The Collage Composition Process

As you can see from my recent posts, my collages are often inspired by the juxtaposition of a couple of stamps that have been discovered at random while sorting through a larger batch.  By happy coincidence, they might have similar colours or other features in common that (in my head, at least!) contain the seed to grow a larger landscape.  They are only starting points, and can often digress in directions I don’t anticipate.  Sometimes the very stamps that inspired a collage don’t make it into the final piece!

It might seem like it would be easy to choose stamps of complimentary colours, stick them down , and achieve a pleasing end result.  To be fair, on one level, it absolutely is!  But believe it or not, a small A6 composition can often take me days.  For me ‘close enough’ is frequently not ‘good enough’.  I have boxes full of stamps that I have sorted by colour to use as my palette.  Sometimes I pluck out striking individual stamps or combination of stamps that seem to go well together – but finding the right blend to surround them and successfully bed them into position is a painstaking task.

My palette boxes of stamps are only very loosely grouped, and individual stamps very quickly become buried as I rifle through or add a new, freshly sorted selection.  I never know from one day to the next exactly what I will need, so it’s impossible to pre-empt & preserve all of the stamps that may one day be just the right shade or combination of shades to fill a gap in an as-yet unstarted jigsaw.

Take a look at this:2 sunset lake wip editI knew from the initial juxtaposition of the 2 central stamps from St. Vincent which overall schematic I wanted the colours to follow.  The first draft layout (above left) was actually far from a first draft and had taken hours of sorting, and switching different stamps in and out.  It did literally take days of further contemplation and re-shuffling – taking everything off and starting again more than once – to reach the final destination of the finished design (above right).

Even I was surprised when I realised quite how many (or in fact, how few) stamps from the original draft made it into the final piece!  The first draft was approximately right, and I could quite easily have stopped there.  But I’m far happier with the end collage, and glad that I took the time and effort to continue searching out just the right stamps to actualise and do justice to my initial vision.

2 sunset lake desk 2 ff edit

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