Monday, December 16, 2013

Canvas Photo Collage

My sister in law asked me to make a canvas collage for her mother for Christmas.  Her mom's dh passed away earlier this year so it's sort of  a high pressure (in my mind) thing.  I didn't even know the man so I didn't know which direction to go.  My mom said he liked travel & fishing so I went from there.  

I had been putting it off because there were so many other things going on I just hadn't had time and I was worried about doing it.  Well, the guys were both down with a cold and  due to the snow storm I wasn't going to go anywhere by myself so I decided it was a fine time to work on it...

I started off by gluing map bits down to my canvas. 
These pieces are all from an Indiana map :)

I then mixed up a wash of Burnt Umber & water...

Painted the entire surface

then dabbed it here and there to give a mottled effect.

Really tones down the bright white and gives a more uniform color.

I then arranged the photos till I got a lay out I liked and took a photo of it so I would be able to replicate it.

Now for these next several steps I was so into the creating mode I totally forgot to take pictures.
I printed out several collage images (from Altered Pages) with things relevant to the person...vintage travel, fishing and the letter "W".    I decoupage them onto the canvas in strategic areas and let it dry. 
I then applied a heavy body gesso with a spatula (embossing paste would do the same thing) to add texture here and there.   After the gesso was dry I applied another layer of the Burnt Umber wash.

Finally when that layer was dried I applied adhesive and gold leaf to various areas.
The leafing not only adds color and shimmer but it also highlights the textured areas as well.

Here is a different angle to show off a bit of the gold leaf.

Next I added the photos...I know a totally different lo than the one above.  By the time I matted the main photo it didn't fit in the area I had it so I had to rearrange the photos several times till I settled upon this design.  Adhered everything to the canvas, added black ribbon to the edge, and signed my name!

And here it is finished hanging on my wall...

A close up of a couple of the details....

I love how the wash gives a more even tone to the background images and keeps them in the background so they don't overpower the photos. 

You can see a bit of the texture on the right side...

So, there you go....
two wintery afternoons, some photos, collage images and lots and lots of glue!

What fun :)

My SIL is going to give it to her mom for Christmas so it will be a while before I hear the final verdict.  I sure hope she likes it.


  1. This is lovely. At first I was concerned the photos would be overpowered by your busy background but when you added the final wash it toned the background down enough to let the photos be the first focal point.

  2. Roni you have created a lovely tribute for someone very special to receive. Handmade from the Heart is the very best gift of all. Creative Bliss Dear...


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