About the Painting, art process, elements of art, Pattern in art, studio practice, Uncategorized

Why collage?

It’s likely that one of your early art creations as a child was a collage. As teenager or adult, you may have created a vision board from stacks of magazines. Armed with glue stick and scissors, you searched, cut and glued until you achieved a representation of your ideas. Collage—what an accessible and enjoyable medium!

The word comes from the French word “coller,” meaning “to glue.” Pablo Picasso and his cohort Georges Braque were among the first to make serious use of paper or wood elements in their work. They opened the door for other artists to use this versatile technique. You might enjoy learning about later collage artists here.

I love collage, too. During one period of my art career, I created illustrations and greeting cards entirely from cut paper glued to illustration board. Cowboy Ballerina became part of a poster celebrating the Texas Sesquicentennial. (Even back in the 90s, I must have had a thing for polka dots.)

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Cowtown Ballerina

When I turned to watercolor as my preferred medium, it seemed only natural to lay down strips of vintage maps over the paint as I explored mixing my media. Aspen Energy surprises and entertains by using map strips for tree trunks in a grove.

Abstract watercolor painting, aspen trees, blue, silver, green, vintage maps, stamping, aspen trees

Aspen Energy (in private collection)

In 2015 I began working in acrylics. It’s no surprise that collage elements appeared in this work as well. I create most of my own collage elements, plotting out checks, dots, lines and other patterns, sometimes on white paper, at other times on paper in hues compatible with the color palette. Vintage maps still appear from time to time too, as well as old images from my family collection of photos.

So what’s the appeal of collage? While it’s largely an intuitive choice for me, there must be something behind that, so I began to consider what collage brings to the work. You may have other ideas, so you’re invited to add to the discussion. I’ll start with these three.

Collage brings the opportunity for abstraction. Laying on patterns at any phase of the painting compels me to think more deeply about not just the composition but also how the patterns contribute symbolically to the work. Rather than painting parts of the composition, I prefer the surprise and expressiveness collage endows. In Red Terrain, overlapping stripes suggest gullies and rocks. In Yellow Hat, patterns bring to mind tote bags and architectural features.

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Red Terrain (details here)

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Yellow Hat (details here)

Collage equals experimentation. Paper scraps can be shifted around and tested before committing. Do stripes work better than dots? Are checkerboard patterns the best choice? Would a strip of a vintage map work well here? In Coffee for Two, the answer is “all of the above.”

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Coffee for Two (details here)

Collage contributes tactile qualities. Paint applied to a surface is obviously a tangible material. The layering on of other elements such as paper patterns, vintage maps or even strips of acrylic skin ramp up the texture and materiality of the art. In Summer Peak, strips of maps and patterns plus rough handling of paint played the dominant role in deepening the experience of ruggedness.

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Summer Peak (details here)

Are you a collage lover? What is your favorite work of art that uses this expressive technique? Share its appeal for you in the comments below. And thanks for reading.

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All art is copyrighted by Laura Hunt, and may not be reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

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About the Painting

Ocean wetness

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Ocean colors dominate Deep Water, with deep blues, sky blues, aquas and turquoises, blended with watery greens that all cooperate to immerse the viewer into the ebb and flow. Strips of topographical ocean maps collaged into the painting reinforce the wetness with their torn edges and shades of aqua.

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I created a highly textured section at the bottom that brings to mind the mystery of the ocean floor. The top section recalls the docks and piers made by human hands. If you look closely, you will see wave shapes I stamped into the design on handmade paper for a whimsical note. I think of them as a treat for those who take the time to dive into the experience of this painting. Final splatters of red, white, pale blue, and almost black blues offer the vitality that creatures contribute to the life of the sea.

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In planning a painting with water as the subject matter, I wanted to get beyond literal repetition of wave shapes. Each flowing form is different from the next, creating an overall impression of pattern, but with the constant change of  pattern elements. All this was developed over an underlying structure of textural marks that I find a necessary element in my work.

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We human beings seek out bodies of water. Rivers, lakes, ponds, oceans, even puddles, are places where we renew out souls. This tall, narrow painting creates the opportunity to dive deep into peace, cleansing, and regeneration. It’s well-suited to inhabit a narrow vertical space in your home or office, and to remind you of your favorite ocean dreams and seaside memories.

Deep Water is an acrylics/mixed media painting, 20” x 60” on gallery-wrapped canvas. See it in context here, and learn about the purchase process on the FAQ page.

Join me on Facebook and Instagram for behind-the-scenes peeks and first postings of new work.

All art is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2016 Laura Hunt

 

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