Collage is my old friend. I have rarely been disappointed with the results it has given me, and often people are surprised what I can turn a few bits of coloured paper into. It is a medium which I will not work with for a while, because it seemed like a lot of hard work, then I realise I actually enjoy it and I’ll do a few collages in a few weeks.
I think part of the creative in me, and perhaps in anyone creative, is you have to have a little vision. I see how I can turn nothing into something. It is the same with collage. Yes, when I begin it may just be bits of paper, but by the end it is something quite different. Collage gives me the vision of the future I think more than any other medium.
With painting or printing, I am happy to experiment and trial and error a little more, but with collage, I am quite particular about the shapes I am trying to make and the aesthetic I want.
However, that is not to say it cannot be expressive, it cannot be experimental. My collages are as much as I allow them to be. But for those of you struggling to make something you feel worthwhile with collage ,let me try to help.
How do I begin? It usually starts with a photo, or perhaps a painting I have already worked on or had and idea for.
In this case, it was an Ice Cream sundae which I had already created a watercolour of.
I then begin to think about the shapes I want, and also the negative space I want, so I begin to trace out (tracing paper will be your best friend with collage!) You need to be quite specific with the shapes you want, as collage is about cutting paper, so you do need to have an idea of the shapes (this is where the vision comes in!)
I then trace these individual shapes onto the colours I want. I usually cut a shape out then position it, then cut a shape out then position it, as you may have to tweak and snip your shapes to fit and give the shape you want. This is because, despite all the preparation I do to make the pieces fit, I am only human (and not an overwhelming perfectionist) but mainly, because I am only human.
And that is it really. That and time. You need to set aside some time because I find it quite hard to put down. If I come back another time to it, my paper may have moved and I have to get my concentration hat on again, so I prefer to just collage for quite a long session. For me the negative space is as important as the colours and shapes I have stuck down, I find it gives the picture the depth I am looking for in my collages.
You can get as intricate as you want really. It really is up to you what you want from the exercise. I also find cutting the shapes and making them fit quite relaxing, like a jigsaw. I rarely get frustrated, and I enjoy watching them take form. Looking back at these pictures has given me some inspiration to make another collage, and I think I have just the picture, so there will be a part 2 blog soon. Until then, here are a couple of other collages I have worked on. Enjoy!