Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan: Blog en-us (C) Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) Mon, 14 Aug 2017 22:08:00 GMT Mon, 14 Aug 2017 22:08:00 GMT Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan: Blog 120 92 Make.Shift Call For Art :: Making History I am submitting a collage to this call for art - super great art making prompt from Make.Shift Making Space 

I had to go to this neat reference library and source an old photograph. i picked this one because it was so crisp and clear. I also thought i could superimpose a modern scenario fairly simply and get the idea i had in my head into a reality or finished piece.

have to say it came together rather nicely!

not pictured here is the cheesy ornate plastic frame I put it in.

which i think was perfect for it!!

( a friend is dropping this off for me while i am off on vacation. thanks sara!! ) 



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage fun karen hanrahan make.shift project washington Mon, 14 Aug 2017 22:08:04 GMT
Honored i belong to a FB group where folks post what they "see" in our community. the group is large, sharing, positive and kind. the range of imagery and photograph talent is vast. in this group i have felt really welcome,  and i've affirmed that my photography is unique in it's own way - my work is unlike what many others photograph.  As an artist I need that reassurance.  i have seen some remarkable photography and grown to admire many of the creatives in that group.  i've also met some of these folks, and i feel i have met some friends because of this group. which has been especially wonderful. this last month one of my images made the cover for the group page. It may seem silly but being on the cover has been such an honor for me!! 

this particular image tells a particular story, i had just moved. i moved farther into the county, as a matter of fact i moved so far north that i am just two blocks from canada. ha!! when you live this far out in the county some of your basic needs are less accessible - a grocery store for one, and a hardware store with flexible hours...another. on this day i had to go back to that big box hardware store because of one part. one single error. the round trip trek is FIFTY miles. i was SO angry.

As always nature seems to provide, and nature usually calms me - on the way back the day light at this circle intersection was so shadowy and elongated that i drove around and around snapping multiple drive by captures of it. the gesture of going around in circles just made me laugh. I felt much better.  this photograph sums it all up perfectly



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) black and white photography circle intersections fb groups karen hanrahan photographer social media washington Mon, 14 Aug 2017 21:54:04 GMT
Why Make Art I have been thinking lately about the compulsion to create.  For those of us who are artists - we get it, but does someone not into making really understand?  As many years as I have been tearing found images into collages, none have felt like these recent years.  I see, think, wonder and sometimes even dream in collage.  I love this compulsion. My making process affirms itself over and over. Images choose me, and an artful flow knowingly becomes something finished. It perpetuates. THIS is why I make art. The making is very self defining

In a cerebral art world they speak to elements and principles of design. Things like line, shape and texture, color, hue, value, and space all come into play. Balance, symmetry, asymmetry. proportion, rhythm, and unity are considered. How is the piece composed? Does it follow the rules of composition? Layering can make for a very interesting collage presentation.  

I sometimes feel if I have to stumble over the correct language to describe a piece of art that it's overwhelming. I am terrible about following the rules in most aspects of my life.  Including art making and art commenting.  In college one of the big lessons in life drawing was the quality of line.  I got that, but as an artist if I wanted my line to be exaggerated or something other than what was being taught, I'd get a lower grade.  I often felt like I was put in my place. That individuality was not tolerated.  Maybe I was a bad student. I was trying even then to have my own unique signature 

I value tremendously a provocative critique offered by another that speaks to art elements and principles. I respect their grasp of the formulaic ways of describing what is art.   For me, I offer a more organic conversation, something a tad less intense.  Take a step back and notice what strikes you in an art piece. What are the shapes? The colors? What lines are you drawn to and where do those lines take you? Is the collage pretty, moody, abstract, pleasing, perhaps the piece is disturbing ? If so, why? What is the overall experience? 

When I first started to collage there were those who bravely tore paper.  I was not one of those. I used scissors for a really long time. I am clear it was a control thing. I have observed  that sometimes in my life now if I am upset that my collages will seek a layer of control and scissors will come out. An interesting thing to be a part of.  The beauty of tearing however is just that - it's risky, freeing and really fun! The edges a tear can bring to a collage....paper edges, unevenness, the white that is left behind in a tear ...all become an element of interest in a collage art piece. I love that! 

The final expression for me are the messages relayed from the subconscious mind.  This is why my work became a personal narrative.  each collage built upon another to tell the story of my days going by. I couldn't help but notice it. Sometimes i found the insight to be quite compelling. I also felt that teaching others this technique very rewarding and a great way to connect with others.

Below are two collages that are not like most of my work.

Forgive the two different times of day that I photographed these collages. The first was taken in day light, the other under a drawing light. I should go back and re-photograph these at the same time in the same light.  I'll do that and add them. A friend gave me a stack of this pithy handmade paper. it's a different color paper than i am used to working on and not necessarily a paper I would choose. But i just love it in these two pieces.

the torn edges are fantastic!!

windows are often found in my collage work

in these, the windows become part of the paper

much like i am beginning to feel at home in my new loft and studio

i feel like both of these pieces have a sense of movement.

like the windows are open and a breeze is billowing in. 

in the first collage are ink smudges of the person who gave me this paper

i wanted to include that person in my work.

thank you for this great paper









]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage collage artist karen hanrahan pnw pnw artist washington Mon, 14 Aug 2017 21:36:51 GMT
Great Hanging Gig At Mallards Ice Cream Had a 6 week hanging at Downtown Bellingham's infamous Mallard Ice Cream Parlor.

Heard of the opportunity through a friend on instagram

Super fun, vibrant, pop environment.


My white frames matched the decor!


The maple walnut ice cream is positively classic.

Here are the collages up close:

The 300 Series -- Winter Lady At DuskThe 300 Series -- Winter Lady At Dusk The 300 Series -- Super Hero BluesThe 300 Series -- Super Hero Blues The 300 Series -- Riding The Solo StormThe 300 Series -- Riding The Solo Storm The 300 Series -- Petal ScapeThe 300 Series -- Petal Scape

Unframed these are $54 plus shipping. 



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage collage artist karen hanrahan mallard ice cream parlor sunshine washington Wed, 02 Aug 2017 21:31:47 GMT
Save The Date :: Solo Collage Exhibit :: Inspirit-Form Coming to the Deming Library September 20th through Oct 28th

A solo collage exhibit.


The modern human often lives apart from the wild, in habitats formed from concrete and steel. We find ourselves seeking methods to amend this detachment with recreational activities such as bird watching and site seeing. However, the wild have eyes of their own, and as they return gaze towards the viewer an essential connection is rekindled.

Karen Hanrahan conjoins people and wildlife, presenting a transmogrified vision. Inspirit-Form showcases a study on anthropomorphic digressions to the origins of humanities early evolution. The hybrid human-and-animal figures are archetypal expressions of the love-hate analyzed from past relationships. Hanrahan’s medium of torn paper collage provokes discussion around the world of animal life, and how an active vision for the wild may hold answers to the deeper questions in our lives.

Closing reception and Artist Talk Friday Oct 27th at 4:30

Curated by Jody Thompson







]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage deming library exhibit karen hanrahan Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:41:49 GMT
Once Upon A Time There Was A Bully i have a bully in my past and he recently emailed me.  my collage for that day was going in one direction. randomly, i turned an image source over and there this was - HE  - this bully looks like this.  Another page fell off the table and turned over - and it was the fish.  This person ate salmon every day. I tore this image in half and crumbled the darker part - like a gesture to throw him away -- using a classic image combining technique my collage told an immediate story. it was about being bullied. i was trembling from head to toe when i made this


]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Thu, 06 Jul 2017 16:59:19 GMT
Art Happenings This Summer just a quick update:

7 days ago, and quite the blur. I moved my life and my art studio.

it happened rather quickly, my country studio and its drama is now behind me.

very excited to strive forward.

The new place, my LOFT is seriously cool.

I finished a collage today for a call for art for make.shifts next art walk!!! a super fun idea!!) I have 4 collages hanging at Mallard Ice Cream ( i think. dropped them off anyway ) 3 collages at Lenny's Bike Shop and 4 photographs in the summer exhibit at Jansen Art Center. i SOLD this piece yesterday. Oh and I almost forgot images who won the essence of bellingham photography contest are on display at city hall - beginning July 7th. Works are also for sale in IL at the Dog and Pony Art Gallery - their first friday is tomorrow!! OH and I sold another collage yesterday!! 

My goodness this is fun!!

Happy summer art making everyone!!

(collage: petal scape now hanging at Mallards Ice Cream) 




]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) Illinois artist collage karen hanrahan washington Thu, 06 Jul 2017 16:00:41 GMT
Honorable Mention Three of my photographs were given honorable mention in the Essence Of Bellingham Photography Contest.

See the many others who were also awarded here.

A month long exhibit will be presented at Bellingham City Hall beginning July 7th! 

A reception will be held in the lobby of City Hall the evening of Artwalk from 5:30-6:30 for the photographers who submitted the winning shots and all those entries that received an honorable mention.  

Entries also will be shown on BTV10 and added to the Whatcom Museum's photographic collection.

The submissions were juried by representatives from the Whatcom Museum, City of Bellingham and Western Washington University.

Winning entries were selected based on photographic quality, subject matter and how well the "Essence of Bellingham" was captured. The competition is sponsored by the City of Bellingham and Whatcom Museum.



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) bellingham karen hanrahan photographer washington Thu, 15 Jun 2017 03:06:15 GMT
Stores Gone By a local county institution has closed.  

i went by to snap a shot of it's retro sign and remembered that i had taken a few more shots a year ago.

i love these sorts of places. always have. character rich. quirky. independent. hard working. a place you make sure you stop by and get a little something to offer them fiscal support. 

the area is already a food desert. another store like it also shut down near the border, it was the only grocery story in that small town. 

it would be awful if a gas station/ convenient store went in.

so ordinary. 

maybe another small independent grocer will scoop it up. 

yes ....that's a better idea.

]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan narrative photographer Thu, 08 Jun 2017 03:25:53 GMT
Collage With Karen Every Second Saturday At MakeShift Art Space  

i am quite pleased to announce that beginning June 10th 

and every second saturday from 11 - 1, following that - at least through the summer,

the hip all ages art making space Make.Shift in downtown bellingham

will be hosting

Collage With Karen Workshops.

To make registration super easy

we've collaborated with pop up workshop facilitators:  aftermath collective

registration is required.

sliding scale payment is offered

bring magazines to tear and a glue stick please

see you soon!!

( as of August, due to my move - I am no longer teaching at Make.Shift)






]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist bellingham collage collage workshop karen hanrahan make.shift washington Wed, 31 May 2017 21:49:06 GMT
Essence Of Bellingham 2017 There is this local photgraphy contest that I participated in last year. it's called the Essence Of Bellingham Photo Competition. I thought I would enter it again this year. To simplify the selection process for myself I searched through images only from January - April of 2017.  I had over 40 images that struck me in one way or another, and then selected my 10 submissions from that. The focus theme was neighborhoods. I had luckily had a few treks into the York Neighborhood that seemed to be a good fit.  Since I live in the country now I observed what brought me into the city these last months. I love the quirk, eclectic charm of Bellingham, WA



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) bellingham karen hanrahan photographer washington Thu, 11 May 2017 00:13:27 GMT
The Theme Is Wild Cut I recently submitted these three collages to a gallery's juried call for art - the theme is "Wild Cut" 

In the past I have gotten really nervous when submitting art, not sure why.

personal sabotage? intimidated? fear of the competition? 

a fellow artist once said to me... don't sweat it, just enter,don't fuss too much, and let it go. there will always be calls for art, and the worst that they can say is no. however, if they say yes - your efforts are rewarded by having exposure at a gallery. the wish of every artist.

and so, in the spirit of not over thinking it...

I entered with this artist statement: 

When I began to collage I used scissors. I believe that doing so was an assertion of control. Once comfortable in the medium I started to tear. I found that tearing offered a freedom, and an unexpected expression. Scissors lost their place. Over time my collage work became a narrative of my day to day. I was the victim of bullying this year. Coming to the other side of that experience I found I could not tear. I was compelled to use scissors. I found the exacting of scissor use very reassuring. I also found the work I produced to example an inner strength and resolve that I needed to know at the time.

How wild!

  1. Golden Goddess

( I’ve got this. I’ve got my back.At my heart’s core – I am strong. You can’t mess with me)

  1. In One Ear And Out The Other

( he was not having anything to do with my version of the circumstance)

  1. Pending Homeless

( the consequence of all of this could land me homeless )






]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan Wed, 10 May 2017 22:25:13 GMT
Collages On Tour At Lenny's Bike Shop Excited to share that Lenny's Bike Shop in Ferndale, WA has a gallery wall that is now hosting these three collages!!  Since my son is into cycling I like that my work is hanging it that environment. My work is currently being curated by an enthusiastic student named Jody - from WWU - it's impossible as an artist to know and process and or have time to submit to all the potential places to hang their art. I am delighted that Jody has taken a particular interest in my work.  I am looking forward to working with him. 

1. and then she cried

2. parted

3. zippered up

]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Wed, 10 May 2017 21:21:10 GMT
Sacha :: Goldsmith Designer I snapped a few photo's of Goldsmith Designer Sacha Bliese's studio when we first met.

I then had the wonderful opportunity to see Sacha creating while on Bellingham's April Art Walk.  

plus a few captures of the studio:

Sacha and her studio mate and partner/painter Nathan Lough were both in active create mode that evening.

Sacha was really taken by several of my narrative images and purchased them from me to use for her marketing. I like the authentic in action tone of these.

I especially like this shot:

Sacha And Nathan are both part of a small collective of artists/studio's that are in the Studios Above The BAAY

Another artist in the building was the lovely block printer Jesse Larsen.

(Block Print by Jesse Larsen)


]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan metalsmith narrative photographer sacha Tue, 02 May 2017 03:37:51 GMT
Cabbage Rolls suffice to say that this was one of those first spring evenings where the temperature and the stretch of brightness into the end of the day confuses you, and you start a crazy ambitious task of making in the kitchen at like 7.  On this particular evening I made a nettle pesto, a chocolate cream for one, a batch of stove top granola and because i was starving I also made these asian cabbage rolls. I amused myself and took images of all that I made, but the cabbage rolls really photographed well so I thought i'd have today's blog post be about them. I am not trying to make this space become a cooking/recipe space. I just think the photo narrative works in this circumstance.

I could not get enough of my back door being wide open ( flies are not in full force yet ) and laughingly, I took two very similar images of this little blue vase obviously because of the way the light was shining through it. I crack myself up.  

And then, to have the entire evening be sent off with a visual kiss from the universe - there was this remarkable sunset. With clouds outlined in golden light. Gorgeous.  

I had so many dishes to do - it wasn't even funny.  

asian cabbage roll recipe

asian cabbage rolls - these were amazing. preheat oven 400 degrees. rinse 8 cabbage leaves and boil for 3 minutes. transfer to a bowl of ice water, remove then dry. in a skillet heat 1 T of oil, 1 teas of garlic and ginger - fresh grated ginger, add 1 shredded carrot and 1 shredded zucchini - add 4 fried eggs ( i did those separately ) add 1/4 cup green onion. lay out cabbage leaf add veggie/egg mixture and roll - brush with oil - bake for 25 minutes. top with soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds and more green onion. note: i steamed mine vs baking.



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan photographer washington Fri, 21 Apr 2017 02:47:09 GMT
Paired Image Collage Technique i have been collaging for a long time. recent years collage has taken on a larger role in my day to day. as well as a growing role in a local art community. this expansion of my collage work means everything to me. if you are someone who collages you can relate to the compulsion to tear apart publications in public places. i can't help it, i see something and want to add it to my collection of potential for collage.

after you've been collaging for some time you begin to have a knowing, an already oh "this" that has you build a confident collage upon. pairing images is a great technique for this knowing. when i saw these two images from two very separate sources i had to collage them together.  something about the colors, the textures, the mood, the moment. all just made sense.  perhaps you can see why? while pairing might seem like a very simple way to collage, it's not as easy as it appears. it's very much like a puzzle and making sure the piece fits just right. when the pieces fit it's ready to glue. 

the quilt like piece was sourced from an art in america magazine - the construction and mixed media expression is by artist Joan Giordano

the photograph was sourced from a conde nast traveler magazine - it was taken in Burma by photographer Richard Renaldi 

]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Thu, 20 Apr 2017 22:57:00 GMT
Our Creative Freedom To Observe A photography contest prompted our creative work and how it relates to our freedom. What drives international and contemporary photographic practices, they asked.  Further in prompting they said - what is our language as photographers, our visual language. What are we saying? How does what we say elevate the social conscious? In 1941 President Roosevelt outlined our four basic freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear. These three questions they wrote struck me the most:  What is freedom?  Are we more free by isolating ourselves from unknown others or are we more free by being able to exercise and enjoy our basic human rights? How do we respond to and counter those ideas with alternative perspectives?

While I don't relate to these questions on a political level. They provoked me on an artistic level. Specifically on the topic of privacy.  I don't like having my picture taken. I never have. With the advent of cell phones - random capturing occurs everywhere you go. I feel like people should ask me my permission. May I take your picture?  Yet, I admit that probably some of the very best shots of me are when I had no idea that someone was photographing me. I actually like this. Someone saw something in me to casually pause that moment in a photograph.  How great is that!  This however can be a very fine line.  I won't go into the legal aspects of this topic, because i am not an expert on it, and the conversation has too many opinion nuances to it. I will say this, over the years as I've developed myself as a photographer I have become very good at honoring privacy. Almost to the point of paranoia. When some asks where everyone's heads are ....that might be a little too private, yet, as a style of capturing, I sometimes prefer it.  Over time, my photography work has taken on a narrative role. I believe you can say a lot about a person without revealing their full identity.  I admire the street photography genre - I'd say that most of it is probably not taken with signed consent. It doesn't need to be. It just needs to be mindful.  Especially in a public space.  If you are a person looking out a window in a public place - that's fair game.  If you are a crumpled heap asleep on a sidewalk, that's a very public place. I think in the spirit of observing, that when I see something that makes me want to pull out my camera, that moment is altered completely if have to ask that subjects permission. I also think as a creative my freedom to express myself is also in that moment.  It's like painting something pink that should be blue do it that way because you can. I have had more than a few people say that zooming in on a crowd is voyeuristic ...i'd say that if that practice was exploiting or violating perhaps so, but if you look at some of the gritty, in your face photography. that stuff is real and in the moment and there is no fine line. that photographer is observing it with every click of the shutter.

I didn't submit to this particular contest because the fee was prohibitive for me. I did however think on it. quite a bit. I also gathered a few photographs that I feel example how I respect a persons privacy and engage in my right to express myself creatively. To narrate and speak as I see things. I do love the idea of provocative topics and projects in photography. I admire the tenacity and risk, and projects are often very inspiring to me






]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan photographer washington Thu, 06 Apr 2017 04:22:37 GMT
Easy To Step To Manzata Over the weekend I had the opportunity to collage prompted by a short story.

Local author Alma Alexander is working on a collection of short stories titled "Untranslatable." Each story has a word that inspired it. She let me work from one of the stories and swedish word "Manzata"

These are the two collage pieces that found me.

They were not exactly right - meaning, they did not literally depict the tale. I sure had fun trying though!! As process goes, I worked with what I had. I read her story - I jotted down words from her story that spoke to me, I then took a stack of national geographic magazines and tore what I could find. In my minds eye certain imagery would illustrate her story, and some of that definitely landed in these two collages. The challenge was to take what images I did find and have them have some artistic aesthetic.  Very much like a puzzle of sorts.

It was a delight to meet Alma, and super fun to playfully attempt to illustrate something in collage. As time goes on I bet the right collection of imagery will find me and I can be more literal to the story!

Alma's story by the way was really wonderful! You can enjoy her writing for yourself here 


]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan story washington Wed, 05 Apr 2017 19:18:20 GMT
Collage Tells Stories For Me My personal process for making a collage starts with a pause. like a deep breath. never more than that. just a small moment before i begin. 

sometimes i will let a word find me. what word describes what am i feeling during this pause?  It's nice to compare that beginning word to the word that finds you after you collage.

I then tear apart a magazine and/or pull images from a stack of already torn pages. My work space could remind you of a deck of cards except my cards are pages and pages of all sorts of magazines.

I then assemble. In 2013 I began to collage in a journal.  That style of collecting work turned into a story of my life illustrated through collage.

Occasionally I have a clear vision of a finished piece with what I find, but mostly it comes together as I go. The images seem to have a plan for themselves.  Like this needs to be cut, or this needs to be torn.  This shape goes in this direction etc.  I love the challenge of puzzling it together.  When it is finished I am continually in awe of what a collage will narrate from my subconscious mind. Over and over they tell my story. I always feel so relaxed after completing a piece.

For this particular collage I had only pulled two images. In my mind, i had one idea for it, my gut however said no cut them into strips and let the two intermingle. The result was remarkable. I like this collage very much.


Lately, I've been called to use scissors more than usual. Not sure why. When making this collage I randomly placed one of the images on top of my phone and it glowed! Isn't that wild?

Once I finish a collage I let words find me to be complete with it.  free flow. sometimes i ask the words for a title but mostly I want to be with what it initially tells me.

For this piece the word "divided" spoke the loudest. 

Beginning in 2017 I started an instagram hash tag #icollagedaily just to see how that phone based social platform works and to provide example and accountability for daily creating. Its neat to see all the collages assembled in one space, better yet ...another artist @saraglactica posts her collages too! I sorry to say that I am not that attached to my phone to be in the moment with my fellow connections on instagram but I sure do love how responsive so many folks are of me when I post. 


]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan Wed, 29 Mar 2017 23:47:38 GMT
Grounded Going through a bit of a challenge in my life right now.  

Sometimes a challenge can stop you in your tracks.

I feel like this past month has been exactly that.


i describe myself as deeply rooted. 

trees in particular resonate with me

i feel they have stories to tell

their roots ground me.

they are not always perfect

i know I am certainly not perfect. 

i am grounded

and boy, do i have stories to tell.

my friend and fellow photographer shared this poem today after I posted this tree image.

i just love him for sharing it. 

Endure Like A Tree. 

To get through life you have to endure as a tree does.
When Mother Nature tries to bring you down,
You will never fall; you will stand your ground.
You will encounter burning flames.
Yes, it will be painful and hard,
But once it's over and done with,
Your bark will grow back stronger than ever.
When your leaves start to slowly leave,
Never fret, there will be more to take their place.
They'll come and go throughout your life,
That's just how it is.
From the time you're a seedling to the time you're mature,
Your roots will always be there to support you.
After many years,
After enduring forest fires and changing leaves,
Your own saplings will fall away to start anew.
Then you'll know not to worry,
They'll grow into tall, strong trees,
Just like those before you.

Alicia Quetzalcoatl



]]> (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan photographer tree washington Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:09:22 GMT