On the Worktable

I’ve been working on a series of collages that are minimal. It’s been fun returning to collage, and the Monsoon Papers that slipped between shelves in the bookcase I’m unpacking have been put to good use. The collages don’t appear completely straight in these images, because the pages are slightly curled.


“Night Falls on the Mesa” (above) is a mix of Monsoon Papers and Gelli Print papers. The saturated color is unusual for me, but I like it.

When I first started making collages, I used nothing but text, numbers and diagrams in black and white. I decided to try that technique again.

collage2“The Ten Percent Truth” is a summary of my fears and doubts about flying. Travel is my way of life right now, and having been in more than one airline accident over a lifetime of travel,  I work hard to appear perfectly calm when on an airplane. Self-discipline practice is not always fun, but making this collage was.

collage1“Give Spiritual Direction” is an exploration of math, science and belief. As in the one above, there is a bit of color in the piece, to lead the eye around the elements, which include pieces from a math book, a clockwork design, and the earth showing different equinoxes. The title of the black-and-white pieces always come from print included in the piece.

These practice pieces are fun and helping me think about the structure of collage. It was David Addix (whose class I took in Tucson) who suggested filling large sketchbooks with collages to improve color and composition skills. It’s a great exercise.

-Quinn McDonald is having fun with collage while struggling with the floating paper tide in the studio.




15 thoughts on “On the Worktable

  1. sorry i didn’t know it would show you the entire page, not my best work but the ones that are what i was talking about are called Salt and scroll down more for Allegro..

    • I love the smoke ones. Nicely done! To make a long url small, go to tinyurl.com and paste it in. They make it small for you. Bitly.com works the same way, but you can track results.

  2. Thanks, Quinn. The metal pieces I would like to attach are mostly keys and old European coins. They are heavy; and the sheet music is just thin paper – 20 lb or 22 lb copy paper.

    • Your best bet then is to let a framer handle it. They can mount the paper on a substrate and the attach the keys and coins where you tell them to with a glue they will know will work. A glass frame will also hold the pieces together.

  3. Quinn, if just working with paper, what glue or adhesive do you use? If adding fabric to the mix, does that change? I’d like to play with collage!

    • My favorite glues are still PVA from Lineco. They are archival, stay flexible and I can mix in a bit of water here in Phoenix, where things dry fast. I don’t like glue sticks–have never had a lot of luck with them. For fabric-to-paper bonding, I am a big fan of fusible webbing. If you are uncertain about the result, methyl cellulose (a glue made from plants) is reversible and can be used to hold fabric to paper as well as fabric to fabric.

  4. I like your collages alot and do a little similar art. I also enjoy making collage from magazine pics using interesting pieces to form a background. then changing the colors with Photoshop Elements; you get lots of interesting things to pop out. You’ve got me real curious now about the two airline accidents you had. Please tell!

    • So you create the background first and then photograph it and then manipulate the effects in Photoshop? That sounds really interesting. About the accidents, there is not much to tell except the ending–I walked away from both of them, one of them with a broken nose. They were a long time ago, and airlines are very safe today.

  5. I am new to collage and new to your blog. I first want to thank you for your wonderful blog. It is so inspiring!!!! I hope it’s OK to ask a question here. I tried Google for an answer, but couldn’t come up with anything.
    Now that I’m so inspired, I want to make a collage attaching pieces of metal I have collected onto a large piece of sheet music that has special meaning to me. However, I think that the sheet music will probably just tear once the piece is raised vertically. (-Even if I have the sheet music dry mounted to a sturdy surface.) Do you have any suggestions for me? Although wire seems feasible, it would be less than ideal for this piece. I would DEEPLY appreciate any ideas. Thank you!!!

    • Liza–attaching paper to metal is a lot easier than attaching metal to paper. I have no idea of what kind of metal, what size the piece is (or if there is more than one piece), how flexible (or it it has holes) or the kind of paper the music is printed on. I’d have to know all that first. E6000 is a metal glue I’ve used, and they now have a spray. There is also the website http://www.thistothat.com/ which helps with glue advice. You may want to go to a really good framing company and ask them for a solution, too.

  6. i love collage! when i was a teenager-many, many years ago, i did collage right on my bedroom wall-my parents were not happy-lol. i remember saving dozens of the comics from Bazooka Joe bubble gum and just slapping them all together in a giant square. i too struggle with that paper tide-saving the little scraps/junk mail, etc because “you never know when you might want to add it someplace” i recently started doing minimal collage in a small journal-i saw a post by ihanna-i think she might have shared it from someone else… but i knew it was something i had to try-i lean towards lots of color-doodles-so much this and that and am wanting to explore “less is more” with my art. thank you for sharing~have a great dat 🙂

  7. Great pieces Quinn. I’m slowly getting more and more interested in collage. You are such an inspiration. Are you familiar with Eunice Parson? A 97 year old collage artist. I want to be like her when I grow up – still creating!

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