Fashionista Collage

  FUNKY PORTRAITS   I teach the Art of Collage to adults and teens at the Pelham Art Center in Pelham, NY. I design art projects for all the classes and workshops. Many students want to learn  figure collage so I develop projects with that theme. Students make collage with papers, explore color, design, add drawing,…

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Silvermine Guild: Fundraiser Exhibition with original, affordable small works – 4″x6″ and 10″x10″. Preview:  2/22/15 -4/28/15. Gala fundraiser Collector’s Party: Sat., 4/28/15, 5-7 pm. Tickets: Silvermine Arts Center, 1037 Silvermine Rd, New Canaan, CT 06840.  Open to the public Sun., 3/29/15, 1-5 pm.

STUDIO PEEK: a messy worktable is a work of art

In this newsletter, I’ll share images of my studio and thoughts about what’s going on – about collage chaos and a new work undone and redone.  I will tell you about the project where papers got moved and something became something else. The image below is a view of my 5′ x 3 1/2′ worktable. It looks messy but I don’t think it’s as cluttered as usual. Notice the metal palette knife, the water tubs and bottle of acrylic medium. Notice the painting on the wall beyond the worktable is a framed collage titled Green Grid. Notice tall open wood shelves on another wall with pads and papers. 


640_studio worktable painted canvas

Notice the table is covered with painters canvas. On top at the front edges is a canvas strip that looks like an abstract painting. It’s not. What you see is a barrier surface I use when I paint papers. I work with a palette knife and  push paint beyond the paper edge onto the canvas strip. Papers are typically 9″x12″ cut up from large drawing or printmaking papers. The paint marks on the canvas strip are the patterns the palette knife creates. I replace the canvas strip every month or two – especially when I want to cut it up and use it in a collage painting. Notice I’m working with the color green. Notice, the painting on the wall is painted in the same green colors you see on the canvas strip and the same colors in the paint jars.


I like to work on several projects at a time and there’s never enough space on the worktable for more than one or two projects. If I have to move anything to make space for something new, it goes on a side table so I can continue to look at it. I want to see the work every day. When I see it, ideas continue to percolate. If there’s no space on a side table, I put the project on a broad shelf under the worktable. I don’t see the work but can pull it out if I need to.

640_scattered triangles panel

The image above is a jumble of paper triangles – loose and unglued – a disorganized mess. The black painted surface you see, is a 16″x24″ wood panel underneath. The jumble was set up for a collage. It was left unglued. The collage got interrupted. I moved the wood panel to a small side table to make room on the main worktable. I thought the unfinished collage would be safe, because I placed 3 large paper pads on top. Two weeks later, when I lifted the pads, I saw every paper triangle was out of order. I had undone my collage. I never took a photo so didn’t know how to put the papers back in the same order.

640_open flat file drawer

The image above shows an open flat file drawer that sits right under my worktable. The flat files have 5 drawers. Two are filled with collage papers. Notice small sheets of hand-made papers on top of the stack with black and white (or black and gold) stripes and dots. Notice curled white canvas strips in the lower right corner. I cut up leftover unprimed canvas. I will add strips to a painting on canvas. Notice this drawer needs to be organized. It will take about an hour to sort through everything, but I’ll “discover” new collage media I didn’t remember I had.

640_papers on studio floor

The image above shows painted papers for a new collage that I painted in acrylic with a plastic palette knife. Notice how I place the painted papers onto newsprint on my studio floor. Some of the papers are still wet and sit in their own space. As I continue to paint, I move papers that are dry and place them in stacks. Notice papers are painted green, yellow, white and black. Some papers have patterns that I scratched into wet paint between paint layers. 

640_triangle grid 16x24 panel

The image above is my finished collage with triangles on 16″x24″ wood panel. It looks very different from the jumbled triangles in the image on top. I think this collage should be called “Serendipity” – it was a surprise to see the undone collage, but it gave me an opportunity to re-order the image and create something new. Collage is all about chance and change.


I like to recycle art. All the triangles in my new collage are cut from a 22″x30″ painting on paper that was stored in a flat file drawer under a stack of other works on paper – and probably 3 years old. There is no image of the painting so I can’t show you what it looked like before it turned into triangles. I didn’t like the painting, but I do like the triangle collage.  Please send you comments about recycled art. Tell me if you like the new image and the way the triangles are organized as a grid. Do you notice the triangles are set in chevron stripes?

Painted Paper Triangles and Diamonds
Typically I work with squares. Now I work with triangles. The image above is titled Metro, paper and acrylic on panel, 24″x24″ (2012). Notice there are triangles inside rectangles. Triangles are emerging.


I saw an image of an African textile with a diamond pattern in black and white that inspired the new triangle diamond series. I am intrigued with triangle patterns and love black and white. I think black and white are colors (many times I insinuate yellow into white and red into black). I think there are so many ways you can create patterns with triangles. It all depends on the shape of the triangles and how they stack.

IMAGE: 640_nikkal 1_ 11×10

The TRIANGLE DIAMOND collage above (image: 9″x10″) was the first small work in the new series, Four were exhibited at the Silvermine Galleries recently. Now they’re back in my studio and I plan to play with the design in a larger format. I will look at the small work as I create a large work. It may look different.

I need a lot of papers if I plan to work in large format. I’ve been painting papers for days. Every paper was black or white. Then, I decided to detour from  black and white to painting colors for a collage with thin diamonds. I started to paint papers in green, brown, teal blue, golden yellow, black, white and red.

IMAGE: 640_triangles diamonds canvas 24 x 24

The image above is a new finished collage with diamonds. It’s a geometric grid on 24″ x 24″ canvas made with painted papers. Notice there are triangles inside diamonds in this painting. I love the colors. It was so much fun to paint colors in layers, color over color, and scrape into the paint to create stripes and patterns. It was a challenge to place the papers on the diagonal. I didn’t lay the papers out in advance. The collage grew organically.

IMAGE close up triangles diamonds canvas

The image above is a close up of the collage and shows overlapping papers before they were glued down.

IMAGE: painted papers on the floor.

The image above shows a growing stack of painted papers on newsprint on the floor in my studio. I know I need many, many more papers.

Thank you for reading. Please email me comments and questions. I have more triangle and diamond collages in process, and will write about the work in upcoming newsletters.

Seven x Seven: Paintings, Mixed Media and Collage

Metro: blue red grey, paper collage 28″ x 44″

September 8 2014 – January 5 2015

Invitational Group Exhibition

Atrium Gallery, 4th floor

Morris County Administration and Records Building, 10 Court St., Morristown, NJ

Reception: Friday, September 19, 2014 6-8

Program Q & Q with the Artists at 7:00

The image is a large painted paper collage on paper, 28” x 44” with individual blocks in blue, red, grey, white and brown acrylic paint.







© Nancy Egol Nikkal, July 2014 • •