Alexandra Sheldon

Class #4 Collage Winter Semester

Alexandra SheldonComment

We began with a fun exercise in making word collages: look thru print from old books or magazines. See what jumps out at you and cut the words out and collage them down as a poem. You can collage them into a simple background or just on a blank page. I am starting each class with a different small exercise as everyone transitions into our three hour plus class and gets settled. It is nice to start by doing something completely different. 

We made Trace Monotypes using oil paint and a piece of plexiglass. Put a very small amount of oil paint onto the plexi, maybe half an inch. Roll out using a brayer. You can mix many different colors using the oil paints. Very faint pastel colors do not work as well. You want to roll out a very thin layer of paint onto the plexi. Then put a piece of paper facedown onto the plexi. 

There are different techniques at this point to do:
1)Take a ruler and a pencil and carefully draw grids onto your paper. I say carefully because if you lean your hand onto the paper it is going to pick up the color. Peel the paper off the plexi and look at your print.
2)Use rulers and stencils to make interesting shapes with your pencil. Peel paper away to reveal your print.
3)Take a picture of say, a bird. Put a clean piece of paper onto your plexi with the oil paint rolled onto it. Take the picture of the bird and place over your paper and then take a ball point pen and trace over the image of the bird, bearing down on the pen. This will give you a print of the bird onto your blank paper. This is fun for people afraid of direct drawing! Remember that it will print backwards. 

Later we collaged with these trace monotypes. They can be cut up and collaged into pieces in progress. Or the grids can be collaged down on a substrate and then you can start collaging into the grids. Trace monotypes using oils have a nice rich color. They can be a great additive for collages in progress. 
We used different kinds of papers to make the monotypes:
White or brown deli papers - they are nice and transparent and great for collages.
Any rice papers are great. 
Basically any paper will work. 
Try some lovely Reeves printmaking paper too.

Some artists to check out:
Bice Lazzari at the Phillips Collection
Claudia Vasells (look at what she does with space!)
Dan Tirels: watch his YouTube tutorials on monotypes, they are wonderful.
Two Bauhaus shows in the area: The Fogg at Harvard and the MFA.
Also recommended: Graciela Iturbide photography show at the MFA (If you cannot get out to see this you can still watch an interview with her on the MFA website - its excellent and I think you will enjoy seeing a strong sensitive wonderful person talk about her work with such depth and sincerity).