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Intuitive Collage Process, Day Three – The Fun Part

December 3, 2009

Here comes the fun part of this process — the thing that makes it worth all the steps of the past two days. I get to decide what parts of this giant collage will be my final compositions. Because there are hundreds of possibilities, I have to stop myself from agonizing over them too much. After all, that’s why I call them “intuitive.”

I use a standard mat with a 5 x 7 opening, along with a 5 x 7 cutout piece of mat board. This is because once I see the area I want to isolate, I will want to draw around the outside of the cutout piece and not inside the mat board, since I will want to cut away the visible outline on my piece. If you have a piece of clear Plexiglas or glass of your chosen dimension, you can simply trace around that.

First, I find a composition I like. I still don’t care what the subject matter is. All I’m trying to do is spot interesting compositions. I can add subject matter later, if a piece seems to need something more. Even though I might eliminate other good possibilities by choosing, I need to decide. I am particularly partial to diagonals in my compositions, so I turn the mat board in all kinds of directions. If there’s a body part or a face, I’m not concerned about its orientation in the picture. I’m just looking at design.

Then I carefully slide the cutout mat board scrap underneath the mat and place it down over the image.

Next I draw around the piece of mat board, using a pen that will be easily visible. I need to keep up with where I have drawn all my outlines.

Here are the first few compositions . . .

After cutting out all my compositions, I keep the scraps for future use. They become interesting and fun parts for new collages. I may embellish these some, add a cutout photograph here and there, and I may leave some of them alone. But these are the basic designs.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and that it will inspire you to play around with some collages. For me it’s always a completely absorbing change of pace.

I will show some of the finished pieces in future posts.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2009 7:44 am

    Thanks for sharing this process Martha. Very inspiring and makes me want to get right at it. Soon, I hope.

    Btw, when using magazine clippings etc., you use them ‘as is’? I’m imagining that with all the paint and glaze applications their archival qualities are not a huge concern?

    • December 3, 2009 7:53 am

      Karen, glad you’re inspired! 😉

      Using magazine clippings in collage being a time-honored tradition, I’m not too concerned. I do feel that the glazes offer some measure of UV and environmental protection. There conceivably could be some yellowing over time, but I’m thinking that would only add character to the art. You think?

  2. Eva permalink
    December 3, 2009 8:01 am

    I can feel the satisfaction in defining the cuts, very inspiring. Fun, indeed.

    • December 3, 2009 3:57 pm

      Eva, it’s been great fun doing this. Once I realized I could mount these onto larger paper and achieve a nice border, then there was total freedom.

  3. December 3, 2009 8:03 am

    Fun Martha. I used to do this with watercolor paints. You can come up with some real jewels.

    • December 3, 2009 9:38 am

      Yes, Cheryl! And I think I remember reading on your website a long time ago (before blogs) that you made small abstract collages as studies for large paintings?

  4. December 3, 2009 1:41 pm

    This process is wonderful! I especially like the iron-ons of your own work over the other elements. WOW! I am inspired. Thank you for sharing all of the steps.

    • December 3, 2009 3:58 pm

      Jane, I was happy to discover how easy it is to fuse a T-shirt transfer to acrylic paint and/or medium. (And onto nice paper as well!!) I hope you enjoy playing with this!

  5. December 3, 2009 2:02 pm

    Exactly! : )

  6. December 3, 2009 6:25 pm

    Wow!…Martha…you sure make this look like fun!…what a great idea..
    and that you’re sharing with so generous and great!
    Thank you so much for the tutorial and good photos to describe the process!….it must be so fun to search for the final compositions!
    what inspiration!…gypsy

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