Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan: Blog en-us (C) Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) Fri, 25 May 2018 01:35:00 GMT Fri, 25 May 2018 01:35:00 GMT Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan: Blog 120 114 Collages Now Hanging At Joy of Pilates Studio My touring black and white collage trio is now hanging at Joy Of Pilates In Bellingham. Super fun, airy, warehouse style environment. These collages are for sale. Frame not included $90 Each. If you purchase the entire collection. I will give you the frames!  

The lead for the "call for art" came from a gal on FB.

Thank you Terry!


and then she cried


zippered up





]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage collage artist karen hanrahan washington Wed, 23 May 2018 23:51:59 GMT
Essence Of Bellingham 2018 Each year the City Of Bellingham hosts a photography contest called the Essence Of Bellingham. I entered it in the spring of 2016, when I had only been west a short while. I didn't win. In 2017 I entered again and I was awarded 4 honorable mentions. Woot! One of the images was printed and hung up in city hall for the year. Pretty cool. In 2018, I entered and my photograph of the Tacos El Tule food truck won an honorable mention! The story gets better though. When I posted the news of my award, my friend and a collector of my work could hardly believe it - her husband was from the very small in the middle of nowhere Mexican town known as El Tule! Isn't that just wild? She BOUGHT the photograph to give to her husband for their anniversary. I just love how small and significant the world can be. In making sure the story continued on, I made a print to gift to the folks at Taco El Tule. None of this would have happened if they weren't selling tacos!

I have a bit of experience narrating food truck and pop up restaurant stories



Below are the ten photographs I submitted this year, and here are all the images I set aside to try and pick my final shots from. It's always a fun process. 



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) award honorable mention karen hanrahan photographer washington Wed, 23 May 2018 23:08:55 GMT
The Coating Of Bellinghams Acid Ball When I moved to Bellingham in the fall of 2015,  I became very intrigued by the scape of the water front. Especially the decay of a former granary building and multiple structures remaining from a closed paper mill. At the time, a major waterfront project was underway, there sure was a lot of activity and construction happening! Turns out a competition was had to turn the mill's acid ball into public art. The winners of the competition, Mutuus Studio, a design firm out of Seattle, proposed moving the ball, and coating it with reflective glass beads. The coating had never been applied in this way ever before.

I found myself one afternoon on Central Pier after they had moved the ball, wondering how I could be part of the coating project. I thought it would be a great photography narrative. As an artist I wonder about things like this rather often, but acting on them is sometimes a challenge. I did find the gumption to introduce myself to the design firm, and after a delightful phone conversation, found myself celebrating a yes and permission to photograph the project! WOW!

Having never worked on a construction site before, I had to sign forms, and procure a safety vest and hard hat. Luckily I was able to borrow those from the city. I was told that my being allowed on the site, as an everyday citizen/artist was not something that happened easily. I felt remarkably grateful. I was at the project 8 separate times over a period of two weeks. I clocked in 17 shoot hours, and about twice that in editing. The highlight of the entire gig was the evening when they tested the lighting, the ball had been fully coated, the entire team was present, once darkness fell, and once we figured out how to trigger the reflective beads, it was pretty darn magical!

Another moment for me was on day two. As the first coat of primer was going on, the sky painted itself with the most amazing collection of clouds. The clouds really added to the scape, and really made for some magnificent and unique images!

Before the acid ball could be coated, it first had to be power washed, caulked, and primed. Coating with the beads was tricky, it required two men, and timing was of the essence .  They did the project in three sections, beginning at the top of the ball, and working their way underneath. On the final beading day the painting team had to wrestle with very high winds.

My project portfolio in its entirety is here.  

Below are some of my favorite captures.





]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) acid ball city of bellingham karen hanrahan mutuus studio photographer port of bellingham reflective beads waypoint park Sun, 13 May 2018 20:49:07 GMT
Eighteen By Twenty Four  

To challenge myself in 2018 I decided to make one large 18x24 collage per week. i have always collaged in an 8.5x11 format, very occasionally in 9x12. The dynamic of working larger has been interesting for me. 

Not quite sure of an exact making pattern. some seem to begin in the middle and work themselves to each side. many are morphing faces, and i am actually enjoying that process, especially the sitting and cutting all the faces out. who knew! 

One recently became part of a group show in May

All need a written narrative. Some are clear as to what they are speaking to, others are not.

Here is one:

this week's 18 x 24. a ton of narrative in this one. in my past there were people who did not reveal themselves truthfully - they would give you that stone face, and or offer lip service. placate you. sometimes they were one person in certain circumstances - another person in another - even the horse has that stone face look. these people were miserable beings. i could have had the wrangler running off into the other direction i suppose but i sense it's purpose was to put these artificial beings out of their emotional misery. at least symbolically. the rush of color and the force of it's paint strokes show a sense of power/ a get it done-ness, and that small blast of blue is to me like the other side of something. the color blue is a very important part of my life. the original three images chosen for this piece began with the stone faces, the colorful rider and the texture of the mountain scape - it evolved and came together by the morph of that man and the brown of and the stare of that horse. for those following my work - these stories or subconscious reveal are not planned - they arrive as I make. it's part of why I collage, and why I teach collage to others. a tool for emotional sorting and expression.




Not all of this 18x24 work resonates with me, there are even a few of these collages that I don't like very much.  I am glad for the not so good pieces. I can learn from them. Presenting art immediately challenges my budget. 

Hopefully I will find creative ways to share and show these.

An image like this does not actually convey size.






]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Fri, 11 May 2018 18:20:44 GMT
Visqueen Dancing  


                                                                                                                                                                      A cable appeared in my window. 

and then a rope. 

and then, at the bottom of the building there was a lift. 

We were being readied for a facelift!!

The note we were issued said power washing, patching and paint would be happening. wow. 

they asked for our patience and cooperation

this, they said, was a long term project.

up to 6 months!

my area was the first to get windows covered with visqueen.

someone said to me yesterday

"oh, that's a lot like looking through cataracts." 

The plastic definitely alters the view.

Of the 20 windows covered, only 3 got holes cut for air.


i put an inquiry to get holes for air too, but at the end of that particular day, no air hole.

it was almost 90 in here.

luckily, i found a guy. and asked for his assistance.

he took out my screens, took down the visqueen in both my windows

and promised to be back with new visqueen after the weekend, and he said, he'd make sure i had air holes.



just like he promised.

he was back.

That day the sun hit just right as he and his co-worker went about their work.

perhaps you can see why i had to find my camera.

when the utility knife was pulled out

i could not believe how cool that looked

a tad hitchcock-esque - don't you think?

When the two of them worked at the other window 

i thought it looked as if they were dancing.

TOO fun! 

We all were given air holes that day. 

And so, time went on.

and the workers worked.

when they were near my window

my air hole was taped shut,


it would be re-opened 

Often the lift,  went up and down in the course of a days work.

up and down, over and over.

so far, the paint job looks really amazing.

Finally, the visqueen came down.

once the plastic was down, it didn't mean that they were done, they still had quite a bit left to do.

it's important to note that when 

the workers are working

they are like IN your windows.

with studio apartments as they are

their presence is...

well, present.

For me as an artist, i found it was a great 

opportunity to play with light,color, shadows, lines and a cataract perspective! 


I sometimes still can't believe i am here. 5 months now.

i have felt a profound gratitude to be living here in what I call my city studio

I am experiencing a sense of security, safety and privacy, have to say it's also a relief for me that someone else can be concern about the maintenance.

My FULL image album of this adventure is here. 








]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) photographer washington Sat, 05 May 2018 17:08:18 GMT
Our Imaginary Friend Griselia I answered a call for art from Make.Shift Gallery. 

Every year, Make.Shift Gallery celebrates Kid's Art Walk in May. This year, they partnered with Cedar Tree Montessori and asked 4th to 6th grade students to create artistic renderings of their imaginary friends. We invite YOU to create a piece of art inspired by the work of these talented kids. Our exhibit will display these works by students and local artists side-by-side through the month of May. The opening will be on Art Walk Friday, May 4th from 6-10pm.

I was given this adorable visual prompt

PLUS this description:

My Imaginary Friend by Amaia.

Her name is Griselia she is 4.5 feet tall. She wears black and red leafs formed into a dress. She wears black flats. She has a big black and red flower in her long black hair that flows into the wind as if it were part of it. She can morph into any animal that is not smaller than a fox. She has blood red eyes and is great with a bow and arrow. ( that she always carries around just in case ) She was abandoned as a baby but thankfully someone took her in. The person that took her in was a warrior and when she took her in and she was trained to be one of the highest trained warriors. She is very protective of her land, and I should know. I am Griselia

i had an afternoon to give to it. I was lucky to immediately find a red eye.

that image find was where the collage began. 

The piece evolved into a sword which was appropriate for the warrior that Amaia described.

In two places a bow and arrow is implied, and below the handle of the sword are shooting rays of iight, a bit like the movement of arrows

I did the best with what I could find for her costume - it called for red and black leaves, all i could muster visually were black and red petals and black and white feathers. i think adding the armour helped, but i admit that section is a bit busy.

her hair became what morphed like a fox, i felt the braid instilled strength and what flowed into the wind was a head full of flowers


The piece evolved into an 18 x 24 Collage!

Framing as you know is a challenge for me.

I asked around for a spare 

and one was found, and gifted to me.  


I oiled the wood

( coconut oil and vinegar )

 and it was JUST perfect.









]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan washington Tue, 24 Apr 2018 21:56:33 GMT
Inspirit-Form On Tour! I am very excited to share that my solo installation "Inspirit-Form" is going on tour. 

First stop was installed yesterday. Matt was a seriously patient and gracious assistant. The show looks awesome in the space.

Kindly stop at the Cordata Community Food Coop now through May in the local roots room and check it out!


]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Thu, 29 Mar 2018 23:03:55 GMT
Photography Exhibit At Sumas Historical Society And Museum I am super honored that the Sumas Historical Society And Museum, a true gem of a place in the small border town of Sumas, WA has selected 6 of my photographs for their local artist display. The six 8 x 10 framed photographs are mounted on a pieces of wood giving the display a rugged look.  Thank you Gail for the beautiful display! Julie, thanks for the image share. 


Below is a closer look at the images, but nothing beats seeing them in person!

The museum is open WED, FRI and SAT from 12-4, it's on 2nd street, just down the way from the library.







]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan photographer washington Thu, 29 Mar 2018 21:14:41 GMT
Project 2017 :: Birds I am enjoying tearing apart my collage journals and organizing them into visual themes and stories. If you recall I made a commitment in 2017 to journal daily with collage. If for some reason I missed a day, I would make two the next day. The point is I created a high volume of work. 

I am a safety and order person. I like things to be a certain way. While I don't put my spices in alphabetical order, I valued that the work of 2017 was neatly in 5 journals and in order of the way that they were made. Taking them all apart and out of order feels unsettling. My goal with Project 2017 is to lessen the overwhelm of the sheer volume, and divide my collage work into cohesive collections. 

ALL work is for sale. Reasonably priced $54. Plus shipping. 

These are the stories and themes I've discovered so far:

The Neighbor

Black And White

A Cry For Help

Today's theme is BIRDS. 

I had begun a side project at the beginning of 2017 for a solo installation. The installation was inspired by this collage and a found Audubon magazine.

I made this piece around the beginning of the new year. I loved the direction and focus it offered me. So determined!

"Give what you dream direction and watch yourself become"

I decided for the show to collage with images from Audubon magazines exclusively. Turns out finding that magazine was more challenging than I expected. I did source quite a few, and completely tore them all apart! In the end, I framed and matted 22 collages for my exhibit, which showed in the fall of 2017.  

Outside of the installation that I was preparing for, birds found their way into my daily collage journaling. 

I noticed that the bird is often solo, alone, single ...much like I am. When there are two birds, it's because of a specific reason. like a work project or moving help. 

To see this theme in an album go here  #74-#116

Below are some stories around this theme:

my search for a new home was ever present and very challenging. 

a few solstice's and equinox's occurred 

My solo installation launched this day. I felt so affirmed. The location of it was wooded. 

By this time installation creations had become very BIRD, and had morphed into something more.  A curator took interest and offered to author the narrative. The collaboration of which was really cool.

This was a piece that looks a bit like some of what was in the installation. (but wasn't included)

This collage solidified the nucleus known as my family. My nest (thus the mama bird) was empty, but we were unified. cohesive. I made this collage after visiting my two kids. I had not seen them for almost 2 years. In processing some of the trips not so great moments - I felt the authenticity of an apology from my daughter, which I feel spired the making of this collage.   The second piece, was the day they told me that they were funding my visit! 

Other collages were made simply for the beauty or mystery of what they offered.

Here is one that shows more than one bird or the help I had when I moved

(I moved two times in 2017) 

As I tear these journals apart, birds seem to find their way into certain stories, so not all the birds are highlighted in this sharing, but I think you get the idea of the theme!

#4 #2 #1 #3 #5 #7 #8 #9 #6 #13 #11 #10 #15 #14 #18 #12 #16 #20 #19 #21   #25 #24 #21 #23   #26 #29  #30   #27 #28   #34 #31  #32  #33  #35 #36  #38  #39 #37   #40 #41  #42 #43

below notes from the backs of some of the collages:  


2 boots, wool,wintery, poised, last bit of color. 

3 working with sara collage

4 divided flight, unintended nature

5 made in collage circle

6 the direction you need to take is right in front of you, all you need to do is look. earth, fire, grounded, passion. give what you dream direction and watch yourself become

7 change of scape, flight, altered, current water and air

8 "toile" in flight. fascination with beautiful rest/fine linen

9 minds eye, little bird told me, combining nature with fashion, surprising, perched, searching


11 elegant, the neck and the bill doors of faraway places, medicinal woman, tradition, lack of

12 up the coast ( kate ) heard from matthew. trip.

13 stonehenge single, the other side of manifestion, monday, attracting homelessness


15 summer solstice, personal blooming, blossoming, vibration, imagine, let the sun shine

16 when folks do not get along


18 spread my wings, trees have paths, all in a row, gazing forward, exhibit launch ( uncanny ) 

19 got my whale tail 

20 morphed, nature, one eye series, murky, looks better this way

21 installation occurred today. poland highway and waterway, wild turkey

22 family, mother, daughter, son, the authenticity of an apology felt by daughter, family unit, mama/baby bird

23 equinox, golden time of the year, wisdom, rooted, trees, the tree does not stand alone

24 what you discover on the internet, what there is to be told. gail - interview/already you are underpaid.

25 a little bird told me slice of moon

26 unexpected back side of a magazine page

27 full moon preparation/ watching over , wise, divided house

28 post las vegas shootings. horrified. the world is my ice cream cone

29 lady gaga morphed with a owl. wise. didn't work with the eagle feather


31 bizarre bird/bride morph fantasy, garden, fairy, bright

32 hard day, feeling stopped, day got away from me, not sure what i accomplished

33 watching. wise woman watching wise owl watching silly toy hat , cars in har

34 time capsule, lonely, bird morph, timelessness, weekend, nothing, cowboy, solo

35 EYE see autumn

36 lazy, sunday, dreary, rainy. color, rich, color rich, beautiful, hummingbird, fascinating


38 new lease signed today, city studio, fiscal relief is indescribable

39 moving help, duo, i had help

40 beauty and the lettuce leaf


42 soaring. new home very bellingham

43 not morphed, seeking their own direction weddel seal/hummingbird







]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Fri, 16 Mar 2018 22:04:57 GMT
Images Sold To The City Of Sumas I captured an image narrative of the US/Canada border town Sumas, WA during the 6 months that I lived there. I fell for the odd quirk of the place and the absolutely lovely expanse of the surrounding countryside.  A ten minute jaunt after a rainfall, at sunset, e even during the fires from BC would provide me with plenty of things to photograph. 

I wrote an article about the little museum in town and out of that a referral found it's way to me from the Chamber. They chose ten of my photographs for their website/directory.

I am honored! 




]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan photographer washington Wed, 07 Mar 2018 22:46:54 GMT
Group Photography Show :: Seeing Bellingham I am very excited to participate in a group photography show that will highlight 40 photographs of the Bellingham area - taken by local photographers this month. The Facebook group "Seeing Bellingham"  is a low key image sharing space. Some folks showing have never had a photograph in an art show before.  Our work was printed and mounted for a very low fee giving the pieces uniformity and ease of hanging. Michelle Helen coordinated all the details of those interested in showing, and Jonathan Williams is hosting the pieces in his studio space in the basement of Make.Shift a vibrant art making space. Artist reception at 5:30 as part of the March First Friday art walk.

My "sprinkler" photo is part of a set I captured while at a "Seeing Bellingham" picnic this past August.  


]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan photographer washington Wed, 28 Feb 2018 23:26:52 GMT
Project 2017 :: The Neighbor My Project 2017 continues. To remind you,  I am deconstructing a YEAR of daily collage making and sharing the stories and themes that evolved.

Posts so far: 

Cry For Help

Black And White 

Project 2017 :: The Neighbor

This will be the hardest story I tell from this past year. It will also be the most comprehensive. 40 collages created all told. It is a long rather complicated story. For 5 weeks, during the Spring of 2017, my collage work narrated the story of bullying and harassment. As the collages revealed themselves I felt their validity and creative witness. One can not make this stuff up. 

At the core of some of these pieces are images of men that really looked like this person - this bully, or they portrayed an essence of him. How that could possibly occur from a random stack of magazines? Yet it did. The collages revealed fear, and my seeking help. They shared an emotional sorting, as I endured this person, his lack of boundaries and mentally abusive behavior.  They illustrated my taking my own stand and finding my own inner strength.  I didn't plan to tell this story though my art. The art became spontaneously as I got to the other side of one circumstance at a time. Once the neighbor was evicted and gone from the property I felt such relief. Months later he meddled in my life once more, and a collage was there for me again. 

Larger views of these collages are in this album #30-#72 

The 13 collages below illustrate him in likeness and or in essence.

 actual notes on the back of each collage are at the end of this post. *denotes these 12.  


1. We spoke of the cities we liked, his love for horses, he told me he was a homosexual. 


2. He told an epic and very strange tale of his mother and his sister. obsessed with that story. he said he was a writer who was going to author this tale of his family. he loved pasta.



3. the house before he moved in was deplorable. he had no boundaries re: my personal space


4. shared meals, and happy hour, him on the dinner plate judging me - my trying to detach and re-establishing my own space.


5. when he met me he said i looked like a deer in a headlight ( upper right hand corner ) I felt like my living circumstances was becoming unstable ( house of cards ) and divided - there were two sides - the collage looks like a dark butterfly. flight.


6. falling on deaf ear, things got so weird so fast, i felt who would believe me. we shared a meal the day we met, his treat, at the restaurant, there was a lady of guadalupe, that was the beginning - i began to fear homelessness. i was afraid



7. i was in a creek without a paddle - in between two men, the landlord and the neighbor



8. a man who loved pasta, surrounded by circles of oysters, creating protection



9. news of him being evicted, i could see his farewell - there he goes off into the sunset. relief



10. the day he moved out he choreographed a spectacle. drama. he reported the landlord to the county, spoke about me outside my door loudly to this inspector, he told her that i had sexual relations with the landlord. the things he said. on the back of the collage i wrote - flabbergasted.



11. once he left, i again felt like who would listen to me, who would i tell and what would i even say - in one ear out the other.



12.  this was the first day of harassment, in this collage I took elements of him - ice cream, salads and salmon ( he ate a lot of the same foods ) and they morphed into a protecting mermaid, at least that's how I interpreted it.



13. the resemblance to his actual self in this collage is frightening.


Imagine a house on an acre of Washington county land set back from the road, nestled in the foothills. Beautiful? At a glance perhaps so. The house -- was a two story home.  It had an attached 500 square foot storeroom converted into an apartment.  The transient Canadian landlord and his wife, called the studio apartment "the suite." The market for apartment living in this area is saturated and competitive. When I viewed the studio, I had been looking to move for several months. The storeroom was filled with debris and had no plumbing, but I saw its potential, and more importantly I really needed an apartment. I asserted myself with an offer of cash for the unit and was awarded a casual contract. Handwritten receipt and terms.  When I revisited the unit a few weeks later to see it's progress and to secure my key, things were not finished. I had per our previous agreement committed a truck, movers, as well as notified my soon to be former circumstance of my leaving. I was not turning back. 

The day I moved in was a bleak February day.  I arrived to a bathroom that needed a bucket to flush the toilet with, no kitchen sink or stove, and electrical challenges. The landlord stayed in the house when he was in town ( a thin wall and adjoining door divided us ) He, and a handyman were IN my apartment for the next 12 days. I witnessed remarkable ineptness, poor materials and shoddy workmanship. This was to be my new home.  The rent was within my means. I called it my Country Studio and did what I could to make it mine. The challenges turned out to be many, including dealing with the landlord, his use of the property as a dumping ground for building materials and garbage, living far from the city, and an apartment that had a mice infestation problem.  I lost respect for the landlord pretty early on, he was arrogant, not truthful and he was weird. Very very weird. I was an asset to his circumstance as a paying, loyal renter. 


I had now lived there a year. The landlord was in Canada, and had asked that I clean his side of the house to prepare for a bank assessment and a potential tenant, when he asked me to open the house for an investor I witnessed deplorable living conditions. I had a key because the router was on his side for shared internet. As transient as the landlord was I requested the key to get to the router to reboot it incase the internet failed. I had not needed that in his absence thus far. When I let the banker in -- it was my first time actually inside the house. The space was a construction zone, just filthy and furnishings etc were of very low quality. There was open food on the counters, dirty dishes, and rotten food in the fridge. There was rodent feces everywhere. I declined the cleaning job sharing that it wasn't light cleaning but more industrial in nature. A job beyond my abilities. It surprised me that he lived that way while there.

In February someone knocked on my door. The man at the door said he was there to see the apartment for rent.  The landlord had not told me he had placed an ad to rent it. The property as I mentioned was remote, so someone knocking on my door was unusual.  The man was insistent. I felt like I wanted to be of help to the landlord - if he had another paying tenant then my rent would stay the same and my terms would be more secure. I showed the house to this man.

This man became my new neighbor/shared housemate so to speak. 

He later turned bully, and harassed me. His treatment of me had me seek legal help and call the sheriff. At one juncture this person disconnected my internet, and my electricity. The verbal abuse reached a pitch that frightened me. I felt threatened. I started taking notes. I began to feel that what I was experiencing was surreal or that noone would believe me. 

In the beginning, the landlord agreed to rent to him without meeting him. They took his money. They rented the downstairs part of their house full of garbage to this person.  The man saw an opportunity to pilfer funds from the landlord - first, for cleaning the apartment to make it suitable for living, and then to help with clean up on the property. But then the man began to play games with the landlord, including criticism of me. The landlord finally came from Canada with his wife. They had no loyalty to my year of tenancy or the fact that they knew me - they listened to this man they had never met before. The way they treated me that day was deplorable.  Later, the landlord said he realized that this man was mentally ill from his first meeting of him. He apologized to me.  During this time the county was trying to serve legal papers to the landlord, and at one point the utilities were turned off for lack of payment. The landlord began building a staircase to the upstairs part of the house - for shared living.  He expected to rent the downstairs, to live upstairs when he was in town and share the kitchen and shower with said tenant. If only you could have seen the inside of this house. The landlord was not an honest man. He had been renting illegally to me, and now to this other person. In the end my new neighbor was evicted. He was also afraid of the landlord. 

When the man became a renter, I admit I helped him, I gave him my opinions - the situation was pretty weird, I had the key to let in a housekeeper, there was no landlord so, I was the contact person - i did this to be helpful, to be neighborly.  However this person became too close too fast - he was in my face each and every day, knocking on my door with questions, or relentlessly emailing me or borrowing my stove to make his dinner, and again I felt to be a good neighbor I should be helpful. What he did to clean that apartment was a very very large undertaking - one I would not particularly wish upon anyone. Yet, very quickly I felt I had lost my personal space and privacy.  When he had settled in -  I tried to share that with him - I wanted my privacy and boundaries -- that is when his flip switched. He became angry and volatile. This is when the bullying began. 

Larger view of collages #30-#72

 #4 #3

 #4 & #3   #5  #6  #7 #8 #9  #8 & #9 #11 #12 #14  #15 #16 #17  #18  #19  #20 #23  #26 #27  #28 #29 #30  #31 #32 #33 #35  #36 #38

( actual notes from the back of the collages )

*1. i have a new neighbor, he likes horses and the city. he's gay 2/19

*2. small scrap pile piece, unexpected elements, seems like it's my neighbors mother, circles and pasta

3. solitude, shadows, beauty, framing, pointing - season and light shifting. losing my privacy 

4. solitude, shadows, beauty, framing, pointing - season and light shifting. losing my privacy 

5. he talks a lot. not much room for others to speak

6. seems to have a lot of personal battles. keep things simple. dream man. whatever

7. wooded land winter bleak

8. bridges to the other sides of ...symmetry, not my usual presentation 

9. bridges to the other sides of ...symmetry, not my usual presentation. neighbor said - i don't like that one

*10. dark eyed neighbor, as if he's looking at me all the time. in my face

11.the night of the oscars, female divide/no interest in awards. fascade

12. stormy, bang trim, comfort food, film

*13. outside of myself, him on a platter staring, don't look at me, the man sure liked to drink

14. blue chair grounded, protecting myself, cosmic, centered, universal woo woo woman

15. missing my kids - wolf, kate, train is transient, watching over my journey film=story

16. lets rewrite the crowd, the youth, next generation , the view from here

17. headless father

*18. the first day of bullying this creation appeared, "things got fishy" the neighbor liked ice cream, salmon and salad. this collage looks like an alter ego mermaid, encompassing said bully and asserting my own personal power.

*19. the first day of bullying this creation appeared, "things got fishy" the neighbor liked ice cream, salmon and salad. this collage looks like an alter ego mermaid, encompassing said bully and asserting my own personal power.

20. international womens day. takes a crowd. leaders or followers. cult. fashion 

*21. on top of old spaghetti, surrounded/protected by oyster circles. he was a stranger/danger. 

*22. deer in headlights, he said, neighbor, house divided, house of cards, poof/gone dark butterfly, wings open wide fly

23. weekend of no electricity, food bank trip, no internet stupidity. coven. each other, tribe, circle

*24. another no internet day. lies. frustrated. up the creek without a paddle. my plea, in between two men. landlord and neighbor

*25. falling on deaf ear, solo, homeless, street scene - lady of guadalupe, view from the car - uncanny ( dinner ) 

26. envision the other side of harassment, something forward, my tribe, my flock around me 

27. take a stand, stand on your own two feet, stand, walk your talk

28. stranger lurking behind the winter scenery, wintery cold, the nose knows

29. nature rides out the storm

30. i wondered if i needed to protect myself. realistic props from film

31. tension, stress, finding my ace, ace up my sleeve, sourcing my win, eat a burger

32. spring nesting altered paper,species birth egg, pink 

33. the chicago orchid show was happening. blur, solo, regaining self, strong, tide

*34. the view from here - he was supposed to be leaving. just go 

35. royalty, deserving, solid steps, bit of green, spring

36. my life is alien, like another planet, shaken, be tall, find my pillar of strength

*37. neighbor moved out today. witness, report to county, drama, he said she said - just flabbergasted. 3/27

38. inside/outside i don't know who i am, divided, multi-dimensional

*39. in one ear and out the other, lip service, made for it's vibrancy and color

*40. when maniacal enters your world once more, months later 6/8 puppet strings, meddling, and a collage manifests itself - the paper is crumpled and you say no - throwing it all away.

Once all of this transpired the landlord for my country studio gave me notice to vacate. He then told me to stay - that he needed me to stay, and then he gave me notice to leave again. Even when said neighbor was in house, I had begun a search for an apartment. In hindsight I probably should have kept a journal for all of my apartment hunting, the things I saw, the high rent for apartments filled with mold and other deplorable conditions. I ended up at The Loft for 6 months, moving one day prior to my notice. Since I've moved to a city studio. ( I've been there 2 months now ) and I hope I NEVER have to move ever ever again!

Where ever I am, I am collage making. That is probably the happy ending part of this story.

That, and that I sold one of the collages from this time period!



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan project 2017 washington Mon, 19 Feb 2018 01:19:22 GMT
Project 2017 :: Black And White Project 2017 continues as I explore the daily collage work that was created in 2017.

I am sharing chronologically.  As stories, as they need to be told, or in defined themes like this:  

Project 2017 :: Black And White

On FB someone had offered a challenge to post 7 black and white photographs. I participated in that challenge and decided to also collage in black and white. I loved how they turned out ( *denotes the collages completed that week) In looking back over the year I found many other black and white collages. I feel combined the collection of black and white collages have an impressive presence. 

Some of the stories in these are intense. Everything from fighting winter, loneliness... to, apartment searching and disappointment, apartment finding and moving, gratitude in friendships long gone or newly found, new magazine sources, tension, anxiousness or the opposite, a feeling of boldness and strength. 

You can view the collages in a larger format album here.  (images 6-29) Notes from the back sides of each piece are at the end of this post. 

#1 #2 #3  #2&3 #4 #5  #6  #10  #11  #12 #13  #14 #15  #16  #17 #18  #19  #20  #21 #22  #23 #7  #8  #9

( notes from the back of each piece )

1. fighting off winter. good tearing 1/9

2. 2 and 3 were a two page collage - both strong individually, but very good together

3. i feel powerful today. open windows, vulnerable, chapters closing, edgy

4. zigs and zags, cool sunglasses, stepping down

5. mysterious in black and white, mourning, netting = captured. the other side of bullying. 3/30 

6. no writing

7. bleak, news of not getting a cottage apartment. 

8. lease signed. oh my goodness. the loft

9. moving day, june

10. dating, how time slips by, it's like a dance, at the hand of the attention of a man ( got hit on twice that day. so, unlike me ) 

11. star tracks in yosemite, shadowed staircases

12. * broaches, pearls and polished nails. the comfort of friends, gratitude. i feel this one.

13. *should she become bearded, the city and the divide, great rips 

14. *friday the 13th, gossip, caddy, evil, pearls - when pearls were a thing

15. *a flurry of black and white, story to tell, some day. did i tell you how very by myself i am 

16. *it's like a narrative of something evil or mischevious - a relationship ( more collaging on the back side ) 

17. * monday, chaos, mr montana, money, so tired, sleepy, out of my realm, glossy

18. *feather in the wind of...there is a feather in this collage.

19. the day of my artist talk, halloween-y, shared bdays with carol. met jon. love this piece.

20. last of the dark, eerie, spooky, halloween-esque pulled imagery

21. I C U " i see you" veterans day eagle, pride, determined. another fav - such texture

22. alone for the holiday/nov -  swimming in - trying too hard to have things to do, pretending. such texture and framing

23. "the embrace"  a very bleak friday. great tension in this


]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan project project 2017 Mon, 12 Feb 2018 04:36:28 GMT
Project 2017 :: Cry For Help Welcome to my latest project.

In 2017 I took on making a collage each and every day. Come November I entered a call for art and put to thought how would one highlight 375 pieces of collage art. I came up with quite a few rather fun ideas! I loved the challenge. While the reality of that large of an instillation remains to be seen, I decided that I would retrospectively dive in to see what I had created. I sat with all 5 journals multiple times, and have defined 15 larger themes, and some rather specific "subconscious reveal" stories. A subconscious reveal is basically my creative process.  It involves a search for images, allowing imagery to choose me and then an assembly. Over time, I've added technique like image pairing or typography or tearing vs scissor work but even with techniques for making - my work is very autobiographical. True journaling in a very personal way. The uncanny part of my collage work is often the finished piece reflects my reality.

I have decided to undertake taking all of my journals apart and reveal the patterns, themes and stories they tell. It's a much larger undertaking than I expected, but it's also a great way to create smaller examples of my work that could be useful for art calls or future installations. I feel excited to bring words to these visual expressions and to share them with you.

Project 2017 :: Cry For Help

As the story goes, my cars brakes failed. The repair was rust related at an epic level. One mechanic called it a cancer. The advice confirmed by multiple mechanics was to sell the car for parts. I was NOT prepared financially to purchase a car, I lived out in the middle of nowhere, and it was winter. 

THIS collage was a cry for help. When I created it, I just burst into tears. I thought I can't do this by myself - I need to ask for help. and there was my cry beautifully captured in collage form. My first patron - a very generous one, stepped forward because of this collage. That persons name is written on the back of the collage.  WoW. 

All told I was without a vehicle for about 6 weeks. I had an interim vehicle, but it was a car that had not been driven for sometime, it had some challenges - like stalling in the middle of country roads, it was not winter worthy and we got some serious snow dumps those weeks, and the day I returned it, the car actually blew a gasket. ( just my luck - right?? ) The owner sold it. 

When I left IL in 2015 - the car had already hinted to rust related decline. I had a solid plan when moving west, and had the car to a place where I felt I was safe to travel 3500 miles. Just get me there "Betty Blue". and she did. However when arriving west, the home space I thought I was coming to didn't pan out. A big fail in the plan. Instead of rebuilding, I survived, pinched and struggled. 

My friends, my wonderful wonderful friends started a Go Fund Me Campaign to help fund a car.  In 30 days, and because of that campaign, funding was gifted to me to purchase a vehicle. A profoundly humbling experience. The car that I let go of was a compact. The car that I purchased is an SUV - and is more car than I have ever had. I feel like a queen every single time I drive it. 

Notes from the back of each piece:

1. call for help. wow. ( patrons name is on the back ) 

2. whimsy, making light of my circumstance, unexpected 

3. thanksgiving day - time capsule, tone, scape, vertical. alone.

4. herd, things in order, standing on my own two feet, gestures of giving, blue

5. talk of the car, lean on us, we are there for you



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Sun, 11 Feb 2018 20:58:08 GMT
Shelf-Conscious Collage Journals at Make.Shift A local call for art requested the journals of artists for a group show at Make.Shift In Bellingham. I had been playing with a small origami booklet in collage and decided to make a bunch of them with collaged words on them. random. nothing specific or organized, just subconscious word play.

As you know I tend to NOT collage with words, I have integrated typography into my work, and words do find me sometimes and they get a devoted page at the end of each journal. 

THIS project evolved into something very unexpected. The art call was right about the time of this last move almost two months ago now. If you recall the decision and the actual move all happened very quickly. On the other side of it all I felt feelings of post-trauma. like holy crap what a roller coaster ride this move west has been. my city studio as I call it will be and is, a MUCH better scenario for me, but as circumstances would have it - I had to wait 25 months to get to it. The move was week before christmas, a lot of emotions, chaos and loneliness. This call for art gave me something to do. 

The project was cathartic, time-consuming, meditative, and fun. It became multi-dimensional and more comprehensive than what I first envisioned. The pages feel worn, used, thought upon. The words found were random yet synchronistic to my day, my mood and my life. The project took multiple magazines down to nothing but their binding, utilizing the entirety of their pages, imagery and words.

23 Handmade Origami Journals. 72 pages. 604 - ish words. 3 glue sticks.

Magazines used:  V, Tricycle, Harry Potter Catalog, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian.

These are what the collages said: 


strong insights buzz don’t be fooled by the most important there you are the rock review coming

is fish for thought whisk make withdrawn we’re sure

life after turn your bad day around make us better some some the next human beyond mountains contents

contents beyond when you’ve made history go barking wild for a weekend ice is melting

these simple moves will help stretch you haven’t felt this good since you were doing cartwheels in the backyard yourself happy

you breathe deep stand the day tall and loosen up all over fall

things you need earned the four eyed fish watery

right or left we need energy original flavor books

human problems when sex is so a gift for a friend change the rest is silence

change wake up call swirl view

day taste kindness in a pomegranate mind

the sanity we are born with finished 2 minutes pearls of wisdom walls are doors may I become an island

woman change your meeting of the minds ice co

getting around world naturalness thirty six years later because of us changes matter

leave it intense H hot stuff

lets step back a moment collective blue green blue troubled waters clean water water

crisis solitude green blue rend blue green green

cling clutter things blue red blue green blue blue green blue rainful skies

freezin its not about belonging at all  but letting go desire learning to listen


blue red green


living sees art now

turn art sublime art great lovers

into a great room

illustrate the predators legendary hunting techniques first comes love phenomenon then comes evolutionary strategy

heartbreaking enchanting life the estate of

jewels power of royal color

a cure? Doctors are harnessing metallic spheres travel the world free most lovable be so cute that humans will do the work to keep them around explore

hottest contributors from the coolest real art heroes soared on the trail discussion landed meet the animal

plucked from affections love plunder our deepest bonds hold the secrets to tender silver today’s your lucky day

who she was saved from when flock together then and now embracing

poetry has probably saved me her identity expanded

needs the world needs interesting so little time it’s like a blast of hydration classic

be without bread home cook bigger ideas alone

home natural food for thought nocturnal love feast new show selection can humans adapt traditions

on planet? Do it yourself forward present day science becomes near future distant future

6,000 years ago adapt to fast to the red flight control the future in the making reality the mountainous

offer the quality you need realising a world a fishy tail how did they do that? The truth takes on an ever grander proportions

doll queen of grunge question peace too best customer bonus save $1.00 free realize your vision

rocks rough and tumble state of mind people are people piece of cake it happened parts desire love

its day break let them eat cake

new photography a tale of two men

imagine big love water presented by visions

faithful apparently savor


take refuge after the city is a ruin. trains sit motionless on their tracks. Schools ae silent. Libraries and laundromats lanquish in decay. Everyone has vanished.

Life full of everyday encouraging us somewhere getting there extraordinary

Free tiny frozen stirring that as is not giving up

The muddy square of earth is the way things really are clouds in water the hands of a woman celebrate life to live

Ho! A heavy disappointment ultra

Off the beaten path bridge follow your curiosity it goes throughout separated by eight years

Thing way shape and form that same punch that discussion it felt real.

Your way square your questions answered great

Squared close to home it will be common home

The The The The The The The The

The The The The

The The The The The long way

Cinderella exploring how you can help people escape

On the afternoon of shape meet our most important world giant beast

Making you huff and puff? Full steam ahead recovered from seeing the forest fast forward fatal beauty

For complements visionary national

Eight shore

Monogamy that roared here’s a dirty little secret: treasure the mouth

What moves you? next sparkling generation

Love just the right amount of love.

The installation revolves around a REAL teens room, a TRUNK full of readable touchable journals. In the adjacent room are shelves, pedestals and mobiles of a variety of art journals - painted, inked, authored and collaged. Just wonderful. 

I really enjoy participating in group shows at Make.Shift - the shows are creatively accessible and it's a happening place. Fun vibe to be a part of. 

Thank you Make.Shift for having me!! 



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage exhibit karen hanrahan washington Sun, 11 Feb 2018 04:23:01 GMT
Freelance Articles For Whatcom Talk Whatcom Talk is an online community news digest that reports timeless and positive news.  I am pleased to say that I am writing for them now. I thought I'd keep my articles all in one blog post for easy reference. 


Celebrating The New Sumas Historical Society and Museum 

Meet Jessica Bee An Integral Part Of East Whatcom Regional Resource Center

What Makes Jansen Art Center's Vin Queneville Tick?

Meet Bob Shapiro Mover of Chi 

Whatcom Women :: Farmer Helen Solem

Artist Eric Woolsey Lets HIs Momentum Carry Him Down A New Path 

Meet Sophie Williams: Crafter Of Organic Whole Grain Sourdough Bread



( images by Karen Hanrahan )


( image of sophie williams kneading dough provided by raven bread )

]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan washington whatcom county writer Tue, 06 Feb 2018 23:26:16 GMT
Integrating Typography Into Collage Soon, at Jansen Art Center, I will be teaching a class that has a specific technique and creative focus.

The class I've taught for sometime The Creative Subconscious Collage Workshop, while still comprehensive does not seem to be a fit for my current demographic. Since I love teaching and sharing collage I am excited to take on new ways of doing so. 

I found this particular project and use of typography in a book titled: The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman and brought my own twist to it.

I feel its important to distinguish the difference between words and type. I am not one to typically collage with words. Words do find me, and I value them greatly, just not within my art. At least not regularly. Playfully, I devote a page to words at the end of every journal. They are in my opinion their own thing. Generally, I find words distracting in a collage that to me is about utilizing imagery.

Words say something. Like the piece "work in progress"

( made that one recently, the day after I had moved ) 

Typography does not.



Typography is a now diminished art form. When I personally think of typography it's in reference to a word document. A favorite font, its shapes and size. In it's prime before the digital age typography was a very important and specialized occupation. 

In my collage work typography is about the relationships of the curves, lines and positive and negative space each letter or Font has.  In one collage I felt that graffiti was its own form of typography, it played nicely within the context of my collage

Playing with typography within my art work has been really fascinating.

I did break my own rule and incorporate a word in some of these. 

That's the beauty of being a creative

it gets to be whatever you want it to be!

I look forward to continue integrating typography into my collage work

and teaching others to do the same!




]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist bellingham collage collage artist karen hanrahan washington Thu, 11 Jan 2018 04:22:29 GMT
2017 Daily Collage In Review At the beginning of 2017 I took on the hashtag #icollagedaily over at instagram. I set the intention to collage each and every day. And. I actually did that! I realize that I am prolific in image taking. 2017 would express that I am equally prolific in collaging. I have now come to the conclusion that I am compelled to "make". Making shows up as a narrative of my day to day life. Photography, collage and even making dinner are all part of how I express myself.

It's one thing to be loyal to an intention, it's another to produce work that visually narrated and triumphed a rather tough year. At the very end of it all it's now like what? What do I do with all of this art? How do I tell what it is that I have accomplished? Where do I even begin? 

Well, I have a few ideas: 

In Nov I had the opportunity to submit an installation with the idea of displaying 365 pages of art. Because when you collage each and every day, that's what you end up with. I did submit an idea, and as another artist friend of mine says - these proposals are a bit like giving birth - they are really intense to get together and submit. You really get into your head when pulling together a larger idea to a panel of judges. or an art board.

If I am actually granted the opportunity to do that sortof solo exhibition. Well - wow. right? That good news remains to be seen.

In the meantime or until I have a venue to take on and show last years volume of work. I still feel rather daunted by trying to encapsulate what I had created in a simpler way. Following the approach I've taken with my photographs in years past and making an annual calendar. I followed that process and selected 3 collages from each of the last 12 months as a gesture of this medium.

I plan to sit with my journals. All 6 of them. Tear them apart, and assemble them into themes that can be used for future solo installations. That should take me some time. I'll report back what I discover!

I summarized my year this way in my holiday newsletter: 

I find the more art I make, the more art I want to make.  I am my best self and happiest when I am making. My art making I am told pulls those around me into a narrative. Folks feel a sense of belonging, and a wondering about what I might make next. This level of audience and encouragement, especially this past year when making on a daily basis was very satisfying. My "in the moment" art sales not only helped gaps in my income, but fueled my making pleasure indescribably. Very defining for me as an artist.

In 2017 I had 9 collages in juried exhibits. I had 4 hangings in retail establishments both with photography and with collage. I had collages on consignment in a gift shop, and in two galleries. A trio of black and white collages continue to tour, they have been in 4 establishments. 4 of my photographs were chosen for honorable mention in a local event. I had a solo collage installation - 22 pieces of work, my most cohesive body of collage work yet - with rave review. "Inspirit-Form" is scheduled to show in multiple venues in 2018. It is also virtually represented with Gallery Pegasus at their Artsy space. I have been invited to show new works in two group shows so far in the year ahead.  

Below are the 36 collages that I selected to represent this past year's daily making: I feel the collection as a whole is best described as "morphed" I like words as prompts, and as descriptors - these pieces illustrate: flight, female power, trees and how they root me, bullying, stalking, harassment, fear, loss of home stability, searching for home, stress around finding a place to live, duality, shouting to be heard, declarative power, haunted, relief, the influence of the moon, or nature, loss or death of, loneliness, youth, NYC, whimsy, the color blue, the sanctity of home, maternal love, friendships, leaning on others, striking a pose, knowing, laughter, the incorporation of typography. My work often uses paired image technique, is bold in its expression, and in the use of color.

The entire album is here if you want to see them in gallery style. All are for sale. 







]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan Mon, 01 Jan 2018 00:51:34 GMT
ART Inventory Sale Two years ago I had the opportunity for the first time to vend, show and teach my art in WA. I showed, shared and facilitated collage mostly. I also showed and sold photography.

I had a bit of a learning curve about branding, packaging, marketing, and display. Many of you suffered through some of that with me and for that I am grateful. I had art sell. Many pieces sold actually. Which makes me feel like my work is valued, and that my making is having an impression on those I share it with.

Call that audience, fans, friends who love me, or collectors. Love saying that ...collectors. You all know who you are,  ALL of you are seriously awesome. 

One thing I never want is art laying around. When I had the offer to consign with Dog And Pony Gallery - I sent collage work to Peoria, IL. When things outdated themselves at a gift shop. I removed them. And NOW in my personal inventory I have some older or previously released art pieces that I'd like to find homes for. 

All said, I am having an inventory SALE and you are invited!!

Below are  images of what is reduced in price in this post but to view closer and share with me what you have an interest in please go to this GALLERY and tell me the # that is associated with the piece. That is the simplest. 

ALL items are already packaged in 8 x 10 sleeves. The last picture, is a photograph is 8 x 10, the two photographs prior are also photographs that are 5 x 7's - some collages are small or 5x7's. 

these three collages #13,15 16 should/could be sold as a grouping of three - they go together beautifully. just a thought.

MOST pieces in this gallery are priced to sell at 50% OFF.

message me please for prices.

Update: I actually forgot to post this. oops!

Collages 1-9 are now on consignment at Pegasus Gallery in Bellingham, WA.

This one is taken









]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan washington Wed, 06 Dec 2017 20:17:04 GMT
The Loft I would say that this living space, my loft, is the oddest space I have ever lived in.

It's the third place I have lived since moving west.

Defined as commercial work/live dwellings. It's basically a garage, with a loft. The floor downstairs is cement, the bathroom is truck stop style complete with a shower that drains into the floor. There is one single south exposure window that is almost at ceiling level above the garage door. To open the window, you need a ladder. a 22 ft ladder. Airflow is a bit of an issue. I had a 4 ft by 10 ft screen made for the garage door. The screen is a work in progress. When it's warmer, it could not be more perfect, but it's too much screen for cooler/wetter times of the year. 

The loft part has a pane of glass that overlooks the downstairs, but it doesn't open. This at least allows the light in. Fifteen stairs up, fifteen stairs down. all day long. the upstairs is where the kitchen is, it's carpeted, and I sourced it with two hot plates.The biggest luxury is the huge stainless steel sink, a far cry from the 8x8 sink of the country studio. I had a closet built with a shelf for books. I use the space as my den and to cook.

The quiet here is indescribable. Respectful neighbors. And near an abundance of country roads and views. The foothills are moments away.

I love it. The story of how I found this spot is filled with synchronicity. 

As with most of this journey I have had moving west, sometimes I am not sure how I am pulling all of this off.

But I am. 


]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan washington Thu, 23 Nov 2017 20:06:54 GMT