Friday, May 29, 2015


How do you get to work?  Do you make lists? Draw up a plan? Or just go wherever you may go?

As a writer, I write draft after draft of a story or essay until I am happy with the results.

As an artist, I learned to sketch out my ideas, using design principles that became intrinsic to me the more I drew.

My first inclination, even if I don't sketch out a design first, is to stop when I feel I've reached a good piece. I don't usually add lots of layers, gesso over something repeatedly, or cover up parts that I really like. Here's an example of a piece that I did quickly:

This piece was done with spray inks, stencils, torn up napkins, and acrylic paints.

When I first started making collages, I usued scraps from magazines, copies of photos, and other ephemera to build up a page. Except for images from napkins, I don't do that anymore because I like to use my own artwork within a piece.

This is an altered book that I made at Castle in the Air in Berkeley.

This piece was made with torn napkins, music sheets and acrylics.

Last Sunday I spent a delightful day at the Juicy Soul Retreat at Work of Heart Studio in San Jose, hosted by Andrea Chebeleu. We played with spray inks, tissue papers, napkins, acrylics, stencils, stamps, and bits of ephemera. What a great day we had!

While at the retreat, I tried letting go of my normal way of making art. I know that many collage artists build layer upon layer of torn paper and paint and end up with extraordinary results. But I find that process to be hard. I don't like to cover up images that I like with gesso. I find it difficult to add lettering on top of a finished piece. But I'm trying to learn.

Once I had several pieces complete, I decided to risk my last one. Rather than stopping when I felt I had a good result, I decided to continue to add layer after layer. Here is what happened to my last piece.

On our back deck, just ready to start layering.

My theme was Letting Go.

Last version after several layers. I was beginning to feel that I was just making a big mess!

I finally cut the piece into ATC (Artist Trading Cards). 
Sometimes things look better when I cut them into smaller pieces. 
Now I have ATCs to trade. 
I think I have miles to go with these techniques. 
What do you think?

Check out these sites for workshops and good ideas:

Andrea Chebeleu at the Work of Heart Studio:
Julie Valentine:
Castle in the Air: 
(sometimes I turn on their website just to listen to the animal sounds I hear in the background)


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting! I love hearing from readers. I answer each one.

I do not post Anonymous comments because of problems with spammers.