Friday, April 29, 2011

Painting Papers for Collage

I did it. You can, too. Here's how...

Paper, white tissue, wrapping tissue (not so strong)
...washi (aka Japanese rice paper)
...sumi paper
...copy paper (don't reuse paper printed with inkjet) pages
...children's homework
...old drawings (why didn't I think of that yesterday?)
...Large sheets of plastic such as painters use
...Cereal box inserts which are made of plastic. Cut off the rough edges.
...White trash bags, cut open at side and bottom to flatten
...Fluid acrylics or craft acrylic thinned with water to consistency of milk
Small plastic containers such as yogurt cups or deli cups, not paper cups
Brushes, cheap chip brushes or other flat brushes
Water bucket or two water bottles,
...spray bottle
* Optional: Several large trays covered with plastic wrap and taped to protect from paint. I use old plastic food trays once used in a school cafeteria.

You'll need a large table, several if you can manage, your kitchen counters, or a large expanse of floor or deck that no one will be needing for several hours.

1. Cover your surfaces with the plastic dropcloth.
2. Put a layer of the large white trash bags on top. (this is so you can move    the wet paper elsewhere to dry once it's been painted)
3. Place papers in a single layer to cover the surface.
4. Mix paint with water. I used about 1 measure of paint to 2 or 3 measures of water. It takes about 2 tablespoons of the mix per large sheet of tissue paper.

Work with one color family at a time, i.e. reds, oranges, yellows.
1. Spray the paper with water.
2. Paint the paper evenly with the paint/water mix.
3. Set aside to dry.
Continue until you run out of time and energy. 
Walk away from the papers and let them dry, depending upon the climate.

* The trays some in handy when I've run out of flat work surfaces and want to continue painting more papers. I protect the tray with plastic, build a sandwich on top of the try with painted papers interspered with layers of plastic. When I have 5 or 6 layers of painted paper/plastic sandwiched on the tray I stack the trays and set them aside. When other paper dries I peel it off the plastic and cover the surface with the individual wet layers from the trays.
I'm a bit obsessive about my painted paper. I iron it! I set up the ironing board, set the iron temperature to cotton, and iron everything flat.
There is absolutely no earthly need to iron your paper. I just like how it looks.
Many of my inks are iridescent and they create a wonderful sense of reflected light in the finished paper, but iridescent and metallic colors don't photograph well, so think of your end use. If you're making greeting cards that will be printed, don't use reflective paint.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Painting Collage Papers... again

Painted tissue
 You should see the mess in my studio! Yesterday the whole room and all the surfaces were tidy enough for company, but now a mere 24 hours later it's a royal mess. 

Painting Papers

You see, I enjoy using papers I've painted for my collages and although I hadn't run out of collage papers what I do have seems a bit tired to me and I wanted some fresh colors to work with... encouraged by once again watching Carrie Burns Brown DVD on preparing papers, Water Media Collage Workshop.  So last night I cleared off the big work table and covered it with 2 layers of plastic and a layer of tissue papers. I got out my box of Golden Fluid Acrylics, some water and some brushes and got to work.

First thing this morning I ran to the studio to see the dried papers. WOW, they're beautiful. So of course I spent most of today painting more pretty papers and now I'm waiting for them to dry. If I lived down south I could work outside and the acrylic would be dry almost immediately But this is Oregon, so I wait. It'll be worth it.  Then I'm paint some more until I'm satisfied that I have enough for awhile.

Wet papers drying on the work table
Acrylic paint has a limited shelf life.

Fluid acrylics, as well as tube colors, have a limited life. The fluids start solidifying after a couple of years, even capped and stored upside down. After awhile the product more closely resembles the consistency of acrylics that come in tubes, and after a few more years they go solid on you. Same with tube colors. They solidify in the tubes.  I had to toss a few and am determined to make use of what's still good.

Moral of this little story:  Buy only what you need. Use what you have.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Entering Easter, plus Worship Painting

Painting by Mike Lewis; music 'The Resurrection' from 'Passion of the Christ'

I don't know the details about when and where this worship painting was done but certainly in front of a crowd.   Easter Sunday at our church my friend Veronica will do a worship painting, starting with the 9am service and continuing through the 11 am service. I'm anxious to see her work.  A couple of months ago Anneli Anderson painted at our church and yesterday I helped hang a show of her work on the walls of our worship center.   Some day soon it'll be my turn. I'll let you know when just in case you want to come watch... and pray as I work.

So what is a worship painting?  It might turn out to be anything... there's no knowing ahead of time, but it's usually done in a church or at a retreat or a conference either during a time of singing and prayer or during the sermon and is the artist's response to what she/he feels God is leading her to do.  She might step up to the canvas with a clear plan of what she'll do, or she might step up totally empty of direction and simply start moving paint around until something happens on the canvas.  The expectation is that God will direct the brush to create something meaningful.

The purpose is not for entertainment but is a way of showing others how an artist might worship God... just as a singer or instrumentalist might do, or as a dancer. We are all different in how we approach God because he made us to be individuals with different minds and thoughts and understanding.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fiesta San Antonio

Jo was in San Antonio
I suppose I should insert some mariachi music here to set the tone for this post... we've just spent a joyful week in San Antonio visiting old friends and going to some Fiesta events. Let me tell you that traveling from Oregon to South Texas is a shock to the system. The day before we left the temperature at home was 37 and it snowed briefly in my back yard; when we arrived in SA the temperature was a sunny 94 degrees. Believe me, I said a prayer of thanks for air conditioning in the car and in the house. 

What's with the shadow photo, you ask? Sometimes we get home without a single picture of me in our stack of vacation pictures so I've started taking in-situ shadow photos to prove that I really was along for the ride.

Tree moss, similar to Spanish Moss

San Antonio Library

Making Photographs
I've loved taking photographs since school days and though I don't call myself a photographer I own a huge box of old cameras and use two, a pocket-sized Canon PowerShot SD700IS for note-taking and a Canon Rebel XTI. I carefully take photographs as a means of remembering and as a form of sketching when I don't have time to stop and draw. Through years behind the viewfinder I've developed an eye for composition that's translating in a strong way to my collages and paintings. I've learned to frame images... to avoid placing the focus smack dab in the middle of the frame, to let the images touch the edges of the frame and feather off, to balance objects even if it means that I lose some of the actual elements of the scene, and I've learned to shoot photos that will transpose into paintings or at least inform future paintings as far as color, composition, pose, and so on.

at the Alamo

We visited two of the five missions, Mission San Jose and the Alamo.  San Jose was unusual to me because the only others I've seen were in California and this was quite different with its walls enclosing several acres of open courtyard. Rooms were built into the walls making them tall and difficult to penetrate.  On the other hand the Alamo had low walls and wasn't so easy to defend.  No one forgets the Alamo and the great loss of life there and in 1891 a group of women organized the parade called Battle of Flowers to honor the heros of the Alamo, now called Fiesta.

Mr. Bull
We attended a Lutheran church service where Fiesta Princesses in colorful gowns with long trains made a processional down the aisle to a mariachi band, with a silent auction and raffle and picnic in the parking lot. I won a Kindle in the raffle and a metal sculpture of a Texas longhorn bull in the silent auction. Anyone want to buy a bargain Kindle? You can't have Mr. Bull.

Riverwalk is a central SA destination... it's a place where the San Antonio river makes a big loop in the downtown, its route directed by manmade concrete walls and locks to control the waterflow. Riverwalk is where you eat in center city... lined with dozens of restaurants on 3 levels, all with open air dining. We enjoyed lunch there one day and dinner the next at the famed Fiesta River Parade of lighted boats filled with local dignitaries. We were guests of people who had reserved riverside seating.

My husband and I both have a thing for trees... he grows them in our tree nursery and I draw and photograph them.. and we love to visit botanical gardens wherever we travel. The one in San Antonio is quite wonderful, almost too much to see in one visit. One section of the garden replicates a bit of the Hill Country with its rolling terrain and plants.

Farmhouse at San Antonio Botanical Gardens

Texas Bluebonnets
Apparantly one doesn't go to south Texas without visiting the Hill Country and we went, too, hoping to see fields of Texas Bluebonnets, a member of the lupine family of flowers. We saw a few, mostly in patches beside the road, but no fields of blue because of the severe drought.
Live oak trees at Lukenbach, Texas post office

But I was taken aback by the beauty of the live oak trees that cover the hillsides and grow in most yards. The trees are quite contorted and the older ones are majestic.

LaFonda hostess

And on our last day we had lunch on the patio at La Fonda, an excellent Mexican restaurant where the surroundings were gorgeous and the hostess was lovely.

Yes, I was there, too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dwelling - House with red roof and a map

House with Red Roof and Map
5x7 collage

Little Jo plays in the front yard of a very strange but wonderful house. Door photo with implied architectural features and giant flowers.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Dreaming of a Brown-eyed Beau

Little Jo - Dreaming of a Brown-Eyed Beau
5x7 collage with photos

The background of this collage is composed of 3 different red painted papers. the photo inserted is me with my future husband at a fraternity valentine party, c. 1958.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Little Jo with an Old Engine

Little Jo with an Old Engine
7x5 collage
This one is about the logging industry in Oregon. The setting is Camp 18, a logging museum on Highway 26 just east of the coast where many fascinating relics used in logging old growth trees from our forests are on display. I spent a couple of hours photographing the exhibit.

The collage depicts the forests. Little Jo doesn't really know what to think about it all, except to wonder at the loss of the old forests.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Little Jo Hiding in the Forest

Little Jo Hiding in the Forest
5x7 Collage

The background forest is 3 strips of photos from magazines, each overlapping part of the Little Jo photo. The most difficult part is cutting out the Little Jo photographs. It would have been easier to do with the stamp tool in Photoshop but I prefer scissors and glue.

Monday, April 04, 2011


1819 House with Green Roof

Another in my Dwelling series of daily collages, this one featuring a roof composed with a piece of green stenciled paper where I used a paper doily as the resist and sprayed with green paint. There are lots of painted papers combined to create this house with it's strange setting. These are such fun to do and go together very quickly, now that I have more ideas of how to assemble the papers.
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