Some of the various definitions of 'collage'
include the words assemblage,
collections, artistic composition of objects, a composite collection...
usually from differing materials all mounted together as one.
I don't do many collages but I have enjoyed what I call "painted collages," that is, a gathering of objects (usually thematic) all painted on one surface which is made to look like several different surfaces. Here are a few examples done over the years:
I have not done one recently but I always found it was a great challenge to combine painted pieces and parts in a way that they stood as many individual paintings yet still hung together as one. Lots of mind tricks are involved. A friend of mine who is preparing to teach asked if I would review my process so they might give it a try.
If you have no intention of painting this then sign out here and have a great day! If you are curious, stick around.
I start by taping off sections on a well gessoed board or canvas. (I like board as I will use pencil, but personal choice). Using transparent acrylics (made soupy with either water or medium) I put down a coat of color (start light) and let it dry. Remove some of the painters tape and either put more pieces down in new spots or just proceed. Using a slightly different transparent color, paint half or more of the board again. Where you removed the tape you will still see a "divider" due to the difference in color. Where colors overlap in your squares and rectangles you will see another color. You could also mix a slightly less transparent color and force it to drip down the piece in several places. Keep going. All of this is "play" with an eye to making some sections come forward and some recede. As you work on laying down the background don't be too hesitant but work slowly as ideas for balance will occur to you. Pull off all the tape and let the piece dry.
Hopefully your colors were chosen with a subject in mind. Gather up the images and begin deciding how to lay them out on the board. Some might fit nicely in a "box," while others will defy the box and go over a "line." Choose some to make large and others to minimize or only do part of. At this point I begin working in pencil so that I can get the feel for sizes.
I like to proceed in pencil and balance it off with white acrylic paint. By spraying the pencil with a fixative (when you are certain you will not erase any more) you will get a stable image. Other times I simply sketch an image loosely and then paint it on with acrylic paints. Keep in mind that no one image is really complete until all are done....this is very much a matter of pushing and pulling elements as you flesh out the objects.
Remember that you are not obligated to protect or preserve any of your background if it morphs along with the painting. And "painting out" a mistake (or something you did not like) often will enhance the background you have going. Nothing is unable to be changed and nothing should feel too sacred.
You are done when...you are done! you will know! and if three days later the painting begs for more, well, have at it. If you prefer to finish off by using oils that is fine as well but I don't start with them as they take so long to dry.
I'm sure there is more to add to this....please experiment.
Collaging My Way,