I decided recently to experiment with acrylic collage art. I thought that it might be entertaining to incorporate newspaper clippings into my acrylic paintings, I haven’t tried this before, at least not as a serious artistic endeavour. The last time I made a collage I was still in secondary school. Turns out that it’s great fun, I would absolutely recommend this to anyone. It also adds another dynamic to my work that appeals to me. I like to put the canvas under a lot of stress when I paint, lots of spatula scratches, scraper scrapes, splashing, paint runs, globules of paint, pretty much anything that will add another dynamic or texture to the finished piece. So incorporating collage is I suppose a naturel progression.
My Acrylic collage Technique
As usual my approach to this is a little unconventional. Most guides would tell you to start of with a clean canvas or board or whatever material you are intending to make your acrylic collage art on. But I found that this is a great way to recycle canvasses that have paintings that I am unsatisfied with, something that has become increasingly necessary as the cost of materials spirals out of control.
lots of my acrylics already have quite textured surfaces so it’s important to choose one that isn’t too rough, as this will cause problems later when you want to stick the newspaper clipping to the canvas. Once I’ve selected a suitable canvas it’s time to have a think about what I am trying to say with the picture I am embarking on. Will the collage be made up of random images and words, or will the words have some specific meaning or message that I want to convey.
Materials, I choose newspaper clippings
Once I’ve decided the direction I am going to take I will look around and see what’s available around the house that I can use to make the collage. As is clear from the finished works I have stuck exclusively with newspaper so far. This is an intentional choice on the basis that I like the texture of the paper, and also because it isn’t glossy or excessively colourful, like for example images or words cut from a magazine.
I live in Turkey so the newspapers that are easily available are in Turkish, I’ve chosen to incorporate words in both Turkish and English in my pictures so far. Although I am interested to get some newspapers in other languages with different alphabets. Farsi, Greek, Russian all of these would be appealing to me, but I think the holy grail would be some newspapers in Sinhalese as their alphabet is insanely beautiful.
At this point you’ll need to decide how you want to stick your collage pieces to the surface of your acrylic collage art. Obviously I am intentionally mixing mediums here I want to achieve the feeling of both an acrylic painting and a collage so I need to be careful about what I use to stick the paper to the painting.
Because of this I avoided using glue and opted to use the acrylic paint itself as the medium to stick the paper to the painting. I’ve used two methods to do this.
The first one (that I used with the fish panting above) was to put some acrylic paint on a plate and add a bit of water to thin it slightly, so that I have a big enough area to dip the paper in the paint and cover one side of it completely. I then just position the paper on the canvas pushing it down, pushing out any bubbles or creases in the paper. At this point if some part isn’t sticking properly you might have to peel it back slightly and add some more paint to be sure it all sticks evenly.
The second technique, which requires working quite quickly (especially if you are working in warm conditions) is to cover the entire canvas in whatever background colour or colours you are using and quickly place the paper cuttings on the canvas before the paint dries. This can be a little tricky to do it cleanly, I tend to use the top of a paint brush to push the edges down or remove creases so as not to get paint on my fingertips that will get transferred to the paper cuttings. This is the method I have used in the picture above this paragraph.
Now it’s time to add in the detail. You’ll need to wait for the paint to dry a little bit first. The safe bet is to wait overnight, however if you’re impatient like me, three hours is probably enough. How you proceed from here is of course entirely at the mercy of your artistic instinct. I have have splashed paint across the surface randomly on the fish paintings, before adding in the detail of the fish. Whereas on the faces I have chosen to encase the newspaper clippings in bold lines to map out the face of a shape.