Sunday, June 21, 2020


Welcome Back!  Hope everyone had a great week.  As part of our Sunday Studio Days Series, we're thrilled to introduce you to the work and creative space of local Artist Andrea Crouse!

Andrea is a paper collage artist who uses recycled print material to create her artwork. Inspired by the colourful houses in her neighbourhood, many of her pieces are of homes seen throughout the North End of Halifax and typical of many Maritime communities.

Andrea in her Halifax Studio...

Andrea has transformed her den into an art-making space. Complete with great lighting, the den provides enough space to keep materials out and ready-for-work. When the mood strikes, she’ll move her desk to a bright corner of her home to take advantage of natural lighting.

Studio interior, all set up and ready to create!

Lots of natural light creates a calm and welcoming workspace...

Tools of the trade.  Recycled magazines are used to create much of Andrea's work.

“Finding inspiration in the everyday, my subjects are homes that catch my eye on my daily walks. Once I have a photo that I think will translate nicely into a collage, I get started with a quick sketch of the major shapes and perspective lines that I can use to guide my creation.

Then, when I am satisfied that I’ve captured the image, location of windows and doors or any greenery, I get started with colour-finding...

Beginning a new work always starts with a sketch...

...I find a comfortable place to sit and start sifting through magazines for colours and textures I think will work nicely.  Once I’ve found my palette, I lay out all the pieces of paper on my desk and group by colour.

I typically start with the main colour of the houses and then build in windows and doors.  I find it interesting to study how light and shadows come into play and try to include as much of that detail as possible...

Finding order in chaos...the creative process at work! 

...There is a real meditative quality in the paper cutting process and something I include in my daily life in addition to practicing yoga and more traditional forms of meditation.  I find my breathing slows down, my heart-rate slows down (despite the amount of coffee consumed) and I am able to sustain an altered state of calmness for quite long periods of time.

During this pandemic, I have found my creative time even more necessary. With daily life in an altered state and so much uncertainty, art time kept me grounded, calm and focused.

Everything in its' right place...a recent work in progress.
I tend to work on smaller size wood panels. I have done a few larger pieces such as 12”x6” and 24”x12” and hope to explore this more in the future.  Working on small panels, means cutting very tiny strips of paper by hand.

I use small craft scissors to cut all pieces and apply with the tip of a pencil or tweezers when cuts are really really small.  An exacto knife comes in handy too. I use glue appropriate for paper to apply paper to wood panels and finish things off with UV protective varnish.


My pieces take a considerable amount of time to create, given the nature of the work, and can be 1-2 months, depending on the size. 

I hope that as these pieces find their new homes, the peaceful and meditative nature of the process comes through and the recipient feels happy and relaxed looking at them.

These past few months I have been working on what I am calling ‘heart projects’….projects for close friends and family who have asked for collages that I previously wasn’t able to find time for. Real or perceived, time is something I always feel is on short supply.  

"Hatchling's Hope"

I completed a piece for my partner of a cottage we enjoy together, a collage of my friend’s new home, and a waterfront scene from a friend’s hometown in Ireland. I am currently working on a piece for my father on the farm where he grew up on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. 

While these pieces won’t necessarily show up at the gallery, it’s fun to share them here to show how I’ve been focusing my time and energy during the pandemic.  I’m taking the opportunity to reflect on the importance of friends and loved ones as we’ve been separated during the creation of these pieces and this has been a nice way to spend the extra time found.


I look forward to continuing to document my community in paper collage and to experiment with new techniques and larger pieces.  I have been having so much fun getting to know this welcoming community found at Argyle Fine Art through shows and social media and am pleased to be connecting with so many new people through the process.

Take care and stay safe everyone.  Thanks for reading." - Andrea Crouse