Collage: Art everyone can do—even writers

I’m a writer. My strength is words. For decades, the best I could do in the pictures department was stick figures … as though the right side of my brain never got past first grade. Then I discovered collage and art journaling.

I used to think that collage was cheating, kind of. You took other people’s pictures and threw them on a sheet and called that art, when all you did was rearrange what was already there. How wrong can a person be? When I discovered this gorgeous magazine called Art Journaling, and goggled in amazement at the things women (mostly women, oddly, very few men; I wonder why?) created. So I gave it a try myself. I took an Illustrated Watercolor Journaling class from two local artists, and realized, hey, I can do this!

"Travel in the Central Valley" collage
"Travel in the Central Valley" collage

I started small, drawing water buckets and lamps. Then I advanced to chickens. I’ve always wanted to draw my chickens; they’re so pretty and drawable! I took my journal to Amish country and drew farms and roads. Okay, so I need to work on single-point perspective, but at least there were no stick figures!

Now I’ve progressed to collaging, with gel medium and acrylic paints and spray fixative. Wow. I was never even near an acrylic paint before today. We made three little collages and I have to say, I’m quite pleased with how they came out.

Next I’d like to try collaging the theme from one of my books on a bigger canvas. It’s a scary thought, all that clean white space—but if there’s anything I’ve learned from writing, it’s that white space is made to be filled. With words. Or pictures. Or paint.

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