Featured Artist Helen Becker Discusses Her Journey into Abstract Collage
My Discovery of Mixed Media Collage Painting
My journey as a mixed media artist and collage painter began not on purpose, but by the stroke of coincidence at a mentorship workshop hosted by a renowned artist.
I began gearing up for the mentorship workshop very early in 2017. This workshop is designed so that each of the 7 artists attending create their own plan of what they want to do at the workshop. There is no instruction per se, but rather we each work on our own and the instructor is there to help with our progress. The instructor is really big on knowing what my intentions are for each painting and he insists that I name my painting before I begin.
So in preparation for this workshop I started to solidify my highway series painting ideas on grey drawing paper. I created a slew of black and white drawings using charcoal, white pencil and white pastel stick. Each drawing was like a proposal for a painting.
I carefully put together all of my supplies: acrylic paint, brushes, paper, canvas, and collage papers. I worked for weeks in preparation and even tried my hand at collage painting. I created my first piece in acrylics titled: “Highway to My Dreams” before I left.
The workshop surpassed all of my expectations. It was a marvelous experience and I created 6 paintings in 3.5 days. Suddenly I was hooked, not just on acrylics, but on collage painting as well. I began using mixed media collage by attaching painted string and then spiral shapes which I tore out of paper. I loved every minute of this time in California and I worked long hours - from 7:30 am to 8 or 9 pm.
I especially like working with Bob’s Goof-Proof Color wheel. It pairs up interesting combinations of colors into the dominant color - the focal color and the two spice colors. It works for me. He is also a great instructor of collage painting and has a very unique style. I used all that I learned and applied my new knowledge into my new love - mixed media collage.
Before leaving for home at the end of the workshop, I put my name on the waitlist for the coming mentorship workshop which was taking place a few months later. I never thought I’d get a chance to go again. In the meantime I worked on my mixed media collage highway series and honed in on writing my artist statement, biography, and resume. Then five days before the next workshop I got a call. There had been a cancellation. Could I come? YES! And I was there and the rest is history.
This bit of history behind how I came to do acrylic and mixed media collage really points to the freedom I feel when doing abstract collage work. These special workshops allowed me the freedom to explore and experiment with not only collage painting but mixed media collage as well. I started to create from my own imagination and greatly enjoy the process of creating abstract collages.