Elizabeth St Hilaire (Beth) began painting her own collage papers because of her concern over light-fastness, but the practice soon led her to a collection of hues and a range of values and textures that convinced her to never go back to commercial papers for her collages. Now, in her new book Painted Paper Art Workshop published by North Light Books, you can learn to create gorgeous collage paintings like Beth's.
Forty full-color pages of this book teach the additive, subtractive, resist, and monoprint techniques that Beth finds most helpful for adding glorious color to your papers. Additive techniques (adding paint to paper) are probably the most familiar. They include such things as stamping, stenciling, sponging, and splattering. Resist techniques include using alcohol, texture rubbings, soup bubbles, metallics, glue, and gesso.
The next (almost) forty pages cover Beth's signature method of creating her painted paper collages. Starting with choosing a substrate and priming it, she takes you through composition, sketching and underpainting, the collage process itself, and adding the finishing touches. Composition is the basis for everything that follows, and a full range of values is key to a successful piece.
I feel the most valuable information by far is how Beth takes you through examples that show how to build your collage piece from the background to the foreground so that the composition looks 3D instead of flat. Further, she takes you through an exercise that teaches you how to construct an image that has the look of actual volume. Together, these skills help you to end up with a piece that looks more like a painting than a collage!