January 17, 2013
Making art is a habit you cultivate. It’s a good habit and very important for artists.
But you need a proper space that’s dedicated and a place that makes you feel inclined to work.
I’ve had studios in my home and outside my home. Sometimes it’s more convenient to work from your home. Sometimes it’s better to separate yourself from home and work in a space dedicated to just making art.
My current studio is a dedicated space with worktables, sink, bookshelves, storage cabinets, my easel, printing press and flat files in one room with overhead fluorescent lights, and an east-facing window. I’ve been in the studio, located in New Rochelle, NY at Media Loft for 5 years and I’ve improved my studio space over the years. Media Loft is a great space for artists. We organize open studio events and have a first floor lobby gallery.
The image above is my worktable covered with papers, paints and tools. When I’m working it gets messy.
Notice the paint jars in the center of the table. I bought the jars in a retail stores that sells everything you need for storage. I needed to store paints that I custom mixed. Notice the painted canvas sitting in front. It was a clean piece of canvas and I’m using it as a blotter for excess paint from my palette knife. I swipe the paint onto the canvas and I think this work surface will become a collage element in a future work.
My table gets cluttered with painted papers as I work, and then I clean it up and organize the materials to make room to continue or start over on a new project. When people visit for open studio events, the space gets cleaned up totally, and people think I work that way. You can see that I don’t.
See the painting and collages on the wall behind the worktable. I just had a hanging art system installed in the studio and hung my art as if my studio is a gallery. It looks good when people visit. I also want to look at the painting and collages on the walls. The hanging art is there to inspire me to continue to work on the Metro Series. I am exploring color and want to see the colors I’ve used in front of me. The Metro Series is about geometry. It’s constructed abstraction. Geometry is my reality.
Every artist needs a dedicated space – no matter how small.
It’s easy to get to work when you have a dedicated space where ongoing projects can be left in progress. It means you can leave at the end of the day and return the next day and everything is set out ready for work as soon as you arrive.
But, many artists work in improvised spaces. They make the space work for them.
In a recent class I teach at the Pelham Art Center, a gifted student who’s an artist brought up the subject of her studio space problem.
She is trying to decide the best place to work. She can set up a workspace in her home basement or in her kitchen. The basement is bigger, but is also a shared space for family and TV.
The kitchen would be a happier place – she said it felt right even though it was the kitchen.
I asked if she could find a way to store all her art materials, glue and collage tools in the kitchen.
I don’t know whether the kitchen is vintage or modern, but, no matter what the style, there are new or vintage pieces that could be used for storage (or maybe there is a piece of furniture somewhere in the house that could move into the kitchen).
I found the above image online. I asked for images of antique wood flat file cabinets. I got a huge number of images, including old metal flat files (probably less expensive than new).
Similar pieces can be found at ebay or etsy.com or go scout at a neighborhood antique shop, a tag sale or country auction. Maybe you already own something like this. It’s a beautiful piece to store your beautiful papers.
The image above is suitable for an office or contemporary styled room. It’s readily available if you look for metal storage files or boxes.
If there isn’t floor space, is there a place to set a portable writing desk or stack storage boxes on top?
The image above appeals to me. It’s vintage and could hold postcards and small booklets for projects in progress. I would leave it on top of a cabinet or counter in the kitchen as a constant reminder of your creative time.
I’ve seen portable desks (writing desks) with storage compartments. Everything is tucked away and safe.
The image above shows 2 storage boxes to store collage papers, scissors, pencils, pens, etc. The boxes come in so many sizes and range in prices and are available online and in retail stores. They look fine stacked and could be stashed in a cupboard, on top of a cabinet or counter. I would keep glue in an upright position inside a cabinet.
Taking Out and Putting Back Can be a Good Thing
There’s a benefit to taking out materials every time you begin to work on a project because you handle all the media and see things anew. When you return the materials to the storage container, you organize again, preparing for the next time you will work. You can write notes on what your next steps will be so you are ready to begin when you return.
I suggested to my student that she could organize her materials (papers) and place them into extra-large plastic zipper bags, sorted by project. Depending on how the kitchen is organized, the bags could be placed in a kitchen drawer, or into a freestanding stack of drawers on wheels, or into a crate.
I have stored papers in plastic page separators organized into 3-ring binders. I sorted the papers by color, texture, pattern and image. I place the binders on a shelf with art books (for reference) next to my stack of magazines that are a resource for more collage papers. My favorite magazines are ArtForum and Art News.
Check out ebay or etsy.com (storage and organization) for vintage storage pieces if that’s your taste. Or go online and locate sources for new types of storage – boxes, containers, flat files, storage drawers, etc.
It seems like everyone is into storage solutions today.
What solutions have you created? Please share how you’ve organized your personal art project space. Thanks for sharing.
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.
November 15, 2012
I love to use text as a main element in collage. The text are lines and then I add drawing.
I find text in art magazine and also in books. I don’t like to tear pages from books, but don’t mind pulling pages from magazines. The magazines are a great resource for collage papers, and some art magazines have a lot of pages.
When I find text with a large typeface, I cut the text horizontally so the letters are split into long strips, and the words are not easy to read.
Recently the class I teach at the Pelham Art Center asked to explore using magazine pages with text for collage.
I brought the image (seen below) to the class. It’s a small collage. The horizontal strips are all split and layered magazine text.
The images below are 2 of my pen and ink drawings with collage from the Strata Series. See all 16 images in the series…
The Strata series is about layering, with a reference to landscape, and a little bit of play.
NOTES ON THE CLASS PROJECT
I suggested the class cut and tear the text into thin horizontal strips. Cutting would create hard edges. Tearing would create soft edges. I suggested they organize the papers into visually compatible groups in related colors. I suggested that some strips should touch or overlap.
I shared beautiful black, silver and white printed paper with wavy lines, and showed them how to create a soft, torn edge by using a brush dipped in water that made it easy to tear the paper. The reverse side of the hand-made paper is a beautiful dense black.
I shared pages of printed text and gave them copies of magazines to look for more text.
The images below are by the class members. It was a challenging project and I think everyone was pleased with the collages they created in one evening class session.
Do you think the collages look like landscape strata? Do you like the text they selected? Are you inspired t0 make collage with text?
November 8, 2012
How do you start a collage? It’s a question I’m asked a lot.
I say I like to create the background first. I also like to paint papers for collage.
The image below is by Bearden, titled Purple Eden (1987) 10.5×13 inches.
I wrote about Bearden and the workshop in a post titled Caribbean Fantasy Island Collage.
Materials for Painted Paper Collage
I brought paints, palette knives, and papers to the Pelham Art Center for the class to create a collage background (substrate). The papers were torn from a donated wallpaper book, and were perfect because they were sturdy, large, and FREE. The wallpaper had a pebbly surface that added a nice texture.
I demonstrated how to work with the palette knife. The acrylic paint was not mixed. It was right out of the tube. I showed them how handle the palette knife and apply the paint in varying thicknesses, to scrape paint into thinner layers, and overpaint layers to achieve depth.
We spent one class painting the background paper and painted additional papers for trees, plants, leaves and clouds. We created the media for the collage that would be assembled the following week.
The image below is my sample painted background.
The plan was to create an image of an island surrounded by water with a light blue sky above.
To start, I painted the entire paper with yellow green acrylic paint and let it dry. I painted a 2nd layer with blue acrylic directly over the green and created the shape of water surrounding the island. I scraped some of the paint thin to let the green underlayer show through. I mixed white acrylic paint with a tiny amount of blue and painted the horizon line above the island for the sky.
Everybody in the class did their own variation of the island, surrounding water, and sky. They took the painted papers home to dry. I asked them to collect and bring in magazine papers to add to their collage the following week.
The images below are the finished collages. Each one is unique. Each is 16 x 20 inches.
Carol added birds and fish and painted paper waves in the water. I said her palm trees were windswept.
Joyce added a mysterious, magical forest within her island landscape, plus many birds and critters she brought to class.
Sheila always does totally abstract collage and creates art books. For her project (seen above), I persuaded her to make her work more like a forest landscape with a hint of trees. The papers extend beyond the rectangle of the painted paper. I took the image on a brown masonite board.
The images below are by Marlene and Lorraine Furtick.
All the color variations in the painted papers were created by layering paint and scraping into underlayers.
I think the works are truly amazing, especially since the projects were completed in 2 class sessions and a total of 4 hours.
Does the idea of creating your own collage media inspire you? Romare Bearden painted collage papers with watercolor and called his works collage paintings. Henri Matisse had studio assistants paint his collage papere with gouache. I paint a palette of papers for each collage. You can too.
Please send me your comments.
October 25, 2012
I like to create my own media for collage with watercolor, gouache and acrylic paint. Painting allows me to create multiple sheets of paper in the colors, patterns and texture I want for each collage.
I apply paint to recycled magazine papers and other paper media. I like to work in mixed media collage, and include hand-made papers, decorative papers, my own drawings and prints to the painted papers, and often paint papers to match colors of other papers.
See my online tutorial on painting papers.
I told the class that two of my favorite collage artists – Romare Bearden and Henri Matisse – worked with painted papers. Bearden painted his own papers, typically in watercolor. Matisse had studio assistants paint his papers for him in gouache.
The image above is acrylic paint on drawing paper, done by one student in the Pelham collage class.
We worked with a plastic palette knife. Almost every student I meet has no experience or almost no experience painting with a palette knife. I tell them it’s so easy to get really good results with this technique.
It’s a simple technique
The image above is a selection of 9 papers done with palette knife and acrylic paints by one student in the Pelham collage class.
I did a simple class demonstration, showed them how to set up their palette of paint colors on a disposable paper plate (plastic coated), and very quickly the students started to paint with the palette knife to make their own painted papers. They created an amazing variety of colors, designs and textures.
I showed them how to apply paint over a film of acrylic medium I applied to white drawing paper. After that, I showed them how to apply acrylic paint directly with the palette knife onto magazine pages.
I like to paint on magazine papers – to recycle pages from art magazines like Artforum, and fashion magazines like W because the pages in those magazines are heavier than typical magazines. I don’t recommend using news magazines for painting papers, because the paper is thin and curls when you apply paint or glue, and is difficult to work with in collage.
How to work with acrylic paint:
Use any good brand of acrylic paint. The better brands are usually more expensive because they include more paint pigment. The colors are richer and the coverage is better. I recommend students work with gloss or satin acrylic medium to make the paint thinner. I tell students not to use water to thin the paint.
I often buy art supplies online from Jerry’s Artarama and NY Central Art Supply.
When I am in NYC, I stop by NY Central Artists Supply at 62 Third Avenue. Their paper department is incredible and they ship everywhere.
Dick Blick is another good resource for acrylic, gouache and other art supplies.
Tools for the Workshop
In the class demo, I tell students to squeeze out dots or small ½ inch strips of acrylic from the paint tube onto a plastic coated disposable paper plate, and leave some space in the center of the plate so colors can be mixed.
The image above shows a plastic and a metal palette knife, a 1 inch soft paint brush, a paper cup, tubes of gouache paint, a single tube of acrylic paint and the book titled Jazz (about the artist Henri Matisse).
When I paint papers with acrylic, I typically lay the colors down on a disposable paper palette and mix one color at a time. When I paint papers with gouache, I typically mix the paint with water in a small cup so it’s diluted to the proper consistency. For the class, I wanted everyone to be excited by the possibilities of working with different colors and with mixing colors as they painted.
I also mix colors directly on the paper. First, I squeeze acrylic gloss or satin medium from the container directly onto the paper and brush it across, then squeeze dots of acrylic paint out of the tube directly over the medium and move it around with the palette knife to create stripes, patterns and transparencies.
The swirly painted image above is by a student who tried that technique. She applied paint directly over gloss acrylic medium and moved the paint with the palette knife to create transparencies and pattern.
The palette knife can be made of plastic or metal. I supply plastic palette knives. I also work with a metal palette knife. It’s important to wipe the knife clean, especially when changing colors, and never allow the paint to dry onto the knife (acrylic paint can dry quickly).
I urge students to wipe the paint off the knife with a paper towel so that the paint on the knife doesn’t get mixed into water (it they dip the knife into a water container). It’s not good for the environment to pour paint dissolved in water down the drain.
The image above shows Matisse in his studio in Nice, France in 1952 (this image is included in the book titled the Cut-Outs of Henri Matisse, by John Elderfield, published by George Braziller, NY).
All of Matisse’s collages were created with painted papers. His studio assistants painted his papers for him with gouache.
Matisse said he painted with scissors. He called his works paper cut-outs (gouache decoupes). Read about the Technique of the Cut-Outs…
The image above, a collage in painted papers, is by Matisse and is titled Creole Dancer (image courtesy the Internet). Notice it is organized as pieced blocks of paper in the background, overlaid with cut out shapes. Notice the painted papers show variations in color saturation and paint density because they are hand-painted.
I tell my students that Matisse did not discard papers that were cut out and that landed on the floor. Notice the image above with Matisse in his studio and all the papers on the floor. Notice his cut-outs were typically curved and organic in shape and referenced nature.
The image above is by a student in the Pelham class. She painted papers, and while the paints were drying, she created a collage with colored papers I supplied. Before she glued the papers down, she embellished them with oil pastel drawing to make the surface richer and brighter. Notice the oil pastel sticks in boxes nearby.
The class explored many different techniques with painting papers. They layered colors, wet layer over dry layer, to see how the colors changed. They painted with transparent gouache paint over papers painted with acrylic in patterns. They scribbled wax crayon on white drawing paper (a resist process), and applied acrylic paint in both transparent and opaque layers over to see how the crayon showed through. They all liked that.
I told the class that all the papers they created were usable – nothing was a throwaway. Some were so good they were paintings that could get collage additions and be finished as mixed media works. Some were ideal as unique collage papers and could be reproduced if they wanted multiples for large collage projects.
One student created a palette of papers that coordinated with purchased hand-made papers she brought to class. How clever that she mixed colors to compliment other papers she already had (collage artists collect papers for the next collage).
I showed the class how to twirl wet paint on drawing paper as they painted, and create directional patterns.
We talked about the art of the cut-out by Henri Matisse. I hope they were inspired.
I’ve recommended resources for paper and paint above.
Please email me or add comments to the blog if you can share a good resource for paper, paints, and any other media you like to use for collage. Thanks in advance.
October 11, 2012
On Sunday afternoon, Sept. 23, 2012 I led a multi-age workshop at the Pelham Art Center. It was map-themed art-making for kids, teens and adults held in connection with the current exhibition titled Anywhere But Here.
The exhibition (September 14-October 27, 2012) includes 15 artists whose works interpret their world through maps and cartography.
Below is an image of a work in the exhibition by Dahlia Elsayed, titled Conjuring, Willing, Napping, 2011, acrylic on paper, 29×40 inches (image, courtesy the Pelham Art Center).
Read more and see more images of works in the exhibition.
I am always pleased when I’m asked to lead a workshop in connection with an exhibition. I try to develop a project that relates to the exhibition theme that can be completed by kids and adults in the time allotted.
I create a sample work that is meant to inspire the kids and adults in the workshop. I don’t expect them to duplicate the sample, and most times they create unique works, once they get engaged in their own art-making.
The image below was taken in the early part of the workshop (the numbers grew as more adults and children arrived). You can see the sample collage I made for the kids – A Map of My Day – on the table in front of everyone.
I supplied all the dot papers and colored construction papers. I cut the papers into strips before the workshop so everyone could begin to place papers and glue quickly. The children loved the colored papers with dots and played with different ways to join the dot strips into unique dot patterns. They added cut magazine papers and drawing.
Collage Using Maps
In the image (below), a woman is cutting into a map (The Pelham Art Center supplied maps). I am standing in the rear at the end of the table. Many of the adults wanted to create a collage with an actual map.
In the photo, the boy next to me is drawing a map on brown paper. He and his brother wanted to draw maps – the older one wanted to draw a map of the world; his younger brother wanted to draw a map of Belgium. They were born in Belgium. Their father, not seen in the image, wanted to design a map of the American flag.
You see how independent everyone is.
Another adult in the workshop, an architect, was inspired by a work in the exhibition and wanted to cut a delicate pattern into a map. She created a fretwork pattern – a lacy design – that I believe was inspired by one of the works in the exhibition.
Below is one image that probably inspired her work. Its by Robbin Ami Silverberg and is titled Manhattan in Gold, 2012, MTA map, 25 karat gold leaf, 11×34 inches, edition of 5 (image courtesy the Pelham Art Center).
The image below, by Cal Lane, is titled Topo Map #5, 2011, Plasm-cut oil cans, 3.6 x 3.5 feet, courtesy of Art Mur, a gallery in Montreal.
Many contemporary collages are open-work, cut papers that look like fretwork. Many are installed as 3D assemblages. Fretwork is typically done in wood and metal, and is often used to decorate architecture.
How I develop ideas for a workshop
I always visit the exhibition before the workshop, and see the works and notice what is also collage. I am inspired by bold colors, texture and layering.
I liked the colors I saw in the galleries and was reminded of an image in a book I have. It’s titled You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination (by Katharine Harmon, Princeton Architectural Press, New York).
I prepared a sample collage to bring to the workshop, based on an image in that book.
I used papers I prepared in advance for the workshop – strips of colorful construction paper and photocopied polka-dot paper that I cut into several different widths that the kids could organize and embellish and glue down with glue sticks.
I assumed most of the participants at the workshop would be kids. I prepared papers that would appeal to kids. I hoped they would add their own drawing to the construction papers and be inspired by the drawings in the exhibition.
Below is an image by George Ferrandi, titled Recalibration Drawing #5 (poorly handled) 2012, pen on paper, masking tape, 20×25.5 inches, image courtesy the Pelham Art Center.
Below is another image taken at the workshop that shows the adults and kids and the table covered with papers and magazines. Everyone is busy cutting and pasting.
Below is one of my favorite works in the show – titled Beneath the Rain, it’s by Tomoko Abe. It’s an installation, of handmade burnt Abaca paper, cast porcelain and resin hanging from the ceiling with light and imagery projected through to the back wall, that creates amazing light patterns. The installation is 68×46 inches (image courtesy the Pelham Art Center).
The exhibition Anywhere But Here is worth a trip to the Pelham Art Center if you are in New York. The works in the show are bold and beautiful, intriguing and elegant.
It was an interesting experience for me to have a workshop with such a range of ages and focus going on – all at the same time during the 2 hour session. I hope everyone felt they were actively engaged in their own map-making process.
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.