Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Fancy doing some collage?

Do you fancy having a go at collage, but perhaps getting started may seem a bit daunting? perhaps not knowing where to begin, this little demo might help you.
This is a painting, which appears in my book 'Drawing, and Painting with Water Soluble Media’.

Getting started – before beginning, make sure you have the following items, there is little more frustrating than beginning a project only to find you need something to be able to continue.
Do use a photo of your own with a similar theme if you wish, you needn't use mine.

What you need
A sheet of 200lb watercolour not surface paper or board 15 x 22 inches. (If this seems huge then use half that size and just scale down your painting)
2B pencil
Newsprint or an old book
Magazine or colour supplement.
Paper glue or acrylic medium
Brush to apply the glue
Watercolour and Gouache OR acrylics OR a combination plus Art Bars if you have some (this is a good way to use up materials you may have but perhaps haven’t used)
Round brush

Polperro is a beautiful place, even better in sunshine, but I was there on an overcast day and the only photos I managed to get were dull. This does not mean I can't use them of course, indeed these techniques really lend themselves to subjects such as this as the emphasis is on shapes, textures and colour rather than sunlight and shadows.
I was particularly attracted to the contrasts of the white buildings against the dark stone, roofs and windows. 

The only real colour is the bright blue awning and the red buoys...... but we can change that.

Using a pencil draw a simple line drawing. (Most of this will all be covered up, so make it as bold as you like) 

I wanted to avoid the two boats at the edge of the photo so I decided to concentrate on the two complete boats in the centre, of course you can choose to include these if you wish.

Tear sections of black and white newsprint and place these onto the sections of the roof and building where we want texture and subtle colouring.
Look for small sections of colour and pattern, stripes, spots, checks, darks, anything that you think looks interesting and place these pieces into the areas you want to add some interest to.

I like to search for pieces of text which are relevant to my subject, but don’t let the lack of appropriate words worry you, you can always print specific words in various formats and colours and use these if you cant find anything suitable. They always seems to look better however, if torn rather than cut out.

TIP - A great tip is to lay pieces of collage onto your painting, and take regular photos as you move the pieces about. Sometimes a combination can look wonderful, then by moving or adding more pieces that impact can be lost, but if you take photos you can then scroll through them to remind you of the stages and choose a combination you are happy with prior to gluing them into position.
You can of course overlap pieces of collage and even add more mid way through your painting.

Once you have selected your collage pieces, glue them into position and leave your picture to dry.

Alternatively, you can paint any initial watercolour washes onto your painting before you apply the collage, that way you have a base to work on. If you use watercolour, you will find that acrylic medium can resist watercolour paint so watercolour washes need to be placed on the paper first whereas acrylic washes need not.
There are no rules about using collage or building up a painting, but I like to place the darker tones using earth colours as well as blues.
I want to eventually conceal many of the collage edges so building up layers of paint will achieve this as well as create a more interesting painting.
Refer to the photo with regards dark areas and textured surfaces, try and look at the photo as sections of patterns rather than a wall or a roof.
Once this layer is dry, add more colour allowing some sections to overlap.

The white sections are looking very white now, so it is important to unify the painting and create the surface textures of the white buildings.

To do this use either gouache or acrylics, begin by loosely dragging your brush over the surface of the paper/board to create a rough texture. Whilst this is drying add blocks of colour to the stonework and roofs to add more textures.
Once dry, use a very dilute opaque light ochre/grey or similar and very gently wash over the entire building and sections of the water.
Once dry, begin to add the masts, windows and background building details.
This is such a fun section as you should be able to see your painting really develop during this stage.
Remember you can always change things using opaque paint, light will go over dark as well as dark over light.
You can work dilute thin washes over the top or indeed opaque washes, this is an ideal technique to experiment with, so be bold and go for it!

More details can be added, masts, reflections, and more opaque paint where you feel it’s needed. The water can now be enhanced using a bright turquoise, this livens up the water, and adds depth.
Of course, you can be even more dramatic if you wish and use bright colours all over your painting, perhaps have a go at painting this again in completely different colours.
Building up the textures is often done in the final stages. It can be so tempting to add surface textures too early, but once the darks, light and all collage is complete then use a palette knife with some opaque paint on it and drag this over the paper/board surface adding dramatic textures.

Alternatively use ArtBars pressed onto a damp sponge the length of which is dragged over the paper surface. If you have a smooth surface, stipple texture onto it.

You can make your painting as detailed as you wish.

My finished painting.
‘Calm morning in Polperro Harbour’ 12 ½ x 17 ¾ inches.

Sometimes its good to have a go at something a bit different, so I do hope this demo will have you thinking about tackling something you perhaps haven't tried before.

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