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Collage, Anyone?

While in school, we sometimes made collages, often using found items from nature (often things we picked up on the playground), simple things from home (read tea bags, bandaids and toothpicks) or things the teacher had collected over the years.

Those were semi-memorable, but the lessons learned about color use, composition and from a practical side, just getting the 3-D stuff to stick to the paper have lasted to this day. Now I am engaged in the planning stages for a collage I want to create with beautiful colors and natural items from outdoors in our area. I'm thinking mostly leaves, flower petals or whole blossoms (perhaps dried), maybe some fabric or yarn scraps. I'm sure there are some lurking among the fabrics and unfinished knitting projects!

We need a stable background such as a canvas board or foam-core board (available at art supply stores or sometimes at WalMart). You might also use a stretched canvas that is stretched around the sides. Paint the sides as well as the face of the canvas and make your composition from there. This will not need to be framed, saving money in the long run and being very trendy!

Decide on a subject or theme. It can be anything that is in your inspiration stash of ideas, or how about a wild green and bright spring color abstract? Blocks of great color, a few details painted on. some magazine or greeting card flowers cut either around the pictures or just used for color and shape and stuck on the canvas. What a picture is forming in my head!

Arrange the paper, cloth scraps, yarn pieces, actual dried leaves and/or flowers, pieces of twigs ... whatever you want to use. Keep in mind that the purpose of any work of art is to guide the eye around and through the composition, letting the viewer discover all the hidden and subtle "goodies" you have used.

You can do this with contrast of lights and darks, smooth and textured pieces or any other contrasting elements. Also, perhaps be daring and let something or other drip off the board. You don't have to overdo this, but it can be quite dramatic.

When everything is pleasing to your eye, begin fastening it down to the surface. White glue or a glue stick will take care of paper or cloth going flat onto the canvas, but you may need something stronger for heavier things. You can use silicone adhesive (bathtub caulk - preferrably the clear kind), a thick glue in a tube, like jewelry glue - bits of clay, whatever will have some stick to it.

You should not have to put any protective sealer over this, but if you feel you need something, just use a bit of spray acrylic. VOILA!!!

Happy Painting,
Paula Devore
Painting Editor






A couple of books with great ideas and help composing your collages!





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