Controlled Chaos

Since we don’t have an extra room or an outside space to convert into a studio, I had to take over our guest bedroom.  Lucky for me, we don’t have many overnight guests and those that do come tend to not stay for long since they are surrounded by art supplies.  I can’t say that I blame them since my art supplies have not only taken over the closet, but all the drawers in the dresser as well. 

When I’m working on a collage, I work on the floor, not at an easel.  This method works best for me, not just because I find it more comfortable, it also works best for the space I have to work in.

This is a picture of what I call controlled chaos or work in progress.  My husband just calls it a mess:

controlled chaos

This picture depicts a small sample of the amount of paper and materials that are strewn over the floor.  In fact, the floor is so covered at this point that not only do visitors not have a place to sit, it’s nearly impossible to walk through the room without stepping all over collage papers.


This is our cat Tyler.  He hangs out with me while I’m working, when he’s not sleeping that is.  He sleeps a lot. I don’t mind his presence for the most part, it’s just when he wants to be petted while I’m working that it becomes annoying.  I have yet to find a way to pet a cat with gel medium on my hands and not wind up with cat hair glued to them.  Cat hair is not an element I want in my collages.


Appaloosa Collage

I think this is finally complete.  It’s hard to stop sometimes. I always feel that I could tweek things here and there, but sometimes when I do that I find that I mess things up and should have just left well enough alone.

Wildfire web

I titled this one “Wildfire” and it will be exhibited at the VAGF show titled “For the Love of Song” in February at the Frisco Art Gallery.  The show called for each artist to create a piece of art that was inspired by a song.  This collage was inspired by a song by Natasha Bedingfield called “Wild Horses.”  Here are some of the lyrics that I relate most to from her song:

“I feel these four walls closing in, my face looking up against the glass.  I’m looking out.  Is this my life I’m wondering.   It happened so fast.  How do I turn this thing around?  Is this the bed I chose to make?  Its greener pastures I’m thinking about.  Wide open spaces far away.”

“I see the girl I wanna be riding bareback, carefree along the shore.  If only that someone was me.  Jumping head first headlong without a thought.  To act and damn the consequence.  How I wish it could be that easy, but fear surrounds me like a fence.  I wanna break free.”

Here is a link to the song in it’s entirety:

Great news!  This piece sold while on exhibit.  I’m very pleased and glad that my horse found a new home!


The Making of an Appaloosa collage Part 2

After I finished collaging most of the horse’s body and the majority of the face as well, I decided that the peach tones throughout the coat just weren’t working for me. I also still don’t love the area around the eye.  So now I’m left with the task of trying to remove the collage paper I don’t like and putting new paper down. 

 Appaloosa 2

It wasn’t easy, but I really think white looks much better.

appaloosa 4

It was definitely worth the extra work, but there are still a couple more areas I want to change.  I also need to start laying down pieces of collage paper in the horse’s mane as well. 

appaloosa 5

I changed the area around the eye that was bothering me and started cutting strips of paper to collage the mane with.  I think the mane will definitely the most colorful and interesting part.

Until next time!


Making of an Appaloosa collage Part 1

I have always loved horses, so I decided I would try and do a collage of one. I used a reference photo of a Leopard Appaloosa to create the underpainting and when that was complete, I began to add decorative papers to create the collage:

Appaloosa colage step 1
Appaloosa colage step 1



The spots on the horse made it a little more difficult than I thought it would be to apply the surrounding papers.  I think I might have been better off picking a different breed, one that was mostly one color, but I was committed at this point and wasn’t turning back, so I kept adding more paper:

Appaloosa step 2
Appaloosa step 2

This is where I’m stopping for today.  After looking at it for a while, I’m not sure I like the peach colors, so that is something I will consider changing. I’m also not too pleased with the area around his most visible eye, so I might have to do something different there as well.

One thing I love about collage is that it is a very forgiving medium.  This comes in really handy sometimes, especially in a case like this. If I don’t love the way something looks, I can just collage over it and try again.  I have a feeling I am going to be doing a lot of that with this piece!


Sometimes change is good

Every once in a while I decide that one of my collages needs a change of some kind, or in some cases, needs to be painted over and turned into something completely different.  Sometimes it happens after I have exhibited a piece one or two times and it doesn’t sell, but most of the time it’s because I just don’t love it the way it is. 

This is a piece I created last year titled “Pieces of my Heart”.  It was in three different exhibitions.  I liked it, but I just didn’t love it.  Since it hadn’t sold, it became clear that it was going to be a permanent fixture in my home.

Pieces of my Heart

One day I decided that it needed a change so I started on it’s transformation.  The first thing I did was to find more words from magazines and newspapers that I liked and glued these over the acrylic paint skins which made up the heart shape.  After that I tore more pieces of blue, pink and lavender tissue paper and layered those over the heart and words attached them with gel medium.  I also outlined the heart shape with strips of text from papers I had.  Then I took a brayer and rolled it through some acyrlic paint and spread that across the entire canvas, concentrating on the heart shape.  I really like the texture that the paint skins gave it and how the paint spread across it in some areas and not in others.  Next I splattered some more pearl white over the canvas.  Finally I found as many butterflies as I could from my stash of decorative paper, cut them out and attached them to the canvas with gel medium.

Here is the final result:

 Love is Like a Butterfly

I called this “Love is Like a Butterfly” and I won’t mind if this one becomes part of my permanent collection!

Julie Mortillaro’s Art Blog – Adventures in Collage

After a year of creating, exhibiting and selling art, I finally decided it was time to launch a website and include a blog as well.  To be honest, I tried blogging before and wasn’t as diligent as I should have been.  Frankly, I never managed to attract even one follower. I’m quite sure no one ever even read my blog, except me of course.

This time around I pledge to do things differently.  I want this to be not only a place to showcase some of my artwork, but a place where I can pass along some of the knowledge I have acquired over the past year. 

I don’t have an art degree so everything I learned has been from other artists, whether it be their dvd’s, videos, books or just studying their technique from thier website or blog.  I wouldn’t have been able to create the majority of my art if it hadn’t been for these wonderful artists being willing to share their knowledge with others like myself, so I want to be able to do the same for others who come across this blog.

So thanks for joining me and come back often to check out my progress!