Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Making Collage Papers: two approaches

Over the years I have taken mixed-media workshops with Kate Strickland of Hudson, Christina Lovisa of Ottawa, Diane St-Georges of Valleyfield, and Pat Dews from New York. Last year I took an on-line class with Jane Davies, and one of the exercises in that class was the production of a stock of "collage papers". These are useful to have on hand when you just want to add a pop of colour or texture when producing a mixed-media painting.

White gesso is applied to drawing paper with a brush or credit card and, while it is still wet, a stamp or stencil is pressed into the gesso to form a texture. Alternatives include bubble wrap, scraping with a comb, or scribbling with a stylus. Once the gesso is dry, paint thinned with glazing medium is applied with a brush or credit card, highlighting the texture. Or you can apply regular-strength paint, wiping it with a wet paper towel to reveal the texture beneath. 

Here's an example of how textured collage paper can be used in a mixed-media painting. This is something I produced last summer in my workshop with Pat Dews.

blue and orange textured collage papers
contribute to this composition

Another approach is a technique I learned from Diane St-Georges. This involves painting onto semi-transparent "deli paper" and allowing the paint to dry. When the painted deli paper is collaged into a mixed-media work with gel medium, the paper itself becomes transparent, leaving just the painted texture. You can opt to lay down a base layer of white or black paint before applying the texture.

"Deli paper", shown here in 12" squares, is available at restaurant
supply stores.

Here are some of the tools I use to produce texture, physical or visual, when making collage papers:

Sequin waste, home reno materials,
packaging from a medical lab

This bit of screening found at a home renovation store can be used
as either a stamp or a stencil.

Commercially-available stencils can also be used as stamps.

Thermofax screens are available on line, and an old
credit card can serve as the squeegee.

The smaller wooden blocks were hand-carved in Africa,and
the large rubber stamp was bought at a scrapbooking supply store.
Stencil brushes are useful to apply paint to the stamps.

I hand-carved these stamps.
Blocks of rubber are available in art supply stores
especially for this purpose.

A printing pad produces crisper definition when stamping with paint.
It's made with foam core board, wrapped with a couple of layers
of batting or felt, then covered with a plastic garbage bag.

This is a great activity for when you're in between projects. I'll be glad to have this range of collage papers on hand when I take my next workshop with Jane Davies in mid-September.

Less-than-perfect results make for a more interesting texture.

Collage papers featuring a range of textures

And finally, here's an example of how snippets of these collage papers can be used to add interest to a mixed-media piece:

Jazz Fest series

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