I recently had the great privilege and honor of attending a two-day mixed media collage workshop with a wonderful artist and friend Mary Wilbanks. I love her method of collage. It is one that she developed herself. Her technique is very different from anything I have seen.
In a nutshell, she paints different colors and shapes with acrylic with no specific design in mind on heavy weight watercolor paper or canvas. After it dries. Then she puts a layer of torn painted papers papers from newspaper, paper bags, basically any kind of papers, still with no design in mind. She uses matte medium to get the papers to adhere. After that dries, she then tears off whatever will come up. She then sands the whole thing with sand paper to make texture. She comes in and paints the whole thing again. Lets it dry. At this point she starts thinking about design as she puts on yet another layer of torn papers and other interesting materials, like cheese cloth, for instance. She may continue this way or stop if she likes what she sees. Her work is incredible.
Below you will see pictures of some of the papers I painted in preparation for this workshop. I also gathered other materials, postage stamps, old letters, photos, bits of string, foil, corrugated cardboard, sandpaper, and so forth. You get the idea, anything!
It was a really fun day because I did this with my children. I set up two 5-foot tables and one 6-foot table and laid down drop cloths, and we spent the whole day painting together. Every technique I did, they did as well. In preparation for our painting day before painted, we watched a dvd together to learn the different techniques that we tried. It is called Water Media Collage Workshop by Carrie Burns Brown, NWS, put out by Creative Catalyst Productions. I highly recommend it. She is an excellent artist and teacher.
In my next post, I will be showing you the collages that I made in the workshop. Then in another post I will show you some tutorials I put together on how to do some of the papers that we did, one being sandwiching the string in between either rice paper or art tissue paper. Then in yet another post I will share with you photos of art work that other students at the workshop created. Their work is incredible. They have been artists for quite sometime. Some are with the Conroe Art League and some with the Art League of Houston.
In the photos you will that I sandwiched cotton cording between rice paper, leaves between rice paper. I painted on newspaper and brown paper bags, cheese cloth, sandpaper, light bulb cartons, shredded paper, tissue paper. I mixed coffee grounds in with paint and spread on paper for texture. I made texture by dribbling gesso and then painted over that. Just so many different things. I enjoyed every minute of it.
One thing to keep in mind when you are looking at these painted papers is that only bits and pieces are used. You just tear off a piece to use in a collage. That's why I have many different colors on a paper so that I have a variety of colors available to me when I am creating a collage.
Here is Mary's bio:
Mary has received over 40 awards in National Shows. She is a signature Member of the National Watercolor Society and the Watercolor USA Honor Society. Her work is acrylic with Mixed Media on canvas and on paper. It can be seen at Envision Gallery in Taos, N.M. Paintings can be seen in several publications: The Best of Watercolor Two and Three; best of Watercolor Painting Texture; and Collage Techniques by Gerald Brommer.; and The Treasures of Arizona; "The Gift" appears on the cover of Random House publication Art and Healing.
Mary taught painting for 4 years at the Phoenix Art Museum, and for 3 years at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and at the Juvenile Justice System in Houston and has juried local and national exhibits. For the past 12 years she has taught workshops In Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico. Canada, and the U.S. Currently she teaches 2 workshops a year at her studio, and at the Watercolor Art Society Houston.
Who's Who of American Women 2009
Selected Solo Exhibits
Envision Gallery El Prado (Taos) N.M. 2005
Goldesberry Gallery, Houston 2004, 2003, 2002
The Jung Center, Houston 2001
The Preusser Gallery, Taos, N.M. 2000, 1999
Cynthia Woody Gallery , Scottsdale, Az, 1998
Art League of Houston. 1994
Selected Museum Exhibits
Albuquerque N.M. Museum Society of Layerists in Multi-Media 25th Anniversary Show, Exploring Multiple Dimensions 2007
Springfield Art Museum , Mo. Watercolor USA Honor Society 2006,1997, 1995, 1994,1991
TWS Mc Nay Art Museum, San Antonio 1997
Northern Arizona Art Museum Invitational Contemporary Art 1993
Signature Memberships: National Watercolor Society; Watercolor USA Honor Society: National Society of Artists in Casein and Acrylic; Watercolor Art Society Houston: Society of Layerists in Multimedia; Art League of Houston, Texas Watercolor Society."
Look at these designs! Have you ever thought to build with dice? Kids are so creative. Their minds are so freed up to think and not bogged down with the cares of life. Oh to be a child again.