Monday, December 10, 2012

Answers To The Making of Collage

I'm three weeks into recovery from a second spinal surgery and I am quite and properly bored.

I have to lay down almost all the time, so it's lucky I have this i Pad to stay in touch.

I recently received a wonderful message from a reader with a lot of questions about the making of collage. I requested that she ask her questions here so that other people who have similar questions might enjoy reading the answers.

Anyone else with questions, chime in and ask now.  While i'm out of work it's the best time to ask.
In fact you'd be doing me a favor, by giving me something meaningful to write and work on.

Here are some of her questions:

"Do you combine papers of different weights, different textures, and gloss and matte papers together in the same project? (I have been trying to use similar papers together in the same project; but, find that it can be very limiting.) What magazines do you use--the ones I come across are mostly very thin and flimsy. Which glue stick do you use? I have tried several different types of glue and glue sticks and have not been completely happy with any of them. Sometimes the glue sticks leave the paper stiff and don't give a permanent hold. And, at times, other glues will buckle the paper. How do you get all of the edges of the paper glued down without getting glue smears on the top of your collage? Do you ever work with wallpaper samples and, if you do, does the glue stick work on them as well? Once the collage is finished, do you apply Mod Podge or some kind of gel medium on the top to seal the entire surface?”


1) I definitely combine different weight papers. The variety gives it a varied feel that is hard to get otherwise. 

2)  I’ve learned to stay away from magazines because of copyright issues (more on that later). I have come to rely on a color laser printer and troll the internet for copyright free images.

3)  I use regular glue stick like Avery brand in my case, and I like the “disappearing kind” that’s purple to start and dries clear.

Yes, the hold is not permanent. It varies with the weather, such that items that are mailed often arrive falling apart. 

It helps greatly to bray the images after you glue them down. From the center out I use an old tablespoon to smooth and press the paper firmly.

4)  Decoupage glue is one choice (eg Mod Podge) . It’s just watered down white school glue, so save your money there. It’s very useful if you have your collage mounted on something sturdy like wood. Our basement project re-do yield many, many collage substrates for me. I have not tried it on mat board, but have heard that mat board may also be sturdy enough for this application.

The truly major problem is that white or decoupage glue is water soluble. So any elements, eg stamps, writing, etc should be used with permanenet ink. If not the whole thing will smear and be completely ruined.

5)  The answer seems to be gel medium, I like regular, not matte or glossy, although you should experiment. It’s pricey, I’ll warn you.  So I save it for things that will travel, be on display, are being sold and things I really want to save for posterity. 

Just a quick plug for my calendars which are on sale for $25 on RedBubble.

Also coffee table book of my art is available through Blurb, but it is quite pricey (actually ridiculously pricey). I'm not sure  its worth it for 60 images. But I made it for parents and grandparents, so they'll get them from us as gifts. That is why I chose to make a larger more expensive book. If you want to check it out:


I will certainly write again before Christmas. Hope to hear more questions, especially from our recently curious reader.

I hope everyone is excited by the holiday fun (and not too bothered by the holiday hype).

Till then~
Goodnight from New York

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beautiful Fall

I  will be posting  more often and today I thought I should return to my attempt at teaching collage.

What I would like to do is see your efforts. It would be a great way to teach, to see each others art.

So I am off to find the proper tool that would allow you guys to post your art here on my blog.  But first, how many of you would post your work (collage or other medium).  I’ll only get that application  if you guys are willing to use it.

Leave me a message!

I made this as a prize for the winner of a deviantArt  contest:

Elaine Waiting
Don’t you just love those Gibson Girls? I’ve been wanting to incorporate one of them to a collage for a while now:
And who can resist Alice?

These are some more collages I have made this past week and a half while I am stuck at home. The recovery is not so bad as missing the early Fall weather!  Today I go out to see just one patient, but I’ll savor the balmy temperature and sunshine.

Good day from New York,

Monday, September 10, 2012

Slow and Steady

Remember that tortoise, who beat that hare?  They say that slow and steady wins the race. Well I’m not running a race but getting better sure feels like a long road. The good news is I am slowly but noticeably getting better.

I had surgery on my spine. Have to learn to walk all over again, what a pain! Yes there is a lot of pain too, but I’m managing it just fine.

Meanwhile, while on bed-rest or (armchair rest) I have been a busy bee. So here are my  rehabilitation efforts.

This one I made in the hospital. I always loved this baby! They are so precious together.

A Woman with Her Child

The Queen of Roses

I’ve made about 10 more since home from the hospital, but I will show you a few at a time! So you hopefully enjoy them more.
 Good-day from New York,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hello all!

I woke up in a fine mood today. My eyes opened and (temporarily) I forgot I would be in pain the moment I tried to move.

Funny thing about backs … you really take them for granted until you can’t twist your torso. You know, just reaching your arm to the side uses the lower back.

But my problem is trying to do too much.

Yes, I was warned!

And yes, I have a warden  … uh I mean uh-husband.

But laying down is booooooooooooring!

Sitting is painful, and I’m supposed to limit it to 30 minutes at a time.

How can you make a collage in 30 minutes I ask?

Well I’ve made eleven this past week.

This one I sat too long, but I absolutely looove the results. It’s an old-new thing for me.


ThenI did this on the bed  (arghhh)
in stages, so that was good

 You Are My Heaven

This is my favorite.
I made it in the hospital.


I can almost feel the terrible pain she was in at this stage in her life, but never the hopelessness or despair. That’s what took her under.

Small posts these days, just to catch you up.

Great day from New York,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Well, I just need some kind thoughts.

I am not doing well after spinal surgery.  I was hoping to be back from the hospital after one day, but had to be re-admitted. Now it's five days later ... My surgeon is  going to talk with me soon.

So I know all you guys can help with your warmth and affection. I believe  in the power of positive thinking, the forces to be harnessed in prayer, good karma and positive vibes. They are healing tools and have effected great changes in my life.

I'm too tired to say more now, but I did make two collages today. I can't post them from the hospital right now, but maybe my daughter will  post one tonight.

They are like little prayers, my collages, dreams for a better day, a more meaningful chance or conexxion.   So hope you will enjoy the little  mother with child she will post for me later.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dream Images Collage Art Redone Yet Again!

Some of my newest!  And to catch you up, I will write more this week! Many things have been happening, including near death experiences, so it will take some time to bring you up to date.
All is well, and actually better than ever, so never fear my work will be here.

Opening Night

My website has undergone quite an intensive renovation. 


I’ll also make a commitment to write more often … say once or twice a week. How often do you guys  think you want to hear from me?


Good day from New York!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Crazy Collage Materials

I’ve often been asked what I use to make my collages, maybe because most are very different from other people’s.

Here is my usual answer, and to be sure, it is the short list!

I use scrapbook paper, origami paper, tissue paper, gift-wrapping paper, cut up gift bags, greeting cards, almost anything printed.

*Maps, old shopping lists, old register receipts. Vintage stuff like that, called “ephemera.”

*Old black and white photos. Color photos that are printed off on a black and white printer looks really classic and stylish to me.

*Printer paper painted w/ acrylics, then stamped, makes patterned paper.

*Paper towels are the main paper in these two collages called  "Fear Less1 & 2.” 

Fear Less

Fear Less II

*Tissue paper is the main paper in two of my collages, one  never photographed, and one here called  “La Sirena.” 

La Sirena

*Old (or new) calendars are particularly wonderful, have many images, and from November thru January 15 are usually reasonable and then half price for the rest of the year.

*Old botany books, old anatomy studies of insects  ...   Audubon’s images are all good.
I like the insect ones for moths and butterflies (and a colorful caterpillar or two).

*Same type of books for mushroom hunters, bird watchers and all things scientific look great to me. Even graph paper changes the look of a collage quickly. What are those thingys you use to make circles in geometry class? Ah! *lightbulb goes on*  a compass, with a pencil at one end, they are fun too.

*Old album covers, sheet music.

*Postcards have nice images. Art postcards from museum sites are fabulous. For example

Museums have gift shops online, (better yet in person)  often have sizes larger than a card, but smaller than a poster. (Sites for digital collage images will be posted at a later time.)

*Photos of vases, jewelry, ribbon, lace buttons, medals also are great.

*I especially have great results with clothing tags, the paper ones are sometimes beautiful. You can check out a collage I made almost entirely of tags here [link] Some of those tags came with the fancy silk knots, the fake “gems."  Most are from the junior’s section of stores that sell fancy expensive clothing, so I get them at retailers that sell "brand names for less!”  Examples in the US are TJMaxx & Marshals. They are separate from the price tags and the shop keepers know I am helping myself to the extra tags.

*I’m not above cutting up old art books, high schools are sometimes looking to get rid of them. Libraries are also sometimes getting rid of books.


I haven’t used 3-D objects in a long time, but …

*Then there’s fun stuff like brads, eyelets, grommets, almost any stationer’s store item.  The brad was the center of the sun in a smaller never photographed piece of mine. Actual ribbon, yarn, buttons and lace, actual fabric, charms, beads, glitter & stickers.
Check out your or your friends’ children’s art supplies, or search your local craft emporium in the kids section  (near teachers supplies).

This stuff is not only fun, but usually much cheaper than paints and such! 

*Other people use tape and transfers and you can find links to tutorials on this page.

A compendium of collage resources is

Many, many artists will use mainly “found objects” but I’ll leave that blog to any of you who use them, so you can speak more fully about them.  Purses made from old vinyl records  is my favorite!

Tell me if you make collages using something new to you from this list, and send me the link to it, I’d love to see them!  

What’s more I’ll post them here! 

Goodnight from New York,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Beginning Collage (Not for Dummies) Lessons #1 Through #4

Collage is alterationmodification, or revision of images. One adapts one’s materials to suit the image in the mind’s eye.  It is this adaptation, more than the reshaping or rearrangement of paper,  that is the metamorphosis I crave. It is what I strive to create. WHY?

We, our lives, are in constant motion, but also in constant transformation.  We evolve, we seek, we find, we change what we find. 

We make seek beauty, or truth, or to express intense or ephemeral emotions. The results will therefore vary between gorgeousness and hideousness, between sumptuousness and simplicity, between meaning, and chaos. That is the transformative power of art. 
I usually don’t have a message to speak though my collage. What’s going to be hard to express in this attempt to teach collage, [and why I have avoided it thus far] is that I make what I think is “pretty” what looks “right” to me. Then I see the meanings others place on these pieces, perhaps not my intentions, but valid meanings nonetheless. 
So to fulfill the promise I made to “teach” collage:

Lesson #1  You don’t have to have a purpose to make art. It will be art if you express yourself. 

Lesson #2   All you need is paper, glue and scissors. Also something to glue them too, you can start with the back of a writing pad, the thin rigid cardboard can work well. 
Regular glue sticks are what I use. A large and small scissors is nice. I use an embroidery scissors with curved edges for fine little pieces. 
You will need materials, what kind of paper?  I would suggest you start with ordinary paper, perhaps from cards you have saved over time.  Or those little bits of wrapping paper we don’t want to throw away.  Then look at them, the colors, and start making a simple  “card” of your own. Just a small thing that no one has to see until you’re proud of it.  Later you could go to your favorite magazine, or even (gasp!) an old book, and cut out somethings that you like.

You do NOT need to draw or paint, or even handle a pencil or brush. 

Lesson #3 You CAN do this. 

If you’ve ever arranged a photo album or a done this newfangled “scrapbooking” or decorated you house you know what you like and how to arrange it to “look good."

Lesson #4   Stick to "like" at first.  
The images  just have to be attractive  to you, or mean something to you. If you like my work, and hence are reading this blog, you like “pretty” Just go with this notion and forget it’s relative “value.”
You have a creative streak, you know what you like, you know what you think is pretty, so just start. Make a background with some of the paper if you like, a bit here and a bit there, just what looks good to your eye. 

I will post my first 3 collages, so you can see what it can be like to start. 
My first three collages were done in a book.***  But you start where ever feels best. 

I don’t like these first two anymore, but I was VERY HAPPY with them at the time. That happens with old work. I did not have a sense of composition beyond what “looked good" to me. I’ve been told I learned focus and probably “composition" after a while. How did I learn these? Just by creating, I learned. SO will you.  

[By the way: The new stuff is not better, it’s just different. My friend likened it to going to a concert by your fav band, and you want them not to just play their new stuff, you want to here the oldies but goodies. It has turned out that my first pieces are  generally in the most requested. Go figure! ] 

The third one I still enjoy, and so did my husband AKA by best friend. He said, "I’d hang that on the wall if it were bigger.” So I made bigger. And those first five large ones I loved, and other people saw them and some of them liked them. Some people, I’m sure didn’t like them, but didn’t want to disappoint me. (Like my Dad didn’t know what to say, poor man!)

***I read about something called Altered Art meaning that you make art on something other than a canvas, in a book, or on an old plate, or on a piece of wood. 
       On plain paper it can be called mixed media, if you use more than paper for your materials or if you add some doodles with a pen or marker. SO doodling actually makes it sound more important! You will then become a “Mixed Media Artist” Fancy no?  The first two above I used wire, a button and a bead. I almost always doodled on my work and wrote sentences and fragments of thought. But I have the gift of gab … obviously! 

Next up: A Fuller Materials List … It’s got everything but the kitchen sink. If you’d like a breakdown of what I used here and where I got these bits and scarps, leave a comment and I will show you and tell you. 

Also leave comments with questions.  

All my best wishes  to for a creative and peaceful day.

Good”night” from New York,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dream Images Collage Art by Kanchan Mahon

Happy Valentine’s Day! 
 Today is a day for celebrating love!

 My honey took me out to dinner out at our favorite restaurant.

 Now my honey didn’t buy me diamonds (I’d rather have a good color printer!) 

 He didn’t buy me flowers (I beat him to that and bought some for myself two weeks ago.) 

 But he bought me something even better … chocolate … 

 He knows how to get to his woman’s heart: through my stomach, for sure. 

 And more importantly he knows that the way to my heart is through humor … 

 His idea of funny is to write on my blog when I’m not looking. 

 This is what he wrote when I was getting a drink:

 "FEAR ME!!!
 I am your terrible queen!!! 
Obey me or perish in my wrath!” 

His idea of a message of love for the world, is to make fun of my opinionated, stubborn, ways. 

He’s making fun of the fact that I am … well … pushy …

That I am someone who likes making the decisions …  that I like being the Queen of My Castle. 

But more than anything else, I love the man who makes silly jokes about his wife.

I love him enough to laugh at his funny and his not-so-funny jokes. 

Oh,  and if you were wondering about  the title of today’s blog post...

It’s to commemorate that today I got the url address that matches the name of the site: Dream Images.

I could not get the url for my website that I wanted because that uraddress was taken. 

But today I found out that  was available! 

So I  I just changed the url address of my website from my name

to an easier to spell alternative:  

And also I have decided to make an attempt to teach my collage techniques. I have been asked to blog about my technique. I have avoided this so far because I didn’t think I could  explain them. I thought that because  my “method” is intuitive, that it cannot be defined, and that I would not be able to explain them. But why not try?

Hope you all had a great day!

Good night from New York ~Kanchan

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fine Art America A Nice Place To Sell Prints!

Check out the coolest place to sell your prints, by far!

 I got this one comment on an art print site, about my work:

<<"Also, I've seen work like yours on exhibition before but the components of the collages are usually also created by collage artist. After having a closer look, it appears the source elements for your collages are mostly found and not created by you. Is this correct? If so, can you sell collages pieced together of other artist's work, even if you add a bit of paint to them? I'm not saying you can't, because I really don't know. I've been doing some photomontage but only using my own images. I'm curious is anyone's work can be used for work that's for resale. Or, did you paint the images within the collages? Or, get them from public domain sources?”>>

Of course I answered him "Yes, You are correct about my materials" and "Yes, You can sell them", and "I use only copyright free images." But my point is what a cool way to ask a tough question!

He never actually says “All you do is glue them together, right? Will people buy that? Are you allowed to do that?”  

I love it!

I don’t know, I thought you’d get a kick out of it, though!

An Offering 

Blue Iris


Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams




Stone Angel


Goodnight from New York,