Simply put, I use images of ancient manuscripts, totems, murals, and graffiti, cut them into small pieces, and glue them onto a wood panel. I find the images on the Web, scan them from pages of books and take my own photographs. My husband also takes tons of photos for me whenever he goes walking around our beautiful city. Over time, I’ve built up an extensive database on my computer of images from all over the world and from many different historical and modern time periods. Some of the images include text and calligraphy. Some are beautiful, brightly colored paintings.
When I decide to use a particular image in a collage, I use Adobe Photoshop to trim and appropriately size it. I then print the image (repeated many times) on a very thin archival photo paper using archival inks. I try to preserve the original colors of the image as best I can.
I normally have a basic idea of what I want the resultant collage to look like and draw a simple picture in pencil on a panel. I then cut the printed images into small pieces and glue these pieces onto the panel using an acrylic medium. My original design ideas often change drastically as the gluing progresses.
When the composition is completed, I coat it with several layers of an acrylic medium mixture, letting each layer fully dry before applying the next. Finally I spray the piece with an MSA varnish and buff the dried collage with a rough cloth, which gives it a satin sheen and the appearance of inlaid tile.