“Remain open, flexible, curious” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Life’s Little Instruction Book
For the art class project this week for #wanderlust2021, the topic was to create a torn paper collage with paint. We could put paint down first and add torn paper to make the design, or paste down layers of torn paper and add paint to make it cohesive. This seemed a bit daunting to me at first, because I’m not one to just play with materials. I usually plan out what I want my piece to communicate before I start. I wanted to share how I went about making my piece. First here is a photo of the finished Collage.
The first step was to gesso both pages of my journal to prepare the paper. This keeps watercolor and paints from soaking into the back of the page. Preparing the surface also aids in the permanence of the art. While the gesso was drying, I selected some archival decorative paper and wrote some thoughts about doing this project, reflecting on my reluctance to start trying to understand the reasons and pushing myself to begin. The saffron colored marker I chose looked nice against the neutral paper. Next, I selected a page out of a book that had Japanese words on it. I glued that to the top extending it over both pages of the journal. The archival paper was torn into different sizes and shapes and glued into the journal. I selected gel printed papers from my stash in greens, blues, violets, and yellow. Many of the abstract shapes looked mountain-like and was the criteria I used to choose certain papers. I decided I wanted to emphasize cone-like shapes in the piece so chose the cathedrals because the towers were that shape. Also, the green magazine paper with gold writing went well with the colored paper swatches. Some little cone like plant shapes found in a coloring book, were cut out, colored yellow and green with water-soluble crayons.
The next step was to arrange the green papers mixing and matching layering them over the two pages. I used the colors and patterns I thought resembled mountains. These would be used as the background and middle area of the scene. Then, I tore the cathedral picture in two and placed them in the foreground on either side of the picture. I was amazed how much the black designs in the green & yellow paper behind the right hand cathedral resembled the photographs of the cathedrals. The green magazine paper with the gold words “i am the walrus” (John Lennon ‘Beatles’ song title) were glued on next. Then, I pasted on the little trees, I had painted. The little foreground hills were made from an ochre scrap of an old painting cut into triangle shapes. These were glued next to the cathedrals anchoring the buildings to the ground.
To tie everything together, I used Gold acrylic ink and streamed it down the pages through all the elements. I used black ink and outlined the cathedrals for emphasis. I also added black blotches in the lower right corner to tie it in with the area adjacent. All throughout, dribbles and smears of white gesso added texture and further tied elements together. Splotches of purple and blue acrylic paints carried those colors onto both pages. Finally, red speckles were added to add dimension and direct the eye around the collage. Here are close up photos of each page.
The layers of paper and textures all add dimension and form to the collage. The black gel painted forms in the middle ground replicated the cathedral forms and the neutral papers work well as sky & hillside in the foreground. The gold ink, white gesso, and black marks make everything pop. (The glistening gold ink and red spray do not really show up well in this jpeg photo. Neither can you see the layered effect of the paper very well)
I am happy with this and am glad I wasn’t scared off from trying the project. It is amazing how little scraps of decorated paper and a few photos can turn into a creative piece of art. Why don’t you give it a try and let me know how it goes.