Making a Collage

Robin Brooks: On Making a Painted Paper Collage

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Market Day collage in process.

Market Day

Market Day

Here is the finished collage.

My collage work is arranged and composed before I use a drop of glue. I often begin with a walk in nature. Using my camera, I take some snapshots. Sometimes I will research a subject as I did for the collage “Market Day” (above) of a local farmer’s market. In this instance, I had to refer to photos taken by others, since I worked on the collage during the month of February.

I’m particularly interested in compositions that can express a sense of place. I respond to aspects of nature and how the landscape is changed by  weather and atmospheric conditions as well as time of day and the season. I start out by painting sheets of paper that I will later use in the collage. like to use use acrylic paints in a variety of paint applications from very thin and transparent to layered textural surfaces. The advantage of acrylics is that they dry quickly and make a permanent surface.

To avoid buckling and curling of the collage, I start by taping all four edges of the support paper securely to a board. I use artist tape (like masking tape only more reversible) for smaller compositions and paper tape (the kind you wet, used to seal boxes) for larger works.

With bits of the artist’s tape I begin to assemble and arrange the cut pieces of painted paper.  I usually begin with the background spaces and work my way forward with the image. When I remove the tape, I have to let go and allow the image to re-create itself as I proceed with gluing.   I often think of musical notes when I am arranging. I’m working with pieces of color and placing them in various relationships.  The composition needs to harmonize–colors need to speak the same language.

I use a range of gluing techniques for different stages of the process. I mix methylcellulose paste, commercially sold as “art paste” and usually used for paper mache, with white glue. It really depends on the size of the piece of paper and how it is cut as to how I approach the gluing.

I brush the glue mixture onto the reverse side of my collage elements as well as the paper support. Then, I use a damp sponge to smooth the papers down and wipe excess glue. This works with paper painted with acrylic. More fragile papers must be treated with care.

My collage work is arranged and composed before I use a drop of glue. First, I paint paper for the image, using acrylic paints in a variety of paint applications from very thin and transparent to layered textural surfaces.

To avoid buckling and curling of the collage, I start by taping all four edges of the support paper securely to a board. I use artist tape (like masking tape only more reversible) for smaller compositions and paper tape (the kind you wet, used to seal boxes) for larger works.

With bits of the artist’s tape I begin to assemble and arrange the cut pieces of painted paper.  I usually begin with the background spaces and work forward with the image.   When I remove the tape, I have to let go and allow the image to re-create itself.   I often think of musical notes when I am arranging. I work with the pieces of color and place them in various relationships until everything sits right in space.  The composition needs to harmonize–colors need to speak the same language and shapes need to fall into place. This requires a certain playfulness, a willingness to improvise, and to do what the composition requires.

2019, ©Robin Brooks

 

 

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