Deconstructed Reconstructed Retreat – Saturday Collage


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On Saturday, Jen took us through the process of creating a collage using photographs. We were asked bring some prints of our photos, or we could use one of hers. I brought some pictures taken on a trip to Florida where I visited Sea World and the Mote Marine Laboratory. Jen taught us a technique to remove the emulsion from the photograph and then add in some new color.

The one I chose to use for my collage was the flamingo – it wasn’t my favorite of my flamingo pictures, but I liked the way it turned out.

Jen provided us with a blank rectangular canvas and a large variety of papers. The collage began to take shape, with a wallpaper sample, some printed music, a floral napkin and some paper with French text. An illustration of a dancer from a vintage book was also chosen. The components were attached to the canvas with gel medium and layers of color and ink were applied.

I began to think about what I wanted to say with this piece, and I was reminded of how flamingos, although quite odd looking in some ways, are considered beautiful, elegant, and graceful. Words I never thought applied to me. But a large part of this retreat was about affirming who we were. I do have grace, elegance, charm and beauty and I will embrace those qualities in me.

When we were finished with our collages, Jen showed us how to apply a coating of beeswax. Jen’s way of teaching this retreat – leading us through the process and teaching techniques, but having us chose the style and direction we want to take, was a new experience for me. I had to find my own artistic voice. It’s still a bit soft, but getting stronger all the time.

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