Monday, March 10, 2014

Jo Reimer: Torn Paper Collage... trying a new method

 Fermenting Friends is 9 x 12" on panel.

I challenged myself to try a new-to-me collage method, this one perfected by my friend Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson. Like me, Elizabeth paints her own collage papers with acrylics. See a short article about her in the current issue of The Artist's Magazine, April 2014. This article also features two other collage artists, Cathy M Woo and Laura Lein-Svencner

My paper stash contained all I need. What's different is that this method starts with a drawing on a strong substrate which is then painted before the collage process begins. Then various papers were torn into bits and pieces and glued in place, paying more attention to value than to color.

Elizabeth offers a DVD and a downloadable PDF of her process. See her website and gallery here.

I started with a photograph of a wine bottle from my friends private label, making the drawing part rather easy, even though I added a second bottle and glass to the original composition. This was a hostess gift for friends we visited recently in Arizona, a trip that enabled us to completely miss a major snow event in Portland.

Then yesterday I made a second torn paper collage, working from a quick stylized drawing. It's becoming a bit easier to work this way, but I suspect that this won't become much more comfortable to me and I'll revert to my old way of working.

Red Flower is 12 x 12 on cradled canvas.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for giving me the go ahead to try your methods.


  1. What fun pieces... yours definitely have their own flavor... not just a rehash of Elizabeth's :) Lucky friends to get such a nice hostess gift!

    1. My theory is that one's personal style comes through no matter what the way of working... depending, of course, on having worked and worked and worked, adding that which speaks to the artist and discarding that which doesn't seem intuitive. I was concerned about working in a fashion similar to Elizabeth but I shouldn't have been. The results do look like my own way.

  2. THanks for including me in this post and WAY to go, your stuff looks wonderful. I really like the simplicity and boldness of the flower. We have been online friends sharing ideas and techniques for so long, it's about time you gave my style a try. After all, it was YOU who converted me to fluid acrylics, remember???

    1. That means a lot to me, Elizabeth. Years ago when I was still heavily into machine embroidery I didn't pursue experimenting with the teacher's methods because I didn't want to copy her. What a mistake. I should have continued to experiment with her methods until I had made them my own, and if I had done so I might have done some really good work.
      And now that you mention it I do remember our discussion about fluid acrylics. As Laura said, it's about artists helping artists.

  3. Thank you Jo for sharing the article and the gals. Women supporting Women good exchange. Beautiful work by the way...

    1. I hope people will buy the magazine and learn more about three of my favorite collage artists. Your work is wonderful.


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