Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about my work and process that I’ve encountered through the years.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me.
1. Where did you come up with this process?
My artistic process of combining collage, paint, and resin is a culmination of years of exploration and experimentation as well as lots of helpful critique and suggestions from other professional artists. I never would have developed this one-of-kind style without a lot of failure and a lot of help! Sometimes I look back at my art career and wonder with amazement at how I ever came up with something like this, but when I start to review my educational background, training and personality, it starts to make sense. The “look” I’ve created using these elements continues to change each year with each group of paintings I do, and I suppose that as I continue to explore new mediums and new ideas, my process will continue to develop. For more information about each step of my artistic process, click here.
2. Why do you use a collage background base for your work?
I began painting landscape and still life imagery in elementary school under the tutelage of a private , watercolor teacher. By the time I finished my education at IWU, I was pretty good at painting the world around me, but I found it oddly dissatisfying. My paintings were missing something, and that is when I started including collage materials in the backgrounds of my paintings. This completed the story I wanted to tell with the imagery I loved. Many painters use colors, techniques, and other ways to include themselves in their paintings, and I have chosen to use collage elements made of text, imagery, and pattern. The resulting combination of landscape painting and textural background is my attempt to visually express the act of looking out into the world with our eyes and our brain’s response to what we see as we recall memory, create associations, and experience the scene .
3. How do you pick your collage materials?
When I pick a landscape image to paint, I find that including collage materials either found on site or discovered in my research, enriches my experience with the scene. The places that I visit and decide to paint always have a personal connection to me, so I will often also include text and imagery related to my thoughts, feelings, and memories at these places. These elements are either selected from my personal collage library, handwritten or drawn, or found via Internet or other physical resources like magazines, books, and ephemera (aka…trash).
Many times, I start with historically related materials and then move to collecting collage materials on a more personal level and many times, these connections become fun associations for me, almost like the game of ten words.
4. How do you adhere the collage?
I adhere the collage materials using a mixture of water and an acrylic medium called heavy gel matte medium. I brush this thin liquid on both sides of each, individual collage element, place it on the gessoed panel and then brush more of my mixture on top of the piece to remove air pockets and bubbles. Once each piece is placed where I want it, I let the collage background dry and then seal the whole surface with a clear gesso product that not only protects the collage elements in my background but also gives me a much more absorbent surface upon which to paint.
5. Do you paint in the studio or do you paint outside?
I’ve experimented with both painting processes and find that I have more success painting back in my studio. As I’m out and about, I’ll take my camera with me to take photos of the landscapes that appeal to me and then I bring those images back into the studio, print the desired compositions and use these photos as reference for my creations. I do find that I have to enhance and alter the colors in the photograph to capture the true essence of the scene I saw with my own eyes, but to me, this is a minor negative, to the many problems I’ve had trying to paint outside—dried out acrylics, wind knocking down the easel, constantly changing scenery, and of course…..mosquitoes and bugs! I love nature, but I prefer to keep it separate from my painting experience.
6. What is epoxy resin?
Epoxy resin is a two-part plastic polymer that is used as a finishing agent for art, jewelry, furniture, etc. It comes in liquid form, must be stirred, poured on the art, and then it will harden and cure over the next 24-48 hours. There are many different grades of epoxy and it has just started to become popular in the art world in the last couple of decades. To be honest, I had never heard of it until I graduated from college. The resin I use for my artwork is UV tested and resists the typical yellow-aging process common among lower grade epoxies. Not only does epoxy add an additional layer of reflection to my work, it helps to preserve and protect the fragile layers of paper underneath the layers of acrylic paint. Another thing I love about resin is that if it does become damaged, it can be easily repaired by putting an additional coat of resin on the surface.
For more information about the specific resin I use, please click here.
7. Will your work last? Is it archival?
The collage adherence process I use has been time-tested as archival by professional collage artist throughout the years. The additional layer of resin will further protect my paintings and make them more “handle-friendly” for generations, allowing collectors to enjoy a normally very fragile art process without “kid-gloves.” As stated in the previous FAQ, the resin I use is a high-level art grade resin resistant to yellowing. As with any resinned products, you will want to follow the general advice of keeping the artwork out of continuous, intense sunlight as this will cause aging to occur.
8. How do you figure out your pricing?
I use a square inch formula based upon estimated material costs and time. As material costs fluctuate, I do have to make adjustments to my formula, but I’ve been working at the same hourly rate for years and I don’t plan on changing that. I have found this to be the easiest and most effective way to provide clients with a well-priced product while allowing me to be a responsible business owner in making sure that I’m balancing the bottom line at the end of the year.
For a list of standard sizes and prices, please contact me.
9. Do you do commissions?
Yes, I do. In fact, about half of my work during the year consists of commissioned pieces. I welcome just about any commission project a client presents to me because I find it challenging and exciting! For more information about my commission process, please click here.