Collage With Images and Words

In Best Version (mixed media collage, 11-7⁄8×11-7⁄8), Kilian pays ironic homage to American artists of midcentury: Alex Katz, Larry Rivers and Jim Dine, who often repeated and erased images. For this triptych she used acrylics and water-soluble wax pastels.

Some collagists combine images and words to make statements that couldn’t be made by either images or words alone. For Kitty Kilian, a former journalist, words are the starting point. “Well-captured descriptions of feelings that I’ve read or overheard can stay with me for weeks,” she says. “If I love a quotation enough, I want to illustrate it.”

Kilian’s Materials
Plywood; hand stamps; archival copies of photographs
Golden polymer medium and varnish (matte)
Ara artist’s acrylics
Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Aquarelle water-soluble wax pastels and acrylics

To begin the process of collage, Kilian sands and applies gesso to a piece of plywood (on both sides to prevent warping) and then applies archival copies of photos (old portraits or recent pictures she’s taken herself, often modified in Photoshop) using acrylic medium as the adhesive. Kilian then adds color with Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Aquarelle water-soluble wax pastels and/or acrylic paint. Her last step is to apply a coat of acrylic varnish over the piece.

Collage Workshop Video Previews
Click here for a preview of Step-by-Step Guide to Acrylic Collage with Merle Rosen.
Click here for a preview of Paper Collage Techniques with Nita Leland.

Collage Instruction Books
Take a peek at Creative Collage Techniques by Nita Leland and Virginia Lee Williams.
Check out Collage Discovery Workshop by Claudine Hellmuth.

Jonathan Talbot has exhibited his work at the National Academy and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; he has represented the United States overseas in exhibitions sponsored by the State Department and the Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of Collage: A New Approach. To order a copy of that book and to see more of his work, visit his website at



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