Entries Tagged as: collage

Storytelling & Collage: A chat with Kathryn Antyr

March 17th, 2010, Comments (53)

I'm so excited to be able to share this chat with the super sweet and creative, Kathryn Antyr! I've known Kathryn through the world of blogging for some time now, but this was the first time we'd had a chance to speak. And oh, was it fun! Kathryn is bursting with wisdom and insights about the creative process and the magic of telling stories through art.

I could relate so much to her collage-making process of letting go and allowing intuitive feelings to guide the process. I loved the way she talked about using art to re-tell our stories and I also loved how Kathryn is using the Hero's Journey as a framework in her Storytelling + Collage online workshop, What a beautiful idea!

Learn more about Kathryn's beautiful process by listening in to the interview below. Click the link below to listen or right-click (ctrl-click on a Mac) to save it to your computer and listen to later.

Listen here

*Giveaway!* Kathryn has generously offered to give away one spot in her upcoming Storytelling + Collage online workshop! Leave a comment on this post by Sunday March 21st at noon EDT to enter and I'll announce the winner on Monday the 22nd. Good luck!

You can learn more about Kathryn on her blogs Collage Diva and True North Arts.You can also follow Kathryn on Twitter, @truenortharts. The collages in this post are all by Kathryn Antyr.

Thank you, Kathryn!

The giveaway is now closed! Thank you for entering! I will announce the winner tomorrow (Monday, the 22nd.)

Recycled Bits and Pieces in Art

December 11th, 2009, Comments (12)

A little sneak peek of something I've been working on for a book by arist, writer and teacher extraordinaire, Carmen Torbus, that I'll be featured in along with an amazing group of artists. So exciting! And it's so hard not to share the whole thing because I love the way it came together! But soon enough.

I share this little snippet because it fits well with the recycle theme going on this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge. In this piece and in a lot of my art, I recycle bits and pieces of paper to create the collage backgrounds for my paintings. In this small section, is a bit of to-do list stationery and some sheet music.

Where do these bits and pieces of paper come from? Well, like many creative folks, I'm a collector. I see interesting pieces of paper and I have trouble throwing them away. So, they get stored in boxes and eventually used in artwork. Sometimes I buy the scraps at fairs that sell antique goods in the summer, sometimes I trade with other artists for scraps (I loved doing this for a 6x6 collage project), and sometimes I find the bits myself in everything from my own scribbled notes, junk mail, and doodles on rice paper. My sister-in-law recently gave me a great stack of old blueprints that I adore using and my bff recently gifted me an old book of design forms. I like having the variety, so when I sit down to collage, I can pick through my supplies intuitively and use what works for me in the moment.

Sometimes it's easy to forget what we have, so it's good every so often to sort through it all. Whenever I do this, I'm always inspired by what I find and re-discover amongst the boxes. What are some of your favorite recycled goodies that you use in your artwork?

p.s. I was recently interviewed as part of the "Inspiring Women" series on the All Things Girl blog. All Things Girl is a fabulous zine filled with great articles, art, and interviews (and you can submit your artwork too!) that I highly recommend checking out!

Chairs in a Row

November 29th, 2009, Comments (24)

I traced the silhouette of this woman onto rice paper last night, but today I came back to it and traced a series of chairs, which got me all excited. Again, I collaged and painted on a 6"x6" clayboard surface, using bits from my collection, things I intuitively grabbed that seemed right in the moment. One scrap looked like it was the shape in the house, so I played with that. I had a piece of rice paper cut in the shape of a eucalyptus that I'd written on months ago, but not used in anything. It seemed like the right time to use it here. Stamps and stamped images of ferns came into play as well. Then I lay the rice paper image over it, using a soft gel medium to bring it together. I love the translucent quality of the rice paper and the way the drawings sit on top of it. I've always been a fan of layers, the way it mimics how layered things are in real life.

I'm so enjoying the rice paper at the moment. I love when a material thrills me and I know I'll be playing with it for awhile until the next medium makes me giddy. It's a good place to be, feeling the joy of materials, feeling in the flow.

I was feeling a big sluggish the last week, although I kept plodding through. Flow in creativity comes in cycles for me and I've come to accept that. Sometimes a down period means I do other things like reading or research, re-stocking the well as Julia Cameron puts it in The Artist's Way. And other times, like during Art Every Day Month, I keep plodding through, knowing that the spark will fire again, if I just keep patiently putting mark to paper. Often times, I don't think the spark has returned to me, until I've already begun, like last night, which makes me glad for those times when I kept plodding through. But other times, a break feels necessary. Neither way is wrong or right. Knowing that both ways of returning to my work can be fruitful helps me come back without judging myself in the process.

What helps you come back to your creativity after a slow period? Are there any sparks happening right now for you?

Poppy Rain

November 28th, 2009, Comments (16)

The funny thing is, I didn't feel much like making art when I got home. I was tired from a full day of traveling and from a very long week, but once again, I'm so glad I did sit down to create.

I had so much fun and things were just flowing as I played intuitively with collage, rice paper, ink, colored pencil, and paint on this 6"x6" mixed-media piece. I used a piece of clayboard as my surface (which is great for collage) and began with scraps I had handy. I randomly had the idea to trace a silhouette of a woman from an Anthropologie catalog onto rice paper along with some circles and then collage them over the collage I'd started on the clayboard. I moved things about, creating this image I was pleased with. Then I came back to it later and created the clouds with Inktense water soluble colored pencils.

I love the way it came together and how it fits my mood although I couldn't explain to you why. I think it says it visually and that's enough for me at the moment.

So glad to be home. So much to catch up on!

Stained Glass Tree

November 9th, 2009, Comments (28)

stained glass tree

Today I used a little doodle from my sketchbook as the inspiration for my art. I wasn't intending to do it like this, but when I started to work, it was like my hands just wanted to collage a paper background, so I did. The end-result reminds me a bit of stained-glass.

I'm resting up today, spending some time resting and reading mixed in with short bursts of arting and cleaning. And before it gets too dark, I'm going to get out for a stroll among the trees!

Inspired by Rumi

September 30th, 2009, Comments (15)

a crowd of sorrows, mixed media on panel, 12"x12"

I'm often inspired to create a painting when I read a poem, sometimes an image so powerfully hits me when I read a line that I just have to make it real. That happened this week with a poem by Rumi called "The Guest House."

I've read this poem many times before. I think I've even posted it here in the past, but sometimes a new reading will bring out new things. This time around, I read the poem in Martha Beck's The Joy Diet (which I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's book group.) I was sitting outside by a lake, reading the chapter on truth, when I read the poem again and I was struck by the line "a crowd of sorrows" which I immediately saw as a group of three black birds swirling in a red house.

As I wrote about yesterday, I rode the inspiration train to do some late night collaging one evening and then some late night painting after that. I felt so compelled to bring this piece to life and loved the whole process. So nice when things flow like that. The collage elements you see in the previous post are mostly covered up. I never know exactly what's going to stick around when I do a mixed-media piece, but you can see bits of it in the ground and up close the layers are lovely.

Have you been inspired by any poems lately? Have a grouping of words ever pulled you to create something tangible?

Here's the Rumi poem for your enjoyment. It's a beautiful poem that has touched me in many ways. Perhaps it will spark some creativity for you as well.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks


p.s. The original of this piece sold, but there are prints available here.

The Joy Diet – Do Nothing

September 27th, 2009, Comments (16)


I'm currently reading Martha Beck's The Joy Diet along with Jamie Ridler's online book group. I love Martha Beck's writing, particularly her books Steering by Starlight and Expecting Adam (if you enjoy audio books, I highly recommend listening to Steering by Starlight, which Beck reads), so I was super excited to hear about this choice for Jamie's book group.

The book talks about different daily practices for living a joy-filled life, each one building upon the next. The first one is to do fifteen minutes of nothing every day, which could be done through traditional sitting meditation or moving meditation, anything where you focus on stillness of the mind. Surprisingly hard to do for someone whose mind works a million miles a minute like mine does. I did a mix of sitting meditation and walking meditation throughout the week and was so glad I did. No matter what method you choose, anything that stills the mind is a good practice.

I've found that in many cases, art making is a great way to still the mind, especially when I focus on creating intuitively. So, it made total sense to collage the cover of my newest sketchbook with images of joy. I pulled images intuitively with the intention of selecting colors, textures, and pictures that spoke of joy to me. I added a little bit of glitter and paint  and voila, a joyful sketchbook to write in throughout the process of reading this book!

Sometimes just being still is fabulous, but I tend to prefer something that gets me moving physically too, like walking in nature or painting intuitively, but I'm going to keep playing with different methods and see what comes up.

Getting Unstuck – Finding Inspiration in Collage Making: Guest Post by Kathryn Antyr, True North Arts

September 18th, 2009, Comments (14)

kathryn unstuck

I find inspiration in the simple act of cutting and gluing images together to create collages. The process of creating always pulls me out of a funk and stirs within me a sense of excitement and adventure. Pictured above is a collage I made in thirty minutes by shuffling through my paper scraps and collection of ephemera. I was feeling restless and unfocused on the day I made it. I had no plans for the collage; my only goal was to see what I could throw together.

Here is a look at my process for creating collages.

1. Select your background. I often make collages in a sketch book, journal, or on a piece of cardboard.
2. Flip through magazines and any collections that you have of images and ephemera. Move quickly and grab only those images that grab you. I work intuitively throughout the entire collage process and feel more like an observer than a creator. Don't worry about the meaning of the images.
3. Cut your images out -- you may want to include some of the background or cut out images close to the edges.
4. Play with the arrangement of your various pieces. Move them around before gluing them down. Consider how the images look above, below, next to, overlapping, or peeking through other images. Notice the colors, lines, shapes, and textures. Again, I don’t get distracted by placing meaning on my images but rather think of each piece as a design element.
5. Once you’ve settled on the placement of the images glue them down. I prefer UHU glue sticks and Golden gel matt medium. There are times when I glue as I go -- I felt so daring when I did this on the collage pictured above. It kept me moving and not spending too much time over thinking the process.
6. Time for reflection. This is one of my favorite parts of creating my collages. I prop up the collage on a stand or leave it next to my spot at the kitchen table. It may be days before I get the hidden meaning in my collages.

kathryn passioncollage

Intuition and Insights

When I created the collage pictured above, I was feeling restless and seeking that glorious feeling of passion. When I set out to make the collage I didn’t have a clear idea of where I was going, I just knew I needed a creative fix. What I discovered after making the collage was one answer on how to rekindle my passion. Here is a look at how I interpret the collage:

The empty boat in the still water will not move without passion. The angels or muses are blowing to encourage movement. It is by taking steady steps each day that I find my passion (depicted as the person walking toward the flower). The passion is represented by the sunny daffodil blossom. Under the figure's left foot is the word authentic in Italian. I know that each one of us has our own unique path. We share many of the same steps but we each have our own way. After interpreting the collage I felt comforted and ready to take simple, steady steps each day to nurture my passion.

Feeling restless? Try making a collage. The process of collage is accessible to everyone whether or not you believe you are creative or an artist. The wonderful thing about collage is that anything goes. There are no hard fast rules. The results are so personal and provide an opportunity to look within.


Bio: Kathryn Antyr is a mixed media artist, educator, and Web professional. She regularly publishes creative prompts and online workshops on her blog www.TrueNorthArts.com. You can also connect with her at www.CollageDiva.com, on FaceBook and Twitter.

Seeing Yourself in the Moon

July 7th, 2009, Comments (27)

If the Moon Came to Dinner

Tonight is the Full Buck Moon and I celebrated in my favorite way by painting the moon, one of my favorite subjects. I have a couple new moon related pieces up in my art shop, including the one above, If the Moon Came to Dinner.

During the day yesterday, I was thinking about the Full Buck Moon and the Full Moon Dreamboard group that the fabulous Jamie Ridler runs on her blog (p.s. Jamie is launching a new website tomorrow with give-aways!)


Jamie's group does the Dreamboards in a collage style, which I totally love. But I've also been enjoying doing painted versions of these dreamboards lately. Above is what I did for the Full Pink Moon last month. As I pondered the Full Buck Moon this month, I started to doodle in my sketchbook and drew a woman with antlers. From the circles hanging from her antler prongs I drew circles containing the things I wanted to bring forth.

buck moon red

I took the little sketch I made yesterday and made the mixed media piece above in my art journal. The hubster fell in love with it before I finished it with the words in the circles, so I'll be handing it over to him. To finish the process, I did a second one in my art journal (below), this time writing in the words of things I want to bring into my life, expand upon, create, and grow during this full moon cycle.

buck moon blue

To play with this idea for the self theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge you could keep in mind what you want to bring into your life during this full moon cycle and then try one of these methods:

Do a collage version: Tear through magazines and pull out any image that catches your eye. Don't think about it, just go with your gut. After you've pulled a pile, look at your selections and place the images that really sing to you on a piece of paper. Arrange to your liking, glue down, and then hang your dreamboard somewhere you can see it daily.

Write it out: Sit quietly, breathe, and ponder what you'd like to bring into your life. Then pick up a pen and do 20 minutes of free writing. You could describe your ideal day as if all the things you're desiring are already in place or just write freely about all the things you're wanting to draw to you.

Mixed-media: If you do the collage version, you could take the collage you create and paint over it, letting some of it show through. You could paint additional images on top of your collaged dreamboard. You might add writing to the collage. You could collage your own painted, drawn, or hand written elements into the piece. You might simply put some writing in an envelope and attach it to your collage. Or you could create mini envelopes in the collage to place one word, such as "money", "health", or "inspiration."

Paint: With the ideas of what you want to draw to you held loosely in mind, allow yourself to paint intuitively. Let yourself go with whatever colors or images pop into your head without worry about what it means. Keep painting until you come to a natural stopping point, then step back, and see what has come up for you. Put your painted dreamboard somewhere where it can continue to inspire you throughout the month.

Make a book: Create a small book or keep a blank journal where you can paste, draw, and/or paint images of things you want to draw into your life. I keep something like this by my bed and enjoy tearing images from catalogues and magazines and pasting them in. It's very relaxing.

Make a box: Collage a box as your dreamboard with images and words. Use it to hold collage material or written bits to put in future dreamboards or art journal pages.

Have you ever used any of these ideas? What other ways can you play with the dreamboard idea?

What is that you want to bring into your life during this full moon cycle?

Art in Silence and Sound

June 9th, 2009, Comments (25)

intuitiveart eucspine

This is the latest piece I did for the intuitive painting class I took. It was a bit more time consuming than the others because before painting, I collaged the 15"x20" surface with collage. I then stenciled in the eucalyptus shape I've been working with and started exploring it's similarities to a spine shape again. I'm loving the layered look.

As it is the month of sound, I've been more aware of what the sounds that surround me each day and the things I listen to as I create. I said in this post that I'd share some of what I listen to, so I'll do that here.

In the case of the piece above, I had a Harry Potter movie on while I did the collaging part. I like to work intuitively as I collage, and having movies on will distract my talky-talky-mind enough that I can move in a different space while I work. (A new to me movie might have distracted me too much, but this one worked well.) The following day, I started working on the painting and realized in the middle of it, that I wasn't listening to anything. I usually cue up some music or a podcast to paint to, but in this case I guess I wanted silence. I put some final touches on it the next day while listening to a Craftcast podcast.

What I choose to listen to when creating, depends a great deal on what I'm working on and my mood in the moment, but if you're one who loves to have something to listen to while you work, here are some of my favorite things to work to:

Podcasts: I love me some podcasts!! Great fun, informative, often inspiring, sometimes funny. I love a good story and podcasts are a great way to hear the stories of many different people. Here's a sampling of the podcasts I've been listening to lately:

  • -NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me: Super funny and smart news/quiz show
  • -Craftcast, Crafty Pod, and Craft Sanity: Interviews with creative people in all different mediums.
  • -TED talks: Incredibly inspirational talks on a wide variety of topics (I usually have to sit down to watch these as there's a visual element to most of them.)
  • -An Illustrated Life with Danny Gregory: Interviews with illustrators whose work is in his latest book. Lots of great discussion on process.
  • -Tranquility du Jour: Interviews from yoga teacher and author, Kimberly Wilson. Check out her fabulous interviews with Goddess Leonie and Jennifer Lee.
  • (and so many more.)

Music: A wide range. I love my iTunes dj function which mixes up my music to provide such nutty combinations as: George Michael, Ani Difranco, Pearl Jam, a lesson in Greek, and Weird Al. I just looked to see what was coming up in the rotation: Counting Crows, Radiohead, Indigo Girls, and Yo-Yo Ma. Hehe.

But seriously, if you haven't checked out Pandora yet, get your butt over there now and try it. You simply type in a song or artist you enjoy listening to and it creates playlists of similar music for you. You can tell it what you like and don't like and you may find some new music there. I enjoy writing to their new age/ambient music station.

Audiobooks: A new love of mine. I'm a tad obsessed with Jim Dale's readings of the Harry Potter series. I listen to it all the time. I didn't think I'd like listening to audiobooks, as I'm not too good with audio learning, but I gave the first HP audiobook a try because my friend Jim recommended it to me (thanks, Jim!) and I got completely hooked! Maybe it helped that I'd already read the series, I'm not sure. But since then I've listened to a few more audiobooks, and enjoyed them. Martha Beck's reading of her book Steering by Starlight is particularly fantastic. 

T.V.: When I asked the question, "What do you listen to when you create?" on Twitter, a few people mentioned mindless t.v. and most seemed ashamed of it. I say, whatever works! I haven't done much creating in front of the tv lately, but there are times when I enjoy having mindless television shows on in the background. Like I mentioned before, mindless t.v. can often distract that monkey mind part of your brain, so that you can create from a more intuitive place.

Television itself isn't evil. It's all about moderation and consciously choosing what you watch. Sometimes, shows will inspire me to create. I absolutely love Project Runway for example and often draw while I watch it (it starts up again in August!) and I'm totally enjoying So You Think You Can Dance at the moment.

Silence: Sometimes, I get overloaded with sound and I need a break from it all. Even in silence there is some sound: Cars passing outside, rain tapping the windows, my cat snoring in the corner, the buzz of the fridge, the sound of a paintbrush moving across the canvas.

When I take a bath, I often bring things with me: books, sketchbook, pen, etc, but I rarely dip into them. By the time in get in the bath, all I want to do is sit in silence and soak. And that is more than enough.

If you didn't pipe in on the post where I asked about what you listen to while you create, I'd love to hear about your favorite podcasts, music, audiobooks, and shows to create to!