#ToolsofMyTrade // Collaging Supplies

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I literally write the same Instagram direct message (DM) response at least 9 times a week. I'm thrilled that my growing Instagram tribe is interested in what I use to make my art and as always, I'm happy to share. Instead of scrolling through my DMs each time to copy and paste that same response, I'll share all of my favorite collaging supplies here on my blog. Yep, I have one of those. You're reading it now. I hope you check back in daily to see what's new. Also THANK YOU.

My intentions with collage are two fold: to share my ideas and to push the medium forward, innovating where I can. Collage is probably one of the most acessible art mediums around. Not much is rneeded - paper, paste, scissors - but every professional artist has his, her, they favorite types of paper, paste and scissors.

Arriving at my favorites only took one thing: experimentation. Lots and lots of experiments until I found what felt good in my hands and against my skin. I encourage you to do the same because your hands are different and your tastes are unique. Do what works for you in all things.

Here's my list of favorite collaging supplies. And yes, these links are affiliate links but if you've been hanging out with my on Instagram Stories for a while you know I LOVE these products and use them in almost all of my studio time sessions. Also, affiliate links don't add to your cost. If you buy any or all of these supplies, a few pennies are saved somewhere in the Amazon ether for me to buy...yep you guess it: MORE ART SUPPLIES! LOL. It's a total win win and a very low cost way to support us artists. So thank you and keep reading for my favorite collaging supplies.

PAPER AND OTHER SURFACES
Paper is the main surface I work on but I also like wood and canvas. And for the record you can collage on anything. I once saw an original Kerry James Marshall at the MET in NYC and he painted on an old lether bagFor the paper surfaces, I tend to gravitate to heavy coldpress watercolor paper (140 lb) like Arches and Fabriano. I'm working on a few pieces now in the studio and am wishing for even heavier paper (300 lb). I buy large sheets 22 x 30 and fold and ripe by hand to make smaller pieces of paper. 

Arches Cold Press Watercolor paper (140 lb and 300 lb)
Fabriano Cold Press Watercolor paper (140 lb and 300 lb)

And if you're wondering if hotpress would be a better option you're probably right becuase it's smoother, but I like texture so coldrepss it is for me. But here is what I recommend on the hot press end.

Arches Hot Press Watercolor paper (140 lb
Fabriano Hot Press Watercolor paper (140 lb and 300 lb)


I also use Strathmore mixed media paper (smooth) and coldpress watercolor paper various sizes. Watercolor blocks that need to be separated with a paletter knife FRUSTRATE me to no end. I use them but will be pahsing theme out of my practice in lieu of loose sheets of paper.

Strathmore Cold Press Watercolor paper (9 x 12 inches and 11 x 14 inches)
Strathmore Mixed Media paper (9 x 12 inches and 11 x 14 inches)

I stretch my own canvases and buy premade ones. I'm partial to gallery wrapped canvases with 1.5 to 2 inch pocket depth for my paintings but for collaging the 3/4 inch ones are perfectly fine.

Art Alternatives canvas (8 x 10 inches9 x 12 inches11 x 14 inches, and 16 x 20)

Wood panels are becoming a new fav of mine mainly because the experience of using a brayer and gel mediums on wood is just DELICIOUS!  I only use gel medium on wood. I apply thick coats to both the source material and the surface and finish everything off with a final coat of medium. The whole process is messy and fun! The medium dries clear so no need to worry. I suggest getting a mix of shapes - squares and rectangles - so that you can play around with your collage's composition.

Cradle wood panels (11 x 14 inches12 x 12 inches, and  24 x 24 inches)

PASTE AND ADHESIVES
For my small (11 x 14 inches and smaller) paper pieces I use glue sticks. YAY. UHU is my favorite!!!! And yes, all of those !!! are necessary. I started using this brand after I heard artist Anthony Zinonos on the Art for Ear podcast. I have way too may tubes in all the sizes.

UHU glue stick also known as BAE.

For larger works and when I am using heavier paper or material, I use Golden gel medium (both matte and gloss). Some other options include ModPodge and Tacky Glue (Tacky is good for fabrics). 

Golden Gel Matte Medium
Golden Gel Gloss Medium
ModPodge Matte
ModPodge Gloss
Tacky Glue


Oh and this one thing will change the game for you if  you're into pasting paper like I am. It certainly changed the game for me. Get you a BRAYER! Printmakers usually use them but these are wonderful for smoothing paste paper onto your surfaces. I started using a brayer after I saw my art mentor Romare Bearden using one. 

Speedball Brayer also known as OTHER BAE.

And If you're making collages (paper on paper) to sell or give away, keep your work tidy with plastic gloves from the dollar store. Thank me later.

CUTTING TOOLS
I have two pairs of my favorite scissors and will be buying a 3rd very soon. They fit my small hands perfectly. 

Ek Tools Scissors
Self-Healing Cutting Mat (don't want to ruin your good wood or marble tables? Get one of these)

I've most recently gotten back into the straight Xacto knife for cutting after being crazy in love with this little cutting knif that wraps around my finger. For cutting off unwanted edges, you will need a metal ruler. I have two.

Xacto Knife
Fiskars Fingertip Craft Knife
Metal ruler


SOURCE MATERIAL
As you grow in your art practice and make the leap from hobby to professional if that's your desire, you start to want and need more quality images. Of course, present-day magazines are good to cut up, but the paper quality of some of the vintage magazines are the BEST. The paper is heavier and the inks tend not to smudge as much when using gel medium.

So my favortite contemporary source materials are basically any and every magazine I can find. I especially love fashion and lifestyle magazines - Vogue, Galmour, Bon Appétit - because the paper quality is usually good and you can find cool colors and textures from all the fashions.

My vintage favorites are of course Ebony, Essence, Jet and National Geographic. I also love old dictionaries and science books.

I gel alot of my source materials from open source and copyright free (or undetermined) archives like the ones held at NY Public Library and National Archives. I also scour thrift stores, tag sales, estate sales and hit up my sweet friends and friends of friends for old magazines.. If you or your mama have a stash of old Ebony magazine please let me know I will pay for shipping. **hugs and hi5s**

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Do you collage? Do you have favorite art supplies? Please share in the comments and let me know what you're currently using or if you have any burning questions about my art practice and favorite collaging supplies. I'm always happy to share.

in love and art,
christa

you have what you're ready to have

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You have what you're ready to have. These are the words that floated through my mind while working earlier today in my home studio. On the one hand, I'm like crap that's not nice. I want and deserve more for myself, my art practice and business. Why can't I have all that I want now, like right now. Why aren't the invitations to show my work near and far rolling in? Why isn't my studio bursting with the energy of happy artist assistants. Why am I not on a call right now with Ava talking art direction for her newest super secret film? Bih where's my check!?

On the other hand, I'm like oh yeah that sounds about right. Those are some of the truest words I've ever heard becuase If I'm being really honest with myself, I'm not quit ready. Am I getting ready? YES. But right now though, I'm content. I'm letting these words - you have what you're ready to have -  compel me to sink deeply into my art practice, my ideas, the genius within me, and be my companion as I ready myself for more. 

in love and art,
cd

image: june's collage of the month: "i will not give up ever"

harmony over balance

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Balance is a myth. Aiming for balance is a surefire way to feel like a perpetual loser because there just aren't that many hours in the day to check off all the life-domain boxes.

Every day (or evening prior to the day if I'm lucky) I make my schedule in hopes of striking the right balance of personal and art making/art business tasks and every day, I miss the mark. I end up either soaking up way too much self-care (mid-day masks on the 'gram) or falling back into my over-caffeinated workaholic ways (the effing nerve of me).

Most days, the intense hour-by-hour planning and scheduling is a fail and quite frankly not compatible with the life I want.

If balance is your mark. You will miss it. Every, Single. Time. 

Life is way too big, beautiful and messy for balance. 

Aim for harmony.

Harmony is better and it allows for way more mid-day skin-care masks.

in love and art, 

cd

I Left New York City for Atlanta

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Cats out the bag. I left New York City for Atlanta.

Although my move officially happened a couple of months ago, It still really feels a bit unreal. I still kind of feel like I’m away house-sitting for a friend of a friend and that I’ll be back in New York City complaining about alternate-side-of-the-street parking or the shit show that is the MTA any minute now.

Needless to say, I miss New York City. But, Atlanta is home for now.

I’m settling in and getting used to all the friggin’ amenities in my apartment complex (side note: these amenities - parking spot, salt water pool, gym, washer and dryer in my apartment - are really basic for Atlanta but for a New Yorker they equal UPGRADE BIH).

No, but seriously. I left New York City for Atlanta because math.

I quit my six-figure salary day job back in September 2016 and commenced living a wonderfully abundant and stress-free life full of traveling, collaborating, and making art. Things were good. But some days, I still found myself on edge and anxious about the money draining out of my bank account each month to cover my $1835 monthly rent plus other expenses totaling around $3000 a month (basically, I don’t make a full-time living selling art...someday...but not today). Thankfully, my public health research, evaluation, and planning reputation keeps a steady hum of clients and contracts in my inbox so had I chosen to stay in NYC I’m sure I would have been fine. But still, math and my sanity.

I honestly wanted more for myself and my art practice. I knew I needed more breathing room physically and metaphorically to expand my art practice and my thoughts about what’s possible for me in and through my art and my business. I didn’t want to waste my life minutes anxious about next month’s rent or falling back into my workaholic ways with all the public health client working coming my way.

I wanted simplicity, ease, and peace.

So I left New York City for Atlanta.

Atlanta isn’t perfect and truthfully, I probably won’t be here long but for now, it’s home. It’s peaceful. I have space (like 2 bedrooms + 2 bathrooms + a friggin’ laundry room! +  an outside of the home studio now). And, most importantly, it costs less to live here. There’s less financial burden and psychological burden. I’m no longer anxious about the rent. I have a manageable load of public health client work that takes up 10-15 hours a week and that covers my entire life and then some. I can make my art in peace and in community (more on my outside of the house studio later).

I have no idea what the future holds here in Atlanta, but I’m wide open and ready to see what unfolds.

Wanna see my new place? Come on over to Instagram. Hit the “home” circle in my Highlights.

In art and love,
cd

Instant Art Collection

Buying art can be a bit scary.

Which piece should I get?

Which size?

Where will I hang it?

Will it go with my couch?

YIKES

If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions whilst scrolling through your favorite artist’s Instagram feed or her website, then fret not. I’ve got you.

I’ve taken the guess work out of starting and growing your art collection.  I’ve bundled together some of my favorite collage prints into instant art collections! Buy one or all of these collections and create the perfect vignette in your bedroom, your hallway, or over your couch!

You can’t go wrong with these art collections. I promise.



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Don’t forget, the sale BIG ART PRINT sale ends TONIGHT at 11:59pm EST. Get $15 OFF EACH AND EVERY ART PRINT including all sizes! Woot woot! I'm so happy for you and your walls!

Use code ARTPRINTLOVE at checkout.

  
in love and art,
cd

Wangechi Mutu

I can't get enough of Wangechi Mutu's artwork and her words. Her collage paintings are not only fantastical and visually explosive in that what-is-she-thinking-about and how-she-do-that-kind-of ways, but they are replete with symbols representing wealth, consumption, colonization, globalism and eroticisim of the Black female body, just to name a few.  

The female form and femininity looms large in Wangechi's work. She says she's committed her life with talking about herself and women who look like her. Women, for Wangechi, are magnificent, mysterious and powerful. I second all of that.

To learn more about Wangechi Mutu, I suggest watching this (long and rich) or this (short and sweet). To see more of her work, do check out her incredibly creative website

Like these artists spotlights? Do check out the archives <<CLICK HERE>>

in love and art,
cd

Two Speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You Should Hear

I wanted to continue the conversation we started in yesterday's Sunday Summary No. 15 about being emotionally and mentally prepared to leap from your day job into your dream day job. I wanted to emphasize my point about getting clear on your relationship with your current job before deciding to leave it. I wanted to remind you to spend some time this week thinking about whether your day job is an escape, and excuse or an exit strategy?

But you can also just watch the replay.

And then join me in listening to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preaching and speaking truth to power today. Here are two speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. you should hear.

Martin Luther King Speaks! Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution 

"And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution" - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., "What Is Your Life's Blueprint?

"You have a responsibility to seek to make your nation a better nation in which to live. You have a responsibility to seek to make life better for everybody. And so you must be involved in the struggle for freedom and justice." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

in love and art,
cd

Friday Favorites // Walls of Art

I live for good walls of art. I have a few mini galleries throughout my apartment and just LOVE the pops of color here and there. There are no hard and fast rules for creating these walls of art and if there are rules you have my permission to ignore them because 1) it's your art and 2) they're your wall.  Do what you want. Arrange and rearrange until your heart's content.

8 crush-worthy walls of art 

My Pinterest boards are bursting with walls of art. Come see then go hang some art. Need some help starting your own art collection? Well here's a FREE guide to help you - A Beginner's Guide to Collecting Art.

in love and art,
cd

 

Carmen Herrera

Sometimes a whole industry can be so focused on one thing that it completely ignores the other equally important things happening at the same time. What Cuban artist Carmen Herrera was doing the 1950s was one of those important things.

Abstract Expressionists artists like Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning with their bold, brazen and expressive styles ruled the day. Carmen Herrera offered something much different - a highly distilled form of abstraction that focused on a limited color palette and tightly controlled composition. As she has explained, “I had to forget about the trimmings and go to the core of things.”

When you put it all together - her superior but not popular painting style plus being a woman plus being an immigrant and when you put that all together - it’s no guessing why she was overlooked. Damn you sexism, racism and xenophobia. 

Carmen Herrera resisted though. She kept painting. She stayed true to her vision and love of the straight line.

She’s 101 years old now and her artwork is finally getting the focused attention it deserves. I’m super grateful to have seen her work up close at the Whitney Museum a few months ago. The show closed two days ago.

Carmen Herrera created much of the work exhibited in Lines of Sight, between the years of 1948-1978 (a mere 30 years). While an impressive show, it’s a very limited one. Carmen Herrera has painted for over 70 years and this particular show captures only a sliver of that. I left the show wanting to see so much more. I have new found respect for the straight line thanks to Carmen Herrera. 

I managed to snap a few shots of the work right before my camera died but you can header to the Whitney Museum’s website to feast on more of Carmen Herrera’s work and hear more from the artist herself in the film The 100 Years Show. Enjoy! #fineartforeveryone

Artist: Carmen Herrera b. 1915 Havana, Cuba (she currently lives and works in NYC)
Medium: Acrylic paint mostly
Thoughts from the artists: “
Fun fact: Carmen sold her first painting at age 89!

Want to learn some inexpensive ways to see and buy art? Check out A Beginner's Guide to Collecting Art. It's FREE. 

in art and love,
cd