For this project I have chosen to make a co-ordinating set of four 6×6 inch collages using the Vintage Artistry Naturalist Collection. These little collages can be used as card fronts or framed to make beautiful handmade gifts, either in a set of four or as individual little collages. They can be time intensive with many layers and drying time, but a heat gun can help push this along. I love doing collage work and watching the beautiful end result come out of the “ugly duckling” phase that all of these pieces seem to go through. I have a process video showing every step in detail, which you may find useful if you have not done collage work before and want to give it a go. The best thing about collage and mixed media is if you don’t like something, just put some gesso over it and keep going!
I started with a neutral background paper. I did stray away from the Naturalist collection here in order to find the right paper and chose the Golden Dream paper from the Vintage Artistry Everyday collection. This paper has a subtle ledger and floral print on it which was perfect behind the collage. Cover the sheet with clear gesso, dry and cut into four 6×6 inch pieces and attach to a flat board with painters tape or masking tape. The tape will provide you with a nice clean edge and ensure the paper is held flat no matter what mixed media you put on it.
The first layer of the collage is some journaling. This is a chance to write something personal as you will be covering it up as part of the collage process. I usually take the time to vent any frustrations that I am having. Use an ordinary lead pencil and when you are finished, rub parts of it out and then scribble across it as the scribble lines can form interesting texture behind the collage. Then add some gesso in patches across the journaling.
Sort through the Naturalist Ephemera Bits and divide into four piles bits that may be useful for each collage. You should aim for the collages to be consistent in feel but not identical. Then tear up a sheet of the Naturalist Journal Card and share the pieces among the four piles. These four piles are what you have available for each collage. You do not have to use all of each pile (in fact I didn’t use anywhere near all) but it will give you plenty of co-ordinating items to choose from. I also like to punch some circles from some of the paper and use the background paper and the punched shapes within the collage.
Start with the first collage. Add a leaf from the Naturalist Rub-on Transfers first and then attach a selection of torn papers and Ephemera using soft gel medium in a visually pleasing way. I also added in small bits of Everyday Washi Tape. Work your way around the collages. Dry the collages.
Use water soluble crayons (I use blue and ochre colours) diluted with water to add some colour to the collages and a charcoal pencil to add some dimension around the paper pieces. Use stamps and permanent black ink to stamp some sentiments on the collages. I used the Vintage Artistry Dream Stamp Set. Dry the collages. Paint with white gesso and then wipe away most of the gesso with baby wipes. This sounds daunting but you are just aiming for a soft effect and not much of the gesso will remain once you wipe it away. It is important that the crayon is dry before you do this or you will wipe away the crayon too.
The next step is the focal point. For this I used the butterflies from the Naturalist Rub-On Transfers. For two of the collages I cut out circles (one hollow and one solid) from a Naturalist Bookplate, inked them and added gold edges with a paint pen. I put the Rub-On butterflies in these circles. For the other two I added gold to the small circles I had punched out and added as part of the collage process. The gold on the circles gives consistency across the collages.
Select four phrases from the ephemera packs and add some gesso to soften them. Glue to the collages. Added splatters of white and gold paint. Once your splatters are dry, remove the tape and your collages are done.
I hope you enjoy the process:
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I hope you have an opportunity to get some creative time in soon.