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Live Art Demonstration 14th Nov. 2023 Review
Artist: Danielle Vaughan

Subject: Christmas Robin
Medium: Collage


Danielle brought along some images of Robins she had done a long time ago. She also brought along a large size kits that she had planned to sell before realising they were too large for shops to stock. The kit would be used in order to demonstrate on the evening. Danielle explained how battens are used to make the back of the work more rigid and stop it curling up when you start working. The battens can also be used as a faux frame.


Danielle had prepped a collage background using a variety of colours and some areas suggesting branches. She then used a piece of tissue that had been cut out in the shape of a Robin to glue on as a guide. You can also draw straight onto the paper or onto a piece if card to raise the design. Glueing is done using watered down PVA.


In order to make it a quirky design, Danielle decided to put the Robin at a jaunty angle with some orange wellies that she had cut out from a magazine. A design of berries was glued around the edge to make a border. A piece of red paper was ripped into small pieces and applied to show the edge of the breast, as an outline. Brown was added to outline the tail and the cap. Any lines in the pictures were laid to represent the rhythm of the feathers. 


The white of the belly was creamier than the snowy white of the background. Pieces used included some with text on. Sometimes these have a particular relevance to the piece, sometimes not. 


Danielle said it’s important to keep turning as you rip the paper to avoid getting white edges. Asked how she decides what shape she needs to rip, Danielle answered that she looks at the shape that’s there and looks for a shape that will provide a 3D effect, for example a banana shape to sweep around the eye. She rips off pieces that are too dark, too light or distracting. Because it’s a rounded bird, Danielle tries to use soft forms when tearing the paper, to mirror this. 


Danielle uses her phone to take a photograph to show where things don’t look quite right, which enables her to tweak things. 


Some people ask Danielle whether she uses scissors. The answer is very rarely - this time she has used them for the wellies. She said she was looking for a black kettle or similar that would already have the white highlight in for the eye. She was also looking for something to make a cat. Whilst searching, Danielle found a nice little motto saying ‘tea revives you’ which was torn out to add. 


Sunday supplements are not used because they are a bit thin. Some catalogues such as clothing are especially good. Pieces from a front cover are to be avoided as they tend to curl. Danielle looks for directional lines that send your eye. 


Danielle says she tends to take one subject: Frida Kahlo, hares, birds, do lots of them and then move on. She doesn’t recall a subject that she hasn’t got on with. The artworks tend to be the same size. 


The little bits are not kept once a picture is finished, as Danielle likes to start with fresh magazines. She often finds bags of them left on her doorstep! 


Just as we were about to finish, Danielle found the perfect piece for the eye. She has promised to share a picture of the finished Robin. 

Meg Grant

The finished picture
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