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Collage as Catalyst: Variation/Improvisation

Lesson 5 from: Experiment with Abstract Collage Art

Amy Wynne

Collage as Catalyst: Variation/Improvisation

Lesson 5 from: Experiment with Abstract Collage Art

Amy Wynne

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Lesson Info

5. Collage as Catalyst: Variation/Improvisation

Amy explains the importance of building confidence when rearranging color shapes, generating a series, and the value in organization and reorganization.

Lesson Info

Collage as Catalyst: Variation/Improvisation

So this pile of scraps right here, I think this is absolutely gorgeous and this is what you might over time start to accumulate when you start really getting into making collage. So you know, they're in this pile, there's like rounded cut shapes, there's torn she shapes, there's little echoes of you know, organic shapes, there's all these different shapes. I've got actually piles like this, I have a yellow pile, I have a red pile of a blue pile of green pile of, I've actually organized all my scraps into piles, I kind of consider it my collage palette and I keep these in this way so I can easily access pieces that I might be able to use and it's just an incredible um testament to the beautiful evidence like this is evidence of my practice, this is the evidence, what's left over and more and more. I become interested in like what's left over in terms of collage and how we can use those leftovers, those remnants to further improvise and further create variations and be even a stronger ca...

talyst for abstraction. So I highly recommend that you keep things even if it's like the tiniest little snippet of red paper, you never know where you might just be able to glue that down and make a collage go from good to great. So I want to show you an example of just my process on one thing that I worked on. So I had a model in the studio and I made some drawings and I ended up actually, you know actually collage, ng the drawings together based on a series of um Xeroxes I made. So first thing I did was I, you know, had had the model in the studio and then I made sort of a collage of the drawings where I moved the birds up, I moved the skull to the other side, I sort of made a fractal version of the model and then I took those shapes and I started to transfer them onto a series of colors. And as I did that, I actually took photographs and I found that documenting, even though this wasn't the end game documenting the process, like, oh, I really like how these basic blue shapes look against that sort of light yellow or what happens when I take the silhouette that I removed of the figure and add it in again on a stagger. Right? So if I just toss that in the trash because it wasn't like part of what I wanted to use, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to play in this way. So I played around a bit with shapes, I played around a little bit with working with assembling. So this is a collage, just an image of the collage, I made assembling them and sort of staggering the chair staggering the shadow and I found this very appealing and ultimately this in and of itself collage in it of itself is absolutely, you know, this could be my finished product, but it actually inspired me to create an oil painting based on that collage. So I had this collage in mind when I ultimately created this image. So collage can be a catalyst for variation, but it also can be a catalyst for other media, right, other materials. So paper to oil paint. So that may be something where collage could inspire you. The variations of collage could inspire you in other media. And I totally invite you to experiment with that. If you aren't typically a collage artist, maybe you're an oil painter, how could collage influence other things that you do? Alright, so let's dial it back a little bit. I want to talk about possibilities of these variations. So we just made a bunch of collages, we made collages that were uh monochrome right? We made collages that were rather subtle color. And we also made collages that were very brightly colored. And I put out here not the pieces that we used to make the actual collage, but actually the leftovers. So the leftover pieces that were the remnants of our process. So I want to show you how you might play with this a little bit. So if you just said, you know, I want to sort of see how these monochromatic pieces dance together, you could start to lay them down in different ways. I mean already you can see that this is really nothing like what we started with, You can lay them down in different ways, maybe play a little bit with things poking through a little windows that you might have created so that you know, and and or you can say, oh, you know, maybe I like it this way a little bit more. Or maybe I want to put, you know, this black piece behind the gray piece and behind that piece. So you can see that with the remnants. You can actually create very beautiful shapes. So I keep the remnants. Let's take a look at what happens when we play with the very, very colorful remnants. Again, just a different kind of feeling. Yeah, but that's so you can play with like complementary colors laying on top of each other or coming underneath. Right? So it's this dance and suddenly I pulled this. Oh, I like, so you know, I like this little yellow bit as I pulled this to the left, just sort of emerge. And I really, really love that. I really love that. And this blue on top of the red starts to vibrate. You know, because these colors have a simultaneous contrast to each other. When they put up against each other, they create a vibration because they're complementary. So this has a very different feeling than the black and white. And then ultimately we can also play with our, you know, pieces. We come back to where we started and play with different variations of our original collage, why not? And what the next step is. You know, maybe you hit something you like in terms of the arrangement of the remnants. You know, maybe you glue it down and you say that's it. But sometimes I don't glue them down. Sometimes I just keep making variations and so what I do in keeping on making the variations, I'll come to a certain point and I'll say, oh, you know, I really love this section and I'll take photographs, cameo photographs of those sections. I'll take photographs, I'll zoom in, I'll take a shot of one orientation, take a shot of another, a shot of another and I'll just keep the collage as like an image generator, like an engine. Once you glue things down, of course that is what must collages end up as but once you glue things down then you no longer have the engine running right? Like you no longer have the variations possible. So sometimes if I'm really enjoying a series of shapes, I'll just keep moving them around and take photographs. And then from those photographs, I can make drawings, I can make paintings, I can use them for different things and I can even start to mix in, you know, like other colors. Like, you know, I have a lot of colors. Now I actually have a ton of remnants from my process with this one. You know, remember we started with one image, we just started with that innocent picture of the boats on the beach and now we have an incredible number of things to play with based on what was left behind? So currently in the studio I have one image that I've been working on, a larger, more complex collage. I wanted to show you. Um I really love going to natural history museums and sketching and this is a photograph I took up in Montreal at the, at the Natural History Museum up there. And I'm really interested in this sort of combination of um organic like animal shapes and architecture. So I just took this one image and I thought, what would happen if I used these image shapes and transferred them and created a collage. So what I wanted to show you is where I'm at with it right now. Um, and it's not glued down. So I'm gonna be careful here. But I just born from this one image. I transferred the shape of uh the animal and the architecture to create this collage, which has just 123, just about four or five colors to it. But what I've done is I've repeated images. I've used the positive and the negative. I've flipped things and I haven't glued it down because one, I like the possibility of maybe taking photographs from it and working on a series based on different arrangements. But also I'm just curious about, you know what if I move this down here and had these gray shapes overlap the white or what if I took this big shape and moved it a little bit lower right? What if this shape came down and and sort of overlapped or came underneath that shape? So you can also and I'm not gonna do this right now because I'm kind of enjoying where this is at, but you can also just take shapes and do a throw down right. Like I could take these shapes or I could take some of these remnant shapes and rather than arranging, just throw them down and a bunch of times and just see where they land, because then actually it becomes a situation where it's not up to you and it's super playful and you just get what you get and you don't get upset and document it and keep moving. So this playful possibility for variations, variations on a theme, variations on color schemes, variations based on the beautiful evidence. The remnants of what was left behind, I think is a fascinating and really beautiful opportunity to create new images and explore collage as a catalyst for abstraction.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Collage Materials
Collage Papers
Collage Value Map - Inverse
Cubomania

Ratings and Reviews

Susan Gold
 

Fantastic class! I am a beginner when it comes to abstract collage, and Amy demonstrates a generous number of techniques—all accessible and with clear instructions. She shows how each step can yield exciting variations, and she inspires play. Many of the techniques utilize a photo as a “muse” or “mother image," and it’s fun to discover new possibilities for my photos.

a Creativelive Student
 

Antsy G
 

Student Work

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