OK, time to unveil one of the things I've been working on. At Fibrecircle in March, Helen brought brown paper envelopes and challenged us to make a collage. The envelopes contained articles from Australian Geographic magazine. I didn't want to make a paper collage (been there, done that) so I chose to collage my photos onto fabric. I chose a painted fabric from my stash that looked like this: It was originally painted as one of two backgrounds for a book page swap in a now-defunct group called Art Divas. I collaged scraps of paper from the magazine photos, plus some from an accompanying map (I love maps!). It all looked a bit tacked together, and the blues were still very strong, so I added colour with fabric crayons and metallic pastels. I connected the roads on the maps with black marker pen lines, like a mud map. I like mud maps (the sort of map you draw in the dirt with a stick to show somewhere the way) and they've appeared in other pieces I've made. I added some images for planes from a single photo. I'd cut the maps with scissors, which was a mistake. I much prefer ragged edges.They still looked too blobby and not connected with the background. So I lifted them off and tore them apart and glued them back roughly in the same place. That looks much more interesting! I added in some strips of orange organza to provide some shadows.
I was starting to feel good about what was happening. But would I bother to finish it, when I have so many other things to think about right now? To make myself finish it, I challenged the other members of Like Minded Artist to join me in this exercise, choosing pages from their own glossy magazines and making a quick collage, due the end of March. Now I had a reason to finish mine!
I felt it was all look a bit much the same - not enough tonal contrast. So I splashed on some of my Setacolor paints:
Amazing how changing tone can change the mood! I also found an image that included a plane's shadow. I added it because I liked the ambiguity. It doesn't look like the shadow of one of the planes in the collage. Is it another plane? Is there another plane somewhere we can't see? The other planes are so bright that the dark tone makes it more ominous, suggesting it may be an enemy.
All along, I'd planned to overlay the collage with organza, which I'd then strip back in some places. This was partly for practical reasons. I had attached the paper elements with a simple glue, because I knew I wanted to stitch through it and I didn't want anything that would clog the needle. But that glue is not known for its permanence, even on paper. An overlay would help to hold everything in place, even if it wasn't actually stitched down. I had some organza I'd painted a while back, just to see how organza took Setacolor paint. It gave the surface a very muted pattern, like a moire. I traced the mud map and map roads onto the organza, overlaid it and stitched it down with a meandering pattern.
Oh wow, shiny! I'd forgotten that organza really hogs the limelight! I started snipping the layers back, sometime adding a few of the snippets underneath areas I didn't cut back. It looked better but still distractingly shiny. I thought about melting the organza but I'd have to work very carefully, so I didn't char the surface underneath, so I rejected that option. Finally, I decided to try a layer of light matte gel medium. I figures this would tend to make the organza opaque, and glue everything down. Here's how it looks now: It's still a bit shiny, where the organza didn't lie down flat, but it's interesting rather than distracting. The gel medium made the marker pen run in a few places, something that actually adds something here but is good to know about for the future! And yes, I do think it's done now.