Tag Archives: collage

Fall Collages Inspired by Rex Ray

“I’m not as much confident as I am fearless.  I have a lot of doubt and a lot of insecurity when I go into a given situation.  But I don’t let it stop me.  It took a long time to find that.” – Rex Ray

Recently in our adult class, we learned about the life and career of the late American artist, Rex Ray. We printed our own paper using Gelli Plates and acrylic paint. We then used the printed paper to create abstract collages inspired by Rex Ray and the beautiful colours of fall.

Rex Ray (Michael Patterson) was born in Landstuhl, Germany on September 11, 1956. His father served in the US Army. He was raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado and later moved to San Francisco, California.

He was inspired by Andy Warhol and adopted the moniker, Rex Ray. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute where he received his BFA in 1989. After earning his degree he designed digital graphics for nightclubs and rock concerts. The first t-shirts and posters he created were for the political advocacy organization called Act Up.

During his lifetime he had an impressive client roster in the music, fashion, entertainment and design industries. He worked with David Bowie, Dreamworks, Neiman Marcus, Sony Music, Apple and many others. His designs have been licensed and produced on clothing, carpets, ceramics, wristwatches, surfboards and on a Mini Cooper.

In the early 1990’s, he moved away from his computer graphics business and returned to studio work. He produced a prolific number of fine art paintings and collages that are marked by the use of psychedelic pop art images. His techniques involved a process of Xerography, handmade woodblock prints, newsprint and magazine images that were transformed into vibrant colour schemes.

Rex Ray has been collected by museums and art lovers the world over and his work continues to resonate in the art world. He was the subject of a documentary, “How to make a Rex Ray”. Sadly, Ray died of cancer in 2015.

To learn more about our adult classes please email artinactiontoronto@gmail.com.

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Frida Kahlo inspired Hummingbirds

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One of Mexico’s greatest artists, Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyocoán, Mexico City, Mexico.   Frida Kahlo began painting after she was severely injured in a bus accident in 1925.

Frida Kahlo is best known for her surrealist imagery and her self-portraits that express the pain, loss and tragedy in her life. Frida’s art dramatises the pain in her life while cultivating an image as a bold survivor.

Frida Kahlo loved pets which is evident in her self-portraits with monkeys, birds, cats and other animals.

Students were inspired by her painting, Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. They used collage, oil pastels, watercolours and acrylic paint to create their paintings.

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Inukshuk’s Inspired by Ted Harrison

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“One curator said he didn’t want my work in his gallery because it was so simple even children understood it. I thought, what a wonderful tribute!”

-Ted Harrison

Before the Christmas holidays we were invited into the JK/SK classrooms at Runnymede Public School to do a special project inspired by the Canadian artist, Ted Harrison. The students were very enthusiastic and did a great job on their Northern Landscapes. They learned how to use chalk pastels and how to blend them for a brilliant sky. Next we sponged on snow to fill the bottom of our creations. And lastly we applied collage to build our Inukshuks.

Ted Harrison was born in England in 1926.  In 1950 he received his teaching certificate and began his 28 year career in education. He had a great interest in travel and taught in many different parts of the world, including Malaysia, India, East Africa and New Zealand before immigrating to Canada with his wife Nicky and their son Charles in 1968.

They settled in a small town called Carcross just outside Whitehorse in the Yukon. His love of the land and people of the Yukon has brought him national acclaim.   He makes simple landscapes even simpler.

Ted Harrison’s paintings are iconic, recognizable and distinctly unique.  His paintings are mostly in horizontal sections.  In the foreground there are people, animals and other objects.  In the background is the Canadian Northern landscape. His paintings are made up of brilliant colors, never shaded, and not always naturalistic – deep purple hills and lime green water.  His signature lines give contrast to the brilliant colours.

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Fernand Leger – Faces

“Man needs colour to live; it’s just as necessary an element as fire and water.”

– Fernand Leger

Fernand Léger was born at Argentan, France, on 4 February 1881. Regarded as the forerunner of the up and coming Pop Art style, Fernand Leger was a French painter, sculptor and filmmaker, working in his own form of cubism. He originally trained as an architect, and worked as an architectural draftsman in Paris.

The artists in our class first applied collage elements to watercolour paper and then applied a layer of chalk pastels to colour the background. A simple sketch of a face followed and completed their creations.

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Birgit O’Connor Spring Flowers

“Making art is about finding the true self – not who everyone has told you that you are, but the person you are truly.”

– Birgit O’Connor

Birgit O’Connor is a self taught watercolour artist who lives in Bolinas of West Marin, California. She specializes in watercolour paintings of flora and landscapes. As a living artist her work is ever changing and growing. She is the author of many books about painting with watercolour. 

We also used watercolour paints to start our multi-media flower creations. We added collage elements with gel medium and finished with black acrylic paint to add depth and abstract detail.

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Cezanne and a Pear Still Life

  “With an apple I will astonish Paris.”

– Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne inspired our students to do a still life study with pears. We had beautiful ripe forelle pears for the students to observe and used old encyclopedia pages with yellow, orange and green liquid watercolours to create them.

We followed Cezanne’s examples and created a whimsical table to place them on. Take a look at how they turned out:

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