Saturday, October 17, 2020

Every House has a Story, a Collage Tutorial


House on a Hill
16" x 12"
collage on panel


On visits to my hometown in Arkansas I'd often drive east on Highway 10 passed a lovely old unpainted house on the rise just back from the road near Blue Mountain, and I'd wonder about the people who lived there. I made up stories about it, though they were just flights of fantasy. There was something about that house that really appealed to me. Sometimes there were flowers in the front yard but I never saw a person, no signs that a child lived there.  

One day I slowed the car, rolled down the window, and shot a photo.

Who lives there? How do they make a living? They must be old because there's no trike, no red wagon in sight, just the lonely house beside the busy highway. Year after year the same.

Then one day I drove there to take some good photos and maybe knock on their front door...


No more house. bulldozed and discarded.  I'm so glad I still have one photo.  
(This is the first layer of the collage, indicating the empty home place.)

So now, here, I've made up my own story and placed the house on a hill, added a barn and a farmer who's thinking: There's weather coming, just look at that stormy sky! I better get the cows in and get up to the house before it comes a gully washer.

The farmer is heading to the house where his supper waits on a red checked tablecloth... leftover fried chicken and mashed potato cakes, with some juicy ripe tomatoes out of Mama's garden and chunks of sweet onions.  Maybe pecan pie and ice cream and a night of untroubled sleep. 


Smooth a thin layer of gesso over the panel. While the gesso dried I printed some photos onto tissue paper and began selecting sections to build the farmyard idea. I augmented the house photo with a photo of a barn of the same vintage, and a photo of my father, also the same vintage. I printed several copies of the photos so I'd have extra bits of tree foliage to piece together.


Make a carrier sheet by folding down the top 1/2" of a sheet of computer paper. Slip a piece of tissue, cut to size (8.5 x 11"), under the folded edge. Place in your printer, fold first. The fold protects the leading edge of the tissue from bunching up in the printer rollers.  There are other methods; look on YouTube.  Warning: expect a few printer jams before you master the process. Your printer manual will tell you how to retrieve the jammed paper.


I used Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish to adhere vintage book pages to the support and then glazed over the papers with gesso juice (1 part gesso to 1 part water) to soften the text and add a bit of mystery, and let that dry thoroughly.  Then I added more tea-dyed papers on top. 

I'm sorry... I got so excited about the work that I forgot to take more process photos!

And finally, I got to THE IMAGES

I decided on a landscape format because of the general look of the background and the stormy sky at the top. I played around with the placement of the images before settling on the final composition.


You need to put the glue on the substrate, not on the tissue, but in order to prevent the tissue from wrinkling it needs to be moist. I have a spray bottle that sends out a fine mist that works well with fragile tissue. 

Put the glue on the substrate, lightly spray the tissue, count to 10, and lay the tissue in place, putting one edge down and carefully rolling the rest in place.  I keep a rubber bowl scraper at hand and use it to flatten out the tissue.

I know I typed that fast and made it sound easier than it is. Working with tissue in this way takes lots of practice and patience... and a willingness to scrape it all off and start over if need be.

So there you have it, a House on a Hill, with a story to go along with it.

Please leave any questions about my process in the comment section below. If you have a question I'm sure others will want the answer, too.

Best regards,


Thursday, October 01, 2020

Woo Hoo! I'm showing in the Beaverton Art Mix

 Beaverton Art Mix VIRTUAL show begins today and I'm beyond pleased that four of my paintings are in the show and that I can offer you an opportunity to visit my studio to see more of my work. 

Beaverton Art Mix virtual show:

Here's the link to the BAM show.  Search by artists' first name or click on Random Artist.

Vera.  24" x 36".  acrylic on canvas.

Make an appointment.

If you live nearby or will be visiting the Portland OR area do get in touch with me to make an appointment to tour my studios and see other paintings or to make arrangements to buy one of the works in the show.

Open Studios for both Portland and Washington County have been postponed until next year. Knowing that many of you enjoy visiting artists' studios every October I have decided to host my own informal open studio, with social distancing protocols and no more than 6 visitors at a time, throughout the month. I live in a gated 55+ community so appointments are absolutely necessary. 

You are welcome to visit my studio.

Contact options are noted on the BAM website. Simply search for Jo Reimer and you'll find my phone number, email, and website information so you can make an appointment to visit. My acrylic painting studio is inside my garage and my collage studio is accessible via a door from the courtyard. I hope you can come sometime in October. The garage is wheelchair accessible but the collage studio requires two steps up.

Fair warning!  I've decided to leave my studio in working condition rather than to perk it up with special displays, so if you visit you'll see how I really work day by day. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...