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Creating Paper Collages

Process notes by Andrea Goodman

Winter 2022

The Mother Tree Collage Series

Creating a collage is a much slower and more time consuming process than painting, and I'm not the most patient person, so I am sometimes surprised that I'm drawn to collage work. I like the process of selecting papers and colours; it's different than how I think about colour when I paint.

The steps involved in creating a paper collage The first step is to collect together a bunch of papers that I want to work with. I use a wide variety of types and thicknesses of papers, coloured and textured papers, and paper that I have drawn, painted, inked or coloured in various ways. I like to recycle maps, circuit diagrams, and other pre-printed papers.

I often assmeble more paper than I end up using, but I like to have my choices all visible, and I move them around and place them next to each other in various ways to think about how I want them to look in the final assembly.

For some collages I paint paper to create a patern or texture I need for the artwork. In the case of the Mother Tree series I painted a assortment of paper that resembles bark. I also found a part of one of my dropcloths that had bark like colours.

I generally end up making a lot more painted parts than I need, so in the case of this bark like paper I have sent some to a friend how makes miniatures, I'm hoping to see this as wood paneling in a 70's styled doll house, or perhaps a section of hardwood floor?

The green coloured papers I'm using for this collage include recycled road maps, and circuit diagrams coloured with both crayon and paint, as well as bits of green dropcloth. I use up my green paint, crayons, and pencil crayons first out of ever set... they are always the shortest pencil or crayon in the box, so I know I use a lot of green in my work. Finding green in my dropcloths is seldom a challenge. I love all shades of green, from the lightest near-yellow to the darkest shade approaching black, and all types of green inbetween. The one exception might be a shade of teal that was trendy in the 80's that I must have some dimly remembered negative association with.

These shapes might resemble leaves, but they represent the branches on the Mother Tree in this collage. When you stand at the foot of a tree, in the tree hugging position, you have a very distorted view looking up into the branches... the trunk where you arms reach around seems huge, and the branches overhead make intesting oblong forms on many coniferous trees. I'm combining colours and papers with patterns to create visually intersting branches for this tree.

Once I have the papers for the trunk, and the papers for the branches ready, I start moving them around and combining them in different ways together and with backgrounds. I experimented with a paper bag background, but it didn't give enough contrast for the branches, so the paper bag element in these collages became a landscape.

Paper bags are some of my very favorite paper to recycle, I have so many different uses for it in my life, it seldom ends up in artwork, but as more retail stores give up plastic, I find my collection of paper bags growing, and I anticipate finding more artistic uses for them.

The sight of bare hills, denuded of their protective covering of trees, never fails to make me feel sad. Every individual tree stump brings me sadness, and the sight of an entire hillside bare of trees just breaks my heart. I was conflicted about including a sad reminder in this image, but I felt like it was an important part of the story. The paperbag landscape of a bare hillside behind the tree in this image is a sad reminder about the loss of old growth forest.

I hope these images in Tribute to the Mother Tree will server to remind people about the importance of trees, and I hope it will inspire people to protect the remaining old growth forests more diligently.

I've been reading "Finding the Mother Tree" by Suzanne Simard, and I'm so happy to know more about the lives of trees, and so sad that we are changing the tree landscape without understanding it. This seies of collages has been named a Tribute to the Mother Tree in honour of Suzanne Simard's work, and I hope it will lead people to better understand and appreciate the trees in their lives.

A Tribute to the Mother Tree, a paper collate by Andrea Goodman A Tribute to the Mother Tree Night, a paper collage by Andrea Goodman

A Tribute to the Mother Tree, and more of my collage artwork,
are available to purchase as prints through Saatchi art:
Tree Silhouettes

Artwork: Cards - Drawings - Mixed Media - Collages - New Work - Paintings

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