Abstract Collage 3

This series of abstract collages was created as module from Tara Axford’s Art & Design course. I’ve mentioned this course in a previous blog post. Gel plate printing is the core of the course. These collages use unique prints produced with this method. Each collage is a 6.25″ x 6.25″ square mounted on watercolor paper. The clean look of the bright colors with the white borders makes the series cohesive.

My color palette was intense bright colors with a predominance of warm hues. I used Daler Rowney acrylic ink, Daniel Smith watercolors, and matte acrylic medium. My only intention was to create an abstract series, so the color selection set the mood. All the papers were from two tablets of naturally textured papers in rich colors. These included yellow, green, orchid, light and dark blue, rust, black, tan, pink, and gray. Using a 6″ gel plate allowed a thin border of the paper color to show on the final print. The strong paper colors shining through the printed images gave a unique look to the finished papers.

Grouping the finished prints by color, I choose the most interesting ones as focal points for the abstract collages and built the designs from there. At one point the floor was covered with stacks of paper. With each stack, I was looking for contrast of color and that special something that made the grouping spark. Next, I began to edit the choices to select a final strong selection for the each design.

Though the pieces are abstract, many hint at botanical subjects. I did some quick sketching and layouts then just started cutting and layering. Using this playful and unstructured method always leads to interesting results. Many times, the offcuts- pieces left when a shape has been cut- are more interesting than the intended shape. Staying open to possibilities results in surprising and unique results. Composing a collage is like a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces get shuffled a lot until the perfect composition presents itself.

Finishing touches were added with additional paint and Posca paint pens. Again, the textures and patterns on the gel printed papers suggest the best way to embellish. This whole project was just a joy to create! There was so much play and fun and no expectations of the final results. I made 12 finished pieces and then chose the best to keep in the series. The inspired color combinations and clean, beautiful shapes are just delightful.

Abstract Collage 1
Abstract Collage 2
Abstract Collage 4
Abstract Collage 5
Abstract Collage 6
Abstract Collage 7
Abstract Collage 8
Abstract Collage 9
Abstract Collage 10