Heritage of Hope

My second collage was a wedding present for my friend Mayna, the fabulous and fashionable owner of Closet Fly. She and her fiancé said "I do" last month in beautiful Costa Rica. Sadly, I was not able to attend the wedding, so instead I poured my energy into making a special gift for them.

After having such success the first time around, I was excited to get started on Mayna's collage. But this one didn't come together nearly as easily. Perhaps it was my high expectations after the last collage turned out so well. Perhaps it was all the pressure and busyness of the holiday season catching up with me. Or perhaps it was simply a very different collage that needed a very different approach.

Whatever the case may have been, I struggled for weeks trying to get this collage to match the vision in my head. I had trouble with colors, picture shaping, picture placement, and even frame selection. In the end, it never really did turn out the way I thought it would. And I finally decided that was okay. Sometimes art has a life of its own, refusing to conform to our preconceived notions no matter how hard we try to force it. Sometimes my job as the artist is to just let it be what it is and stop trying to make it something I think it should be.

So here is the finished collage by itself, which I entitled "Heritage of Hope" (click to enlarge):

And here it is in the frame I finally settled on (click to enlarge):

I asked Mayna for a few pictures of her and her fiancé and then incorporated them with my own flower/foliage pictures to create a seasonal progression. I used a background of earthy browns and greens, which I chose initially to coordinate with Mayna's wedding colors, but as the collage took shape, the browns and greens seemed to be the best backdrop for the theme and content of this project. Instead of cutting everything in straight lines and angles (as I had done for my sailing collage), I followed the shapes of the flowers and leaves. This gave the collage a more open feel overall and let the colors and shapes "pop" or stand out from the background. Before I even began this project, I purchased a carved, distressed, cream-colored frame to coordinate with the vision in my head. But that frame was all wrong for the finished collage. After much searching and deliberation, I settled on a rich coppery brown one that gave depth and weight to the collage while still blending with the colors and feel of it.

So although this project didn't turn out like I had envisioned, I am still pleased with the final result. I have learned much about the process of creating a collage—not just the mechanics of it but also the artistic elements and challenges involved. And hopefully I will soon be applying what I've learned as I finish the long-in-process Growing Is Beautiful collage!


  1. I love hearing the story behind this! And I agree that the rounded lines really complement the photos of foliage and make it feel very organic and tropical — perfect, considering their exotic wedding location!

  2. There is a show at the Frye Museum that shows collage-like artworks. The show also has pictures around Seattle... I thought of you when I saw it. You might like it.


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