When I have no particular idea for the direction of a collage I start by looking for a color or texture in my scrap file of magazine or newspaper clippings. Yesterday our local newspaper ran an ad using a map of the central New York area. It covered almost half of the image area on my 16″ x 20″ watercolor paper. I continued to grab, tear and glue with nothing more than compositional concerns propelling me forward.
Getting carried away by the gesso application for texture, I pretty much covered most of the papers that were adhered with matte medium. A trace of the map shows up in the sky. As I continued to work on this uninspired piece, I flipped it upside down and voilà, it became a landscape. Once I recognized this possibility, the rest was easy. Spring has brought an abundance of greenery to our surrounding landscapes. The ridiculous amounts of rain that we endured earlier in the season have paid off. Now when I look out our sun room windows a beautiful splash of green comes into sight. The wild grape vines are less obvious and the flowering weeds actually punctuate the expanse with pink and yellow dots. In addition to watching the many birds, I find staring out at the woods to be a relaxing and comforting activity. Not exactly a calorie burner, but surely a great way to reduce blood pressure.
The luscious greens in our backyard have found their way into my collage. When the process in art takes over and generates momentum I am never quite sure where the destination will be. None of the elements of this collage landscape started out as the images that have developed. That sort of manipulation or ‘happy accident’ is the most fun.