You may remember some time back I began attending online Virtual Studio at the National Gallery of Art. It’s a free program that occurs every 2 weeks or so and is sponsored by the NGA in Washington, DC.

Sometimes a guest artist runs the session, which lasts about 2 hours; sometimes NGA personnel do so. In all cases, we as participants take our inspiration from a work of art and use it to inspire exploration of a genre or a form.

(Here’s info about the program from a previous post. I wrote about it on my poetry blog since the event focused on both words and visual art.)

Anyway, not long ago we concluded several sessions using collage work. We viewed work by Romare Bearden and the Gees Bend quilters, among others. I’m not going to go into a lot of details – I’ll just show you the work.

A couple of these were done in my current Sketchbook, so you will see them in their book locations down the road, but I thought it might be nice to have a look now.

And if you are interested in attending a session, look here and you can find out how to get on the list for notifications: Virtual Studio.


In this session we were exploring surrealism using magazine papers and found images.I saw the red cape and that led me into this surreal world.

In this session we looked at a painting featuring some women and a branch of a lemon tree. The skill we were practicing was that of painting our own papers, then collaging. Well, I’ve done a lot of that over the years! So it was quite natural to me. I painted on magazine papers rather than plain papers, using acrylics.

We focused on the lemons in creating our collages. I chose to veer off a little and set the lemons sort of in space rather than hanging from a tree.

In this session we looked at quilts by the Gees Bend quilters and then created our own tiny quilts following a set method of putting the papers together. I made four different arrangements. Each one is about 6″ x 8″, maybe? The one in the top right corner, I’ve given it an edging, because it became a rug in a project that I made for my granddaughter. The others, I am sure they will show up somewhere later on…

OK, that’s it for now!

13 thoughts on “Explorations

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I believe it is the combination of the magazine images and the paint that makes it work so well, the papers are already really layered and rich and then combining them is so much fun to see how to get them to enhance each other.

  1. Leonie Andrews

    I am drawn to your painted magazine pages, I think because I often use magazines for transfer prints on my gelli plate. I find myself using the original, now paint covered page as much as I use my prints!

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Yes, sometimes those inadvertent items are better than the original project, aren’t they, and it’s a joy to see something appear out of the blue like that, so to speak. I am such a fan of magazine pages for all kinds of projects and I am lucky that my local library will give me their magazine discards if I want them (so I get a good selection).

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Oh, good, I’d love to “see” you there sometime! Each session varies in how or what is accomplished, and often I amend things to suit myself (they cater to a varied audience of differing skills) but I always come away with some thought or inspiration and usually, some decent artwork! (I even admit to having attended some of the NGA sessions they gear towards kids, which is a different thing than Virtual Studio. That tells you I am hooked).

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I saw the cape and I knew I had to do something with it. I wish I had one like it in real life. I will pass on the shoes, though! They might be a bit uncomfortable! I really enjoyed this session of collage making and once again I found it sent me in a direction I was not planning.

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          Oh no, I am certainly not. I remember when I had to wear them for work (30+ years ago) and did so for years and I never really felt safe on my feet as long as I was wearing those dratted shoes!

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