Creativity Workshop: Beyond the Brush Responses

Together We Blossom
by Joyce Heuman Kramer

In the April 2009 issue of Watercolor Artist magazine, collage artist Joyce Gabiou challenged readers to go “Beyond the Brush” with her Creativity Workshop column. “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,” she said. Readers responded with a flood of gorgeous watermedia collages.

The competition was thick, but we are now pleased to announce that artist Joyce Heuman Kramer of Cortez, Colorado was selected as the winner of our prize for her painting, Together We Blossom (above). Of the work, Kramer remarks, “I began by doing a rough sketch of the subject that I wanted to depict. The only fixed element in the painting was the subject; this particular painting is about two bluebirds beneath a peach blossom tree. Allowing the paint to move on a wet surface to begin, I let the colors flow, keeping a relationship to the tree and bluebirds. Using materials I have collected at garage sales, thrift stores and from around my home, I applied the textures to the wet paint and lifted them off as the paint dried. Some of the materials I used were mesh, lace, buttons, stamps, string, cellophane, wood, packing materials and cloth. What a wonderful way to recycle, don’t you think?”

Our runners up for this challenge include Margo Voermans, Mary Johnson, and Grace Rankin, whose paintings and thoughts appear below. Congratulations to all of our remarkable Creativity Workshop artists. Keep the paint–and the fun–flowing!

Margo Voermans

Reading Joyce Gabiou’s article was perfect timing in several ways. I had just visited with Stanley Grosse and had fallen in love with his collages. His talent and imagination are remarkable. Gabiou’s challenge fit right in with my desire to create a collage. Shortly after reading this article, I helped organize an annual “Paint Out” weekend with a group of fellow artists. I suggested we accept her challenge and make collage the thrust of our creative weekend. We arrived with various papers, found items,  unconventional tools and failed watercolor paintings, and began to collage. I had recently spent time in China and was excited to use some of the found objects I had brought back with me. I combined them with my memories and the result was my collage,  On the River Li.

Mary Johnson

Originally I began painting realistic watercolor, which I enjoyed, but I was never quite satisfied with the completed composition. After taking a workshop in watercolor abstract collage I was hooked–it was like I was a child again, enjoying the process and just having fun painting. Most of my collage watercolors abstracts incorporate a center object (usually flowers as in Pansy) using a light path, collage pieces and paint to lead the viewer’s eye to that object. I have taught several workshops using this technique and everyone is always amazed at how much fun painting with collage can be.

Walls of Antiquity III by Grace Rankin

Try It!
Send us your Creativity Workshop Activity for a chance to win your shot at the prize. Send a JPEG image (with a resolution of 72 dpi) of your watermedia painting to To see the latest Creativity Workshop Activities and a gallery of reader responses, click here.

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