Alexandra Sheldon

Spring Thursday Class #3

Alexandra SheldonComment

Dear Marsha, 

Class#3: Mainly we played with Gesso, a white acrylic paint with ground chalk in it. I use Artist Grade Utrecht Gesso. It is nice and thick. We designed geometric stamps using Creativity Foam (available at places like Michaels and ACMoore) on cardboard. A great way to make a fast homemade stamp. I had everyone design a couple of stamps. Then brush Gesso onto the stamps and stamp into painted papers and/or directly into the collages. When the Gesso stamps are dry add a wash of paint (I also call this a 'glaze')  for a nice pop. This is a nice way to add grid-like structure back into the collages.

Constructing collages can be a balancing act between adding structure and tearing down structure. I like to show examples of how Robert Motherwell and Richard Diebenkorn constructed collages. The chaos and the control, the loudness and the calm. I compare making a collage to building a house: start with the foundation (space, color, light, texture, atmosphere). Start building the scaffolding (grid elements, forms and shapes like squares, images, horizon lines and verticals). Finish work: plastering and painting, details (drips and splatters, decorative stamps, painting). It's kind of ridiculous trying to describe art-making with so many words. Better to be in a room doing it. Mainly collage-making requires hours of trying and redoing and getting rid of and tearing off and adding back in. Put on some music and mix up some paints and paint back into the pieces (a great way to simplify a too-busy collage) and just go at it and have fun. Many of my students get together to make collages because it feels good having company and while it is fun to make art it is also hard, so to be together bolsters us up.