Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seeking Levels

by Jo Reimer

At the Edge of the Earth
11" x 30"
Collage on paper
Getting horizontal and vertical lines straight is a challenge, when you're aiming for straight and true.

Once this piece was completed I discovered that the stitched line, while straight, wasn't plumb with the top and bottom. Big oops. The only solution at this point was to trim the sides slightly to bring everything into alignment. I've done this before and I'll probably make the same mistake again but now that I'm aware of why I keep doing it I'll take steps to avoid the issue.

"How?", you ask.
  1. I'll use my T-square more often and make little pencil marks here and there  as I work to assure things line up instead of eyeballing it.
  2. Since I work flat I'll frequently pin the collage to the design wall or put it on the easel to check that things are straight.
  3. I'll avoid working with absolute parallels... loosen up.
  4. I'll use more slightly off-kilter edges... on purpose.
So, now that that's settled, here are some detail shots and an explanation, for those who are interested in the process:

At the Edge of the Earth, detail
This collage was done on half a sheet of watercolor paper, Fabriano Artistico 140#. I used a section of one of my small paintings  as the focal area and adhered it with soft gel medium and weighted it until dry. Then I started adding paint.

I wanted texture at the bottom and chose to use some paint spattered paper towels. I didn't like the results but was committed so I troweled a couple of layers of gel medium over that section, letting each layer dry between coats. Then I worked into the space with several different earthy sandy colors plus white until I had the visual texture I needed. That process is easier using a scraper and a sponge rather than a brush.

Next came the sky area. I flooded the space with cobalt blue acrylic, thinned with Golden glazing liquid, and squished plastic wrap on top and left that to dry for several hours. This technique always results in something wonderful but unpredictable.

I needed contrast and a repetition of black line, hence the stitching. The piece was so thick by this time that I had to use an awl to punch holes for my needle.

And still the piece needed more. Aha... text. I composed a paragraph about standing at the edge of the ocean and practiced writing it on tissue with various pens and auditioning the look of it on the painting without committing pen to painting. but I didn't like the look. So, I headed to the computer and generated the text and printed it out on a thin, cream-colored washi paper and glued that down. While it was wet I flooded more matte medium over the washi to help it sink into the work. The paper isn't perfectly hidden but is fairly un-noticeable unless you're looking closely.


  1. Nice piece Jo,

    1. Thanks for taking time to comment, Laura.

  2. Anonymous7:27 AM PDT

    Beautiful, love the words you've included too.


I appreciate comments and questions.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...