About the Medium

I enjoy working in acrylics, in charcoal, and in oil pastel, but my favorite medium is collage.

I approach a collage very much as I would a painting, working through preliminary sketches and color studies before building up the final image layer by layer.  I use pieces of paper approximately 1 cm square, often cut into irregular shapes.  I treat each as a single brush stroke adding both color and texture.  As I add more and more overlapping pieces I work to highlight and shadow, blend and contrast, sharpen or soften edges.  It’s a time-consuming process, with a small 9″ x 12″ piece typically consisting of a thousand or more individual pieces of paper.

Magazine photos printed on acid-free pages are my favorite paper source, although I have a process for de-acidifying other papers when I need them.  Finding just the right colors for a new work is like a treasure hunt.  The variability of found paper helps me with creating texture and blending colors.  The individual quirks of each piece — an odd outline produced by removing an unwanted section, the random intrusion of a stray line, or subtle shading caused by folds of a garment — add to the process.  I avoid using legible text or pasting in whole objects-as-themselves except on rare occasions.  Generally I want the individual pieces to lose the identity of their source and merge into the images that I create.

Although my preferred support is a cradled wood panel, my earliest collages were pasted on ordinary card stock.  I also use canvas board and archival mat board when it’s on hand — even my supports are usually recycled.  The finished collage receives two coats of clear acrylic medium for protection plus a clear coat of vinyl polymer to block ultraviolet light.  As time goes on I’ve been eliminating paper sources that show signs of fading, to make my work even more durable.  With all the effort that goes into its creation, I want it to last.
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