In an effort to share, explore and expand upon the myriad studio practices found here at ISACA, please consider using this forum to post images and descriptions of the process you use to create your collage and assemblage work. 

Additive, subtractive, virtual, what does your process look like?

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 I was looking at Pigtail cap posted by Ken Coleman.  Ken, I really like the "softness" of this piece and wonder how you got that effect.  

Ken Coleman, Pigtail Cap, January 13, 2012

I took the liberty to copy the file and post it here for the sake of aiding your response Ken, hope you don't mind!

Agreed Diane, it has a beautifully smooth transition, of color. Did you use a wash? It looks like it was a wet into wet application of color.


No wet color here. I think the transition and softness you’re talking about come from using PanPastel on a very old paper. The starting point was gluing down a piece of ledger paper then working the PanPastel from the lower right corner upward and outward. Everthing else went on top, more-or-less. Does that make sense?
Here are notes on the piece.
Somehow I wish it was more mysterious. Now I feel so revealed, so exposed, so . . . naked.

Are Pan pastels regular pastels? This is a good explanation Ken and how lucky to have the old ledger paper. I also like the composition of this. Composition is some thing I have a hard time with.

PanPastel is a brand name. The pastel is, as far as I can tell, compressed powder very much like a makeup compact. It even comes in a small plastic "pan" and is applied with a sponge or piece of dense foam. Great for putting down large areas of color but not so great for detail.



Thanks for the comment about composition. I struggle with it, too. The trap that I put myself in is that I often work on background sort of as an end to itself. Bad. I end up with great backgrounds but then worry about what to put on it, afterall, I don’t want to mess it up. I should be working the whole piece at once and let the background evolve as it needs to to help harmonize the piece. Or, maybe there's no "background" at all.

When I look at your work, it seems you do a much better job at that. Many of your pieces, like Playing Games,  End It, and Faceless Society Undone have a very painterly qualitiy that I admire. Can you talk a little bit about how you achieve that?

Ken, I think we both have the same issue. Many times I start with the background and then don't want to mess it up. That is a trap because it limits our ability to "play'. I have done my best pieces when I had no fear of messing up . Mistakes have often added a lot to a piece and sent it off in a different direction.

 Playing Games sat for months. I stained and painted papers to construct the islands, which were pasted on a painted background.  The ship is a transfer as are the star chart pieces. I then added the children and then it sat. It was no way pulled together,I even thought about cutting it into three individual pieces. I happened upon the image of the "man" used photoshop on the image and used it to pull the piece together with the line and the balls. Much of the original background then got painted over again using waterbased oils and light molding paste. I also use stain to create shadow but not much on this piece. Playing Games for me is a statement of an enviroment that is in danger and the politicians well they are playing games. 

End it was another this isn't working story.It was a construct then take apart process. much of that background is paint skin which happened as I was taking it apart. I saved all the paint skin pieces and reglued them to the piece. The only way I could pull the piece together was with the  transfer over it. I also used stain on this piece to give it a more cohesive look.

 I was not happy at all with the first Faceless Socity , it looked too flat and I did not like the compostion.On this one to change it I added molding paste , paint and transfer. The flower is transfer to which I also added paint and again used stain for depth. I'm still not sure about that one and the issue for me is composition. I use my fingers alot to blend the paint and move it over the images, many times putting it on and then taking it off, trying to merge the image into the background.

 What I have in my head never seems to be what comes out on the canvas.  There are many here with interesting work, would love to hear from you on your process.

Diane Dellicarpini, Playing Games

Diane Dellicarpini, End It

Diane Dellicarpini, Faceless Society

I love the details in your explanations, Diane. Thanks.

What's the stain you're using?

It is an ink stain , comes in a pad form.AgainI use my fingers to rub on and wipe off. It is called Distress ink.

Ahh, OK. I think I have some of that. But it's in a small applicator type bottles. The couple that I picked up to try are pretty dark colors. I never had much luck with it. Maybe I need to wipe on and wipe off more. Rub it in.  Build up layers.  Maybe lighter colors work better . . . ?

Thanks for the info.

Diane Dellicarpini said:

It is an ink stain , comes in a pad form.AgainI use my fingers to rub on and wipe off. It is called Distress ink.

Ken, it gets really dark on paper that isn't sealed. I use it over paint or over pieces that have been coated with gel medium.

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