Creative Abrasion

Greetings Friends,

I’ve been working on some new sanded collages, and I thought I’d show you the process. Of course I developed this by accident. Don’t all good ideas happen that way?!!

I was working on a piece with tulle netting on top, and it didn’t look good. So I pulled the netting off and it took the top layer of paper with it. At first it seemed like a disaster, but when I looked more closely, I liked the rawness of the peeled paper. Since then I’ve been experimenting to intentionally create that look.

First I lay down a background layer of color.

Cassandra Tondro collage art

When that’s dry, I apply a second layer of images upside down. The image side is glued face down.

Cassandra Tondro collage art

I let it all dry, and sand through the top layer. This part is tricky. It’s easy to sand off too much and it requires a delicate touch. My aim is to sand off just enough for a ghost image of the top layer imagery to appear and some of the color underneath to show. The paper becomes more transparent after varnishing.

Collage in process

When the sanded piece looks good, I apply a heart image on top. The piece is then varnished, and it’s done. Unless I decide it needs more work, in which case I might add tulle netting, colored pencil work, spray paint or charcoal lines. This is the finished piece:

Cassandra Tondro collage art

“Dichotomy in Pink,” 14 x 11 inches, collage on wood panel

Here are three other new pieces created this way. Click on the images to see them larger in a browser.

Cassandra Tondro collage art

“Unreal,” 14 x 11 inches, collage on wood panel

“Crossroads,” 14 x 11 inches, collage on wood panel

Cassandra Tondro collage art

“Marking Time,” 14 x 11 inches, collage on wood panel

What are you up to these late summer days? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. I’m in Melbourne, where Lockdown is intense. So art saves the day, every day for me. Cyanotypes, Lumen prints, tried a combination of both, and gelli printing. Painting when I get time. Love your blog Cassandra

    1. Thanks, Kate. The lockdown is intense here as well. I still can’t get my hair cut, and I’m going to use the clippers and buzz it. I can’t stand it long anymore. I’m glad you’re finding artistic explorations to save you! Art saves me, as well. But it sure would be nice to see some people again. I always dreamed of being a hermit, but the reality doesn’t match my fantasy of it.

  2. Thanks for that Cassandra, you got some interesting effects. I know for sure now I should never throw anything out – having got rid of a pile of images and magazines!! Not to worry, more will wash in no doubt. It’s always interesting to see what you’re up to.

    1. Hi Ina. Good point about never throwing anything out! But then you can’t keep everything, either. And you’re right — there are plenty more magazines where those came from!

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