Looking Back

Exercise 2.4, Reflection

Did the process of working in collage bring new challenges in terms of observation?

Absolutely! Collage is so very different from sketching an item. The choice of paper is so important. Solid or print? Which combinations? White, solid color pr print background? Layering small pieces, or larger pieces cut into definite shapes?


Whether block silhouette or line, I felt trying to accurately depict an object would be near impossible, and not the correct approach for me.

Did it affect the way you observed?

It moved me away from attempting to recreate the objects realistically, and opened many other possibilities. What could the object represent? How could the scene unfold? Would the object’s true purpose be important to the scene:

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

or would it simply be part of an overall design:

Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Were there unexpected qualities or effects?

Yes, the way an object could disappear into the scene, almost to the point of not being noticeable as itself:


Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Or the way the shape, which I thought meaningful, really didn’t bring much to the table.

For example, the landscape in a bottle could have been in any shape:


And the bottle shape that seemed to represent the ‘good life’, would have worked just as well, perhaps better, in a traditional snow-globe shape:




Moving on to the final collage!

Christmas in the City


Christmas in the City

The last collage for Exercise 2.4, this idea came to me after a weekend of Christmas preparation. My husband and I had started with buying our tree, and carrying it home through the city with our son. The next morning, we went to the Farmer’s Market for wreaths, all very idyllic. On our way to lunch, we inadvertently drove through one of the worst sections of Baltimore, and the contrast between our Christmas and what I expected it might look like to the people in that neighborhood seemed striking.

The assignment asked for it to be an A2 size, but the design I had in mind didn’t lend itself to being folded for assessment, and I didn’t think the design gained anything from the larger size. I made the background from tea-stained pictures, contrasting that with the bright, primary colors of the wine bottle-as-snowglobe tree. It doesn’t have the impact I had hoped for. I wonder if it’s the lack of people. Perhaps a smaller ‘snowglobe,’ with a Victorian scene of Christmas morning, and people in the background scenes?

Bottled Up

Exercise 2.4

My tutor gave me the green light to move away from the tea theme, though I was told by someone else at OCA that it should still apply. So I decided to keep a theme, just not tea, as a compromise. Perhaps having a specific parameter to work within is important?

Anyway, I moved to using a wine bottle as my starting point. It’s certainly a shape I’m very familiar with! I’ve already posted some of my sketchbook work for this assignment.

I toyed with idea of the shape representing something else, which was fun:


Ultimately, I think what the bottle can contain is more interesting. I like the way the landscape feels when enclosed. The black framing the view makes it recede, and cements the feeling of distance as you move toward the top of the scene.


 One more piece to finish!

Watercolor TV

I don’t remember who on the OCA FB page introduced me to this, but Matthew Palmer’s Watercolor TV series is great fun. He has a nice teaching style, very relaxed.


B.C., Lesson 1

Whenever there’s a point where we have to wait for something to dry, he suggests it’s a nice time to get a brew, my kind of guy! I see the potential for an art class drinking game. One shot each time he calls a color juicy, chug a beer when it’s brew time…


B.C., Lesson 2

Seriously, the videos are well done, and as a complete beginner, I’m learning some much-needed basic techniques.


A.B.C., Lesson 1

Mary Delany

Mary Granville Pendarves Delany

(May 14, 1700-April 15, 1788)

Portrait of Mary Delany by John Opie, 1782.
Mary Delany, born in England, practiced the traditional crafts of her time, such as needlework and silhouettes. It wasn’t until the age of 72, four years after the death of her second husband, that she tried a new technique that was the beginning of collage as we know it today. Delany called it a ‘flower mosaick’, and went on to produce close to a thousand of them, which can be seen at The British Museum.
Pancratium Maritinum (Hexandria Monogynia), formerly in an album (Vol.VII, 45); Sea Daffodil. 1778 Collage of coloured papers, with bodycolour and watercolour, on black ink background

Gloriosa Superba (Hexandria Monogynia), formerly in an album (Vol.IV, 96) Collage of coloured papers, with bodycolour and watercolour, on black ink background

Delany made almost all her collages against a background of black, creating a striking effect quite different from most botanical drawings. She used layers of watercolor to create the background papers, as well as most of the paper used for the flowers. Delany meticulously layered small pieces to create shapes, shading and colors that are very realistic and still admired by botanists today.

Phlomis Leonorus (Didynam: Gymnos:), formerly in an album (Vol.VII, 62); Lion’s Tail. 1777 Collage of coloured papers, with bodycolour and watercolour, on black ink background

Not only is Delany’s work breathtakingly beautiful, I was also (as a 53 year-old art student) drawn to the fact that she started so late in life. Her attention to detail, the subtle shading and painstaking nature of her work all impress me greatly. Mary Delany created a body of work, as well as an art form that lives on today.

Peacock, Molly. (2011) The Paper Garden: An Artist [Begins Her Life’s Work] At 72. New York: Bloomsbury
Collection Online. [Internet]. The British Museum. Available from: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=mary+delany [Accsessed 18 November, 2014).
Explore/Articles. [Internet]. The British Museum. Available from: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/articles/m/mary_delany_1700-88.aspx [Accessed 18 November, 2014]

Off The Hook

Off the Hook

The A4, and last, collage for Ex 2.3, Line.

I like the idea of using small, individual shapes to form the line. If I had formed the shape by having all the fish going in one continuous direction, I think it would have added more motion to the piece. However, I do rather like the notion of them attacking the boat!

Smoke on the Water

This piece for Exercise 2.3 has taken forever. My last post shows the beginnings of (and failed first attempt at) this idea. The parameters were A3 size, solid colored background, only one object (still related to the tea time theme) and still focusing on line.

Again, I used watercolor to make my own background. Then I cut various fabric shapes and layered them horizontally to create the water:


Then, on another paper, I cut vertical strips from assorted papers and overlapped:


which I then cut out to create mountains:


A bit of sketching for finishing ideas:


Adding some silver paper to represent steam* finished the piece:

Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Smoke on the Water (Part Two, Exercise 2.3)


I’m not sure that I stuck to the parameters as well as I should have, but overall, I’m very pleased with it!

I learned a lot about collage, mixing materials and the different effects that can produce. I learned I like working with fabric more than paper, but I also like the way they contrast each other, and how the different prints on both meld together when you step back. Also, that glue and I have a mutual dislike of each other.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the title, blame my brother Rob  for telling me the finished pieces need one.
*Thanks Rob and Charlie for the steam idea!

Well, that didn’t work…

This idea:

IMG_2073became this:

IMG_2074a bit sloppy, but I don’t see enough potential to pursue.

Then this:

IMG_2073became this:

IMG_2081One exercise calls for a solid colored background, and I decided to create that with watercolor. Then went on to watercolor and cut papers for the mountains and cup. Again, I don’t care for the end result at all, but still think the idea has potential.