Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Working in Series

I've been corresponding with a friend on the west coast who has recently begun her collage journey. She is gathering materials, reading books and blogs, taking workshops, getting information and inspiration online, and trying to find her own way in paint-collage-mixed media. Like a lot of us, she seems to get stuck in over-thinking each piece, and I find myself saying frequently: make MORE like that! Choose your materials or theme or images or whatever, and then DO LOTS AND LOTS of small pieces. In other words, I am suggesting that working in a series encourages you to break out of the over-thinking and preciousness of individual pieces, and think of it as a longer term process. Does any of this sound familiar? So here is a small example from my own worktable. I decided to explore the idea of using neutral colors - browns, beige, black, off-white, and see what I could come up with in a series of grid-based abstract collages.

The materials I used included these magazine images from National Geographic:
And some of my stained tissue papers, as well as some found text and dress pattern paper:
The collage studies are all approximately 5"x7". These are just that: studies. I have begun an almost daily practice of doing a few of these every day, using collage and paint. It's a simple and approachable format, and keeps my eye in practice.

The papers are cut and torn, and I used acrylic matte medium to adhere them as well as for a top coat.
Even though I thought I would use paint in these studies, I ended up using collage only.
Now they go in my pile of "collage studies", some of which I will continue to work on, and some not.Since I began doing these small studies on a regular basis, I've thought it would be really fun to get together with other artists - in person or in cyberspace - and do a "Collage-Athon", maybe spending a whole day making small collage studies. Or making ten-a-day for a given period of time; or making 100 collages in a given period of time... just a thought kicking around back there. If you have any suggestions around this, please let me know. Thanks for visiting!

16 comments:

  1. Wonderful collections of materials Jane. Is your studio a mess (like mine) or are you very organised? I find it only takes the thought of doing collage and suddenly all sorts of materials find their way onto bench, floor, noticeboard and/or any flat surface.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Jane,
    I love your work, books and your blog!!
    I love your idea of a collageathon! There is a make comics in 24 hours movement, why not the same for collage? I'm game!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh how fun !! What a great idea !! I too am learning Mixed Media and so loving it. I am trying to find my way to a new me. Widowed in July...it is time to do something for me. This idea is perfect !!! Thank you Jane !!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the colors, glad you didnt use any paint.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love that idea jane and the materials you have gathered are a wonderful combination. 5 x7 is a very doable size.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Those collage studies are a great idea. I'm still not doing much collage... Someone seriously has to kick my butt!

    ReplyDelete
  7. love your blog for colour and inspiring projects; I have nominated you Jane, for the Liebster blog award!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really like the idea of doing collage studies and I especially like the idea of a collage-a-thon. I like the idea of a format that is longer than a day (a week long or 100 in x period of time) that way it is more likely to fit people's schedules.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Working in series is a great idea. Getting started is the hardest part, so why stop when you are getting comfortable. I love the series in this post. I come here for inspiration, and I'm never disappointed. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love the colors and subject matter. Very earthy. I enjoy working in a series as well. Taking something to the nth degree. Exploring all possibilities. Things never go as planned... they evolve during the process and that's what is so great! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jane.. takes my breath away.. love them..and all the studies you are doing... very inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Jane,
    Love your work and fun ideas. I enjoy the "studies" entries alot. I like the idea of small works, 5X7 would probably work as a non threatening/non overwhelming size. I too like the idea of "make so many each week." Maybe changing themes/colors at the end of the week, and just keep stockpiling them for future work.

    ReplyDelete
  13. THANKS, all of you, for the comments. So glad this post inspired some of you, or at least made doing a series of collages more approachable. I particularly like your idea, Wooded Solitude, of doing a certain number (minimum) each week, maybe keeping the theme the same for a week. Just put out your stack of blank 5"x7"'s on your work table at the beginning of the week and work through them. Nice idea for a Collage-Athon! I put up a new gallery on my web site for the Small Works.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jane - It truly pleases me that my frustrations and over-thinking led to a great blog posting, a new gallery and so many inspired Collage Journeywomen. I'm off to work on a series!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm glad to have found your blog this morning. I, too, do 5x7 daily collages, sometimes just one and often half a dozen but I've never given a whole day to making lots. I work in series and am having lots of fun with my "Little Jo" using some of my childhood photos to tell a story.
    I'm not much for collaborations but I do like a challenge, and am going to try your idea of working with a limited palatte.

    ReplyDelete