Blog #6 Painting With Paper

One fantastic way to perk up your creative energy is to approach making art in a whole new way.  Your brain can get dulled by always painting in the same old mediums that you regularly use.  So try something completely foreign and new, paint with paper.  

Using collage papers is an exciting and novel way to create a picture.  Start by using canvas boards or gallery wrapped canvases.  They make a great lightweight yet sturdy base for your painting and come in a myriad of sizes.  You can sketch your idea directly onto the canvas but be aware that it will quickly be covered up once you start glueing down your paper.  Work back to front.  Lay down your background colours first and then layer forward.  

Be sure to add glue to the front and the back of each piece of paper you are placing on your painting.  Craft sponge brushes work well to spread the glue.  An inexpensive all purpose white glue that dries clear works well once you dilute it with a bit of water.  If you are planning to create a more professional art piece there are specialty acrylic adhesives designed for collaging that won’t yellow or crack and take a finishing coat varnish well. 

Now to the fun and exciting part, the collaging papers!  Art and craft stores carry individual single sheets and entire thick pads of coloured and patterned papers.  There are lots of textures and styles available from tissue weight to construction papers in thicknesses.  

The best part is you needn’t rely on purchasing papers, you can easily create your own supply at no cost.  Your sources can come from gift bags, wrapping paper, photos, magazines, wallpaper, shelf liners, packaging, stationary, aluminum foil and used books that you may have around at home.  If you can’t obtain the patterns and colours you want create your own collage paper.  This can be achieved by hand painting various colours on white paper.  You can also design your own images and patterns on paper and photocopy them onto coloured paper in different sizes.  Dots, zig zags, circles, flowers, stars, the possibilities are endless.  Once you have your collage paper gathered assemble them into their colour categories for easy finding.  It makes it fast and easy to find the colour you need without sorting through a whole mixed up pile of paper.

You can cut the paper into the various shapes you need with scissors but I prefer the more organic look of hand torn paper.  The rustic look of tearing the paper with your fingers can really add to the collage’s overall impact.  If using a gallery wrapped canvas be sure to continue your image on its sides for a finished look. Most importantly just be sure to enjoy the process, it’s such a fun way of making art!