Fine art collage artist creates with a new contemporary collage style

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Last week I introduced my new series of contemporary collage artwork. This week I begin the process of explaining my methods and how I created my new collage painting - Reflections Door.

As a fine art collage artist I am always trying to invent new styles for my work. This contemporary collage painting created with mixed media materials was an incredible fun experience. This first step is always the same for my artwork - creating a black and white study.

I complete this 6” x 9” black and white study on greyed paper using charcoal pencil, white charcoal and white pastel. I am following a photograph of a door in a town where I once lived. It is a white door and means it is a gateway to the soul and to the purest part of one’s being. I have set up mirrors like works of art in three of the windows. In each mirror is a reflection of the figure standing in the door. These reflections send back to the figure knowledge about his soul and being. This particular door is called “Reflections Door” and is the entrance to “Reflections Gallery.”

Next I beging the process of applying mixed media materials to my new collage painting. I glue sawdust down to the 24” x 36” gallery wrapped canvas. I decide to leave the space in the middle relatively smooth while the areas on the left and right side are covered with sawdust. As always I use Liquitex gloss medium and varnish as my go-to glue for this messy job of glueing down

I debate, also on what color paint to use for the outlines of the door and storefront. Blue comes to my mind. I don’t know why but because the door is white, blue seems to be the natural color to use. As I go through the pieces of mixed media materials that I would like to incorporate in my new contemporary collage painting I think blue will show up well against the pink background. I intend to draw out the composition using blue paint instead of a pencil or charcoal.

I start to measure the placement of the door on the black and white study, then multiply the measurements of the study by 4. That is my multiplier. If my study is 6” x 9’, I need to multiply both of those numbers by 4 in order to get the measurements of my canvas which is 24” x 36”. So every measurement on my study gets multiplied by 4 to arrive at my measurements on the canvas.  

With blue paint and brush, I draw in the door first, then add the rest of the building, the sidewalk, and light post. I draw in the figure standing in the doorway. I add the flower baskets on the windowsills and also the two flower pots on the sidewalk. Finally I add the easels with the reflections of the figure in three of the windows. My drawing is complete.

Drawing with a paint brush is not done without caution. It is difficult when doing it this way. Mistakes can not be fixed easily. Any error is corrected by painting over the errant marks with my pink paint which I used for the underpainting. This is much more difficult than if drawing with pencil where an eraser can be used. The advantage to drawing with paint is that it will be interesting to let some of the blue show through on my finished painting as well as the pink underpainting. It will add a depth not obtained with a pencil drawing where I would want the pencil marks to be covered with paint.sawdust.

After the sawdust dries, (about a day), I am able to cover the surface with white gesso. I carefully cover up the big hunks of sawdust with the gesso. I want to be sure to get into every nook and cranny.

Fine art collage artists before me and after me will all have the same questions that are going through my mind - what color would I like for my underpainting. But I decide that would make the painting a cool one. Not exactly what I had in mind. I want my painting to be warm and friendly. I decide on a pink color.  It has warm overtones and will be an effective color for an underpainting. I mix up red-purple with white gesso until I get the exact value of pink. Not too dark and not too light.

Next week I’ll get into the first application of paint!