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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Barrett

My Process - How It's Made

I work almost entirely with newsprint. That means collecting a lot of papers otherwise headed to the recycling, or worse, landfill. But, once I get my hands on these papers, what happens?

Here is a guide to how I create. #artisticprocess

1. Sort each paper and scan them for any usable 'patches of color or pattern'. I look for blocks of color and interesting patterns, colored ads with typography, or images of sky/rocks/trees which come in handy for landscape images. I do these rough cuts with a box cutter tool. I use an #excelblade for any hand cut elements or fine details once I collage.

2. After I have scoured the papers for these bits, I store the rest in bins to prevent damage by moisture and/or sunlight. The cut out portions are placed into an accordion folder separated by colors.

3. I sketch my pieces on canvas or board with pen if needed, but sometimes I will forgo this step if I am simply creating an image from imagination. I use pen to prevent the image from moving about when I start to smear glue onto the canvas. I use #aleenestackyglue for my collages. It is PH balanced and archival. This is very important since my medium is newsprint.

4. I start the collage with the background and move forward through the piece as it appears in reality. For example, the sky is placed first in a landscape, then moving into the foreground elements of the scene are added. This is not always 100%, but, it usually makes the collage easier to build.

5. Then it's all about placing little bits of paper until I get big art! #littlebitsofpaperbigart If I need straight lines, I cut them with my blade. If I am creating a more natural scene I tend to tear a lot more of the papers. I use a technique similiar to #chigirie or #paintwithpaper An average completion time for a 16x20 collage is about 40 hours of gluing.

Here's a video showing 'Hopewell Rocks' coming together.

6. I finish the pieces with a Krylon varnish spray which offers UV protection. I usually use matte spray to bring the finish of the work closer to the original feel of the newspapers.

7. I then frame the piece or add wire to back for hanging and finish the edges in acrylic paint if necessary.

8. Add it to my website, hang it at the gallery or otherwise try to find the person who will love the work!

I hope this helps to explain my work and how it comes together. It can be tedious, such as pieces like #paperbattery2020, which has taken me 66ish hours so far, but, I am totally a #paperaddict

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