Peony and Parakeet

Painterly Collage in Rut Bryk’s style

Art journal spread by Peony and Parakeet, see instructions of how to make this!

Here’s my recent art journal spread, inspired by a Finnish ceramic artist Rut Bryk (1916-1999). Espoo Museum of Modern Art Emma is currently showing her work and as a big fan of her work, I had to see the exhibition!

Rut Bryk

Paivi Eerola from Peony and parakeet at Rut Bryk's art exhibition

Rut Bryk is very known in Finland but not so famous worldwide. However, you might know her husband, a skillful designer and sculptor Tapio Wirkkala. Rut Bryk was an illustrator who got a job at Finnish ceramic factory Arabia in 1940s. Her early work was fairly naive and illustrative. But after working with ceramics for some time, she began adding textures to her work. Her 50s pieces were very mid-century modern.

Ceramic art by Rut Bryk

In 1960s her work grew more dimensional and abstract.

Ceramic art by Rut Bryk

The abstract pieces she made are stunning.

Ceramic art by Rut Bryk

This black city view is one of my favorites.

Ceramic art by Rut Bryk

Many of Rut Bryk’s artworks are composed of small ceramic pieces. They look like quilts or crocheted blankets to me.

Ceramic art by Rut Bryk and Maaria Wirkkala

Rut Bryk’s and Tapio Wirkkala’s daughter Maaria Wirkkala is also a well-known artist. She had made an installation of Rut Bryk’s excess tiles for the exhibition.

Collage in Rut Bryk’s Style!

Get inspired by Rut Bryk’s brilliance and create a collage
with these step-by-step instructions!

You will need hand-decorated papers, acrylic paints, marker pens and gel medium or paper glue. See ideas for hand decorated papers: Basic Instructions, Frugal version, Kiwi, Arboretum, Spring Flowers (PDF download)

1) Paint the Background

Paint the background black.

2) Cut Collage Pieces

Cut collage pieces to simple shapes like rectangles, triangles, diamond shapes and circles. Cut big, small and medium-sized pieces. To make the pieces look like handcrafted ceramic plates, round the corners and soften the straight edges so that they are slightly wavy. Don’t worry about the colors too much as you will be painting over them.

Create Rut Bryk inspired collage! Paivi from Peony and Parakeet shows how!

3) Glue the Pieces

Using gel medium or paper glue, begin gluing the pieces on the black background.

Pile up pieces so that some smaller pieces are glued on the bigger pieces. Before gluing, add black paint so that the piece on the top will have soft black borders. This will make your work look more dimensional.

Create Rut Bryk inspired collage! Paivi from Peony and Parakeet shows how!

Don’t fill the whole background but leave some of it black.

Create Rut Bryk inspired collage! Paivi from Peony and Parakeet shows how!

4) Paint Lightly Over the Pieces

To make the pieces look softer and to mute down their colors, add thin layers of acrylic paint over them.

Create Rut Bryk inspired collage! Paivi from Peony and Parakeet shows how!

Paint blocks where the black background is visible. Use neutral, fairly dark colors that suit well with the black background.

5) Draw Spotted Grids and Frame Collage Pieces

With marker pens or felt tip pens, draw spots so that they form grids. These grids can continue over the blocks. Also the size of the spots can vary. I use Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens as they work well on acrylic paint.

Create Rut Bryk inspired collage! Paivi from Peony and Parakeet shows how!

Frame the painted blocks and collage pieces with a black marker so that they look firmly attached to the background. I also used white Chinese marker to add few white lines here and there.

Create Rut Bryk inspired collage! Paivi from Peony and Parakeet shows how!

6) Paint Slightly Over Some Areas

To finish your work, add thin layers of paint for some areas. These painted areas represent light and shadows over the overall composition.

Create Rut Bryk inspired collage! Paivi from Peony and Parakeet shows how!

Here’s my finished spread again.

Art journal spread by Peony and Parakeet, see instructions of how to make this!

Extra Project – Decorating a Box

My husband has made a wooden box for my paint tubes. I have painted it golden but the bottom part of the lid needed some decoration. I had already painted the framed area red so I just added black paint to the collage pieces.

Decorating a box with collage pieces by Peony and Parakeet

Then I continued the process like in the instructions. Finally, a layer of gel medium was added to protect the paper pieces.

Decorated box with collage pieces by Peony and Parakeet

I like the idea of opening the lid and seeing the collage.

Decorated a box with collage pieces by Peony and Parakeet

Thank you, Rut Bryk!

Rut Bryk inspired collage art by Peony and Parakeet. See instructions!

Expand Your Artistic Imagination!

This blog post is an example of how you can learn and get inspired by famous artists. This is how I see it:
– If want to find your own uniqueness, examine all kinds of artists and styles!
– If you have already found your style, keep on experimenting and expanding your skills!

It’s exactly what my art journaling masterclass is all about. Every month a new artist or style is introduced, and you will get detailed instructions on how to create a project inspired by it.

Move Forward in Art Journaling!
>> Buy Art Journaling Bundle 1
>> Buy Art Journaling Bundle 2

29 thoughts on “Painterly Collage in Rut Bryk’s style

  1. Thanks, Paivi, for introducing us to various artists who are generally unknown to many of us. It is a pleasure to see the works they produce and, in this case, see the progression of their process.

  2. This is yummy Paivi!! I love collage with a passion!! I like the dark shadows you did around the pieces too!! I might try a little box to give as a gift! It’s so wonderful having you as one of my Art Mentors!! Thank You Paivi!!

  3. This is just wonderful! I think I’ll give it a try. Thank you for sharing the idea and step by steps.

  4. Love your interpertation of the ceramic works….thanks for the mini lesson, I will be sure to try this one.

  5. Your journal spread looks more like a fantasy cabinet with drawers to pull out from a deep recess. It is thought provoking and beautiful to look at. Amazing that it is a journal spread. The picture you posted with the journal next to your window was just gorgeous, like looking at a cathedral window. It even reminds me of the ceiling wood collage you and your husband made with various woods. I say I love color but when I see how you use all your bits and pieces like little treasures, I know you have a deep appreciation for color and its magic. I see how you carefully placed the collage pieces in the wooden box and showcase the tiny masterpieces. What a wonderful box to open!

  6. Thanks for this mini-course Paivi, I was just wondering what kind of journal you work on. I guess the paper must be thick enough to accept watercolour painting?

    1. Sandra, I work on Dylusions Creative Journal. Watercolors were not used here, all the paints used were acrylics. But yes, the paper is fairly thick.

  7. hi paivi, this is fantastic, thank you for introducing me to all these wonderful artists and their work i really love this style, i will definitely be joining imagine monthly in the fall.

  8. This is SOOOoooo inspirational! I’m going to do this with my friends very soon! Thanks for the peek at the works of Rut Bryk! I adore her work!!

  9. Hello Pavi

    People are truly amazing. Thank you so much for sharing the work of Rut Bryk . I had not known of her work. I like her style. You mini course is very inspirational and I plan to give it a try.

  10. I too like Rut Bryk’s style. Thanks also for your clear directions and examples for creating colorful, fun decorative papers.

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