Painting Collage: Amelie von Wulffen

Collage can be a great starting point for a painting.  This technique was used early on by Modern artists like Picasso and Braque, and advanced by Dada and Surrealist artists.  Collage has continued to be a major artistic medium, remaining popular with young contemporary artists and established artists alike.

We did a project in the Fall Painting Workshop inspired by the painting-collages of contemporary German artist Amelie von Wulffen.  She has developed a technique where she starts with a photograph and then extends the photograph as a painting. It is as if the "real" world within the photograph is merging with the invented world within a painting.  Sometimes she also merges two different photographs, making them appear connected through the painted section between the photos.
Amelie von Wulffen
Von Wulffen often uses architectural photographs as a starting point.  The technical advantage here is that she can extend the perspective lines within the photo into the painting, to create a consistent illusionistic space.


Amelie von Wulffen
Can you tell where the photo ends and the painting starts?

Amelie von Wulffen

Amelie von Wulffen

Amelie von Wulffen

Amelie von Wulffen

Amelie von Wulffen
Here are a couple examples examples from another artist, William Wegman, using a similar technique. Only this time, Wegman is using vintage postcards instead of architectural photographs.  But you can still see how the use of perspective is very important in creating a continuous image.

postcard collage, William Wegman

postcard collage, William Wegman
We tried out this technique in the Fall Painting Workshop.  Here are some of the results!






The Act of Drawing: Matisse


Matisse drawing with pole

Matisse was willing to go to great lengths to achieve a good quality line! It could be that drawing with a pole was a self-imposed sort of handicap, to keep the drawings of this masterful draftsman fresh.  Sometimes having too much skill can actually be a liability when it comes to making art, so a technique like this can provide a balance.

Matisse drawing model

Contour Lines from Matisse to David Hockney

Contour Lines are the most fundamental building material of a drawing!  They are the most efficient way to give a drawing structure and describe the basic facts of form.  
We often think of contour lines just as outlines, but this is not the case. If we only pay attention to the outmost edges of a form, then we end up with a silhouette. A kind of flat paper cut-out form.  By following the contours along the edges of a form as well as throughout a form, you can begin to describe volume.  
Henri Matisse, Roses
The petals of a flower are a great example for this.  By following all the contours of the flower, every meeting of two edges, the flowers start to look three dimensional although they are described only with line.

See the way Matisse follows the shapes of each form, looking for contours inside the form, to give volume.  


Matisse, still life drawing 
Matisse, still life drawing

Another way to think about how contours can be more than just outlines, you can think of the construction of a jacket.  The way all the pieces are sewn together gives the flat fabric three dimensional form, to fit a torso and arms.  Following the seems in clothing, if you are drawing a figure, is a good practice for getting used to finding the inner contour lines.

David Hockney



David Hockney is a contemporary British artist born in 1937.  He is well known for his paintings, drawings, collages and more recently, even iPad drawings.  Hockney is an artist that is very interested in the technique of observation, and how art can capture what we see. He has experimented widely with optics, such as the Camera Obscura.  

David Hockney
The folds in fabric are also great subject matter for finding contour lines within forms.  These organic folds can often be quite landscape like, and challenging to draw.  But very good practice!

David Hockney

David Hockney

David Hockney