I started this collage because I found an advertisement inside of a Jerry’s Artarama catalogue for a “junk mail challenge.” I thought it sounded fun, and I’d just received a catalogue from Bags and Bows, which provides lots of great patterns for perfect collage material. I was working on several sketches of cardinals in preparation for my “Proud Cardinal” painting at the time, so I decided to maintain the cardinal theme and make a collage based on one of my drawings (upper left hand corner below).
The drawing was originally a female cardinal, with lots of browns, greys, and blues, but since I had so many more bits of red in my catalogue than anything neutral, I decided to go with a male cardinal. On the right you can see the scissors I used to create the collage, and that was no easy task! Large scissors for detail work = sore hands afterward. I’ll have to buy a nice sharp Exacto knife for future work like this.
Most of the time that I was working on cutting pieces for the cardinal I placed them directly on top of my drawing to get a better idea of the shapes I wanted to create. I quite like the look of the paper pieces placed over parts of the drawing. Since I haven’t worked much in collage, this project took a lot of trial and error. I’d cut a few pieces, fit them in, cut more, cut even more pieces, and then realize what I had in the first place was a bit boring. So I’d take it out and continue. It’s very satisfying to fit abstract pieces together like a very complex puzzle to make an image.
I did not include any watercolor in this piece of work, even though you can see my palette in both of the photographs above. Even though I work in a very small space (in the top photo you can see nearly my whole working area), I like to have at least a couple of projects in progress at once. This method ensures I have a second project to work on when I need a break from my current piece. It also allows my work to closely influence and inspire my concurrent project(s), which helps me develop my style and color.
I am very pleased with my cut and paste cardinal. Starting out, I had no idea just how it would turn out. I’m especially pleased because I was one of the winners of the contest! I now have some new canvas, paints, paper (Arches!) and pens for lots of new projects. I love new supplies.
After I finished my little collage, it was awarded prime real estate on my cork board over my desk. When I turned the calendar to March a couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the fox on my calendar matches the coloring, posture and pointed shapes of my little bird.
I plan on framing the collage when I find just the right frame for it, but for now it will live on my board along with my origami ornament, my Brooklyn Art Library card (from the Sketchbook Project), and other cards from lovely people.