Sunday, April 11, 2010

ageing a collage

Here are two examples of some of my recent artwork.  As you can see, they are both collages.  Both remain untitled to date - and both are examples of where I get 'rough' with my art.

After adhering the pieces of torn or cut paper in their final arrangement with acrylic medium, I let them dry for a day or two.  Then I get 'rough' by dousing them with water from a sponge and when the pieces are almost dry I attack them with various grades of sandpaper. 

I am not gentle in this process - it takes some elbow grease to affect the collaged pieces of paper.  I have, in fact, occasionallly worn the skin off of unprotected fingers that were rubbing on the artwork.  If little ends of paper lift, I sometimes rip them off hoping the effect will be what I want - and it generally is.  I like the effect of a ripped piece of paper. 

Seems counter-intuitive to start mangling a piece of work you have worked hard and long to design and execute, but that is what is required to achieve an aged appearance. 

I apologize for the poor quality of photographs.  My excuses (this time!) are that I was in a hurry, feeling ill with chills and fever, (yes, I was!) and battling with my flash which kept rearing it's persistent head despite any and all adjustments.  Anyway, the photographs do not convey the intensity of colours, but here they are, as is, because at the moment I do not have the time to begin again.

The sanding process is a messy one and one in which I must surrender to the results, which I cannot always control.  At times I have also used a wash of coffee or tea to give an aged coloring, but not with the two pieces presented here. 

After a thorough vacuuming and a damp wipe with a sponge and a period of standing to dry, I apply 2 to 3 coats of acrylic varnish.  Eh, voila two 24" x 30" roughed up pieces of artwork.  They will probably decorate our furnace room.


  1. Well, Bonnie, how could anybody resist a title like that?? Knowing you (as I feel I do a bit by now) I knew there would be something atypical behind the words, and sure enough....

    Very interesting to read of the process to which you submit (there is no other word, poor things!) your art to, and to see that the final result is very pleasing indeed. I particularly like the second one, and have mentally added some colour to it, don't worry.

    You really are poly-faceted and multi-talented. Your art must bring you a lot of stimulation and, one hopes, satisfaction too!

  2. Rough works great. You have produced some really great works.
    Read through your daughters experience. Wow! I went through the cancer thing for the last, nearly 6 years. Cancer cured but all that time to fix what got broken doing the fixing. Pretty traumatic and frustrating. My prayers are with her and you.
    god bless and keep up what you are doing.

  3. Deborah: Well, I have to use all my wiles to pull you in ....

    I love a woman after my own heart who can jump in and play with words. Don't worry, I caught the 'submit'. I had to restrain my wild and crazy self, as all kinds of sexual innuendo kept popping to mind as I wrote this silly post.

    Hoping everyone has a laugh and that no one is offended by my being playful today. :0)

  4. Thanks Gary I appreciate your feedback.

    I'm sorry to hear that you have had to fight the cancer battle too. How wonderful that you are six years cancer free, if I understood you correctly.

    My daughter is doing GREAT! She will be marrying the man who stood by her during the whole cancer ordeal, next month! Their blended family will include FOUR children. Can't tell you how many times a day, I express my gratitude to the universe.

  5. Furnace room? You cannot be serious, to paraphrase an ex tennis pro.
    I like your art work, it appears you work long and hard to achieve something totally original. The creative juices flow to great effect and I am sure your pleasure is equally great.

  6. I can imagine you – wild eyes – hair flying – cheeks pink – striking the poor artwork with fearless determination. Now, Bonnie, what does this mean? Would you be taking out your frustrations on your art? We should ask as psychologist, shouldn’t we?

  7. Wonderful pieces! I especially like the second one. Decorate your furnace room huh? HA! I know what you mean. I have work everywhere and I need to start listing on ArtFire or ETSY to get some of these things sold!

  8. these are fabulous bonnie...what a cool process as well. the first one really caught my attention. i guess i like it rough as well.

  9. I love reading the comments from others, that your beautiful original posts produce, Bonnie!

  10. bonnie the second one - well i really like it. i'd be slapping that up in the entrance way so that people entering your home can know one feature of whom they are dealing with!!!! cool work. steven

  11. oh what we go through for beauty....seriously, these are marvelous!

    I hope your feeling better soon.

  12. Loved hearing about the steps you take to get "rough" with your art. The results are beautiful!

    Julie Magers Soulen Photography

  13. Hi Friko: Yes ... they will probably end up in furnace room storage. I prefer to hang my paintings on the wall, but I do enjoy the 'puzzle' of putting together an abstract collage.

    No ... I don't actually work long and hard. I work fast and without a lot of thought. If I start to 'agonize' over any piece, I will usually start over. If the work had to be done with pain-staking, tedious care I would not have the time or patience to do it.

    I work to get out of my left brain, and right hemispheres are impulsive, playful, wild and impatient. C'est moi. :-)

  14. Vagabonde: I'm sure the process of doing the art releases a lot of feelings. I try not to analyze the end product, but I'm sure it reveals a lot about my concerns/needs/triumphs/challenges.

    I think people often assume that someone who has studied and works in the field of psychology always has their act together. Sorry to disappoint you ... but it is not so. We have all the same feelings, defense mechanisms, blind spots, fears as anyone else. The advantage we may have is that we (should) know how to move through them, how to communicate effectively, how to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, etc.

    All that said, I'm sure roughing up something that seems perfect must release many suppressed frustrations. It also creates one AWFUL mess in the studio - and that is frustrating to have to clean up!!!

  15. Sue Ann: Yes - I am trying to figure out what to do with a lot of my art. I'm so not into promoting it and so much goes unsold. I have to concentrate on the satisfaction I derive from the artistic process.

  16. Brian: Thank you. I wish the photos were better representations of how they really appear.

  17. Wanda: Me too. I am always so amazed and gratified by the interesting comments, including yours. Thank you.

  18. steven: Oh ... I have pieces that are much more wild and crazy that these ... if we are looking for one to represent me. These are a little too subdued ... but maybe that is how I come across on the blog. Thanks steven! :)

  19. Victoria: I am feeling better. I went on and found a home remedy for what ailed me and it worked like a charm!

  20. Julie: You are always so kind. I know the photographer in you must be wincing at the shots I took of these pieces of art. I promise to do better next time. :)

  21. I love this process and the end results are beautiful. Aged and worn....and they seem to pull me in.

    I would display these with great pride if they were mine.

  22. Snort....had to come see what you were writing about today...giggle!! Love it!
    I am so very fond of both of these pieces hon...the first one..OMG it is beautiful! The second one too reminds me of Fall somehow! Wow hon!! Keep it rough girl!! Whoot!!
    Hugs, Sarah

  23. May i move into your furnace room?

    The verification word was "artwormi"...had to come back and tell you- so cool.

  24. Hi Bonnie

    I do love the energy of the collage process and the mystery of what the piece holds and will reveal in time. I feel that same frantic drive to stick bits down, I try not to think about it too much and just see what eventuates...and you can always glue another piece over something that appears congruent...

    It is interesting that we find the collaged papers and aged patina so appealing...I wonder does it reflect us and out stage of life...

    Happy days

  25. i love them X:-) Looks like a fun process to give a go ~Thankyou Bonnie~

  26. Bonnie, I love yor art, the second one is especially enticing! I love hearing about your process.

    I have an interview with Artist Robert Anders up on my site that is fascinating.

    Art by Karena

  27. Bonnie, just reading the comments and thinking about the quality of the photos, which you're not happy with. Or at least the colour of them. We have a similar camera, if I remember correctly. If you change the setting to a different ISO or do the automatic 3-shots/3 different exposures thing, you would get a darker exposure where the colours are more vivid, no? Sorry if you already know this - just wondering.

  28. Very interesting technique. I like the first one. I know what you mean about surrendering to the results. Once a filled mold goes in the kiln the dynamics of casting glass take over and the results are not always predictable. some things about this technique I had to learn to love instead of trying to prevent them.


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