Thursday, January 24, 2013

Anatomy of a Collage

Here are the first four pieces of a collage glued together but not glued down. Later I will use the green cardstock as part of the background. At this point I have a certain inkling of where I am going, using images from fruit crate labels and old advertising. A theme of peek-a-boo faces is evolving. I have also chosen to cut the pieces in a way that highlights two text fragments. For this collage, I am gluing the foreground together off the final substrata. I will work on the background later.

So this is what the back of the collage foreground looks like. In some places I use little pieces of tissue paper to help the joinery. You can see the purple glue under a piece of tissue paper on the lower left.

Here I have added two more faces and a fragment of a red veiled hat.

And then a much larger face on the lower left.

Time to work on the background. Note the bottom of a face on the lower right. I love the way it will line up with another face on the foreground (see below).

The more-or-less finished collage with a few more embellishments. Gluing the big foreground down to the background is always tricky. I use a brayer to get it glued down flat. It is all attached to the thin green cardstock. I leave it pressed between waxed paper in a thick book for a day or two, just to be sure it has dried flat. Later I may move it on to wood or canvas. For now, I am calling the piece "Have Me".

I just had a long break from my collage practice during the holidays and my husband's heart surgery. He is doing much better now! Whenever possible, I like to get my hands on collage work daily. Sometimes I can complete more than one a day, but often, work on a single collage is spread out over a few days. I usually have two or three going at once, and a small stable of slightly unfinished or problematic collages sitting around that I need to get back to. Starting a collage is the easiest part. Usually I have a few fragments I know I want to get started with. Then as the piece develops, it often takes a little longer to find just the right components to tie it all together into a (hopefully) unified whole. I have collage files sorted by shape, color, subject, etc. I also have boxes of unsorted scraps I am always pawing through, looking for I don't know what, until suddenly I find it. And that's the joy of collage. For me, it is full of surprises, similar in some ways to the art of poetry.

Collage: "Have Me" by Keddy Ann Outlaw


Anonymous said...


I love this post, Keddy! You may have shown how your collages come together in the past, but this is my first time seeing it.

I shall bookmark it for future reference.


LoneStarLibrarian said...

Thanks, Devin! Good to have you as a reader. This was an easy post to write, once I had the photos. Other times whenever I try and take photos of the process, then I don't like the collage enough to really do this. But I'm liking this one!

Bonnie L. Casey said...

Keddy, these make me so nostalgic. I grew up in Central California where fruit-crate art was ubiquitous. I was drawn to the deep colors and romantic images. Whenever I see a refrigerator magnet with an image from an old fruit crate, I can't resist bringing it home. I look forward to more from this new series of yours.

LoneStarLibrarian said...

Hi, Bonnie - I am the same way about those refrigerator magnets and all things fruit crate art. Lucky for me that Dover publishing makes a lot of that old art available for collage artists. Thanks for taking the time to comment!