How to Make a Halloween or Thanksgiving Watercolor Collage

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21-09-2017, 07:00
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Collage is a French word for "to paste." This watercolor project showcases a a variety of small, similarly themed images. It borrows from the idea of a collage, but, instead of cutting out pictures, trimming and pasting them, it is a collection of your favorite things about Halloween or Thanksgiving, but drawn and painted. It is fast, easy, and fun to do. It is a great activity for all ages. The best part---like all art you create, it is totally representative of you.

Preparing

  1. Make a list of your favorite things about the holiday (Halloween or Thanksgiving). To get your mind perking and focused on the holiday, on ordinary notebook paper jot down things you love. This can include any number of things so let your imagination roam and jot away. No two lists will be exactly alike. When the lists are complete, to generate even more ideas have each person read their list aloud. Add new ideas to your page.
  2. Prepare your paper. Use a page from a pad of #140 watercolor paper, size 11x14. Take it off the pad and if it has a serrated edge, trim it carefully using a ruler to make a guideline.
  3. Begin your border. Measure, carefully, an inch and a half from the outside edge and draw a line lightly in pencil, using a ruler, all around the paper.
  4. Tape along the line. Using ¾ inch masking tape, create a rectangle with masking tape positioned inside the pencil line. This will protect the interior space as you stamp your leaf border.
  5. Gather a few leaves to print your border. Find five or six small to medium ones of varied shapes. You can find many different leaves attached to silk flowers, if you don‘t have trees with leaves.
  6. Set up a work station. Cover the table with a pad of newspapers and on a palette or white plastic plate, squeeze out a range of tube colors (for brighter, more intense results) or a set of pan watercolors. You will need a variety of brushes, a natural sponge and a water container.

Sketching

  1. Print your border. Turn a leaf over, with the veins showing and brush it randomly and lightly with fall colors, red, orange, yellow, etc.
    • Carefully turn the leaf, paint side down and holding a crushed tissue, press the leaf onto the border.
    • Use your fingers to be sure all parts come in contact with the paper.
  2. Repeat and continue all the way around the border. Keep the interior space of the paper untouched. Don’t paint around the leaves yet. Allow this to dry.
  3. Create the pictorial interior. Use a pencil and randomly break the white space into five or six irregular divisions. Think of the patches on a patchwork quilt and keep the shapes interesting, interlocking and not too tiny.
  4. Sketch and paint your favorite things. In the boxes or shapes you have defined, draw some aspect of the holiday that appeals to you. For example: Halloween - moons, corn stalks, crows, masks, skeletons, pumpkins, a scarecrow, a witch, a ghost, an owl, etc. For Thanksgiving - a turkey, a cornucopia, fruits, vegetables, pies, pumpkins, apples a barn, sunflowers, a short prayer of Thanksgiving, pears, grapes, a fire in a fireplace, geese, wheat sheaf, etc.

Painting

  1. Paint the small pictures. Using watercolors, paint the images you have drawn. Add water soluble colored pencils or markers for details. Outlining with a black fine line Sharpie would help unify and clarify details on the images. If you want to mimic fabric pieces quilted together, do fake stitches around each of the images. Fill in with color around the figures you’ve highlighted in the pieces working right up to the taped line. Allow this to dry thoroughly.
  2. Do the background of the border leaves. Decide what color would best set off the background space and showcase the colorful leaves, while working with the colors you have used in the pictorial center. Mix a big, rich puddle of that color and paint the area behind all the leaves. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Carefully remove the tape. Pull it slowly and dispose of it. Use a marker or paint brush to decorate the remaining white line that separates the two elements, the border, and the interior. A simple, wiggly line a series of Xs, dashes or dots, even skulls and backbones, but keep it simple for clarity. Consider using a metallic indelible marker to make the ornamental line.
  4. Think of this project as prep for the big holiday. Doing it will get you in the mood to celebrate. Hanging and viewing it will remind you of the fun to be had on holidays.

Tips

  • If the tape is resistant to being removed, warm it slightly with a hairdryer. Then tug gently an inch at a time to remove it.

Warnings

  • Because of the stickiness of the tape, use only #140 watercolor paper. It is resilient enough to not tear as you manipulate the paper.
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