One of the ideas in Jane Davies great book Collage journeys is to do all her exercises as a series of collages. She suggests that you assemble a group of materials that you find interesting or challenging and primarily use those materials. That’s what I have done here.

Chinese Idea - collage studies

It’s about getting started, and I really need some ides to start with right now. I haven’t created any new work that I’m really happy with, so I made these quickies as an exercise. I think I might to more like them in the future.

I was hoping to create a similar look on all of them… but that didn’t really work out! All of the 6 pieces ended up very different even though I used the same material and was trying to calm myself down and look at the previous one.

Set material
This is the collage material I used: a few pre-cut strips of Japanese paper, text from a Chinese magazine and a black- white- and gold floral wrapping paper. The reason I choose these things was because they’ve been in my stash for a long time but I don’t grab them/use them.

As a foundation I cut out squares from brown paper (taken out of a notebook) and got to work. I couldn’t help but to also add a little bit of gesso, red crayon + pencil scribbled lines.

Collage studies - starting out

I was trying to work quickly and intuitively
, but because these materials are not familiar to me I felt quite lost. I wanted a minimalistic look but that too was not successful, at least not in most of the collages. I used the brown paper because I like that look, but still I managed to cover up most of it. Again noticing how hard minimalistic is to me! I love adding, adding, adding.

These are my favorite details in this series of collage studies:

Chinese Idea - collage studies detail

Chinese Idea - collage studies detail

Chinese Idea - collage studies detail

Jane Davies writes (on page 94 in her book Collage Journeys):

See how the materials themselves can express a range of moods or ideas. Be open to the unexpected. Themes may emerge that you had not intended or thought of.

So, I’m really liking this simple collage exercise, but not the outcome as much. But that doesn’t really matter here, the idea is to just get your hands moving and doing something. Glue down, keep going. But still… what to do with “exercise collages”? Throw them in the trash? What do you do with yours if you make them? :-)