As you can see from my recent posts, my collages are often inspired by the juxtaposition of a couple of stamps that have been discovered at random while sorting through a larger batch.  By happy coincidence they might have colours or features in common that (in my head, at least!) contain the seed for a larger landscape.  They are only starting points, and can often lead in directions I don't anticipate.  Sometimes the very stamps that inspired a collage don't make it into the final piece!

It might seem like it would be 'easy' to choose stamps of complimentary colours, stick them down and achieve a pleasing end result.  To be fair, on one level, it is!  But believe it or not, a small composition can often take me days.  For me, 'close enough' is frequently not 'good enough'.  I have boxes full of stamps, which I have sorted by colour to use as my palette.  Sometimes I pluck out individual stamps or combinations of stamps that seem to go well together, but finding the right blend that satisfatorily beds them into position is a painstaking task.

My palette boxes of stamps are only very loosely grouped, and individual stamps very quickly become buried as I rifle through, or add new ones.  I never know from one day to the next exactly what I will need, so it's impossible to pre-empt & preserve all of the beautiful stamps that may one day be just the right shade or combination of shades to fill a particular gap in an as-yet unstarted jigsaw.

Take a look at this:

First draft & finished collage

I knew from the initial juxtaposition of the 2 central stamps from St. Vincent which overall schematic I wanted the colours to follow.  The first draft layout (left) was actually far from a first draft and had taken hours of sorting, and switching particular stamps in and out.  It did literally take days of further contemplation and re-shuffling - taking everything off and starting again more than once - to reach the final destination of finished design (right).  

Even I was surprised when I realised quite how many (or in fact, how few) stamps from the original draft made it into the final piece!  The first draft was approximately 'right', and I could quite easily have stopped there.  But I'm far happier with the end collage, and glad that I took the time and effort to keep searching out just the right stamps to actualise my initial vision.

A small collage that took a lot of work!

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