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.