Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Christo, the artist, really inspires me. Not only is he incredibly creative in his environmental art, but he is also a skilled painter and a draftsman. He can really draw. (He is the fellow who did The Gates in Central Park, The Umbrellas in California and Japan and is planning the Over The River project in Colorado, among many other things.) He designs his projects by producing hundreds of drawings, sketches, paintings and collages as he visualizes the end result. I find his collages particularly inspiring. He combines drawings, plans, notes and photos into a cohesive art piece. And they are beautiful.

This is a collage I did of the Vista del Arroyo in Pasadena. First, I painted the building at night in watercolor. After the painting was dry, I mounted it to a cradled hardboard panel that I had covered with two coats of white gesso. I used acrylic matte medium for mounting, applying it liberally to the hardboard panel with a palette knife, positioning the painting over the board and gently rolling it smooth.

I then applied a photograph I had taken at night of a slightly different view, and a color print of a Google Earth image of the area from above. I sized and located the images with an eye toward composition and design. I drew horizontal and vertical lines across the painting to help find alignment points and to create graphic interest, and I stenciled in ARROYO, loosely painting it with diluted white paint. The finishing touch was to emphasize some of the pencil lines with dots and globs of more white paint. I wrote the title and date in pencil along the bottom edge, and signed it.

I framed it with a clear acrylic box frame, attached to the sides of the hardboard cradle with countersunk screws.

I love this piece. It has the romance of a watercolor, the drama of a night scene, the structure of a technical drawing and the interest of alternate views and mediums. I encourage you to explore this as another way to express yourself.