$5 Off At Society 6

Society 6 is having a $5 off everything until Sunday. My Society 6 account is here. I have many 8x10" or larger prints available there.

Angel of the Flower Garden. Large Mixed Media Sculpture.

Brand new mixed media sculpture. This is a found angel that I have completely altered using paint, paper, and my own drawings.
She is now posted on my Etsy site.

Adding Those Finishing Touches to Your Collage

I love adding a little hand-drawn or hand-painted something to my collage work. I think it adds an extra layer to the piece that makes the collage more visually interesting. 
The Faber-Castell India Ink pens have worked best for me. They dry really fast and don't smear when I finally go to varnish my work.

I always varnish my work if it's something that probably won't be framed. Collages on canvas, cradled board, wood, and my sculptural pieces all get varnished.
Just make sure that your varnish is safe to use on paper. I use Mod Podge brand varnish, which is safe to use on paper, plastic and metal. You can find it at Walmart or craft stores.

Varnish comes in glossy and matte finishes. I personally like the gloss. I have found that one coat of varnish is all you need.
How do you add the finishing touches to your work?

Coaching and a New Web Site

**Update 10/9/12**  First, My blog is staying put. I hope to add some more "about me" info to this blog here very soon. My website is currently a place to purchase select prints. For my entire line of work, I would suggest checking out my Etsy page.
I am still doing career and life coaching, so if you are interesed in working with me please contact me at sarahogren@hotmail.com and I would b happy to send you more information.

Yes, I am now all official or something. I have a web site. It's http://sarahogren.com
I hope to eventually move this blog over there, but for now, the website is a place where you can learn more about me and what I do.

I have a page with my artist statement, bio, and an artist interview I did not to long ago, as well as a spot for my press releases as they become available. This page is for those of you who blog or who would just like a little light reading. :)  You can find all this information on the "About" page on my web site.

In addition, there is also a page where I will be listing upcoming workshops that I will be teaching as well as a page with links to all the places you can find my work.

The last, and I think best page, is my Coaching page. Yes, I have begun a Life Coaching practice!  The page is full of the specifics, but the cliff notes version here is that I will coaching other artists, small business owners and other creative types on how to make their business and ideas even better.
I have a Master's degree in Counseling that has really just been going to waste all these years and I'm excited to now be able to put my skills into practice!

Please stop by and check the site out and let me know what you think.

More Mini Landscape Collages

I have a new "Sand Dune" matted-mini-collage-landscape series now available.  They are designed to hang-out by themselves, or group them together for a beach party.
Each has it's own unique, quirky personality and best of all each are a one-of-a-kind piece!

Fixing Mistakes On Your Collage

Yeah, mistakes happen. To everyone. Mistakes in art; I call them surreptitious moments. Some of my better ideas and better work came about from what I learned from a mistake. So don't sweat it, embrace it!

One of the most common mistakes in collage are those dreaded lumps and bumps! There have been times when I have actually glued a bead or something small under my paper and didn't notice it until the glue dried. Most times though a bump comes from a piece of paper not having quite enough glue or different parts of the collage drying at different rates. This unfortunately tends to happen right in the middle of an image.

Where exactly this lump occurs and how severe will determine whether of not it's fixable. 

In the collage piece that I demonstrated with last week there was a spot where the paper wrinkled.

This wrinkle occurred because I didn't quite lay the paper down flat enough. 

A tip for helping to avoid wrinkles in the first place is to press your image down firmly and with a even layer of glue behind and on top of the image. I sturdy brush or your finger work great. But lumps can still happen so here's how to handle them.

Here my glue has dried and there is no going back, so I have to deal with the lump. I have on occasion drawn around the lump and made it a part of the piece. This lump occurred in the landscape portion of the collage so it is completely feasible. Ground is never completely flat and even right?

In this case though I decided to try my other trick in addition to the drawings; and that was to sand it down. Yup, sand it. With a fine grade sandpaper (I use this trick on the sides of my canvas as well). Just make sure to sand before you add your drawings!

I could have then covered the sanded down portion with a little paint or more paper, but I decided that the sanded look worked with this piece. I just added my hand-drawn details and I was done.

Now if the wrinkle had happened on the bird image itself then I would have had to decide if I wanted to completely remove the bird image, replace only the part of the bird image with the lump, or sand the lump down and paint over top.
The choice of action would depend on how sever the lump was and where exactly the lump occurred. A lump across the face of the bird would have warranted a new bird image (or at least head), but a lump in the birds body could be sanded and painted over.
If you have any tips on how you get rid of those lumps and bumps in your work, I would love to hear about them.

Guardians of the Crew

New original collage on wood panel.
Inspired by sailing folklore and the belief that if you named your ship after a woman, she would protect your ship and crew.

Assembling a Collage

Ok, so now you know how to choose a surface for your collage and choose the glue for your particular project. Now it's time to put the actual image together.

I usually begin with creating my backgrounds first. My backgrounds simply consist of torn decorative papers and vintage text with a layer of paint over top. I then paint in my clouds and add any additional painted areas to help complete my background.
Creating the backgrounds for my 2D pieces is the same process as creating the backgrounds for my sculptural pieces. For a little refresher on that process look here.

So now I have my background all ready to go and it's time to add my images.

I usually have somewhat of an idea of the kind of image that I want to create, but sometimes this is not the case. For these unsure days, I will often spend some time looking through my collection of images and choosing pieces that speak to me. It's funny how a simple image can spark an idea.

Here I have found a collection of characters to use in my collage.

I don't bother cutting the images out perfectly at this point. I want to lay my images out on my canvas first to see if I like the way they fit with my background.

If I like what I see, I progress to cutting my images out and gluing them onto my surface.

Here my images are cut and glued onto the surface. I have also altered the layout of my images a bit. 

One of the things that I love about collage is that I can put together my image and rearrange my images in order to get an idea of what the finished piece will look like before having to glue anything down. Collage is great for us commitment phobes. :)

This piece is almost complete. I still have to add my hand-drawn details  and fix a few boo boos, all of which I will discuss in an upcoming post.

Heartsy Free Money

I noticed on Heartsy today that they have a promo going that if you sign-up and make a purchase, you get a $5 bonus in your account. If you sign-up through me here, you can share the love and I get a $5 credit as well.
For those of you that don't know, Hearsty is basically like a Groupon for handmade items.

Anyways, I am currently working on another post about assembling a collage so stay tuned.

New Brooch Design

I have turned my "Stand Off" image into s little piece of wearable art. The setting the image is in even looks a little like a antique gold frame.
This piece has just been posted here.

Alternative Collage Surface Inspiration

I think part of what makes a piece of art great is; 1). The artwork itself and 2). The way that the work is matted, framed or displayed.

For me, a great image can be ruined by poor presentation and alternatively, a great presentation can make a great piece of art ever better!  So as artists, our job isn't done once the image itself is created. We have to find ways to really showcase our work in the best possible way.

I recently completed the piece below titled, "She Insisted That They Bring the Mushroom Umbrella on Their Walks", and I thought I would show you how I found the plaque that the collage was created on. It's really quite simple actually!

I find the plaques and frames that I use in my work in thrift stores, craft stores and discount stores. Stores that are quite common and stores which you probably have in your neighborhood.

The big secret here is to look at an object for it's potential and not for what it actually is or in some cases, it's intended purpose (I will discuss using mirrors as potential frames and bases for collage work in a later post).

Here I have taken a picture of a plaque that I found, which has been untouched. Another plaque that has a base coat of paint and papers and then the third, which is the completed piece.

The original, untouched plaque as you can see, has an image already on it. But what is so great about collage is that I can cover just about any surface that I desire.

I loved the metal detail at the top of the plaque and I loved the rectangle shape, and I was sold.
I look for interesting shapes and details; the bones of the piece, and I create my work over top. This way, essentially every object becomes a potential base for a collage piece.

I encourage you to find interesting objects and ways to present your own work. Also, if you have a specific question about collage, or a issue or problem you are having with a piece, let me know and maybe I can help.

Adhesives Used in Collage

Today I thought I would talk about adhesive choices when creating collage work.

Glue Sticks
Glue sticks work well for gluing paper onto other paper surfaces. The glue is lightweight, so it helps to prevent the paper underneath from curling and warping.
Glue sticks however, have a tendency to cause your paper images to become unglued from the surface. So it's really important that you completely and evenly cover the area to be glued and press the image firmly onto your base paper.
I like to use the handle part of my scissors or a bone folder to press my image firmly onto surface.

Bone Folder

Glue sticks in my opinion are really only good for gluing paper to paper and should be avoided when gluing paper to canvas, wood or objects.
There are other glues that are much more durable for those surfaces.

Moge Podge and Matte Medium


Mod Podge and Matte Medium are very similar. They both come in either matte or gloss finishes, they dry clear and they are both excellent for gluing images to canvas, wood or objects.

To use simply brush on a layer of the glue of your choice to the back of your image. Place your image on your canvas and then brush another layer of glue over the image to seal it in place. Make sure to press firmly to remove any air bubbles underneath your image.

Both glues dry pretty quickly, but you will have a few seconds to move your image around. Just note that your paper will become weak and more likely to tear if you move it around too much after gluing.

*Tip* For those of you who don't mind getting messy, try applying your glue with your fingers instead of a brush. I find that using my fingers to apply the glue gives me great control on the amount of glue applied to my paper and it allows for better control on removing air bubble under my images. I just simply press the glue covered images firmly down onto my canvas with my fingers (I press quite hard). Just make sure that your fingers are well coated in glue or you will tear your paper. Lubrication makes everything better! :)

Pros and Cons of Mod Podge and Matte Medium
Mod Podge is thicker than Matte Medium and can be thinned out slightly with a little water. It is also less expensive than Matte Medium.  I tend to prefer Matte Medium over Mod Podge just because I find Mod Podge to be too thick for my taste and find using water to thin it out to be a pain. The use of water can also make my paper images too weak and cause them to tear. Mod Podge is definitely not for delicate papers!
You can find Mod Podge in the craft section at Walmart or in the adhesive section at the craft store.

Matte Medium is what I always use. Yes, it is a little more pricey, but the ease of use has me sold. I have not yet found a surface that I couldn't use Matte Medium on. It works great for papers (even some delicate papers) as well as for gluing objects to my canvas or board.

Matte Medium is basically liquid plastic so it works really well for protecting vintage text and images, which have acids in them and can destroy your collage over time.
 Just simply add a layer of Matte Medium to the back side and front side of the vintage image to coat it and add to your collage. That's it. Your image has now is protected by a layer of plastic!

You can find Matte Medium in the painting section at the craft store.

This is by no means a definitive list of the glues available to use in collage, but they are what have worked best for me. Try out different glues and see which one you like best.

Introducing Mini Collage Landscapes

These little guys are original collage pieces on wood blocks. They measure no more than 3.5" tall, but they make-up for it in personality.
You can find these on Etsy.

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