Available in my Etsy shop.
Making a Figurative Collagraph
Before we make a collagraph, let’s get inspired. Have a look at Alice Carter’s excellent book – The Red Rose Girls – An Uncommon Story of Art and Love. The true story chronicles the lives, careers and friendships between famous artists Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935), Elizabeth Shippen Green (1871-1954) and Violet Oakley (1874-1961). Their work ethic and resourcefulness is inspiring given they were making a living as artists when those skills were surely a man’s job. Their amazing work was created over one hundred years ago, and I wonder about their methods, materials, inspiration and daily routines. You can call their art sentimental, or as one of my friends says “sweet enough to give you a tooth ache”, but I find it so rich with skillful design, balanced composition, and atmospheric color harmonies. Below is a watercolor & charcoal (!!) that I love by Elizabeth Shippen Green – using her own garden and her roomates and friends as models – titled Life was made for Love and Cheer (image courtesy of the Library of Congress)
Tap Your Inspiration
Now that we’re freshly inspired, let’s get into the studio and make something, shall we? I’ve posted the photos of the process for this collagraph, Garden Meditation, below, and there are more details here. If you decide to make a collagraph (sometimes spelled collograph), leave a link to your own blog or social media post about it in the comments so we can see your results and cheer you on. Go ahead… Make something. 🙂
If you’re interested in making a collagraph like this from mat board, here is a link to the playlist of video tutorials I created on my youtube channel to help get you started. Under each video, in the Show More section, there is a list of supplies with links so you can order what you need online. If you want a printable list with links, you can find that here.
As Always, you can leave any questions you have in the comments below, or in the comments under each of the tutorial videos on youtube. Don’t be shy, because your questions might help another printmaker with the same issues after you’ve already become a master at this process. Keep your first designs very simple, go slow, and mostly have fun!
I’ll see you in the next post!
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For middle and upper-class women interested in art and fortunate enough to be provided with a “fashionable education,” lessons were taught by private tutors. The curriculum, known as drawing from the “flat,” consisted of copying from the tutor’s own drawings or replicating engravings of works by well-known artists. Although amateur accomplishment in art was considered an advantageous social refinement, professional studies in life-drawing classes were feared to compromise a woman’s virtue by inflaming her passions and making her unfit as a wife and mother.In 1860, a group of female students at the Pennsylvania Academy, upset by their exclusion from life drawing, started their own classes outside the campus, posing for each other sometimes clothed, sometimes half draped. Although word of the renegade courses embarrassed the Academy, Ladies’ Life classes were not added to the curriculum until 1868, and they remained segregated for many years. In 1886 when Thomas Eakins lifted the loin cloth of a male model to reveal a little too much anatomy to his female students, he was fired.The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love
~ Alice Carter