In our most recent session of collage making with Michelle Wilson at UC Berkeley Extension, we learned to make a simple accordion book to use as a substrate for a collage. I decided to combine collage and paint across the entire eight span of pages. My goals were to explore using images as texture and as a way to add complexity to an overall image.
I started by gluing assorted black and white or other neutral papers across the entire surface. After the pages dried, I applied a couple layers of gesso with a brayer both to tone it all down, and to add texture. I added some torn pages from a magazine showing a woman wearing sunglasses. Stepping back at the resulting shapes, I decided to add layers of watercolor, acrylic and black Noodler’s Bulletproof ink to create a mountainous landscape.
Most of these papers are from a stash collected over the past couple years, the recognizable is a tattered Dürer print that I saved after using it for inspiration in a drawing class. Strangely, I’ve noticed that papers and images used in my collages, all seem to take on deep personal meaning as the collages come together. I say strangely, because the papers were selected randomly or chosen for value (meaning relative lightness or darkness) rather than content. And yet, it does mean something and expresses a search for meaning and solace in spiritual connection. In the days following the senseless shooting down of a passenger flight, nothing makes sense. How can people minding their own business and going about their lives, and suddenly be gone? How can I glue paper together when my heart is full of grief?