In January, I set up a drawing board with supplies to make a series of small 5.5 in x 5.5 in. collages, with the hope I would make one a day if I wasn’t working on a larger piece of art. The first one is the photo above. I had done some of these several years ago and enjoyed the activity.
I started cleaning up the yard and working on organizing my shell collection, so I managed to make the great sum of two mini-collages by mid-March.
When the collage artist, Crystal Neubauer, offered a free online workshop beginning the last day in March, I decided to participate, hoping to get myself making some kind of art, as I began to switch from winter cleanup to spot weeding and enjoying the first flowers in my yard.
Crystal had us working on 4 x 4-inch watercolor paper, and assembling one from a pile of scrap papers in, Gasp! five minutes. My first one did not get done in five minutes, but I think it does reflect our national state of mind on April first.
Her videos are archived, so I was viewing them the next day. In the second session, we were to use only neutral colors.
On the third lesson, we were to paste up two during the five minutes. The idea is to quickly select the scrap we are most drawn to and glue it somewhere in the square, then add other scraps that catch our attention to fill the space. These 4 x 4’s I used had some splotches of paint on them from some old work, and I glued the scraps so that some of the paint color was seen.
I still wasn’t able to do them in the five-minute time because I was using very small pieces. I noticed that I started by gluing a scrap I liked at an angle to the edges which left me with small white spaces that needed to be filled. But Crystal usually used only three or four pieces and filled up the corners first.
The next lesson she talked about using some mark making on the pieces to add interest. We did a 4 x 4 as a warm up.
Then we were to make a collage on 8 x 8-inches, using only three large pieces, again in five minutes. Mine turned out so awful I won’t even take a photo of it. Again, I had put things at angles to the edges and they didn’t connect in the center.
During all these sessions, Crystal was telling us to pay attention to the voices in our head that were saying things like “don’t use THAT piece, it’s too special, save it for later.”
The last video is where we slowed things down. Before the lesson we planned out what we wanted to use in an 8 x 8-inch, but didn’t glue. We looked at it in the next lesson before we glued it down, to see if we still liked it or wanted to change something.
I’m still thinking about what I’ve learned about my usual approach to art making. One idea this workshop generated is that I don’t have a ready selection of neutral papers to use for collage so that the accent or “special” material can really stand out. Gathering a box of neutral papers is a good place for me to start, because my collage box is loaded with the accent pieces.
I have also become more aware that I have a huge variety of materials to use all over my house. Estate sale finds, fabric scraps, shell fragments, rusty yard finds, lace, paper, old books, and basket making materials to name a few, but I have trouble focusing on what is inside my consciousness that wants to be given expression.
Crystal’s free online workshop is still available for another week or so if you want to check it out at Crystal Marie: Canary Rising here.