Back in August, I was visiting a dear friend in Vidalia, Ga. (yes, the end of August is the ideal time to head to the Deep South!). I brought my blank sketchbook from Project Sketchbook and some pencils with me, and originally I was thinking I would work with the theme Icons. I’ve been deeply inspired by the collage artist Randel Plowman, so much so, that I started printing out thumbs of his daily collages and penciling in the underlying compositional structure.

I sketched out eight different layout wireframes for my collages, and was fully intending to use them to cut and paste various papers for a background, and then cut out a circle in the middle, inside of which I’d then draw an icon of something that picked up on the collaged papers.

Guess what? Something happened on the way. My original idea just didn’t work. It was too forced. Instead, I decided to explore the color spectrum in each collage, and try to let the papers and the process speak to me.

What I have learned—once again, I confess—is that collage is a lot harder than it looks.

But as I’ve gone along, I think I have loosened up a bit and seen each piece as a learning process.

“Clean Day” was my first collage in this series, and I learned a lot from combining a lot of different bits and pieces, including a piece of a plastic sign for the Washington Nationals. I think the lavender strip makes this piece.

“Wash Up” combines cut and paste with some mark making and image transfer.

“Business Trip” was my first foray into a narrative thread, and including photographic imagery.

“The Chicken or the 8” get me to try Plowman’s technique of printing imagery onto tracing paper to transfer onto the collage.

“Upward” explores the color yellow (and my not-so-secret life as a middle-age point guard!)

For the color purple, I used some paper scraps and pieces of paste paper I did years ago at Penland.

Exploring minimalism and the color white by combining drawing and collage.

The elements are cut from a large abstract series of charcoal marks on heavy paper. This piece was inspired by the work of Bea Mahan.