One Word Collages: Reds And Blues + A Giveaway!

One Word Collages


The mix of text and imagery is something that I’ve always been fascinated with. And, with my love for mixed media + my interest in the One Word practice, I thought it might be cool to try “one word collages” as a series to explore.

You see, I’ve been looking at  working in a series with my artwork lately. I mean, I know in the past, I already sort of did this. But, looking back, I realise that I was never really conscious about it. It was more like an accidental approach to developing a series.

This time, I’m doing this as a deliberate way to challenge my thinking and my art-making.

Working in a series allows me to restrict myself and to focus. To explore an idea in many different ways, but not straying too far. To really learn an approach and to develop my techniques. To “own” what I’m doing, so to speak.

This is one of the things that I’m learning about focus. Developing restrictions. Setting down parameters. These are things that may seem limiting to start with. But, in the long run, they will  help the creator to grow, to mature in practice, and to develop.

I believe this is applicable in many ways too, including blogging.

One Word Collages: Blues


For the One Word Collage series, I knew from the start that I would be making the following guidelines/restrictions:

  • Format/Surface/Size: I was going to work with A4-sized sheets (paper), which will be divided in to four. So, making the final art work approximately 5 3/4 inches x 4 1/4 inches in size. I wasn’t sure in the beginning if the final pieces will be portrait or landscape, but in the end, the landscape style suited it better.


  • Building up the artwork: I made a decision to start with red-based colours, only punctuated with black, white, browns, golds, and perhaps a highlight colour. In the “Reds”, I ended up with spearmint as my highlight colour. In the “Blues”,  I opted out of using a highlight colour.


  • Media: Since this is mixed media work, I knew that I can have a bit of liberty with my materials. But, some of the limitations I placed on myself included: My main paint will be acrylics, I’ll be using primarily handpainted papers and ephemera as collage pieces, I’m going to use machine stitching in all the pieces.


  • Words: The words didn’t come to me until much later when I was doing my first batch of collages. I decided that I will be using only action words that mean something to me – and that seem to fit the individual pieces.


  • The steps: With those things in mind, I ended up with a system of working my layers - Laying down the main background paints (working in hues), collaging papers and ephemera, creating “happy accidents” with inks, adding on paint (usually to bring out highlights and make everything more cohesive),  and adding any other collage pieces, if needed. Then, I add fine pen lines in black and white. Once that’s done, I cut up the pages (I work with two A4-sized sheets). Then, I look at “fixing” anything that needs fixing, in terms of composition – adding rub-ons, more line work, more paint, etc. Once I have my smaller pieces completed, I consider what  words to put in them, then stamp them in. Then, the final step is to add machine stitching to complete the look I am aiming for. And yes, I usually work in bursts per layer (often waiting in-between layers).

There’s really something about these collage pieces that’s making me pleased about them. I think, I love the fact that I’m learning a lot from doing them.

And, since I haven’t done a giveaway in ages, I thought I’d start doing this again. Especially since my birthday’s coming up!

I’m doing this giveaway in two ways.

A) As a thank you to Notes from Shai (e-newsletter) subscribers, I’ll be randomly picking a subscriber in the next week or so to send one of these prints. If you’re already a subscriber, then you don’t need to do anything. If you’re chosen, you’ll get an email from me saying you’ve won. If you’re not a subscriber yet, please do sign-up. It’s easy. Just follow that link – or subscribe on the blog (see sidebar). Subscribers always get extra special stuff from me. Last month, I gave them a copy of digital journal pages. This month, a giveaway. Good deal for something that’s free, right?   

B) And, since I think I’d like to finally use my ShaiCoggins.com Facebook Page (I’ve had it for YEARS but never really promoted or used it much at all), I’ll choose a random winner from the Fans/Friends of that page as well. At the moment, there’s a high chance for existing likers because there’s only about 9 people there. Including me. Heh.  Anyway, again, if you’re already connected with me there, nothing else you need to do. Just stay put and wait for a message if you’re the winner. If you haven’t liked that page yet, please do. After all, I need at least 30 people before Facebook can give me access to data from that page. 🙂 And yes, Facebook peeps will also have separate deals. Plus, I plan on sharing more stuff there that I won’t always share everywhere. 

So, if you’re a subscriber AND a Facebook Page liker, then you have more chances of getting stuff. Hopefully, stuff that will help to inspire you. Or at least, make you smile. On a good day, maybe even laugh and dance with joy. And no, alcohol and illicit drugs aren’t included in the ‘stuff’. I think. : )

Winners will be notified on or before my birthday (6 April).

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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