Invincible Summer Collage

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”― Albert Camus

In order to cope with a summer of horrible “mystery illness,” that no doctors could diagnose, I soothed myself by creating collages on 4″ x 4″ birch panels.  Please enjoy this view into the process and the end results!

This set of four is called “The Roofs of Rhone.”

Here’s the magazine page that provided inspiration:


I picked out four roof views from this photo and drew stylized versions of those views:


Then I went through boxes of my hand-painted collage papers and chose colors and patterns for each view.


Tracing paper was used to create rough patterns from the drawings:


I cut out a 5 x 5 inch piece of light-weight water color paper and begin collating the pattern. Here are a couple of views after some of the collage papers were glued in place.



I took a fine-tipped black marker and architect’s stencil to ink in windows.

Then I took a 4 x 4 birch wood panel (from and lightly scratched it with a pair of scissors. This roughs up the panel so that the glued paper adheres to the wood more firmly.roofs-of-rhone-a

The finished collage is glued to the birch panel and clothes pins secure it while it dries.


Here’s all four panels of the Rhone Roofs drying:


After the collages adhered to the birch panels, I turned them over and used an exacto knife to cut the excess paper off the collages. The panels were placed on a self-healing cutting mat before using the knife.


After all four sides were cut evenly with the birch panels, I turned them back over and used an 18 kt gold leafing pen to outline the edges.


Here they are before being tweaked and cleaned up a bit:


I used sandpaper, paint, glue and the 18 k gold pen to tidy things up.

The final step was two coats of acrylic spray (with drying time in between each coat) and then the series is finished. They can be hung as a set of four, or framed as a collection.