Minimalist Art: Collaging With Painted Paper | Jennifer Daily | Skillshare

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Minimalist Art: Collaging With Painted Paper

teacher avatar Jennifer Daily, fine artist | quiet seeker | enneagram 9

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project Overview

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Choosing a Color Palette

    • 5. Mixing & Painting: Color #1

    • 6. Mixing & Painting: Color #2

    • 7. Setting Up Your Workspace

    • 8. Collaging Pt. 1

    • 9. Collaging Pt. 2

    • 10. Finishing Touches

    • 11. Final Thoughts

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About This Class


Have you ever wanted to learn how to create fine art collage? Or have you tried collage before and been frustrated by wrinkles, buckling, and having your work fall apart once its dry?

Then join me in my studio as I teach you how to create minimalist collage from hand-painted paper. From painting the paper to completing your own finished works of art, you’ll learn techniques that make collaging fun, easy, and successful. You don't need to have any prior artistic experience to take this class. Here are a couple of things you will learn:

  • How to choose a color palette for your art
  • My favorite materials for successful collaging
  • How to paint a supply of paper for use in this project and future projects
  • How to avoid common collaging issues with my techniques
  • Two different methods for designing your artwork layout

Once you get started with painting paper and collaging, you might not want to stop. I've taught this class to adults and young children - both artists and self-proclaimed non-creatives. The thing that I hear over and over is how fun and easy it is to make something cool with these techniques. And once you learn them you can go on to create all sorts of mixed media projects, sketchbooks or greeting cards. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Jennifer Daily

fine artist | quiet seeker | enneagram 9


Hello, friends. I'm Jennifer Daily, a fine artist living in the beautiful San Francisco East Bay. I create mixed media abstract paintings and collages from the cozy studio in my backyard, amidst the general chaos of family life. I have really enjoyed learning new art practices from the other teachers on Skillshare, and am so excited to share some of my favorite techniques and skills. To keep up with what i'm working on in my own studio, follow me on Instagram.


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1. Introduction: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Minimalist Art: Collaging with Painted Paper. My name is Jennifer Daily, I'm a mixed media artist from the San Francisco Bay Area. Today I want to share with you my love for painted paper. Whenever I'm working on a new project, whether it's a series of small collages or a large mixed media piece, I always start my creative process by hand painting a batch of paper. Not only do I love this method as a way to explore new colors and new color combinations, but I love the satisfaction of putting together bold designs really quickly and easily. In this class, I'm going to teach you how to choose a thoughtful color palette, how to create hand painted papers that work beautifully for collage, and how to assemble your collage using my foolproof technique. You'll see why I love working with hand painted paper and how my technique removes many of the frustrations you may have had with collage in the past. Honestly, these methods are so fun and easy, that this class is perfect for serious artists and non-artists alike. By the end of this class, you will have created a pair of painted paper collages that are ready to frame and hang on your wall. I think you're going to love working with these methods because they are so fun and the results are incredibly satisfying. Let's get started. 2. Project Overview: Today we are creating a minimalist work of art on watercolor paper, using special painted paper that we will paint ourselves. I chose this project because it is so easy to create. Even beginners or people who have claimed to have no artistic talent, have created these with me. I've been impressed by how much fun they have and how satisfying the results are. I'll be going through the process step by step as I show you how I create my painted papers and then my collages. You'll be able to work right along with me, and by the end of this video, your first two collages will be complete. Be sure to share them in the class project section, because I'd love to see what you create. Now before you begin, make sure you have a good amount of space to spread out in. We're going to be making quite a few sheets of paper and they each need a spot to dry. I usually just spread mine out on the floor, so if that's your plan, make sure your space is reasonably safe from pets and kids. In the next video, we'll go over the materials you'll need for our project. A couple of them are super important, so join me there. 3. Materials: Let's take a look at the materials we're going to use in today's project. I'll show you the exact supplies that I like to use, as well as a couple of substitutions in case you don't have these things on hand. Let's talk for a minute about the materials we're going to need for today's project. The most important thing that you need to find is some Deli paper. It's also called dry waxed paper and it's the paper that you would use if you're going to go grab a doughnut out of the doughnut case. What makes it special is that it's so thin, it's like tissue paper, it just disappears into your substrate when your collaging with it. But it's actually really resilient because it's been magically injected with a little bit of wax. If you can't find any deli paper which is available on Amazon or at restaurants supply shops, if you can't find any, you can go ahead and substitute tissue paper, like gift wrap tissue paper. It's just going to take a little extra work on your part, but we'll get into that later. The next thing you're going to need is some palette. I have cafeteria tray here aligned with some paper towel and a piece of deli paper. But you can just use any palette that you have around even an old paper plate will do. Next, I have this catalyst silicon wedge. This is one of my favorite tools to use for a lot of different things. For today's project we would be using it to spread paint. Now, you definitely don't need anything this fancy. Another good substitute to use would be an old credit card or an old gift card, just something with a flat, clean edge to spread paint with. If you don't have anything like that, you can also just use a wide paintbrush. But the paintbrush puts the paint on rather thick, I definitely prefer using something with a hard edge. Also grab a palette knife, hopefully a nice clean one, we're going to use it first to mix paint and then later to spread our glue. As for paint any kind of acrylic paint will do, whether you use a high-quality artist paint or just a really cheap craft paint, as long as it's fairly fluid, you're going to be fine. I have a bottle of black and white,and then the three primary colors red, yellow, and blue. That's going to allow me to mix the widest variety of colors. After that we've just got a plane all pair of scissors, and a few extra pieces of paper towel. This is a bowl of clean water. The other really important material that you should have is matte medium. This is by Golden, it's definitely my favorite. Matte medium is basically a fancy glue. But what is special about this is that it dries completely matte. So there's no evidence of glue left on your collage when you're done, there's no shine, there's no gloves, nothing. If you don't have matte medium, you can get by with gloss medium or gel medium, it's just not going to dry quite as clean. As far as the paper we're going to collage onto, something thick is best. This is just some generic watercolor paper. There's nothing special about it, I just happened to have a huge stack laying around. If you don't have watercolor paper, anything that's nice and thick will do. This is cut to about six by nine inches. But you can really use any size you want this just feels like a nice manageable size to me. Last but not least, you want to have an old magazine. I've got a couple of tricks that we're going to use this magazine for, just make sure it's old and you do not care if it really gets messed up. Once you've gathered your materials, we can move on to choosing a color palette. 4. Choosing a Color Palette: Let's talk for a minute about choosing a color palette. Sometimes when I come into the studio, I know exactly what I want to make. But most of the time, I have no idea. I find it really intimidating just to sit down to a blank canvas or a blank piece of paper, it's much easier to find some inspiration from another source. So if I'm trying to pick a color palette, first thing I do is just grab an old magazine and flip through until I find a page that has something that appeals to me. Doesn't really matter what it is, but I just keep going, see, I really like the neutral flesh tone with this emerald green. So that might be a color palette that I would work with for the day. It's as easy as that. So if you have an idea of what colors you want to work with today, that's great. Use that, but if you don't take a minute and go through your magazine, see I like this one too. This pink with this dark chocolatey brown and this is really white neutral color, love that too. So that's a really great trick for getting started when you have no idea what you want to do. I pulled this photo out earlier. I really like the softness of this color palette, I like this soft orange and this soft cool blue color. So when you pull out your photo, just identify two, maybe three colors that you want to try and mix today. I'm going to try this orange and this blue. Note that I said try because mixing colors is really an art form all into itself. So we might not be a 100 percent successful in mixing our colors to match exactly what we've been inspired by. That's totally okay. A lot of the times, my favorite colors are the ones that are an accident. They don't look anything like the color I had tried to mix. So we're all about happy accidents happening along the way. So grab your magazine, pick out a page, pick a couple of colors, and I'll see you in the next video. 5. Mixing & Painting: Color #1: Let's go ahead and mix our first color. I'm going to take my inspiration page here and try to mix this peachy salmon color. I might not get very close but that is totally fine. So I'm going start with a little cadmium yellow here. This is my red, it's alizarin. It's a little more subdued than a bright red. It works well for me because I tend to use more subdued colors. All right, so we've mixed those two and see where we're at. That's a pretty color. It's way more orange than my sample. So I'll keep adding this red, a little bit goes a long way. So just the tiniest bit changes this quite a bit, a little bit more and then we have a color that is so saturated. I'm going to go ahead and add just a tiniest bit of blue. They'll bring that color down. That's pretty. Let's just take that for our first page. So I'm going to grab my daily paper. I ended up cutting mine into quarter size sheets only because it fits better in my demo space here to show you guys. Normally, I would just work on a full size sheet. So I've also put down this piece of cardboard because my work table is really bumpy and it's hard to get a smooth application of paint on a bumpy table. So then I just take my flat edge, I've got my catalyst wedge here and scoop up a little bit of paint and then wipe it on to my paper. All right, so when I look at that color, that's way more vibrant and way more yellow than I thought it was going to be. But that's fine. It's a pretty color. We'll just set it aside and go again. I can add a little more red. All right, and that was so vibrant. I'm going to add a little more blue and then we'll lighten it up with some white. So now I've got a more neutral tone here. That's really pretty. I love to use neutrals in my work and then there's some leftover paint on my wedge here. So we'll put that back in and I'm just going to scoop it up. Not being too careful about it. That's pretty, that's still more yellow than I want it to be. So keep adding some pink. But the idea here is that we're making variations of a color. I'd have one inspiration color and I'm just mixing more and more shades that are similar to it, but not quite the same. So when we go to make our collage will have a lot of choices of colors that go together but are not the same. This one, I think is going to be pretty close to my inspiration color. What do you think? It's getting closer. What it doesn't have is that softness that I loved about the first one. So I'm just going to add a lot of white and make a really light variation of this color. I still got a bunch of paint on here. Watch what happens. It made a pretty interesting striated pattern here. So I like that. I think that's cool. I don't know if I'll use it, but it's good to have options and I couldn't have created that if I had tried and then add a little more pink, it's still not quite as rosy as I want it to be. So I'll just keep going. So far I've got four different sheets of colors that I can use in my collage later. Oh, that's pretty All right, that's really pretty. It's a lighter than my inspiration, but it's definitely in the right color family. I'm starting to run out of places to put my paper. So I'll just make a couple more. [AUDIO] I would like them to have a few more neutral choices. Throw some blue in there. When you have all three of your primary colors mixed together, you start to get a brownish Grey color. So this will look really pretty with the orange sheets that I've made because it has the orange color in there. It's just a more neutral version. Okay, scoop that up. You can see this whole time I'm really just playing with color. I'm not trying to control it too much and when I'm done, I'm going to have such a variety to work with. Let's make one more that's even more neutral and I'm about out of paint on my palette here with this original color. So that's more white and I've got just enough to make one more piece. That's pretty. All right. When we look at these side-by-side, you can see here's the very first sheet I made. They're all related, but they're all a little bit different. So that's going to come in handy when it comes time to collage. Go ahead and make as many sheets of this color as you want, six, seven. I've got seven of mine. If you want to start over with a clean palette, you can do that or I'll probably just make a little room over here to mix my second color and I'll see you in the next video. 6. Mixing & Painting: Color #2: Now we're ready to go ahead and mix our second color. I'm looking at my inspiration photo again, and I'm going to try to mix some light, really purply blues, maybe even make the sky blue color. I'm not going to use a lot of white, but I'll start with this blue here and add a little bit of my Alizarin to it, to make it a little more purpley and just little bit of yellow. I want to make sure that I have all three of the primary colors in there a little bit, just so that it will relate to the first color that I made. Let's just add a bunch of white in there and see what happens. That's actually a pretty nice purply color. I'll grab some of that to make my first sheet. It's a way more purple than my inspiration photo, you can see when I hold them next to each other how purple that looks. But that's totally fine. Again, we're just experimenting with color so whatever happens along the way is absolutely fine. I'll put some more blue in there. This time we're going to make some variations on that purply color. Then add a little bit of black to it. Let's try this one. That's still pretty purply too. Let's add some yellow just for variety, this is bringing it into that more neutral zone. That one's really pretty. Spreading it nice and thin on my paper, I like that a lot. You can see that compared to my original piece, they're similar. They're going to go well together, but there's still a bit different. I want to remind anyone who is using tissue paper instead of daily paper that after you've gone through and made these beautiful colored papers, you want to let them dry, and then you want to turn them over and do another coat of paint on the backside and it doesn't need to be a color. You could just do white, but we need that extra layer of paint on the back to make that tissue paper more durable. That's the nice thing about this. The daily paper it's already durable. Those of us working on daily paper are just going to do the one coat on the front and call it done. I've got four sheets already of this color. Can keep playing around just to see what I can make. Adding some black here is going to make this much more subdued. Now I'm getting just really crazy adding a little bit of everything. But because we still have some of the color we've been working with on the palette, it's all going to relate. Now we have this nice steel gray color and mixed with what was left on my wedge. We've got some cool striation happening. I'm happy with these six pieces of blue painted daily paper. What I want to do before I finish up this second color is make sure I have one sheet that's really dark, and then another sheet that's just plain white. I think I'll do the plain white first. I always like to have a sheet of plain white and a sheet of really dark because it's nice to have some contrast in your collage. It's not that I have a plan for the light or the dark, but I do have enough experience to know that I often wanted some plain white on this sheet, and then sometimes I'll just make a sheet of black. But black doesn't really go with the vibe of this color palette inspiration. I am going to put quite a bit of black in there just to get it darker, but this is going to be definitely just a dark blue gray. All right, I'm happy with that. Beautiful. You can see how nice this will offset these lighter colors that we've made. Finish up with your second color. You should have at least five or six sheets of that second color, plus a dark sheet and a pure white sheet. Then go ahead and clean up your paints, and your supplies that you use. Clean up your wedge, makes sure you get your palette knife nice and clean. We need to wait for all of these collage papers to dry anyway, shouldn't take long because we put the paint on so thin. Maybe 15-20 minutes. Let the papers dry, clean up your area, clean up your paints, and I'll see you in the next video. We'll get set up for collage. 7. Setting Up Your Workspace: Let's talk quickly about how you want to set up your workspace to work on collage. I have my paper that I'm going to do my collage on right here in front of me. On top of that, I'm going to keep my scissors, the papers that I'm going to collage with. Then I have just a couple of pieces of plain paper towel. This side of our workspace, we're going to try to keep as dry as possible. The other side of our workspace is going to get a little wet and messy. This is set up for me as a right-handed person. If you're left-handed, you want to keep your wet area on the left-hand side and your dry area on the right. Over here, I have my matte medium and a clean palette knife at the top next to my bowl of fresh clean water. Then underneath that I have my old magazine. We're going to use this to minimize the mess that we make with our glue and water. I'll show you as we get into it, but I have a great trick for keeping things neat and tidy. Get your workspace set up, and then we'll get started on some collage. 8. Collaging Pt. 1: We're finally ready to make some collage. I have my papers here I actually have more than this, I've got a whole stack over here and I just went ahead and went through and picked out the ones that appeal to me the most. It's no surprise to me or anyone who really knows me that I picked out the most neutral colors, I'm just always drawn to neutral shades. I'll put the paper in a stack up here and we can get started. All we're going to do is just grab a paper and either tear or cut your first shape. You don't have to give it to much thought. It's one of the things that I love about this process is that things can just happen and we let them happen. The technique that I have for collaging is called the wet technique. I know super clever, the wet technique because that is the whole trick. After you've cut your shape, you can put it into your bowl of water, submerge it all the way and then pull it back out. Then I like to use my fingers like a little squeegee just to get any extra water off. This point, my other trick is to open up your magazine and after you give your paper a gentle little stretch in every direction, you're going to lay a face down. The reason why we get the paper wet and why we give it a little stretch is because the paper fibers when they meet the glue or when they meet the water, the fibers expand and if they don't expand in a very controlled way, then random things happen like the paper buckles or the paper wrinkles. If we get the entire paper wet and give it a little stretch, give it a moment for all the fibers to relax, then we don't have that wrinkling and we don't have that buckling, we have nice smooth paper when we're done. Now, grab a little bit of your matte medium. It's not going to take much at all. You're going to smooth it on from the center to the edges, really in this thin of a layer as possible and then once that's done, pick up your paper and put it on your substrate. I really don't have any plan here, just working as I go. This is a good spot to use one of your clean paper towels to smooth out any wrinkles that are in your paper. Working from the middle of your shape to the outside. What it's going to do is also push any extra matte medium out the edges of your paper and your paper towel's just going to wipe that way off, first shape is done. Grab another color, whatever is coloring to you and go ahead and cut or tear another shape. I'm going to leave a little bit of the raw edge on this one and then I'm going tear the other side. I really like the contrast of a straight edge next to a torn edge. Same thing, submerge it in the water and the little squeegee when it comes out. Remember, I told you I had a trick for keeping things neat with our magazine between every shape that you glue, just turn the page, then the mess you made from the last shape is gone and you've got a new clean spot to work. I have a thin layer of our matte medium and this shape is ready. You can see when you're working how flat the paper gets once you lay it down onto your magazine. You can see that it's ready, it's relaxed, it's ready to be glued. I've got two shapes on here, one of the nice things about this process is you don't have to wait for anything to dry, you can just keep working right on top as long as you're gentle, but should be just fine. Two shapes on here, I am challenging myself and you should be challenging yourself as part of this minimalist art creation to use five shapes or less. I'm going to go with the slightly darker color. You could really put as many layers as you want on here, but sometimes it's really hard to know when to stop. So a challenge of five shapes or less keeps things moving along, keeps you from thinking too much and really makes the process more enjoyable for me. I dipped it in, little gentle stretch. Sometimes people ask, well, how do you know when it's done? One way is to know that you got five shapes and now you have shapes, so you're done. Another is if you just get to a point and you think, I like that, that looks cool, then you're also done. I'm liking this so far, I think this is really pretty. I have a little more contrast, I'm going to use just a tiny bit of this dark color. Get that guy wet, not really even need to turn the page for the sun, there's still plenty of clean dry area on my magazine. Sometimes with the darker painted shapes, if you rub them too much, the paint will start to come off and wipe onto your substrate, onto your paper. I try to be careful and mindful of that, just maybe dab those shapes around the edges more than a vigorous wipe. This one done? I think it is, I'm going to call this one done. I've only got four shapes on here, so I could add one more, but I like this one just the way it is. Go ahead and finish your first collage, add another shape if you want to get to five and then meet me in the next video. We'll make a companion piece for it. 9. Collaging Pt. 2: For our second collage, we're going to use a slightly different technique to design our layout. In the first collage we made, we just cut pieces and glued them down and it was very spontaneous. That's my favorite method for making a collage, but sometimes you might have an idea in your head or you want to be a little more thoughtful about planning your collage. The other thing you can do is to cut all your shapes and lay them out and then glue them all down afterwards. I'm going to start here with a piece of this dark color, you can experiment with how your layer, your pieces by color. There's two different methods that I like to experiment with, one is layering shades of very similar colors, and the other is layering high-contrast colors. If I do a high contrast color next to this, let's see what that would look like. Let's take this light peachy color, and the shapes that I'm cutting are still fairly random. I don't have a whole lot of thought about that, so in this method of design, sometimes I'll cut shapes and not use them. I'll try something else or I'll try a shape here, move it around, see what I like. That's cool. You can see the high contrasts between this gray in the peach color and what that does for your design. As opposed to, if I start with this lower value gray, how that looks next to the lighter peach. See it has a calmer feel to it, it's not quite as bold. It just depends on what design you're interested in making, experiment and play around with both. This piece that I made over here is fairly low contrast, I really like how that turned out. Because I'm making a piece to go with it, I think I'll stick to the lower contrast for this one too. Although I might change my mind, you never know, let's put some white in this one. I also like to play around with layering similar size shapes. I have that big peachy shape. But look what happens if I put this white piece on top of it, and then you just have the outline of the peachy shapes, do it like that? Maybe, maybe not. Let's keep going and see what happens. The little bit of this more saturated pinky orange color. One of the fun things about tearing is you're much less in control over how the shape turns out, and sometimes that's good and sometimes it's bad. Sometimes I'll just tear shape in half. Let's see, one, two, three, four, five. I'm out of shapes, I gave myself the challenge of only using five. I can either get rid of one of these and get another shape to work with or I can move these pieces around, I don't think I need two just like this, so let's get one little bit of this dark gray and see where I might like it, there we go. That's my design, you can see how working this way makes me fuss about it. It takes me probably twice as long than the other method. But it's definitely another way to work and some people might really enjoy it. I thought I would show you. Now that I'm ready to glue this down, I'm going to actually get a second piece of watercolor paper and try to work without disturbing this too much. If I move this one over and get another piece, then I can try to glue things down without disturbing them too much, starting with the piece on the bottom. Try to remember where this is in relation to everything else, and I guarantee it's not going to end up exactly like I have it laid out there, but that is also totally fine with me. Oh, I gave them a gentle stretch but I was a little too rough and you can see that I tore my paper. I'm really not worried about that at all, sometimes the paper will tear totally in half and then I'll just glue both halves down, and that look all tear in the paper is mostly disappears, but it also just adds a little bit of character. I think it was about here. Then the white piece is next, and looking at this now I can't even see where that tear was. Oh, there it is, right there. But it's so hard to find. I think it was about right here. This piece, I'm going to remember it's just like a pinky whip from the edge over here and it's angled down like an angel wing. The other nice thing about working on top of these magazine pages is it helps to absorb some of that extra water while it's laying there. One of the reasons why we try to avoid too much water on here is the more water you have, the more your substrate paper is going to buckle and wrinkle. I have a way to fix that, that I'll share with you a little bit later. But keeping it dry is really just the best and easiest solution. Two more little pieces to go. A little too much glue on that one, yeah we're good. The last piece. Remember this darker piece I don't want to rub at too much, I'm just blurring to get the extra glue and water off. Our second piece is done. Here they are together, I like it. Finish work on your second piece and when you're done, you can go ahead and tidy up your materials and meet me in the next video. We're going to talk a little bit about what you do after you finish. 10. Finishing Touches: As your collage is dry, you might notice your background paper is beginning to wrinkle and curl a little bit. How much it curls depends on how thick your paper is and how wet it got during this process. But once your piece is 100 percent dry, maybe wait overnight, just very lightly mist the back of your collage with a spray bottle, and put the piece between two sheets of Delhi paper under a heavy stack of books. After a few days, it will be totally flat and dry. Now that we've created a couple of collages, I wanted to give you a few more ideas on how you might use your new skills. Like I mentioned earlier, I use these papers for all things. You might want to use them to quickly create ideas for laying out larger artworks or designs. I like to use them to create simple color palettes to inspire me later in my paintings. I also they use these papers in my sketchbook, combined with other drawing tools. You can add a bunch of papers at once and then when you go back to sketch later, the collage papers are there to inspire you. You can also combine your collage papers with hand lettering, or scan them in and work on them digitally. The best part of working with these papers is that they make things happen quickly and boldly without too much spot. Collage is a great way to unstick yourself if you're having a creative work. 11. Final Thoughts: I hope you enjoyed learning my process for a painted paper collage. We covered everything from how to make beautiful hand-painted papers to my favorite techniques for creating a minimalist collage art piece. If there's one thing I hope you take away from this class, is that collaging can be fun and easy if you have the right materials. Now that you have a stack of painted paper, you can use them in other mixed media art pieces, in your sketchbook, or to make more of these minimalists collages. When you finish your first piece, please snap a photo and post it on the project section of this page. I'd love to see what you create. Thanks for joining me. See you next time.