to work with the Akua intaglio inks.
Oil Paints for a Collagraph Print Collage
The image below is a sample of the papers I created with oil paints. This was a lot of fun. I used a palette knife to apply oil paint directly onto brown supermarket bags cut into small pieces. I laid the painted papers face up onto a Plexiglas plate and placed a dry piece of printmaking paper on top and ran the print through the press.
What you see below is not the print. These are the papers that were inked with oil paint and used to make the print.
I said the printmaking process was “collagraph.” In this process, I ink the papers with oil paint and place them onto the print plate and transfer the paint from the loose papers.
Typically, when you make a collagraph, you build up the surface of the plate with texture by brushing on acrylic mediums, or gluing down textured papers, silk fabric, or even painting with glue. After the media is dry, you ink and wipe the plate, place the printmaking paper on top and run it through the press.
The Print Parts Became a Whole Collage
I didn ‘t like my collagraph at all. The painted papers didn’t transfer the the paint the way I wanted them to, probably because the painted papers were in two layers. The transferred image was too light.
But, I loved the way the papers looked, and decided to use them for collage.
I had to let them dry for 2 days.
I made 3 collages. See them below. 2 are glued to wood panels that are about 1 inch thick. One is glued to paper.
I will donate these to the Silvermine Arts Center for their benefit Signed Sealed & Delivered on Sunday, October 28, 2012. At Signed Sealed & Delivered, all of the works are 4×6 inches. Some of the works are 3D. All are for sale.
Read more about the benefit event at Silvermine Arts Center. See how the works are installed for the public to view and select. The works are by Silvermine Guild artists, faculty and well-known friends. The event will benefit Silvermine’s public programs.
The images below looks layered. Actually, the semi-transparent areas are where I removed a layer of paper.
The image above is collage on paper.
The image below is collage on wood panel. Notice the strip of paper that looks orange and blue located near the bottom. That is actually the reverse side of the painted paper. It’s the supermarket bag side. I like the texture and mottled effect.
Paper is a huge category. Handmade papers can be very expensive.
There are many choices for paper collage that are not too expensive. You can use construction paper, sandpaper, copier paper, tissue paper, wrapping paper, wallpaper, paper bags, junk mail, papers you collect (letters, postcards, receipts), photographs, and more.
You can use books and book covers.
Don’t throw anything away!
I often recycle papers, and use my own drawings, paintings and prints. Best, for me, is to create my own papers for collage.
July 26, 2012
A student in my collage class at the Pelham Art Center asked me to include a printmaking project. In a collage context, that means collagraph (a print made with a collage technique).
I thought that was a good idea for a class project because a collagraph can be the beginning of many things – it can be a finished work – it can be the start of a mixed media collage – and it can be a source for collage papers. Collage artists need a lot of different papers and printmaking is a good way to create interesting papers for collage.
I thought of 3 different collagraph techniques working with ink and paper and how you can prepare a plate for a print. I think I will show all 3 techniques in the next several weeks.
PREPARE THE COLLAGRAPH PLATE:
One technique is to glue papers to a hard surface like cardboard, Plexiglas or hardboard (Masonite), allow the papers to dry and, using a brayer (roller) or paintbrush, cover the papers with paint or ink.
A second technique is to use papers (cutout stencil pieces) that are not glued to the cardboard, Plexiglas or hardboard plate. You ink the bottom plate and then place the papers onto the inked bottom layer and use a brayer or paintbrush to add another color to the papers.
A third technique is to create a design or image directly on the plate with glue or acrylic media with a brush, a squeeze bottle and let it dry, and then roll ink or paint onto the plate.
The image above is a collagraph plate prepared by a student in the class at the Pelham Art Center. The white background is acrylic gesso on the Masonite. Gesso is an art material used as a primary coat. 2 coats of gesso were applied. The papers are medium weight drawing papers cut and glued to the gesso-coated hardboard.
The plate is not ready to be printed because it needs to get a coat of acrylic medium before it can be inked and used to make a print. The coat of acrylic medium will protect it from water and solvents so it can be used many times to print. After the plate is inked (and printed) it will take on the colors of the inks. Plates sometimes become very beautiful as they are inked and used.
At the next class session we will apply acrylic medium in 2 coats, allow it to dry, ink the plate and make one or more prints.
PREPARE THE INK FOR PRINTING
We will use oil-based inks and spread the ink with a brayer in a thin layer onto a piece of plate glass ¼ inch thick. The ink on the brayer will be rolled onto the collagraph plate. More than one ink color can be applied to the plate with brush or brayer as multiple steps.
PREPARE THE PAPERS FOR PRINTING
You want to have printmaking papers prepared in advance (sized, a little damp) so that as soon as the plate is inked you can place the paper on top of the plate and print.
It’s important that paper is sized larger than the plate. You want to see a border around the print. The technique for printing is simple: You place the clean printmaking paper on top of the inked plate and transfer the image by hand or with a press. Practice makes perfect.
The images above are my collagraph plate (demo plate for the class) and the pen and ink drawing that inspired the shape of the paper pieces for the collagraph plate. It will be interesting to see how the print turns out and how it is different from the pen and ink drawing. I will experiment with black and white and colored inks.
NO BIG PAPERS for this PRINT
I asked students to cut the papers small because the Masonite plate was also small.
The size of the design elements or image you glue onto the plate should be relative to the size of the plate.
The size of the plate should be relative to the size of the paper you want to print your image on. It’s probably a good idea to determine the size of your paper first and then find the plate that will be the base for your print. Printmaking papers come in standard sizes. If you use drawing papers from a drawing sketchbook, those papers come in standard sizes also. I have drawing paper from a pad that is close to the size of the collagraph plate.
I will show students how to tear other papers to size at the next class. Many artists like the torn (deckled) edge for printmaking paper and there is a special technique for tearing papers.
PRINTMAKING BY HAND
I ordered a PIN PRESS from Rostow and Jung Akua Inks and will bring it to class. The pin press replaces a printmaking press and is easy to use and is affordable for a serious printmaker who doesn’t have the space for a flatbed print press. Read about the pin press (see what it looks like)…
I will also bring sturdy wooden spoons and a printmaking barren so that people can transfer their image to paper by hand.
The Rostow and Jung Akua website has many links to tutorials and videos on many different printmaking techniques, including monotype, monoprint, carborundum, silk aquatint, linocut, woodcut and more.
The 2 images below are collages I made with my own monoprint papers. I like to recycle print papers. Recycle Totems is 16 x 18 inches. Recycle Grid is 17 x 14 inches.