Painted Wood Collage Process
These collages are the result of being an abstract artist and the Scene Shop Supervisor for the School of Theatre and Dance at San Francisco State University for over twenty years. We not only build and install the scenery but we take it down too. We call this “striking the set.” A strike is a process of destruction and sorting out what can be reused. There is usually a student who discovers the joy to be had swinging a sludge hammer to smash something up. We always end up with a pile of scraps and odd pieces that get thrown away. It is in this pile of scraps that that I find candidates for collages.
I collected plywood, pine, masonite or luan that have random treatments of scenic paint or just interesting texture, grain or knots. For some reason one piece will catch my eye and I will start composing with different pieces. When I have a composition I like, I glue them to a plywood board. I often put together material of different thicknesses, from 3/4″ to 1/8″ so I will pad up the thinner ones so the surface is flat. I trim the collage on the table saw to give it a finished edge. I like how the edge shows the different materials and the different thicknesses. I will often apply a few cotes of semi-gloss polyurethane to unify the surface and to add the shine but for some the dry raw wood is best. These collages are improvisational, some just come together and others grow with time. Some of these I revisit the composition years later and add a touch of paint here and there. It is fun!