Creativity Workshop: Beyond the Brush

Global Awareness by Joyce Gabiou

Ever since Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque used torn wallpaper and scraps of paper on canvas in the early 1900s, artists have been drawn to do likewise with their paintings. From Picasso to more contemporary talents such as Robert Rauschenberg, artists have long reached beyond the brush to express themselves. I began my artistic career as a colorist in watercolor, but I started adding a little collage to my nonobjective watercolors about 10 years ago. Initially, I wanted variety in my work; then I fell in love with textures. Today I enjoy using drybrush techniques over textured formats.

Collage artists love to collect all sorts of papers, and I’m no exception. It helps to be open to chaos and not worry about being neat. Simply laying out papers that mix and match can easily lead to a collage. When you’re ready to begin adding elements of collage to your watermedia paintings, visit your local craft or art store to see the lovely rice papers available. That alone can get the creative juices flowing.

If you feel timid about adding collage at first, add a little transparent rice paper to your watercolors with matte medium. I like to cover and strengthen dull areas of a watercolor or acrylic composition with collage papers. Sometimes paint alone just won’t do the job. From there, it will be easy to add other elements, such as found objects. You can also paint over collaged areas, creating layers and depth. No matter what you do, have fun with it. Enjoy a lighthearted approach to your artwork and fuel your creativity. 

Joyce Gabiou is a collage artist from Jacksonville, Florida.  Read her online article, “A Passion for Painting,” by clicking here.

Try It!
After experimenting with composition and value in simple collages, go beyond the brush and try your hand at incorporating collage into your watermedia paintings. Affix collage papers to your painting with gel or liquid matte medium. Get together with your painting group or complete the Creativity Workshop Activity on your own. Send a JPEG (with a resolution of 72 dpi) of your painting to with Creativity Workshop in the subject line. We’ll publish entries on our website and one entrant will receive a gift certificate worth $100 to North Light art books. The deadline for entry is April 20, 2009. See the winners of previous Creativity Workshops and read the stories behind the paintings by clicking here.



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