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Collage

Posted on April 7, 2017

Orange, Purple, Aqua, Cut, Paste, Repeat #Collage

I’ve enjoyed the rainbow effect of colour-themed collage images on my homepage recently, so I thought I’d share my latest work.

I find the process of sifting paper and deciding what stays and what goes to be delightfully meditative and almost more important than the outcome.

Collage for me is a true case of ‘enjoy the journey’.

My first attempts at collage (circa 2014) were very busy and took a long time as there were that many pieces to stick down, but recently I’ve tried to pare back my designs and try to stop myself from adding ‘that final last touch’.

I like the results.

ORANGE

This was the hardest of the colours so far, and not because I don’t love orange as I colour – I really do – but because sourcing images proved particularly difficult. I loved the ‘SHOE GARDEN‘ effect though and the mixed-media flowers in paper, stiffened fabric and watercolour paper with acrylic marks I made myself. (And I’d totally wear those boots!)

'SHOE GARDEN' colour-themed collage

PURPLE

Also somewhat tricky to source purple images, this is quite a spring-effect mish-mash of florals which I like, especially the lavender. I don’t always want to feature women experiencing sadness, but this just seemed to fit. I called it ‘PURPLE REIGN‘ because the little birdy is wearing a crown.

'PURPLE REIGN' colour-themed collage

AQUA

One of the quickest collages I’ve made and also a strong contender for most minimalist.I love the contrast of the aqua and the olive green and the idea of paparazzi bursting from a teacup. It’s called ‘AQUA TEA‘ because I’m very inventive with names.

AQUA-TEA, colour-themed collage

Some people are purists and only use paper or card, whereas I love the full monty of a mixed-media piece and have no qualms about adding 3D elements if they fit the theme or look I’m going for.

But then does that fit with the ‘less is more’ aesthetic? Not really, but the main thing is producing something you like and that makes people smile and perhaps even connect with the work on a deeper level. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t!

Join in with the weekly themes and challenges in The Collage Club.


Posted on March 17, 2017

A Green Collage for St Patrick’s Day

Green is poison and envy and nature and purity.

It’s trees and leaves and moss and algae. The flight of summer’s exotic birds and a delicate butterfly and leafy palms and frog spawn.

I love green. Every shade: mint, olive, grass, pine, chartreuse…

For this week’s GREEN-themed collage I chose a woodland theme: this lone toadstool standing proud in the silence (is it silent if there’s no-one there to hear?)

Into the Woods, Green collage, The Collage Club

The bird’s nest adds a hint of colour and outsize interest in the foreground, confusing perspectives, while the angles of the branches just line up between the different forest imagery, the gloss of the photograph adding surface contrast (far right).

I love the juxtaposition of the brightly-coloured budgie perching on the toadstool in the gloom of the woods. Only in a collage!

And I couldn’t resist adding some detail in a combination of bright green-greenery mending wool and this snappy metallic yarn. It came out like a simple flower outline so I went with it.

Into the Woods, Green collage, The Collage Club

The shamrocks are an added, seasonal bonus considering the occasion. I didn’t go searching for them but I found them just the same. I guess that’s the luck of the Leprichaun Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Check out some other GREEN-themed collages, here and here, plus some fun green vignettes.

Find out more and join The Collage Club.


Posted on March 8, 2017

International Women’s Day: a pink collage

PINK is The Collage Club theme this week and I wasn’t sure what I was going to create.

That was until I thought about what pink as a colour means to me; how loaded it is with connotation, how and intrinsically connected it is with girls and women and the words ‘nice’ and ‘pretty’ among countless other vague and non-vibrant words.

Today is International Women’s Day and I’m proud to dedicate my PINK collage to all the women I know (and also those I don’t).

International Women's Day PINK Collage

I’ve got so many strong, vivacious, confident and go-getting women around me, now and as part of my heritage:

My Great Grandmother danced in the chorus line of Glasgow’s famous Empire Theatre.

My Nana was a lifeguard on the beaches of Cape Town.

My husband’s Gran was a Land Girl during the war.

My Mum was running her own pub at 21.

One of my favourite quotes about women is:

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Yes. I like that.

Here’s some more.

And I love this ‘Suffragette’ brooch featured on The Casket of Fictional Delights:

“Purple [amethyst] as everyone knows is the royal colour, it stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity…white [seed pearls] stands for purity in private and public life…green [peridot] is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring.”

The women in my life have experienced love, betrayal, separation by the sea (at a time when travel took weeks by ship), divorce, domestic violence, abortion, miscarriage, a 72-hour labour, and more. They’ve come through it and they’ve carried on.

International Women’s Day according to the UN, is:

“a day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.”

So let’s celebrate women today. Women all over the world.

Let’s ‘Be Bold For Change‘ and support and fight for the freedoms and choices we believe in. For the equality we have not yet attained, and for the basic rights that some of us enjoy but that are under threat around the world, now more than ever.

International Women's Day PINK Collage

PS: The Be Bold For Change theme for this year suggests wearing red to show your support. I’m wearing red pants, bra, tights, probably my red beret for the added ‘French resistance’ vibe, and I drive a red car. Here’s my RED collage from last week. And if I see a protest march, I’ll be joining in #IWD

And yes, I deliberately made those flowers look like breasts. Zelda (Fitzgerald – that’s her portrait I’ve used) would have been proud!

PPS. Does that red bottle top look like a crown? I hope so.


Posted on March 3, 2017

RED: The Collage Club

I love RED.

It makes me think of lips, red lips, red lipstick; a strong woman and wartime posters. Of buying red lipstick on a Friday afternoon as a pre-weekend perk-up (someone else, not me, because I don’t really wear red lipstick – except I did on my wedding day – Mac Ladybug).

This collage is a homage to red lips.

When I started looking through my cuttings and clippings for images of lips I thought of The Rolling Stones and then the song ‘Mixed Emotions’ began playing in my head and I had my title, theme, anchor point, surface detail: buttons.

Button your lip baby, button your coat, let’s go out dancing, go for the throat…

RED, Week 3, Button Your Lip, The Collage Club

I have buttons in abundance. Jars of them. Tins with them hiding in the bottom. My Nana’s button box.

I used to sew all the time and people used to give me buttons from their old family heirloom biscuit tins and sewing tins, but alas my precious collection has been gathering dust the last few years. It was a real delight then to go hunting for some vintage buttons for this collage.

RED, Week 3, Button Your Lip, The Collage Club

RED, Week 3, Button Your Lip, The Collage Club

Would they have been around in the era of The Rolling Stones? I think they would. Well I’m pretty sure, anyway.

I was going to apply lipstick and kiss the page as a final touch, but it would have got all smudged and it felt like maybe a step too far?

There’s enough lips here and I’m trying to learn when to stop, when to put the scissors and the glue down.

Find out about The Collage Club and join in…here’s my BLUE and YELLOW collages.

Meanwhile:

Let’s grab the world
By the scruff of the neck
And drink it down deeply
And love it to death

Lyrics from ‘Mixed Emotions’ by The Rolling Stones


Posted on February 25, 2017

YELLOW: The Collage Club

This is my second YELLOW collage, and I like it much better than the first. It feels more nostalgic, more me.

It’s called ‘YELLOW MEMORIES’:

YELLOW, Week 2, The Collage Club

It’s a thoroughly ‘mixed media’ collage because I’ve used a whole load of materials: tracing paper, magazine cuttings, fabric, pages from an old book, wire, watercolour paints, pencil, stamping, letter cut-outs, washi tape…

The vintage-esque yellow flowers on the magazine cutting immediately sent me back to childhood and the kinds of patterns that featured on wallpaper, bed linen, aprons and upholstery.

I was thinking Cabbage Patch dolls and naive illustrations and the innocence of very early childhood which is so impossible to recapture.

But there’s the future too, on Kepler 16b, ‘the land of two suns’, which felt like an appropriate nod to ‘yellow’.

And stamps, they go to the future don’t they?

Here’s the quote from the book page:

The great hall began to empty. Already it wore that drab deserted air of a vanished evening and the dawn of a tired day. There was a grey light on the terrace, I could see the shapes of the blown firework stands taking form on the lawns.

‘Good-bye; a wonderful party.’

‘I’m so glad.’

Find out more and join in with The Collage Club weekly prompts.


Posted on February 19, 2017

BLUE: The Collage Club

Blue waves, blue tears, blue sky. The blue of your eyes and your shirt and your jeans. Blue means blue means blue.
BLUE, Week 1, The Collage Club

I think this ‘BLUE‘ collage works on two levels. There are the varying tones of blue and also the rain (or tear) drops that indicate sadness or being ‘blue’.

I enjoyed the contrast between the clean scissor cuts of the raindrops/teardrops versus the ripped layers of what could be the sea or at least, a sea of tears.

The remnants of my cut-outs had such an interesting texture I couldn’t bring myself to discard them, so they crept into the mix too.

The great thing about collage is that every tiny piece or remnant becomes a jewel to be saved and reworked somewhere else, so nothing is wasted. That makes me super-happy.

Meanwhile, I’m doing a course at the moment on the power of colour. It’s fascinating, especially for someone like me who regularly works with colour in designing patterns and maintaining a regular art practice. Read about the psychology of blue (and what’s your favourite shade/tint?)

Next week’s prompt: YELLOW.

Check out The Collage Club for more information and to join in.


Posted on September 19, 2016

‘You Cut Me To The Quick’ ‘GREEN’ Collage

Through The Collage Club, of which I am an avid supporter (if sporadic contributor), I heard about the call out for GREEN themed collages.

I did a GREEN collage a few years ago, which my local council featured in their newsletter (I used elements of their printed newsletter – oh the irony), but this time I took it a step further.

It didn’t need to be ‘green’ in colour but you had to explain how the finished collage would meet the theme brief of GREEN.

In my head I saw a steep rainforest of green trees with dotted lines intersecting them, like a blueprint for destruction (a green print would be more apt here).

It sounds like a negative image, and indeed, the culling of trees and the destruction of natural habitats for endangered animals is not a happy subject, but it’s a subject I’m passionate about and having this image fired me up to create.

I started with a quick watercolour of simple triangular shapes representing trees, adding in pencil marks and patterns once the watercolour was dry.

Watercolour & collage forest

Next, I layered ripped papers, some featuring handwriting (like words of the law, like an agreement with nature?), to make a more cohesive forest.

I then photographed the page to manipulate digitally.

As I worked, more ideas came to me and I was inspired to layer a photograph of a glorious orange sunset over the forest.

I positioned it so the sun was visible and allowed the forest to show through. The thinking behind this was of ‘the sun coming down on the forest’ if it was set for destruction.

Mmm, still quite bleak. But it’s an important message because this stuff is really happening.

Sunset through trees, winter in ScotlandSunset through trees, winter in Scotland

Next, I started hacking into my beautiful, serene image with ‘digital scissors’, leaving empty spaces where the trees used to be.

This created jagged edges and sharp lines that ‘go against the grain’ of nature (like destruction), and I left them because they are the essence of my point, the prism of my view.

I still think the image is rather beautiful in a haphazard way, if a little…’busy’. But then destruction sites tend to be busy, don’t they?

Finally, I added a few pairs of scissors and crude broken lines marking out the areas to be cut, destroyed, taken out, burnt away.

'Cut Me to the Quick' collage

Effective? I called it ‘You Cut Me To The Quick‘.

Read more


Posted on August 20, 2016

Psychedelic Forest

I’ve been working a lot on digital pattern design recently, and part of that has meant manipulating my watercolour and acrylic art digitally.

It’s something I had never really thought of doing before, beyond the usual cropping and touching up of an image to post online.

But then…the patterns.

I present: ‘Psychedelic Forest’

Psychedelic Forest: a digital collageI painted the watercolour forest while chatting on the phone, pencilled over it and added a bit of collage. A bit of fun on a sunny evening. (It was a long conversation!)

Then I was working on some new patterns for the Make it in Design Summer School 2016, and accidentally filled the background of the scanned image. Well, that’s changed everything.

I’d buy it from myself if I could. I know you’re not meant to say that about your own work but I love the drama and the colour, the vibrant, vivid colour, and the naive, hand-drawn elements.

It’s the art print of my mind right now.

Psychedelic: “hallucinations and apparent expansion of consciousness” – exactly.

If it was a real place I’d go. I wonder what adventures I’d find in the ‘Psychedelic Forest‘?

Happy (inspirational) Saturday!


Posted on July 26, 2016

COLLAGE CLUB: STRIPES

My last collage was for the theme of ‘YELLOW‘, then I missed a few. July’s theme is ‘STRIPES‘.

Geometrics are definite, daring and inspiring.

When I think ‘stripes’ the image in my head is of a stereotypical French person in a long-sleeved Breton top. With onions. I also think of zebras.

Keeping it strictly fashion, the centrepiece of this collage is an illustration by René Gruau. J’adore.

COLLAGE CLUB 'Stripes' collage, July 2016I think she’s chic, sophisticated and up to date on the latest trends, stripes or otherwise. And she’s a jet-setter, oh yeah.

Beirut, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Hollywood in Cambodia…

Everything else is just, you know? BLAH.

COLLAGE CLUB 'Stripes' collage, July 2016There’s another page to this month’s collage too.

I was going to create the male counterpart to René‘s exotic, striped lady. But I never got that far.

I’m including him anyway because…striped shirt and shades.

COLLAGE CLUB 'Stripes' collage, July 2016Find out more and join The Collage Club – creative prizes are up for grabs every month.

PS. Vertical City – does that exist? I think I’d like to visit, being tall and all.


Posted on April 29, 2016

COLLAGE CLUB: YELLOW

Yellow is the colour of sunshine, Spring and Summer.

Yellow means hope and happiness and buttercups and a host of golden daffodils.

Yellow is egg yolks on a winter morn, new ideas at dawn.

Yellow is the great communicator and loves to talk.

Yellow is the color of the networker and the journalist.

Yellow is the scientist; methodical and decisive.

Yellow is the entertainer, the comic, the clown.

And YELLOW is the April theme/prompt for The Collage Club.

YELLOW themed collage

I had lots of cuttings and ideas when I first sat down to make this collage, but somehow I couldn’t bring them all together in a cohesive image. Today was the day. A golden beam of sunshine helped.

It ended up about photography, specifically that of models for portrait shots, ‘Empire Studios’ touting for business, the camera finding little jewels of light, the magic in the moment, and yet does it ever really capture the truth of beauty or the beauty of truth?

Let’s at least put our best foot forward…

YELLOW themed collage

My second collage for YELLOW is again inspired by fashion, by models on the catwalk and the glamour of it all.

It’s all a ‘Pursuit of Happiness‘ – of looking good, finding the right angle, the perfect smile, of inspiring emulation and adoration. Yet all the striving turns the final ‘model shot’ into a falsehood, the flash of the camera projecting an unreality.

Models have freely admitted ‘they couldn’t look as good as themselves‘ in their off-catwalk life, without make-up artists, hairdressers, airbrushing, photoshopping, primping, preening.

I also read in a ‘vintage’ Vogue fashion book that at one time the colour yellow, or specifically a yellow dress, was something suitable for wear only by a whore, a prostitute, a hooker…

This quote from Andy Warhol’s POPism seems a fitting antidote from it all:

Now and then someone would accuse me of being evil – of letting people destroy themselves while I watched, just so I could film them and tape record them. But I don’t think of myself as evil, just realistic.”

Click! Click! Snap!

POP goes the weasel. That’s a wrap.

Who knew yellow could get so dark?

(There’s a donut and a parrot though. And a yellow Biba dress…)

Check out last month’s collages on the theme of URBAN.


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