Consider acrylic paint a valuable tool when you want to edit an existing collage.
In collage, paper is intoxicating. But sometimes a purely paper layer gets too complicated visually. You look at an old piece and feel disappointed. Simpler shapes, different colors, perhaps these could make your meaning clearer? When that happens, get out your acrylics, and take some risks to transform the base layer.
Create transparencies. Many acrylics, especially the quinacridones, are transparent. Thin them with fluid or gloss medium. The resulting colors can transform your collage while letting underlying elements glow through. Start with a small area, and then extend the effect if you like what it’s doing for the piece.
Obscure and simplify. Reduce visual complexity with opaque colors. Solid colors create new shapes and can change the visual emphasis. They remove distraction and introduce broad strokes that create new areas and directional cues for the viewer’s eye.
Work back in. While acrylics are wet, scribble back in to create new spontaneous writing. Or wipe the paint back to reveal lower layers of collage. You can also sand dry paint, which makes for an interesting, aged look. Check out Jane Davies’ blog to see this technique on a bold scale.
Add texture. Apply paint with stamps and stencils to create new elements and texture. You can also create actual texture by altering your paints. Mix your color into a textured grounds from the art store. Or make your own by mixing gel medium and color with small quantities of sand, coffee grounds, thread snippets, or shredded paper.
Collage is a journey of layers. Be bold. Take risks. Let go, and see what happens.
Here’s how I reworked one older piece.:
Have you ever substantially reworked a piece? Do you have before and after pictures? I’d love to see them.