Collaged Vision Board – Christmas

This collage started with the dog with the plaid bandana. Then, it grew with Christmas images.

The more it grew, the more I realized I was creating a vision board of my perfect Christmas.

It might be in England. It might be in New England.

But, next Christmas (2021), I want to spend the holidays in one of those two places.

Size: 8.5″ x 11″ 

Materials: Poster board, torn magazine images, Yes Paste

Find Your Quiet Place – Torn-Paper Collage

If you sense turbulence around the edges of this collage, you’re right. It was one of those days when the world seemed to tilt just enough to feel off-balance. A day when I should stop following the daily headlines, and just find my “quiet place.”

And so I did, in this collage.

The word “welcome” and the lighthouse are about that sense of calm. For me, New England and the beach – or at least a view of the ocean – give me a sense of stability and… well, the word I’d use is “limitless.”

That’s a feeling of space. The wide-open space I need to rediscover – and be – myself. The bracing salt air, the choppy waves in the distance, and the comfort of seagulls walking alongside me.

It’s where I feel most at home.

The images in this collage are also about textures and contrasts and variety. I drew some vertical lines for a sense of stability. And, of course, the words “keep calm” were a good message, if only to myself.

In the current series, this was the first collage that I actually signed. It was the one where I realized I’m creating art, here.

Size: 8.5″ x 11″

Materials: Poster board, torn magazine images and text, Yes Paste, metallic markers (for the lines).

Where We Grew Up – Collage About Our Roots

In this collage, “where we grew up” isn’t just about place. It’s more about the happy, fantasy worlds we escaped to in our childhood.

For me, that was fairy tales. I probably read every Andrew Lang fairy tale book… all the colors. And then discovered “A Wrinkle in Time,” and so on.

Those are the realms of my childhood. It’s where I escaped to, when things at home were dark and scary.

In my mind, books were my real home. They’re where magic happened. Where wishes came true. Where anything was possible.

Today, I’m realizing the importance of embracing that same sense of wonder and optimism.

So, this collage is simple. It references childhood, the pursuit of adventure, fairy tale castles, and more.

I look at it regularly, to remind myself what’s important.

Size: 8.5″ x 11″

Materials: Poster board, torn magazine images and text, and Yes Paste

More Than Just Vision – Hope, A Collage

This collage is about hope.

It’s about moving away from the serious, black-and-white life of the past. Embracing the full spectrum of experience that awaits us in the sunlight. Choosing the pigments – the colors – we want to use in our everyday lives. Rediscovering whimsy, and fun… just for the sake of fun.

It’s a simple collage in some ways, but multi-layered in others.

The imagery should speak for itself.

Size: 8.5″ x 11″

Materials: Poster board, torn magazine images and text, and Yes Paste.


Dream – Just Keep Going – Torn-Paper Collage

This is one of my simplest collages so far. It may also have the clearest message.

We may be in the middle of a move to a new apartment. I’m not sure. It’s a distraction I’d rather not have, right now, but it seems like the season for sweeping changes. (But really, I’d rather not move right now. Except for new – and noisy-at-night – overhead neighbors, we’ve liked living where we are.)

When I wake up each morning, whether I’m refreshed or didn’t get enough sleep, I’m telling myself to just keep going. Trust that things will go as they’re supposed to. Trust that what’s ahead – no matter what it is – is the best for us.

I’m determined to be strong. I’m determined to hold onto my dreams with both hands, firmly.

That’s simple and complex at the same time.

The lower part of the collage is about nature and, in some ways, the past. The jewelry can be viewed one of two ways: Either it’s a path that’s splitting, or it’s two paths now merging towards a single goal.

And, of course, the words and the woman’s image are about confidence.

Size: 8.5″ x 11″

Materials: Poster board, torn magazine images and text, and Yes Paste.

No Boundaries – Collage About Increasing Confidence

In a way, this collage is a logical extension of my work from the previous day. (Looking Forward and then A New Start)

Yes, I deliberately chose images of confident women of color.

There is a nod to tradition – the marble supports at the upper left – and the boundaries we’re moving beyond, represented by the red, wooden elements in the lower half of the collage.

“No Boundaries” and “Growing Strong” are self-explanatory. That’s where we’re going, now.

The blue elements support the line, “Discover the new rules.” (After all, there will be rules. The difference is: we’ll be choosing them.)

The pear…? I have no idea why it makes sense to me, but there it is.

I really like this torn-paper collage.

[NOTE: A couple of faint vertical lines on the image are from the scanner. The original art does not have those lines and it wasn’t damaged. I’ll replace this with a photo, later. Right now, I’m catching up, adding my past art to this website.]

Size: 8.5″ x 11″

Materials: Poster board, torn magazine images and text, Yes Paste.

A New Start – Art Journaling Collage

Today’s collage was part of a gradual process. Suddenly, I saw more of myself – my internal messaging – in my collages.

Apparently, my collages – at least some of them – are a form of art journaling. (Others are simply whimsy. Or inspiration, depending on what sparked the piece.)

In this one, I see some of what’s been on my mind.

That’s how it is, with many of my collages: When I step back and look at them, I realize they’re sort of a message to myself.

In this case I was processing a harsh reality. Several friendships, and even some family connections, had changed over the past year or so.

Things that were said – or actions that spoke far louder than words – drove a wedge between us. I’m not sure that was an overnight thing.

I think those divisions have been rooted in politics. Not necessarily that we disagreed about candidates. Often, we didn’t.

During 2020, many of us struggled with the ongoing stress of what seemed to be an ever-widening gap between us and others. Adding physical distance as we’ve mostly stayed at home,  some relationships just didn’t hold up.

I’m mourning that, when there seems to be nothing I can do. But processing this through art, I’m (gradually) accepting that each of us have chosen our respective paths. I like to think they’re rooted in authenticity, and – in the future – we’ll find ways to connect again.

So, after thinking about it for a few days, I choose to see the silver lining. A fresh start is opening to us, now. What’s important is how we use that energy.

Some things must be left behind. (And, admittedly, some needed a more obvious nudge.)

Much around us feels a little unstable. Not drifting, but more in “free form” mode.

What will we choose? How will we model our future?

It’s part of the process, and I’m stepping up as myself. As an artist. As someone who cares deeply about others, advocates for inclusion, and makes authenticity – with all its facets – a priority.

This feels a little uncertain. Perhaps that’s what the Manolo (shoe, upside down) is about. There’s no way I could walk in that shoe – at any angle – and feel natural in it.

The trees are definitely about nature, and the blue is the beach. That’s where I’ve always felt most comfortable.

Later, I may see more in this collage. After all, it was assembled impulsively. Intuitively.

For now, I feel a little uncertain but also affirmed as I look at it.

Looking Forward – Collage About Uncertainty

This is the first of two collages I created, realizing the uncertain path ahead.

Living in the U.S., where we’re not sure what may happen between now and the upcoming change in government, anxiety is reasonable.

For this piece, I chose images that reflect the light and dark elements of this process. Perhaps it was a way of venting – and releasing – the stress of this in-between moment.

I’m choosing to look forward. To find myself… my own ideas, and how I can (literally) realize them, myself.

But, in this work, the past, the darkness, and the fears are on display.

The original piece is 8.5″ x 11″ on poster board.

Materials: poster board, torn magazine pages, Yes Paste, metallic gold marker (lines)


Dreaming a Story – Torn-Paper Collage

It started with the word “Dreaming,” a mixed teal rectangle, an aerial view of a New England town, and a woman’s pensive expression… mostly her eyes. This was my first collage (of three) today.

Next, I found the words “A Story” and then “worth telling, worth finding.”

I feel as if each has an important story – and probably many of them – worth telling. And, in old journals and blog posts, many of more stories are worth finding.

They’re the patchwork of our lives, in a way.

In this collage, I worked with color and some imagery, such as the sailboat. In a way, it reminded me of the boats that take us to Neverland, in Disney’s Peter Pan attraction. But it’s also a reference to lazy sailing days, as well as yacht races and salt spray, with the wind in your sails.

At the lower left, it seemed important to keep the church visible. Spiritual anchors are important in life, and a church can be so very… well, inspiring, calming, and insightful.

To balance the collage, I drew some gold lines with a metallic marker.

And yes, I did reposition some of the images, so you may see a few lichen-like lines, here and there.

Materials: torn magazine pages, Yes paste, Sunshilor metallic gold marker, on 9″ x 12″ acid-free lightweight card stock.

Click here to see all of my recent collages

When We’re Ready – Torn Paper Collage

Color, unity, and contrast… those were the elements that attracted me as I created this torn-paper collage. It was my second collage of the day.

Shades of blue – especially leaning towards teal – have always been my color “comfort zone.” And, as someone with auburn hair, I’ve always liked the contrast. Blue and orange/brown, opposite on the color wheel, can bring out the best of each other.

I chose a simple, almost minimalist composition. Many of my collages are far more complex.

The figure represents strength, even as she stands alone and in toe shoes (ballet).

I feel as if she’s poised, surveying what’s in front of her, preparing for her next powerful step forward. It’s that time that many of us experience. Not quite hibernation or as subdued as we may appear, but simply regrouping, internally.

Then – when we’re ready – we emerge. At that point, it’s our game.

And that’s her story in this collage.

Materials: torn magazine pages and Yes paste on 9″ x 12″ acid-free lightweight card stock.

Click here to see all of my recent collages

We Are / Enough – Torn Paper Collage

When I saw the magazine photo of the woman walking away, and she was in a fairly empty landscape, it spoke to me about the role of women… and gender issues, in general. The sometimes-solitude of labels and compartmentalization, whether it’s by appearance, gender, age, race, accent, or whatever.

From there, I built out this collage with images that are somber and restrained. They reflect the tidy, muted ideals some aspired to in past generations: There. Decorative. Perhaps useful. Seen-but-not-heard.

I added a brighter, more colorful sky that keeps her moving forward. Things are improving, if just a little at a time.

The text images can be viewed two ways. That’s deliberate.

It could be “We Are Enough.”

Or, it could be “We Are,” and, as an afterthought, “Enough.” (As in: we shouldn’t have to be, do, or say any more than “we are.”)

This was my third collage of the day, and it may be the most cryptic of the three… even to me.

Materials: Torn magazine images and Yes paste on 9″ x 12″ acid-free card stock.

Click here to see all of my recent collages

She’s Back – Torn Paper Collage

Sometimes, plans go awry. This collage… Well, it was intended as an 8″ x 10″ work, so the support I started with was 8.5″ x 11″.

But, as I kept working, it grew.

The collage elements include images leftover from yesterday’s piece (Resilient collage), especially the balcony photo at the far left of this piece. I like that nod to elegance and tradition.

The woman at the top of the art is Sharon Stone. Her comment about roles for women – that they’re aren’t any between ages 40 and 60 – resonated with me. Ageism continues to thrive, as do labels, especially for women. That 40-to-60 age can be especially troublesome.

(I see the recent raves about how great/young Selma Hayek looks in a swimsuit, at age 53, and wonder, “Yes, she looks great, but are we defining ‘beauty’ as ‘looks like she’s 30’? and why is her age part of the headline? Why not say ‘Selma Hayek Has Style’ and leave it at that?”)

So, the “you’re READY” phrase and “She’s back” are about rebellion against compartmentalization – by age, race, gender, and so on.

The elevator buttons reference rising up.

The image of the woman at the lower left is deliberately torn, as all of us try to navigate a challenging time. Right now (January 2021), I think so many people are confused and somewhat overwhelmed, compartmentalizing is even easier. It’s a way to put people into categories instead of finding time to understand them as individuals.

What’s resulting is a fractured society, defined by labels that can separate us.

And then there’s how the collage spilled off the lower edge of the support. In a way, that’s part of the artistic message, as well. It was unintended, but… well, many of us are “playing it by ear” right now. If the results aren’t tidy, at least they’re authentic.

Materials: torn images from magazines, Yes paste, and a poster board support.

This photo shows my worktable, with cotton swabs for applying small bits of adhesive, my Speedball brayer for smoothing each piece as its applied, the collage (on a kitchen cutting board I like for collage work), and my reading glasses for seeing details.