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The Freedom of Limits

February 9, 2010

Untitled Collage Study, 8 x 10″
(but if I were to give it a title, I might call it Winter.)

This is one of a series of six or so collages that I did using a very limited color palette and plain brown kraft paper, white tissue paper, a few pieces of neutrally-toned handmade Japanese paper, prepared papers with writing and drawing, some added pencil and charcoal marks, and black, white and brown paint.

These collages were done as studies for possible paintings at the time, but I look at them again once in a while, and get ideas looking at passages from them which sometimes find their way into my paintings on panels.

This is just another approach to collage, which uses no photographic elements. You might surprise yourself by assembling a small stack of plain brown paper, tissue paper, pencil, charcoal, and white paint, and creating something subtle with just those materials. It’s fun to work within limits, and somehow freeing in an odd way.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2010 10:18 pm

    YES! One of the most important steps along my journey as an artists was discovering how freeing it was to work with a limited palette! I spent so many years learning how to dye ANY color of fabric, I had such a hard time working with it! All color, all the time just doesn’t work for me!

    • February 10, 2010 1:14 pm

      I know, Candy. It’s like . . . well, like being a kid in a candy store!!! (sorry)

      Seriously though, one can easily be overwhelmed with too many choices. That’s what’s going on in my studio right now — a wealth of materials to work with but where to begin?

  2. February 9, 2010 11:59 pm

    Oh I like this! This is the type of collage I can see me doing big time!
    I like your possible title that you gave it but what about ‘Wind Swept’ or ‘Winter Storm’ or something like that? For some reason those titles just leap out at me when I look at this piece. Think about the kind of weather you folks are having on that side of the states and maybe that will inspire you. 🙂

    Very pretty piece of artwork!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. February 10, 2010 12:56 am

    this is gorgeous … i love the collage .. .and methinks you already have the title …

    The freedom of limits … perfect !

    I love the lines and the divisions and of course the whirlygig completes it … perfect, just like its title …

    >>> Gina

  4. February 10, 2010 1:14 am

    This is great Martha – the way you handle the whites and charcoal lines is so appealing to me. I can never make an artwork like that, it just does not work for me, but admire those that can. And as for kraft paper, yep, it’s jolly handy stuff!

    • February 10, 2010 10:36 am

      Cath, it’s not my natural inclination to work with so few tools and materials. The experiment was fun. I have found a stack of little brown bags in the kitchen cabinet that we would never use. They are now in my collage stash!

  5. February 10, 2010 12:45 pm

    Oh yes, it is winter! Low sun, setting early, with a slightly yellow but not warm light. Long shadows on the ground.

  6. February 10, 2010 10:04 pm

    It is amazing how you created a collage so interesting with items that “may” not be so interesting in and of themselves!…plain brown paper. Love this collage! Also, very fun what you did in garden with your paper, it reminds me of rusting fabric.
    Always love to visit and see what you are doing!!!
    Best to you,

    • February 11, 2010 9:48 am

      My sincere thanks, Sondra! You gave me an idea. I read this comment very late last night and somehow that thought “rusting fabric” stayed with me and came up in one of my dreams. I think in the dream I was burying some fabric scraps along with the paper.

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