Posted by: bluelanternstudio | August 21, 2011

Telling stories with collage

Yesterday I was the Artist in the Window at Bird on a Wire Creations. In thinking about what I wanted to create, I decided to challenge myself to break out of some old patterns in my collage techniques. I’ve been feeling like my recent collages have ended up too cluttered, mostly because I’ve been overly concerned about “ruining” the images I’ve been working with. I also want to get back to infusing each collage with a story. These stories may only be implied, but the mystery about what might be going on inspires contemplation and repeated viewing.

What to do differently? More paint and colour, fewer but stronger images. And I wanted to be more playful.  So, instead of relying completely on existing images that I cut out from old magazines and books, I decided to cut some shapes out of maps and paint those with light washes of colour. These became the boat and moon in the finished piece. I then added the bird,  fish and coins, which are cut-outs from an old illustrated dictionary.

Dreaming Boat (Robi Smith, mixed media collage, 10" x 14.5", $250)

Overall I’m very happy with the results of my experimenting!



  1. I think this is really beautiful and would be fantastic to use in schools to teach kids storytelling techniques!

    • Thanks Jenna. And I love the idea of using collage explicitly as a story-telling/creating teaching tool!

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