Art 2 – Collage painting ideas – due 9/11


At the following 2 sites – focus on:

A. the transformation and creation of meaning when two images are merged or juxtaposed


B. the painterly use of color and “atmospheric”, ethereal effects as a means to an emotion laden style.

I. Collages by Richard Russell:

Under artwork menu – choose “Clumpositions”

II. Prints using collages by Robin McClosky:

Under images, look at the  three groups – Ocean City, Sequoia Sempivirens, and Baylands

In your comments, post observations, ideas, and conclusions about the use of juxtaposition and  the metamorphosis of imagery and the painterly use of color to convey emotion.

Choose a favorite by Russell and one by McClosky.  Explain why you find each compelling in terms of subject, style (use of media and materials), and content (meaning.)

Also, use the video below to watch a composition develop:

And for some more inspiration:


6 responses »

  1. For the collage painting by Russell, my favorite is the one called “Family Tree”. In this collage painting, there are some branches of a tree with many leaves and seeds on it. But by observing in detail, there are many little babies inside the seeds. And those little babies bend their knees sleeping so peacefully. The position seems like they are still inside their mothers’ belly before the born. This painting impressed me a lot. Russell connects the human life—the babies before born with the natural world.
    As for McClosky’s, I really like the one called “Lifeboat”. In this painting, there are a little girl sitting inside the boat and a woman outside the boat looking at the boat. As the title inspired, I notice the woman must be the little girl’s mother, and also this painting represents strong and selfless love by a mother. Under the protection of mother, her child is able to sit on the boat so safely. However, for herself, she just stands outside in order to keep all the danger from her child. That’s what all the mothers do. Besides, McClosky also creates a background that makes me moved. For the whole painting, the bottom and the top are in black color; yet, the color that around the mother and her daughter is so light and warm. This makes a really good contrast of the dangerous world and warm mother’s love.

    • Your comments illustrate nicely the links between the symbol, subject, and style. The colors, placement, simplification of form and background, with enriched color, support the emotional message of the piece that you read so well.

  2. My favorite collage painting is information Changes Everything by J. Phoenix Campbell. The collage is filled with images of street signs in the background and in front of that background are two people that look like they are from a comic book. I found it really interesting that the women in the collage is wearing an american flag mask. The design kind of reminds me of World War 2 propaganda in a way. The man in the collage is very interesting to me. he seems to have more of a sinister look inhis face compared to the women but when I look closely at the man, I saw a speech bubble that said trust me. I am very curious to find out what that means and how it relates to the rest of the collage. My thought is that the man is trying to scam someone on the street or something along those lines. I guess that could relate to the street signs but I am not sure.

    • Collage invites viewer participation through juxtaposition of images that are not normally found together. You have some good insights and he may want the meaning to be suggestive of several possibilties rather than fixed. What was your favorite of McClosky’s work?

  3. My favorite by Russel is Hemmed Fell. The background is notebook paper, featuring a yellow lily with an arm for a stem, and a leg arranged in such a way that I mistook it for a bird at first (that or my glasses need a new prescription). It reminds me of a plant sketch in an old field guide, and I particularly like the way the human appendages are blended with the plant so you forget they don’t belong there. The stem arm is reaching for something, and at the top closest to the lily there’s a face looking in the same direction as the arm, with a panicked expression. Perhaps the lily is consuming the person and they’re trying to escape. My favorite by Robin McCloskey is Passage,which has a partially submerged swing set and a boat, on a shore where it’s difficult to tell where the water ends and land begins. The swing is in the water, and the boat is on land, so neither are where they’re supposed to be. I like how the collage pieces are so well blended it looks like a painting rather then separate ideas sharing a canvas.

    • I love that surprise that happens when you look at an image and all of a sudden you see it as something else. It makes the art alive. McClosky excells at that painterly blending of imagery and atmosphere and consequently her work is quite expressive.

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