Ann McMillan Art
Fine Art in Color

Collage and Mixed Media

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Collage and Mixed Media Experiments

Syllabus and Materials Ideas

Welcome to my collage and mixed media class, debuting this fall at the Palo Alto Art Center.  Please find a suggested materials list and draft curriculum below.  This class is a little unusual in its structure.  Please bring whatever supplies you love into class and we will make art you love.  My class will follow a similar structure as my other classes: a short demonstration, material or concept introduction followed by lots of time to create. I have a few suggestions for preferred surfaces and glue for collage, but other then those specific ideas, this class can be done with found materials and paper obtained from the Friends of the Library sale.   You may want to collect ideas or artists that you love, or think of an artistic idea you would like to execute, or even begin with a place in your house you would like to hang a nice piece of artwork, and bring that idea into class.  I will help you accomplish it. 

Draft Syllabus

i.e. some projects we might try.  The first three weeks are probably set, but after that, I would like the students to help determine what the class explores.  Some of these projects require a small cash input from the students-- a ten dollar model fee, or a few dollars for solar paper for example, or bring your own. 

Week 1: Jump right in, Matisse-inspired collages-- I will bring paper, please bring substrate and glue. 

Week 2: Photomontage: found images put together in interesting ways.  Start collecting images you would like to use... magazines, old photos, stamps, cut apart books, maps, music poems, handwritten text, etc.  I will bring magazines. 

Week Three: Making our own collage paper and why. Eric Carle and the decorative papers out there.  Why buy when you can make something cool?  Bring paints of some kind, or oil pastels, or watercolor or colored pencils and papers to mark up. It would be great if we can make a bunch of papers and share around so everyone can build their paper library. 

Week Four:  Gelli prints and Sun paper-- bring images in from elsewhere, photo-transfers-- collect some cool photos now! 

Week Five: Abstraction and Visual Language.  Developing a visual language, talking about how shapes, symbols and colors affect perception of your artwork. 

Week Six: Mixed media collages-- bringing paint, ink, pencils, oil pastels, pens and other marks into the collages.  

Week Seven: Figurative Collage:  working from sketches, photos or from a model.  doing figurative collages with torn or cut paper.  

Week Eight: Finishes for collage: wax finish, varnish, spray varnish, self-leveling gel, resin pour. 

Week Nine:  Altered and rebuilt books.  

Collage Samples

Students at Work

Materials

 Here are some supplies you may need, depending on what you want to do:  Cradled board, mdf panels, exacto knife, razor blade, head gun (I will bring some, but you may want one for home) scissors, cheap brushes, and either modge-podge or Elmers glue. Paper makes a fine substrate as well. 

Here are some supplies you may need, depending on what you want to do:  Cradled board, mdf panels, exacto knife, razor blade, head gun (I will bring some, but you may want one for home) scissors, cheap brushes, and either modge-podge or Elmers glue. Paper makes a fine substrate as well. 

Possible Substrates: 

  • Cradled Art Boards: stout, won't bend, finished, ready to hang. Comes in large and small sizes. Buy at the art store.  Canvas panels and stretched canvas don't work very well.  The surface for collage needs to be fairly rigid.  
  • Quarter inch MDF-- a substance a bit like Masonite.  I buy it in sheets at Bruce Bauer and have them cut it to size for me.  Suitable for small works, such as 10x 10 or 16 x 16.  Larger sizes will bend and warp as the glue dries.  I'll bring some to class, and you can purchase them at cost, for a dollar or two a panel. They are great for working in series as well.
  • Heavy-weight paper, such as printer's paper, watercolor paper, or similar; this works well with lightweight papers attached to it.  If you want to add heavy or three-dimensional objects or papers to your collages, I suggest a hard surface instead.  

Inspiration Ideas

Collage inspirations from my Instagram wanderings:

Some other inspirations:

My instructable on doing collage with kids-- lots of good ideas on where to find collage materials. 

Top 10 collage artists according to Widewalls.com.

The ever-lovely blog This is Colossal with search set to "collage".