Choosing a Surface for Your Collage

First I wanted to say, "thank you" to those who have taken the time to answer my short survey about my blog, your interests, and content that you would like to see here. Your feedback was very helpful and I will definitely take your suggestions and use them to improve the content here. I will keep the survey up for awhile so please feel free to take the survey if you haven't yet done so. You can find it here.

Several of the suggestions I received, wanted to know more about exactly how I make what I make; everything from inspiration to supplies and the actual process of putting a collage together.

Over the next few weeks I will take you through the basics of creating a collage. I will discuss surface choices, adhesives, paints, hand-drawn details and finishing tricks just to name a few.

So lets begin with surface choice.


I have yet to find a surface that I can't collage over. Which is awesome (I did an earlier post here about choosing actual objects/sculptural pieces to collage over). The only real catch with surface selection for collage is that it must be smooth!  A collage over a surface with lots of texture just doesn't look good. It looks bumpy and messy. So make sure the surface is free of raised texture. 

Texture from canvas or speciality papers works fine. Because the texture is not raised enough to show through any of the papers you collage on top of it.

Below is an example of a canvas paper that I used. You can see that the collage paper I added to the piece remains smooth, yet the painting done over the uncovered canvas shows the texture of the canvas paper.

The most important part of paper selection is that it is acid free. No one wants to spend hours of time on a collage piece only to have it brown and break away a few months later.
I use a lot of vintage papers in my work which do contain acids, but I have a trick that I will discuss in a later post on "adhesives" to  help prevent the acids in these papers from destroying your work.
So start with a base paper that is acid-free for your collage.

In collage, the heavier the base paper the better. You will be gluing and adding weight to your base paper so you want it to be able to stay flat.

As a general rule, you choose paper as the base for your collage only when the items that you are creating with are light weight. Think paper and glue stick type collaging.
Heavier adhesives like Matte Medium and Modge Podge are not ideal here nor is the addition of fabrics, metal or other embellishments.

Canvas or Wood Board

I personally prefer wood over a stretch canvas. I find the wood to be a far sturdier surface to work on, while the canvas has a tendency to get stretched out and warp as I am working.
Stretched canvas, like paper, works great for light-weight objects.

There is the option of canvas board, which is just canvas stretched over a piece of thick cardboard, but just like working with paper, I find that it doesn't hold-up to adhesives like Matte Medium and Modge Podge.
Canvas board has almost always warped on me when I use them, so I would use canvas board just like I would paper; for light weight projects.

Sometimes I am in the mood for a canvas. My favorite canvas to use is a linen canvas paper by Strathmore. It is a cross between canvas and paper. I use it in the same way as I would paper, but it's quite sturdy and has the texture of canvas which I enjoy.

As I mentioned earlier, my favorite surface to create on is wood. Wood panel in my opinion can't be beat. I can pretty much add whatever embellishments I want, I can add and take away images, I can sand and even carve it.

I have not had much luck with the wood plaques that you find in craft stores. They usually have a beveled edge and look pretty, but the wood is also quite soft and I have found that the wood can warp over time.

My wood surface of choice is cradled board. Cradled board looks just like a canvas but are completely made of wood.

I have yet to have a cradled board warp on me. It has a smooth surface and it makes for a very pretty finished piece. You also don't have to frame it and it is super easy to hang. You can find cradled board at places like Dick Blick or other online art supply retailers.

Additional Surface Possibilities

Mirrors. Yes the mirror itself. If you love the frame around it why not?
Mattes for matting art work

Garage sales, thrift stores and clearance racks are all great places to find any of the above surfaces for a collage.

I would love to hear what sort of surfaces you have worked with. What has worked for you or what hasn't.

The Stand Off. A 2 Print Set

 I decided that today would be my "play" day. I didn't have a set collage in my mind that I wanted to create, instead I thought that I would play around with some images and see what happened.

I found these sheep in my pile of images and thought that they looked like they embodied playfulness (my theme for the day) and decided to work them into a collage.

This is the result. My very first 2-set reproduction print. I think they are quite fun and I'm even happier that my play day produced something that I liked and hopefully you will too!

I'm Hooked!

Just in time for Spring cleaning and getting organized. I am now offering wall hooks with my images on them in my Etsy shop.  These pieces are wood with hook part being metal.

I'm a fan of these hooks; I can keep all of my items all neat and organized.
I am kind of an organization geek actually.  I was at Target this weekend and found this multiple folder organizer that both hangs on the wall and folds to be stored on a shelf. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. :)

New Wholesale Prints

First I would like to say, "thank you" to everyone who participated in my Heartsy promotion this weekend. I still have a few vouchers left, but only until 8 a.m. PST tomorrow, so if you want to get in on this deal get there soon!

On to other news. I now am offering my 5x7" reproduction prints for you wholesalers out there. You can order these and other items in my Etsy shop. I am also making ordering wholesale from me even easier by handing out wholesale discount codes for those of you looking to stock your galleries or boutiques. Just contact me for all the details.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

Heartsy Update

***Update*** I will be featured on Heartsy a day earlier than originally planned. My feature and deal will be available tomorrow morning. April 16.
Vouchers will be available until sold out. So if you want one, get there early!! They will still be redeemable 3 months after purchase date. Check it out here.

Heartsy Feature

***Update*** I will be featured on Heartsy a day earlier than originally planned. My feature and deal will be available tomorrow morning. April 16.
Vouchers will be available until sold out. So if you want one, get there early!! They will still be redeemable 3 months after purchase date.

I will be the featured artist on
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Heartsy, it's a site much like Groupon but for handmade items. So please check it out.

Some New Jewelry and A New Rabbit Sculpture

                                                The Lesser Known Bermuda Circle

                                                 Not Your Ordinary Field Mouse

A Pleasant Conversation On A Pleasant Day.

All of these pieces are now posted on Etsy.

Building Your Artist Resume

The topic of developing an artist resume has been coming up quite often in my conversations lately, so I thought it would share some of what I have learned.

Finding templates for the format of your artist resume can be found all over the Internet just by doing a simple "artist resume format" search, so I am going to focus on building-up your art related experience for your resume.
So how exactly do you find opportunities?
There are many different opportunities to build your artist resume, but below is a list of the things that I have personal experience with;
  • Teaching,
  • Shows at Galleries
  • Competitions and Juried Shows
  • Publications and Artist Interviews.

This is a very short list of possibilities, but I think it's a good starting point. What you choose will depend on your goals.

I started building my teaching experience by offering classes through my local craft store. It was free for me to use their space and I was completely in charge of the content and fees that I charged my students. I never had more than five students ever enroll at a time, but I was more interested in gaining the experience rather than making money at this point.

Community Colleges and local park districts are also other great places to offer classes.

I found that once I had a little experience teaching, I not only became more comfortable teaching, but finding other more lucrative or more "prestigious" teaching gigs through galleries became easier to come by.

Shows and Galleries
Approaching galleries is scary. It's still not one of my favorite things to do. I started out doing craft fairs, mostly because that was what I was familiar with. My mom did craft fairs throughout my childhood years so I grew-up a craft fair brat of sorts.
Craft fairs can be hit or miss. Some shows are awesome and far more are not. Generally speaking, in my experience, the more expensive  the show and the more urban the show the higher the attendance and the more money you are likely to make.  I have used Festival Network Online to find shows in my area. They have free lsitings, but you can also purchase the full list if it is something that you want to get into.

My advice would be to check out the show before you even apply. Or do a small inexpensive show just to see if you enjoy showing at them or just to build-up your resume a bit. Be fore warned that even the small shows are a TON of work.

I didn't start showing at galleries until I had a few craft shows under my belt and felt more confident about my work. This was due more my own insecurities than anything else, so if I could do it over again, I would start applying to galleries right away.

When applying to galleries you do need to be realistic. Don't expect to get into a high-end gallery right away. Most, if not all of the artists that these galleries represent have a impressive gallery record to begin with.  So start with the smaller, less known galleries and approach them.

Check out the galleries in your area and get to know the owners, or find a online list. Here in the Chicago area, I use the Chicago Artist Resource web page to find opportunities to show my work including teaching, publications and gallery shows.

Another option is showing through The Sketchbook Project. There is usually a small fee, but there also is not usually a jury process.

Competitions and Juried Shows
I don't do too many competitions mostly because they cost money to apply and I am not guaranteed a show; I have to be juried in. I do set aside a few dollars every year to do a couple of these types of shows in case I find one I am really interested in or if I haven't shown my work anywhere new in awhile.

I have found that local art centers and other art organizations are great places to begin. I started with the Beverly Arts Center here in the Chicago area. They were inexpensive to apply to and the competition was perfect for a beginner.

Publications and Artist Interviews
Craigslist has been where I have found a vast majority of these opportunities. I have found that many bloggers as well as University run publications and independent magazine writers will often advertise wanting art work for their publications or content such as artist interviews for their blog. Most often you don't get paid for these gigs, but they are a nice way to add to your artist resume and get your art seen by people you may not have otherwise reached. Make sure to check out the postings  in the major urban areas for the best opportunities.

If you want to go a little more mainstream and your work fits the genre, I would suggest the Somerset Studio publications. Again, you don't get paid unless you write an article for them , but you can submit your art work for publication.  Being published by a major magazine is a very nice and impressive addition to your resume.

Again, all of these suggestions are just starting points. I have not been paid by any of these companies that I linked to, they are just places that I have had success with. You may have other venues that have worked well for you and I would love to hear about them. Also, if you are interested in knowing when I find opportunities for showing work, let me know. I may start posting opportunities here on my blog as I find them if there is interest in this sort of thing.

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Linkie ♥