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refurb finished

Here is the completed collage! I have been enjoying other people’s process photos and videos, so I’m including some of them for this piece. I really had fun with this.

Oh, the reconstituted collage poem was inspired by my blogging friend Claudia McGill. It reads

This observation is grounded


at first did not move her thus

I had a strange feeling

and kept walking.

and drifting among other souls

floating up

That complemented my mandala montage nicely, I thought. The funny thing is that the text is from a book I didn’t like and one I haven’t read. The larger text is from a more than 100-year-old copy of the Pilgrim’s Progress that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. She was reluctant to give me a “ratty old book” for a gift and I finally convinced her that I was very sincerely excited about the prospect of getting my hands on that book to use in my art. The other book was The Goldfinch which is printed on lovely paper and that is my favorite thing about the book. I learned the hard way not to do watercolors on the pages because there would be impolite language in the middle of a white flower (for example) and that was not the mood I was going for at all. That book needed some editing and I have enjoyed cutting the pages up for collage fodder.

So… here is the before photograph. I paid $20 to purchase this piece of “art” from a local gallery to enter their Refurbished Art Contest.

geese and refurb beginnings 008

I like a challenge.

I really liked the girl walking into the painting on the antithesis of the yellow brick road. So I drew some fun mandalas (with my Pigma Micron pens on hot press watercolor paper) that I thought would make the landscape more interesting for her. I have been drawing them many mornings as part of my morning mandala practice. I decided early on to have a tree of life mandala as the centerpiece.

geese and refurb beginnings 009

Then I painted and colored in the mandalas. I have been playing with Prismacolor watercolor pencils in addition to my usual Derwent Inktense pencils and I really like the pallet and effects possible with the different brands. I also used Sharpies for some of the coloring. I also painted some papers of different weights and cut out flowers and leaves for the Tree of Life mandala and decided to use some to decorate the borders.

refurb painted paper shapes tree of life

I cut circles for the collage from the different assembled unpainted papers. I studied languages in college a really long time ago and have my notebooks from language classes (mostly Chinese and Spanish) that I really like to include as well as the aforementioned books. I usually throw in a relevant dictionary page. The page for this piece is “idyl, idyll” and I included that definition right by the girl I left in the picture, because it is her idyl, of course. I also have a page from one of my grandmother’s cookbooks, and a copy of a sheet of music from my son. So I cut circles and arranged them on the circle I traced around my dinner plate onto the print. I used matte medium to attach them.

refurb paper collage

The next step was inspired by the illustrations by Demi. You may recall my Inspiration Board post from earlier this year. That is where the idea for the background for my tree of life mandala was born! So I painted most of the collaged circles blue and went outside the lines so my clouds would be visible beyond the mandala. I also painted the lower portion with a very thin coat green so the papers showed through a little as the “ground” of the tree of life. When the paint was dry I went in and drew a Wheel of Joy and clouds and rocks inspired by Tibetan Buddhist art (a source of inspiration for Demi as well). The rocks are not visible in the photo, but that’s how gel pens are.

refurb painted

and then I put it all together with gel medium!

Here are all of the supplies I used.


This will be on display at Alter-Ego Studio in lovely Wisconsin. Come to see and/or purchase this piece! Have a beautiful day!