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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

COLLAGE CLUB: URBAN TALES

When I started gathering bits and pieces for this theme, I wasn't sure which direction I would go in, but I soon found a route-map through the 'URBAN' landscape. Collage Club: URBAN"You are HERE."

Having recently returned from a trip to New York, I know first hand just how manic, busy and fast-paced urban environments can be.

Colours and lights and skyscrapers and buildings and people and buzz and rushing around to meet deadlines and communicate through time zones.

Time is precious and seems always to be in short supply in the urban landscape.

The edges can become frayed between reality and fantasy, and when I read about Skignz, it reiterated to me how technology and the invisible 'noise' of data connections are infiltrating every area of life, augmenting our own personal reality and the visual space around us, a la Minority Report.

Collage Club: URBAN"Is everyone 'GONE'?"

The image above conjures the idea of 'all the world being a stage', of places and spaces having a voice, of desertion and diaspora.

I love the empty windows that appear derelict, the statues and horses posed in stone, almost caught mid-sentence yet preserved forever, through art and as art.

Cities and urban environments are places where information and knowledge is stored.

They are financial centres of the world.

They become the hearts that send pulses of knowledge rippling out to other hearts, other centres.

They are LOUD with the voices and accents of a thousand languages, and yet the universal language of the world can be navigated through recognisable brands like Coca Cola.

Collage Club: URBAN'COOL GEOMETRY' was a fashion trend I designed a collection around at college, circa 2001.

It fits the theme of URBAN for me because urban environments are about a hotch-potch of structures coming together; old and new, modern materials adjacent to beautiful old bricks, colour-blocking in funky urban playgrounds, parks, schools, art installations, galleries, allotments and street art/graffiti.

Modern = glass and transparent, clever spaces.

Councils post blueprints of plans for residents to see what is happening in their community (complete with spy-holes through security fences, sometimes).

People take pictures and a few months later the landscape has changed.

Focus shifts and petitions spring up and words are written all over cities in a bid to keep things the same, to increase or stem the flow of urban regeneration.

Collage Club: URBANI found this huge cut-out of a watch, returning me to the concept of time, but also of the cyclical nature of things, of the world.

I like the idea of urban cogs, of recycling, of green spaces circled on a map, of the rotation of people through different cities that join together through connecting modes of transport, and then the return journey through the same or different route - so many possibilities - never just one straight line.

Rain falls from the sky and is processed for people to drink again.

Everything RETURNS and renews - but there is only so many times that is possible, too.

Collage Club: URBANFinally, I thought of urban crime scenes and police project rooms set up with markers on a board connecting pieces of evidence together.

People go missing in cities, yet there is always someone who sees something, or perhaps even takes a photograph. Maybe it's CCTV because 'big brother is always watching', especially in an urban space.

Trains connect people as well as separate people, and although I don't like to end on a sad note (because that's not inspiring!), so many times people feel isolated and alone in an urban sprawl; less connected to the earth, to land, to other people.

But then it all comes full circle again, because nothing stays the same.

#URBAN