Thursday, July 30, 2020

Surface History: Layered Collage Paintings Virtual Workshop with Sara Post

With Covid-19 making it impossible to go to remote workshops, my favorite venue for workshops like this, Shake Rag Alley, converted one of their in-person session to an online experience. The artist was Sara Post from Davis, CA, and the class was called Surface History: Layered Collage Paintings.
Here is the course description: "In this workshop we’ll make a variety of collage papers and use them in beautiful additive and subtractive collages. We’ll collage directly on to flat or cradled wood supports using Varathane or acrylic gloss medium as an adhesive. With the addition of house paint and acrylic paint we’ll blend collage layers to create collaged paintings. A top sealing layer of acrylic matte medium or cold wax medium completes the piece. We’ll explore three collage techniques—all using various combinations of handmade collage papers, tissue papers, adhesives, house paint and acrylic paint which may be added, subtracted, scraped, sanded and painted over to create beautiful surface layers."

We began our workshop making various styles of paper for collage. My big take away was a combination of rice paper and India ink. All of these papers were fodder for creating the four pieces in the workshop.

When we turned to our substrates, we worked on 12"H x 12"W x 3/4"D cradled boards.

Before Everything Succumbed to Regret

This piece started as collage of black and white papers

The painting technique (sample by Laura Carr) that we were taught is where I had an artistic roadblock. This style of over-painting was the goal (above).

I only got this far with that. I just could not paint over my collage. The red marks below are as far as I could take it. 

The abstract nature of Sara Post's style and teaching is a mystery to me. That being said, I see everything Sara taught as a wonderful creation of a substrate for the kind of collage I like to do. Before the class was over I got this far.

After class was over, I continued to work on the layers of this piece including the inclusion of an object.

And thus we have, Before Everything Succumbed to Regret. 

In Search of Vanished Blood

The next piece began by using the gelli plate papers we created. I then painted in as much of the piece as I could. 

During the class this is what I did with mine. 

After class I continued to work on the piece.

Of all the objects added on all these projects, I like this one best. Don't tell the others. 

And thus we have, In Search of Vanished Blood.

The Vision of the Old Memory

The next piece began as a black tissue paper substrate. The object was to tear into the substrate for a collage. I really liked this process and felt mine created a frame for a collage. 

After working on this after class, and adding some objects, I had this. 

And thus we had, The Vision of the Old Memory.

Power On and Off

The last piece was started with layers of tissue paper on the substrate. During class I layered on the mixed media and had this.

After class I had time to get my paints out and begin to finish.

After adding some wood trim pieces I felt like it was done.

And thus we have Power On and Off.

I want to thank Shake Rag Alley and Sara Post for making all this possible in these troubled times. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Makin' Paper In a Pandemic


With travel not an option and the weather being hot and sunny, I decided to try my hand at papermaking. I have made paper before and have all the equipment but being an outdoor sport I was often reluctant to set up in the drive way. But, as it turns out, this was a great time to get to work.
I made paper for about two weeks. Denice helped me the first day and is the photographer of the image below. 

Paper was made in two rounds.

Round one was milkweed and abaca; dryer lint and abaca; and paper I am calling Straight Outta Shredder, or pulp from our paper shredder. I also made some molds.

Abaca is a banana fiber from the Philippines that is my go to fiber for papermaking as it seems to solve all the problems. 

Milkweed, Dryer Lint, Pulp

This is the milkweed paper. It was made from milkweed pulp with some abaca added. The milkweed I had sat in a jar in my basement for years and when opened, it had a pickle smell to it. However, it appeared to make good paper. 

This is the dryer lint paper mixed with abaca. While it made very cool paper, I seriously underestimated the effect of all the cat hair that was included. 

This is Straight Outta Shredder or the paper I made by taking the shredded pulp from our household shredder and making paper with it. 

After a brief break, it was on to Round Two of papermaking.

This is the second round of dryer lint and abaca paper. I used a heat gun to remove some of the hair which I think helped make this paper be more...less creepy.

In my stash in the basement I had a bag of pulp from Arnold Grummer labeled Scrubbed Corn Husk and Cotton which surprised me by not make a really good pull out of the tray. So I added my go to pulp, abaca, and it made the pull terrific.

My last experiment was to use egg cartons. This also was a fail until I added the abaca that held the paper together. 

Egg Carton, Dryer Lint, Dryer Lint, Corn Husk and Pulp

Here is one big old stack of paper

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A Rent in the Region of the Heart

This project began with the desire to use a mink stretcher as the substrate for a collage.

A mink stretcher (and there are stretchers for other fur bearing animals) is the last step in preparing a fur bearing animal for the fur market. The basis premise is that at this time in the preparation process the fur needs to be dried in a shape that does not shrink. 

For me, the stretchers have almost a religious or shrine like quality to them because of the shape. I have recently purchased a number of these used (used stretchers went 2 for $5 at the last flea market I bought them) but they can be purchased new if needed.

My first layer in the process was to collage the board with black and white paper. Then I chose to paint the collage board with three colors. Next, I collage on the images selected. More painting later and the piece was done.

Top: 2" wide

Bottom: 4" wide

Thus we have, A Rent in the Region of the Heart. The title comes from a poem by Andre Breton called The Writings Move Away. It is 32" tall. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Dr. Abbott Killindge

My artist friend and teacher Andrea Matus deMeng has been kind enough to issue challenges to keep the home bound artist busy during these odd times. Recently she issued:


"When you can't do what you want - do what you can. This weeks challenge is to take an old piece that you've created that perhaps didn't meet your expectations and either (a) find the beauty in it as is....or (b) rework it until it is the best it can you can do with what you have (without doing the whole thing over!!!) The purpose of this is to find a way to embrace and even admire 'imperfection' ".

There is an endless supply of unfinished pieces in my basement and some are there because they did not meet my expectations. After a quick survey in the land down under, I selected these two pieces of wood trim that I had co-joined for a book making project that never got off the ground. 

The original idea for the book was made difficult when I attached the two pieces together with hinges without leaving any room for the pages I wanted to insert. Going in a different direction, I painted up the outsides.

Rather than make a book, I decide to make a diptych collage.

The bell still rings!

My friend Carole J. Nebel called my up one day and asked if I could find a artistic purpose for some old glass slides. Yes, yes I could. Thanks Carole. 

So thus we have...Dr. Abbott Killindge.