Home| Contact Claudia McGill | Art Gallery | Exhibit Schedule | Paper Collage Info | Acrylics, Printing, Drawing, and Other! Info | Digital Media Info| Books | Links McGill works with paper collage. Here, she explains her paper collage technique and history. Visit her online art gallery.


Paper Collage

"Early Morning Moon"


Claudia has been working in paper collage since spring, 2000. Though she was initially looking for a change from the fabric collage work she had been doing in previous years, paper collage soon became her main artistic activity. Many of the composition techniques of fabric collage translated well into paper collage, which made for an easy transition. In addition, paper has given her the freedom to experiment and try ideas that were not well-suited to fabric work.

She likes to portray landscapes; plants and flowers; city views; people walking, eating, reading; seascapes; and other images she sees in her backyard, her neighborhood, or on her travels. Some of the most ordinary scenes have made the best collages. Commuter trains, back alleys, beaches - the world is full of interesting sights.

Claudia's work also can take a more abstract turn - collage has traditionally been a good medium for symbolic, surreal, or non-representational works. One of her favorite inspirations came from a pattern for a knitted afghan. At other times she has collected material and let it form its own themes.


Paper Collage Construction Technique - Claudia Tells All!

Using acrylics, I paint acid-free white sketch paper to obtain a range of colors and textures. Tools I use in addition to the paintbrush are - sponges, combs, toothbrushes, forks, fingers! I paint, smear, spatter, scrape and scratch at the paint and paper to get a lot of interesting effects.

Once I've decided on the image I want to portray, I choose a suitably sized piece of watercolor paper and lay it on my worktable. I look through my collection of papers and set out the ones I think will work for my composition. If I need a color I don’t have, I just get out my acrylics and paint it. I like using acrylic paints for their light-fastness, their range of colors, and their versatility.

I also will use found papers - magazines, etc., on occasion, as I like the randomness of the images that occur when I cut out part of a picture or article, adding a different feel to the work.

To get started, I make a rough sketch of the major elements of my composition directly on the watercolor paper, using a pencil. I then cut or tear the pieces of paper I need and stick them in place using the acrylic matte medium.

Once I am satisfied with the picture, I go over the piece again with matte medium, making sure all paper is secure. Then I trim off any irregular pieces of paper around the edge and let the picture dry thoroughly before framing.