Posts tagged collage
New fine art collage painting inspired by nature

Fine art collage artist finds inspirations for a new painting!

Mt. Peale, in the La Sal Mountains outside Moab, Utah, is a favorite among mountain climbing enthusiasts.  At 12,721 feet, it offers a hiking challenge for many.

I decided that the fondness hikers have for Mt. Peale could be captured in a fine art painting titled: “The Mountain with Appeal”.  What better way to show this emotional connection and the play on words than having red, paper hearts floating into the sky in my new fine collage painting.

Another attraction I have to this scene is the brown park sign posted at the trailhead that displays the name of this mountain.  As a fine art collage artists all sorts of collage ideas come to mind, so I am anxious to begin this phase of my work.

Prior to creating my new fine art collage painting from mixed media materials I always like to create a black and white study. Many famous fine art collage artists that I have studied under and read about recommend this process and I am more than happy to follow it!

From a photo of Mt. Peale and the grassy meadow below it, I create this black and white study.  I am most concerned with separating each area by color and value so that once I begin applying materials and colors the collage painting has balance.

Since my resource photo does not have figures in it, I need to visualize the size and placement of the hikers.  In relation to their position in the picture plane under the towering mountain, getting their size and shape correct is important.

One of the challenges of any fine art collage artist is creating the proper perspectives on canvas. Because fine art collage artists are using mixed media materials it is important to plan and use your materials carefully.

Soon I’ll have my line drawing complete. I can’t wait to share it!

Fine art collage is never complete!
Version 1

Version 1

Version 2

Version 2

One of the amazing things about fine art collage painting is that additions and new features can be added whenever I see a need to enhance a collage painting. The flexibility that mixed media materials provide allows me, as a fine art collage artist, the freedom to add small edits or large reworks.

Something as simple as a trip to the hairdresser gave my collage painting “i’ll See” a ‘new do’! “I’ll See (aka Aisle C)” underwent changes during its development as an acrylic collage painting.

The original black and white study had details of grocery items lining the shelves on the left side of the drawing.  The remaining two figures were rather plain. (See Black and White Study).

As this work evolved, “Mom’s” purse changed from a sling-bak to a canvas purse slung over her right shoulder.  Patterns of color were added to the clothing of both figures using paint and paper. And a butterfly and flower were also added.  The only portion of this work which did not receive any attention was “Mom’s” hair.

This was brought to my attention by several art friends.  They pointed out that the hair pulled their eyes to it immediately.  And they did not consider this to be the focal point. (See 1st Version).

Something had to be done to incorporate her hair into the picture so that it did not stand out so much.  I decided to add thin string onto the brown hairstyle in order to give it the appearance of strands of hair.

This put her hair on the “same page” as all other items in the picture.  All things had either collage treatment or interesting patterns and textures painted with acrylics.  The strands of string (hair) are quite subtle. It’s a nice touch to an otherwise boring hairdo. (See 2nd Version)

“I’ll See” is an amalgam of many collage painting colors and textures.  This is precisely the feeling I desire from the viewer, A grocery store is a lot of colorful and textured products screaming for the shopper’s attention.  The little boy in the painting wants something of this and something of that. “I’ll See!”, says “Mom”.

Finishing my new fine art collage painting

Fine art collage final touches. Creating harmony between paint and mixed media collage materials.

The final step of creating my new fine art collage artwork is harmonizing the paint and collage to tell the story I want my painting to tell. In my last step, I add splashes and lines of paint on the rocks to define them more.

I change the color of the bike frame from violet to purple, a color of violet which has more red in it.  This color stands out more against the rocks and creates the contrast that I like to add to my figurative fine art collage..

I add curved pieces of white paper to the inside of the tire on the left sides.  It makes the tires look more three-dimensional

I add purple to the rock shadows.  This is the same purple used for the bike frame.  It helps to pull the painting together by having multiple areas share the same color.

Finally, I add soft gauze material and gold sparkly tissue paper to the sky so that it has mixed media collage material incorporated into it.

I think I’m finished! This was a fun action sequence figurative fine art collage. Hope you enjoyed!

Finding Collage Materials for my fine art collage painting

This step is one of my favorites in my artistic process of creating fine art collage paintings.  I love searching for textures and colors that I can use to enhance my painting. This is what fine art collage painting is all about - digging into my collage box and surprising myself with mixed media materials that can be repurposed into a cohesive collage.  I hope to continue improving my painting. I need to be careful not to go overboard; not to smother the painting with mixed media collage material, but to find a happy middle ground where paint and collage can exist in harmony.

I find a lot of paper and fabric that I can utilize.  In about 2 hours I glue down a considerable amount. I do some additional painting by adding highlights to the bike.  Also, by using spots of black paint on the edges of the tires, I add tread so it will look like a mountain bike.

I add yellow tissue paper and small bits of red and orange paper.

I add a textured backpack to the rider.  I think it makes him look like he’s in a race.  Finally I add black racing goggles with a shiny green lens.

I feel like I am almost finished!

Adding paint to my new fine art collage painting

Paint inside the lines! Sounds familiar? This step reminds me of when I was a child coloring in coloring books and trying so hard to stay in the lines.  I stayed within the lines then and I do now!

For the next step in my new figurative fine art collage painting I add color to areas between the lines that I have drawn on canvas. Fine art collage artists all have different methods of painting their collage artwork.  For me, on some collage paintings, paint comes before mixed media materials. 

I follow my green outlines and paint in each area.  Most of the areas are flat shapes and do not show any highlighting or shading.

The way the sky is painted is the only exception to this.  Here I use a light greyish purple and almost a white tint of this color.  I paint in fluffy clouds and give the sky dimension. Some of the blue underpainting remains to be seen.

All fine art collage artists have differing studios and workplaces.  As I write about my creative process in painting new fine art collage paintings I realized that I have never mentioned how my workplace looks! Well here is it!

I work with the panel flat on a plastic covered table.  I sit up high so I can view my fine art collage painting with a bird’s eye view.  Doing this helps the painting process as it creates better perspective and less foreshortening than if I were in a regular chair pulled up to the table

I also am showing my palette of red rock colors.  I like to mix my own brown paint. I use equal amounts of pyrrole red, permanent green light and indian yellow.  These three paint colors can be seen in the middle of the plate (my palette). I take some of this mixture and add orange to it.  I create its tint by adding white. I also make another pile of my original brown mixture and add cadmium red to it. I create its tint in the same way - by adding white.  Finally I add some white to my original brow mixture to make its tint.  

My resulting palette has 3 different kinds of red rock colors with a range of each kind of color - from the hue itself, all the way up to a very light, almost white version of it.

I hope you are enjoying the process of my new figurative fine art collage painting. See you next week!

A new figurative fine art collage painting

This figurative fine art collage painting began with a photo by Will Curry of Chili Pepper Bikes in Moab, Utah, of a daredevil mountain biker leaping over rocks.  This trail could very easily be a trail known as The Whole Enchilada. It begins in the mountains and leads the biker on a treacherous ride down to the Colorado River.  If you do the Whole Enchilada, well, then, you are really something!

As I was thinking of the Mexican dish of enchiladas, I also thought of tamales.  And so somehow, I decided to call the future figurative fine art collage painting of this biker, The Whole Tamale.  This imaginary trail called The Whole Tamale will be filled with mixed media collage materials which will accentuate the features of the basic fine art collage painting.

Before I begin the process of placing mixed media collage materials on canvas, I create a black and white study on grey toned paper.  I want to give the idea of the biker flying through the air (which is what he is doing). In my study I am careful not to “ground” him on the rocks.  I avoid creating any shadows of the biker on the rocks to give the impression that he is truly up in the air.

Next I paint the line drawing of my new figurative fine art collage painting. 

“A simple line painted with a brush can lead to freedom and happiness.”

  • Joan Miro

I am using a 16” x 16” (2”) deep gessobord.  I have put down a cobalt blue underpainting. After that dries I carefully transfer the black and white study to my wood panel with painted lines.  The process is a lengthy one. It takes me approximately 5 hours to measure; multiply my measurements with the predetermined multiplier; and then measure my lines on the painted panel.  I use a mixture of turquoise and phthalocyanine blue for my lines.

I decide, when I begin the transfer process, to distort the roundness of the bike wheels.  So I make them oval and slant them in the direction in which the biker is traveling. This makes me feel like there is action and momentum.  The biker really seems like he is flying through the air.

Fine Art Collage in New York City

I was incredibly honored to be selected as an exhibiting artist at Agora Gallery in New York City with my abstract fine art collage artworks.


Champagne!  Art! People!  New York! What better combination to celebrate the creativity of myself and 18 other contemporary artists.  The opening reception happened on Thurs. June 27th, 2019, at the Agora Gallery in Chelsea, NY. I showed three abstract fine art collage paintings of my highway series , namely, “Turn Around”;  “Shortcut to the Party”; and “No Place To Go” (see these under “Abstract Fine Art Collage” on this website).

While drinks and sweet morsels were passed around freely, many people came to see the magnificent art hanging in this wonderful space called Agora.  Many favorable comments were received not only about my own fine art collage art work, but also of the other artists showing. It was a well rounded grouping of mostly abstract art.  The title of the show, being “Summer Idyll”, spoke of the happy, yet peaceful and satisfying aspects of a summer day. Most of the art had a way of portraying that happiness.  There were no overly shocking pieces to disturb anyone’s senses. It was a happy event, indeed!

It was an exciting and thrilling experience for me.  To be here in New York City among the tall buildings, the hustle and bustle of the city, and the noisy street sounds was overwhelmingly amazing.  It was an honor to be at this gallery and to taste a bit of the art scene in this huge city.

Now it’s time to get back to creating more contemporary fine art collage paintings!

Fine art collage artist finishes new contempoary collage painting

Contemporary abstract collage painting receives final touches. I love being a fine art collage art.

Contemporary collage painting has its ups and downs. As this new collage painting is taking shape I wonder whether the t-shirt and shorts of the painting’s figure is getting the proper attention. Fine art collage artists experiment as they go along and routinely add new paint and mixed media materials as new paintings grow.When the subject happen to be abstract collage this process can take unintended, but fun directions.

Growth is an interesting topic to discuss in contemporary abstract collage. Each painting I embark on grows as a flower - unexpected directions, shapes, and more, while at the same time they all maintain subject awareness and point in the direct I want to take it as a fine art collage artist. Abstract collage takes on a life of its own as the mixed media materials are placed on the collage canvas.

I decide to freshen up the body of the T-shirt on the figure and so I repaint the stripes with yellow and orange just like I did to the arms previously. I like the effect. I am devastated by the legs. Nothing I do seems to help. It is almost like everything I try leads to very bad vibes and results. So, I paint the legs again with gold paint. Something has to work. I add shiny orange foil paper to the edges on her shorts. Now her outfit is complete.

With yellowish tan paint, I add bricks to the wall on the right and left side of the window and also above the window.

I am super starting to like this painting. But what to do with legs????

Fine art collage artists have to think on their feet, especially if a new collage painting is giving you creative troubles. I add go-go boots to her legs. They come up to her knees. It’s a good idea but not executed well. What to do? The glue has dried and now the boots are stuck. They seem too big and there is only a very little separation between the two. Now what do I do?

I add tassels to the boots! A brilliant idea. Then I separate the boots by painting a dark blue and brown strip between the boots. I also add paint to the outside edges in order to trim down the width of the boots. I paint the boots with white gesso. I have a hard time doing this because it seems like the paint absorbs very well into the paper I used for the boots. It becomes a real problem, but now that I have started to paint, I need to finish.

I paint the tassels and little designs on the front of the boots with a light yellow. Then for the final note on this collage paintings clothing, I dab more yellow paint for the light coming out of the sconces.  

The way I see it, this young girl needs shades - pink ones. I draw the outline of the frames with pencil and then using pink paint, I create the frames. I measure for the lenses and cut those out of shimmering paper and attach with gloss medium and varnish.

Now this girl can see the way I see it. She is complete. I hope you enjoyed the creative process of this new contemporary collage painting. As a fine art collage artist it seems as if each new painting’s completion completes a journey of my conscious!

Collage paper added to new contemporary collage painting

Contemporary collage painting has paper added to it! by a fine art collage artist


This contemporary collage painting is getting more collage paper added to it. In the next 2 steps I add collage paper to the new collage painting. Some of the process is a calculated while other is a fine art collage artist having a great time! In this collage art blog I go over my process of adding paper - the why, where, and what!

I start having a free-for-all with the collage paper on the collage painting. I add it everywhere. In particular, the sconces have paper added on top of the purple paint. Now that I have all the purple “erased” I feel better. I add decorations to those sconces to really make them more interesting. Specifically, I add lined paper to the body of the sconce, then add silver foil to the top. Finally I add a large black circle which I place on the body of the sconce. This certainly gets rid of the purple, but I wonder if it is too distracting for the rest of the collage painting. I decide to hold off on judgment until more is done elsewhere.                 

Large sections of tissue paper are added at the bottom and top of painting.  Many small details here and there are added so that the piece is becoming more complex. I add silver roses to the right of the table. Also there is some squared paper which I add to the walls on both sides of the window. Finally the bananas get stripes up and down each part of it, not only on the one laying on the table but also the two in the bowl. I also add silvery designs to the table top itself.

I continue to work all over the contemporary collage painting, adding bits and pieces of paper. As a fine art collage artist it is important to balance the paper and colors in order to tell the story of the mixed media collage painting. I decide to add an apple to the left side of the table using red tissue paper. The mostly eaten apple on the right gets a twisted piece of paper added to it in order to make it look more 3-D. 

Another layer of netting is added to those dog-gone legs. Now they have ripples that look like there are big bunches of stuff underneath the netting.  How awful. What am I going to do? I put this issue aside for awhile.

I find some birds on a piece of collage paper, cut them out individually and  add to the trees.

I also add texture paper to different areas on the wall. I also add some silvery paper to a place where later on people will exclaim that they see a cat. Can you find this place? I had to have it pointed out to me, but the minute I saw it then I see it every time I look at the painting.

The last thing I do in this step is to darken the value on the stripes in the arms, only, on the girl’s shirt. I wanted to see if it was too strong for the piece or not. I think I like the colors being darkened a bit. What do you think?

I am starting to like what I see.

Collage painting gets the finer points

Collage paper is added to a collage painting

As my collage painting comes to life I add some finer points to make the collage painting whole. As a fine art collage artist, these finer points can seem like they never end! However it is important to see this through in order to fill the gaps and bring all areas of the canvas to life.

I add collage paper in vertical strips to the right hand side of the collage painting. I use three different colors and textures. I also add decorations to the side of the table with small round disks; the bowl is covered with a silvery/gold paper; and her legs are padded with paper towels and covered with some netting. Net effect of the latter effort is the legs still look awful  But not to worry. A solution will be discovered.

I decide to use colored shiny paper in the trim around her neckline on the shirt and also around her wrists. I have made the decision to use shiny paper in at least two or three places in each of my figure collage paintings.

The purple sconces still remain and are becoming a problem/eyesore for me. I am not sure what to do with them. Questions remain about color and texture.

Finally in this step, I find large gold leaves on a piece of collage paper. I carefully cut them out and then apply them to the two trees in the window.  Even though the leaves are really, really too large for the tree, I like the accent they bring to it.

I am very happy with the results. Collage painting is always a series of experiments and so far this is turning out successfully!

New contemporary collage painting taking shape

Contemporary collage painting takes shape

For the next steps of my contemporary collage painting I complete most of my drawing and start adding colors. Fine art collage artists relish this transition period where concept meets sketch and sketch meets color. Whenever I create a contemporary collage painting my excitement build during this stage. This is where I discover my new collage!

I continue measuring the rise and the run and plotting points until I am finished. I am pleased with how it is laid out on the canvas. The one issue I see, though, is how close the left sconce is to the side edge of the canvas.  It appears to be crowded next to the window opening and creates some tension. I plan to address that issue in the next step.

I like the empty space above the window and to the right of the girl. This will give me some room to either play up the collage work or to use this space for a resting spot for the eyes.

I “clean up” the drawing by using the underpainting color, pink, to cover over errant blue marks. It all seems to work well for me.

To correct the problem I mentioned in the last step, I move the left side of the window to the right about 4 - 5 inches. This gives the left sconce more room to exist without looking like it is being squeezed by the window.  There is still less space for the sconce on the left side than there is for the sconce on the right side. I like the unevenness of these spaces. It adds some interest.

I decide to test how the colors will look against the pink underpainting. I paint in the stripes of bright yellow and bright orangish red on the girl’s sweater top. Wow!

I can see how intense the orange and yellow really are. Do I like how the stripes are working out? I am wondering about this. These two colors seem very glaring on the pink underpainting. I think these colors would look too bright on any underpainting.

Once I have added some color to test how the foreground colors react to the background color I am ready to move onto the next step of “illuminating” my collage painting.

Contemporary collage artist creates a new figurative collage

Fine Art Collage artist creates a figurative contemporary collage painting!


Since becoming an artist I have created many figurative artworks. I am very excited that this current figurative artwork will be my first figurative contemporary collage painting. I am looking forward to creating a new fine art collage using contemporary art styles to depict a traditional artistic style.

This black and white study on greyed tone paper is done with charcoal, charcoal pencil, and white charcoal pencil. I imagine and then use parts of me in reality to pose for this girl sitting at a table looking forlornly at a mostly eaten apple and completely devoured banana.  

I have decided not to put a face on this figure because this way, more people can identify with her. I will be painting her face, later on, with gold paint.

I enjoy slanting and skewing some of the elements in this study. The table is awkwardly oval with curved sides. The bowl of fruit is irregular in a nice way. The figure is slanted and skewed in one direction. The window and sconces on either side of the window are crooked. Even the light emanating from the lit sconces is wavy and inexact.   

This canvas, 36” x 24”, is partially covered with sawdust planned for another painting which never materialized. I coat the canvas with a pink underpainting and am ready to go with my drawing.

I start at the bottom of the page and work upward. I am drawing with a paintbrush with medium valued blue paint. I am not using a pencil or any dry marking tool. Instead I draw with a brush by picking a point on my drawing and then determining the rise and run of this point. I can draw from point to point by measuring this way. It takes a long time to utilize this method. Interruptions are a bad thing at this point. What is the rise of a point? It is a measurement in inches of how high above the bottom of the paper the point is. A run is a measurement in inches of how far across (horizontally) the point is from either side.

Drawing the legs of the girl and the legs of the table and chair, became a challenge, but I feel I accomplished what I set out to do. I see the remainder of the drawing to be easier than this bottom part.  

Finishing my new collage paintings

Fine art collage artist finishes a new collage painting!

I start my final steps in the creation of my newest collage painting by adding more white paint to various areas on the painting. Finishing up a collage is a very difficult time for fine art collage artists. When is the collage painting truly finished? I guess - only when a collage artist is ready to hand up the paint brush!

I tackle the lamp post. I have decided to paint thin lines down the post to simulate the ridges that are there. I use violet, medium blue and light yellow green to make the stripes. The violet is closest to the black on the right. Then there are two stripes of medium blue as I work my way to the left (light side of the post). Finally I add light yellow green to where the lightest area of it is.  I like the result very much. It is festive and goes with the rest of the feel of the painting.

Am I done?  Not quite.

I have stepped back from this collage painting for awhile. After looking and looking at this painting for a week or so, I decide to do several things. I outline the door and door opening with dark blue and green and orange.

Then using a dry fan brush, I scumble the door, itself, white, and the exterior walls around the windows, light blue. This helps the door stand out more and also subdues some of the collage papers that seem too busy for me. I also paint some of the lower woodworking trim with a light yellow mixture. This sets the area apart from the white door and blue walls.

I thought I was really, really finished with this painting. But, NO!  I decide to change two things and add one thing to my “Reflections Door”.

First, I change the door slightly and move the figure to the center of the door. I paint this friend of mine a gold color. Then I remove the legs on the framed reflections which are setting in the windows of the building.

Finally, I decide that the viewer is to participate in this collage painting. His/her reflection is placed in the lower center part of the picture plane. You can see the reflection as an upright silhouette of YOU!  

Now this painting is finished!

Adding more detail to my new collage painting

Fine art collage artist is adding some additional pieces to a new contemporary collage painting

Now I am “brave” enough to tackle the whole collage painting, so I begin to add paper to the right side. The same kind of tactics I used on the left side, I now use on the right side.

At the top of the collage painting above the door, I add thin strips of black paper to outline part of the storefront. I used this method as I created my new contemporary collage painting because it helps to ground the building so the eye does not escape past those black lines. As a fine art collage artist it is important to lead the viewer along the lines that tell the painting’s story.

More paper continues to be added to the flowers in the sidewalk flower pots. Green leaves and twigs are added.

After I have completed adding more paper to the collage painting, I add white paint to some parts of painting. Creating new collage paintings is always a back-and-forth process between different mediums. I learned this through studying underneath talented, famous fine art collage artists.
The flower pots get more defined flowers by the addition of white outlines of flowers and leaves. The door is painted white in some areas. The two right hand reflections receive a touch of white.

I also add grey paint to the white paper on the sidewalk. I like that it has been hidden because it attracted too much attention. Now there is just a hint of the texture which does not pull the eye there. Black paint is added to the shadow side of the lamp post.

More textured paper is added to the window in the door to make it look like it might be a screened door.

The biggest thing which is added in this step is the name of the gallery to which this door belongs. Two signs are made - one saying “Reflections” for the top of the door and another one saying, “Gallery” for the area just below the screen/window of the door. To make these signs, I printed on solid xerox paper the words for the signs. Then I placed sewing pattern tissue paper over top of the words. I traced the letters onto the tissue paper using a thin blue magic marker. Then I glued the letters with the tissue to the door.

More paper is added here and there until I am beginning to feel like I am nearing completion.

Adding collage paper to my newest contemporary collage painting

Collage painting has many elements to it. Applying different mix media materials at different times can create completely new collage paintings. Being a fine art collage artist I love playing with this layering process in my contemporary collage painting.

I use all sorts of textured papers. I have fun glueing pieces of paper very randomly and quickly to the canvas. I follow somewhat the architectural lines, but at times I overlap my paper across two different areas. Sometimes I feel like I am “painting” with paper. I apply it like I have a paint-loaded brush that I quickly sweep on the color with great abandon. I apply glue to the canvas, quickly attach the paper, and then apply glue on top.

My favorite papers are becoming the tissue paper from sewing patterns which has a light yellowish cast to it. I also like purple tissue paper which creates a very dark tone to the canvas when applied with the gloss medium and varnish.  It makes a nice shadow area.

I add papers to the flowers. Some of it is yellow paper with holes punched in it. I also add red and purple tissue paper.

One of the most significant additions to the collage painting canvas in this step is the addition of gold foil paper. Hinges on the door, plus the flowers see the addition of gold foil. It adds a touch of sparkle. In addition, silver foil is added to the lamp post where the highlights will be on the base of it.  

I find some pink paper which is a different tone than the pink underpainting. I use that around the door frame in order to call attention to that area.

More paper is added all over the left side of the collage painting. The reason I am not yet working on the right side is that there is so much going on the left side, I would feel overwhelmed if I tried to work on the entire painting. I will leave the right side for another work session.

I apply a textured white square paper to the sidewalk.  In a later step I will cover that over because I feel that it attracts too much attention.

One thing which I decide at this point is the creation of some resting points for the eye. I generally leave most of the sidewalk plain without collage paper. Also the windows where the dark blue has been painted will receive very little paper.t6f I feel that it is a good thing to have some places to rest.  Otherwise the whole painting would become so busy that it would be difficult to look at it for any length of time.

My new contemporary collage artwork is taking shape - I love being a fine art collage artist!

Fine art collage artists have different ways of applying their mixed media materials onto their new contemporary collage artworks. For me I like to mix things up from collage painting to collage painting. For this particular piece I makes passes with paint prior to applying mixed media materials.

I add white to the door and storefront and yellow paint in places where there is trim around the bottom part of storefront. I also start to add flowers to the pots and baskets. The sidewalk is painted a soft grey. I use light blue to create depth and three dimensions to the windowsills. Also there is a light which shines down from a place just above the left hand side of the door. I add a dark blue to the inside of the windows. Finally I add dark lines to the windows and architectural features to show depth in the construction of the storefront and door. These dark lines are shadows on door trim or on the trim around the windows, etc. My first pass with color is complete.

I add more colors to the flowers. I want the flowers to be really colorful.  They will add some interest to the composition. More white is added to the door and walls. Finally the lamp post is defined better with dark lines.

The reason Step Six has a yellowish cast to it and Step Seven does not, is that Step Six was taken with less light. The day is getting long and the light is more subdued here. Step Seven was taken at the beginning of the day.

Next I being to add collage materials!

Fine art collage artist creates with a new contemporary collage style

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!

Creation of new collage paintings by a fine art collage artist

New contemporary collage artwork!

I am so excited about the new contemporary collage paintings coming off my easel. My new studio has created quite a stir in my creative self and I am venturing out into the world of doors, buildings and people. Yah!

I recall my university class in linear perspective. We had a grand time drawing buildings, ramps, stairs, archways, rooftops, to name a few of the penciled constructions we made. I thoroughly enjoyed this class. So now, I am using my skills in perspective to draw doors and storefronts and buildings of all sorts. The sky is the limit. I have many, many black and white studies completed which are awaiting a turn at a blank canvas.

I also am going to include figures in my work. They may appear alone or along side the door or building. I am excited to draw these figures from my imagination. They may resemble friends or strangers or whomever I feel like drawing. I like to pretend that I am facing the person I am drawing and then I draw all the features associated with that person. They are almost like caricatures, but not quite. Their facial features are absent because I want you to place anyone you know into that face.

The quirky thing, though, about my doors, buildings and people is that they are skewed and come across the canvas as being crooked, slanted, exaggerated or minimized. This is how I interject humor into my paintings. To not have a precise and perfect rendition of a building or person is not sacrilegious. It is having fun with objects and people. It is giving them more personality, rather than cloning bland replicas of these things.

All of these subject matters for my paintings have a story to tell. For instance, doors have meaning. There are many colors of doors each of which has a specific meaning. There are open doors and closed ones. Broken ones and intact ones. Doors with lights shining from behind. There are revolving doors and doors which open at the top and not the bottom. Well, the list goes on and on. But the important thing to know is that each kind of door can mean something in either mythology, religion, literature, films, dream interpretation or psychology.  WOW!

Did you know that if you dream of a revolving door, you probably feel like your life is going around in circles.  Perhaps, you have an issue at work and you can’t seem to direct your associates attention to one particular detail.  Instead you find yourself having to explain and reexplain all over again so many times. Yes, you are going around in a revolving door and can’t get out.

Now the people I paint have their own personality and story to tell. I imagine my people being actively engaged with their surroundings and with others. Many of my people will be doing something, usually a simple thing. Perhaps a person will be eating or painting at an easel or reading a book. The sky is the limit.

So now you know, I do doors, buildings and people and I do skewed, funny looking ones. But how do I do them. What technique do I use? I continue to love painting with acrylics and doing collage with papers and other found materials.  My new work features these two tried-and-true techniques.

Come find out how I created “Reflections Door.” In the coming weeks I’ll describe my process!

Finishing my collage painting

All done! Well - not yet. Two more steps before I finish my latest contemporary collage painting.

I decide to change the yellow seen in Step #16 to a softer version of yellow. This yellow is mixed with white and with a very, very small speck of blue added to it. It helps to cut down on the vibrancy of the yellow. I like this color, finally. Whenever I arrive at the end of a painting I am always looking at the fine details to see where I can make slight adjustments.

I lightly add some warm reds on the dark background. I also playfully add painted marks with light and dark turquoise. The larger ropes are scumbled again with this new yellow.

My signature goes on the bottom left and I think I am done…… but wait there is one more step.

One of the fun parts of creating fine art collage in abstract is that I get to decide what the orientation of the collage painting is - not the painting itself.

I decide to test out orientations of this painting. Almost immediately I know that a change in the painting’s orientation is needed. I think it needs to be turned counterclockwise 90 degrees. Suddenly it comes alive and I know that I am finished.

The viewer’s eye can follow the red path into and around the painting. Before I rotated it there was no access because the red line grew from the “ground” and never moved.  

I quickly remove the old signature and add a new one at the bottom left of this now vertical piece. The metamorphosis from ugly painting to a harmoniously and delightfully colored painting has just occurred right in front of my eyes. I think it has a mind of its own. It just had a hard time telling me what it needed.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my latest abstract fine art collage painting. As a contemporary collage artist I never know where mix media collage will take me - my next paintings are very very different and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Collage artists stepping back to step forward

All collage artists get to a point in their collage painting where they reflect and try to determine whether the path they have embarked on is one on which that they would like to continue. Famous collage artists and contemporary fine art collage artists come to this critical juncture and sometimes decide that they would like to make alterations to their collage painting. I am no different - I have come to a point in my collage painting where I decide that I need a little remediation.

I decide to take this remedial step of painting certain areas white in order to be able to later paint these areas in a way unaffected by the colors underneath.  It is like starting over from scratch in these white areas. Also, some of the paint is removed from some of the collaged papers by using rubbing alcohol and a paper towel.  A light rubbing with this solvent partially erases the color. This allows me to re-envision that collage painting.

I guess the famous collage artists that I studied under were right all along! - collage paintings have layers and layers - most of which only the fine art collage artist sees.

I complete two major things in this step.  First, I change much of the circle in the center by covering it with a yellowish green.  I also add pure yellow to a few edges. I scumble the thick rope with yellow.

Second, I paint the background areas with a very dark green.  I decide I wanted this main shape to stand out. If painting this main shape with bright colors isn’t working, perhaps those areas would stand out from an almost black background.  Sure enough, it did.

Finally more collage papers are revealed by using rubbing alcohol, in the areas where the color needs removed.

This has been a fun and unpredictable step in my newest collage paining. Enjoy!