Seagull collage

Lately, Harry and I have been learning to paint with scissors; practising our collaging skills inspired not only by historical greats like Matisse, but also contemporary artists like the amazing Clover Robin.  I’ve always loved collaging, but previously have stuck to snipping up magazines and printed papers.  This time, we decided to paint our own papers to use as materials, ready to take on a half-term break to the Cornish coast last week.  I had visions of us sitting on windswept beaches, staring at the ocean in inspired awe and busily glue-sticking some Magnificent Art.  The reality was a bit different but it was still ENORMOUS fun 🙂

This is a collaborative collage entitled ‘Everything Harry Ate for Breakfast at the All-Inclusive Buffet’.  I say collaborative because Harry did all the eating and I did all the collaging.  Next time we are definitely swapping.

Everything we ate for Breakfast On Holiday collage

To make our papers we used acrylic paints and mixed them straight onto the paper, using any implement we could think of (paintbrushes, toothbrushes, forks, Brillo-pads…) to make textures and marks…

collaging with tissue collaging papers II Collaging papers IMG_5783We placed some of the sheets in a box and flicked them with diluted paint to create patterns and spatter and give interesting textures to sea, sky and sand;


And then once dried, I packed them into a simple plastic file binder so we could flip through and choose the colours we wanted once we had a collage idea in mind.


Once we got to Cornwall, my first inspiration came within minutes of us checking in (to the wonderful Hotel Tresanton); this bowl of pears on the windowsill became a 10 minute simple collage that gave them a rather Japanese, minimalist spin;

IMG_5889_2pears in a bowl

Harry produced a gorgeous seascape of the beach and harbour walls… IMG_6025_2


The next day we travelled to my spiritual home St Ives and spent a day ambling around galleries and basking in the early summer sun on the beach.  We watched numerous unwitting families being targeted by the enormous, canny seagulls that would swoop down out of nowhere and steal pasties and sandwiches, inspiring my next collage; a beast of a bird seen from below!


I used an old map I’ve whitewashed for the base, and then cut up that day’s newspaper and daubed some white paint in rough strokes to make up the wingspan.  Later, I overlaid the completed gull onto another background I’d painted to backlight him against the sky..

gullySeagull collage

We love our new hobby, and it’s very addictive.  Do give it a whirl (brilliant fun with small people, and also without!).  A few extra hints and tips..

  • If you’re painting sheets of paper to use, tape them down with masking tape first and they’ll dry flat even if they pucker up when wet
  • Posca pens are great for marking features (like the hems on my napkin in the pear picture, and yellow speckles on the pears)
  • Gluesticks are great for kids; I also used gel medium on the gull picture which is great for heavier/thicker papers and very forgiving to use
  • I bought us each one of these ‘sketchbooks‘ for our holiday; the sheets are board-thickness and designed for oil paints so are immune to curling, and also have a lovely linen-like weave to them
  • Be prepared for a sea of snippings and some mess in the process!  And don’t collage in bed.  Take it from me; those tiny snippets of paper are extremely sharp.


p.s.  Collaging from the archives here and here

p.p.s.  thank you for the wonderful comments on the last post of our Harry Potter buildings; we positively glowed with pride for weeks 🙂

p.p.s. normal blogging services now resumed after our break..

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