What is it to me? Laying down bits and pieces of scrap paper and then, being open to what emerges from chaos. In the initial stages of collaging, there is little direction. I might have a theme in mind…or not. I might choose a color scheme…or not. I might lay down only words–upside down, right side up, sideways, any which way…or not. Patterns? Drama? Comedy? What wants to be conveyed? Show me as I go.
I started with my painted purple elephant. I printed her out in three different sizes realizing that I had a 6×6-inch birchwood panel to work with. It was like the Goldilocks’ story…the first elephant was too big, the second one too small…the third elephant was “just right.”
I had a stack of mandalas that I’d drawn and painted a few years ago. Sorting through, I gravitated towards patterns with stripes and dots, some words, shades of purple and magenta. After placing and gluing the torn papers down, I collaged on the elephant. I noticed the woman’s face in the far left corner. Her face needed a neck and then she developed into the figure. I applied acrylic paint to bring some elements of the piece forward. At some point, I knew I it needed silver leafing. In other words, I was in conversation with the piece as it evolved.
While collage can be an odd assemblage there is a point at which I desire to bring order to chaos. And, I want to retain the wildness, the freedom I had in creating it. Yet, I also like something recognizable.
One thing about collaging, you learn to be comfortable with stages…there is the drying time to consider between applications. This allows you time to step back and see what wants to be seen. Sometimes a new direction presents. Do you follow it or stay with your original intention for the piece? Do you flow in another direction or exert your own influence? It’s always different and without a real formula other than trusting your instincts.
Finally, I appreciate finding the integrative component…whether it is color, design or pattern–whatever it is that brings cohesiveness and completion.
To make art, you don’t have to have the most expensive materials. You really only have to make yourself available to it. The muse is there, waiting for you to SHOW UP! Have you been saving scraps of paper? Is it time to do something with them?