First I grabbed one of my working journals, this one being a desk calendar that's serving as my 2009 book, and opened to a two-page spread. I colored in the pages by scribbling over with markers, using my trusty silver Sharpie to free-write what I was feeling. Since I was in a funky mood, this was really jumbled - but that's okay, because it's only a base layer. (I sometimes sardonically think that collage work is the art of making beautiful backgrounds, and then covering them up - but this is a "scrambled" image to be covered :-)
Next, I pulled some images from my stash. (Note that I was working FAST for this step and the previous one - not only was I seeking mood management, but I wanted to work fast to sidestep the internal editor that was seething at the time.) I didn't find the images I'd thought I wanted, but I came up with a few pages torn from magazines, and a photocopy of a previous journal page. (I like to recycle my art by keeping photocopies and working from them in later projects.) You can the remnants of my page in the abstract background behind the figure in the upper left corner, and in the word "forever" on the right.
I took out my handy tearing ruler, which makes tears with curved edges (much better than boring straight lines) and tore the images up into rectangles. By then I had calmed down enough to lay out a pattern of the pieces on the background. Interestingly, I found that words from my pages could be patched together to make a sentence ~ I make my sketches to declare peace forever ~ a bit of found poetry. So that became my theme.
After gluing everything down, I looked again the pages. They seemed rather bland, so I grabbed some highlighter pens and started coloring in the photos. This is where the fun began! Something about adding color not only makes the pictures pop, but it also anchors the transformation of fragments into something much greater. Now, for example, when I see the forest/mountain scene in the right page center - which was originally a rather bland sepia-tone - it becomes a compelling and soothing vista that draws me in.
With the pieces glued and colored, I needed to integrate them into the page. I used some new paint pens I'd recently purchased, in metallic colors - I love metallic, and sparkle is always a good thing! I have no idea how kids actually use Elmer's squeeze pens - I've never been able to squeeze and paint with their stubby brushes. It must frustrate a lot of parents, too! I just uncapped the pen, squeezed a little paint on a tray, and used a regular brush to spread the paint between and slightly over the picture fragments. Any paint that went where I didn't want, I wiped off with a baby wipe.
My pages looked almost done, but there's always room for embellishment. My stash yielded some narrow painted strips I'd cut when trimming a previous batch of ACEOs. They fit between the cut-outs, and the colors blended perfectly - which justifies my insatiable habit of keeping every scrap! I cut and pasted the strips to fit between the picture fragments, and felt very satisfied at this unifying layer. I added the Japanese lady, a photocopy from a Tarot deck, because she seemed to go with that background, and as the Queen of Swords she's one of my personal iconic images. A bit more labelling to secure the realizations, and I'm done: back to relative mental balance again, and ready to return to my Etsy projects - I'm making Father's Day gifts and coordinated cards. Stay tuned!