Alexandra Sheldon

Spring Thursday Class #1

Alexandra SheldonComment

Dear Marsha,

Here we go again: a new semester. Thursday Night Collage Bee Notes. We began with drawing grid elements on large sheets of white sketch paper and/or newsprint. To do this I take a nice charcoal pencil (but you can use any kind of pencil) and a ruler and I randomly start making lines and grids. We did this for twenty minutes and put lines into three papers. Naturally I had to talk about the grid in art and how it shows up everywhere.

I had a buffet of mixed colors on the table. Acrylics mixed to the consistency of cream (diluted with water). Next: we took wide nylon brushes, about two inches wide, and we began painting the papers. I encourage using the paints thinly and building up interesting layers of colors. I especially like to paint a swath of color and fold it over to make a print on the other side of the paper. This paper later becomes the foundation for the collages. I call it the "beautiful background" material. Of course to say 'background' is kind of silly; everything in a picture is important. Let's call it an 'atmosphere' or a 'sky'. At this stage in the class I like to run around and show many different artists approaches to 'background': the rich honey air of Rembrandt, the scumbled colors of Deibenkorn, the skies of O'Keefe. Think of background paper as similar to silk, to long flowing curtains in a room with a draft. Atmosphere and airy beauty. Space. looking out a window in an airplane. The grid lines are nice and get covered up and some radiate thru the paint.

Next: As this painted paper dries fast, we then mounted the paper onto heavier paper. Collages need a nice strong surface. Lately, I've been using Staples Cardstock, 110 lbs. For this class I gave everyone three 8"x8" cards. Lay a card down onto the painted paper and outline with pencil. Cut painted paper out using scissors and collage down to heavier Cardstock using acrylic matte medium (I prefer Utrecht brand sold at Blick). We also did three miniatures: 5"x5".  This takes us to the next class. People will be going onto the next stage of working into these backgrounds.