Santee resident mixes and matches to create her art

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Dixie Sampier, a member of East County Arts Association, invited everyone to her demonstration on creating a collage last week at the Rancho San Diego Library. The Santee resident is well-known locally for her first-rate watercolors and oils and, more recently, her collages, many of them with a coffee theme.

Sampier was the featured artist at this month’s ECAA meeting , which is always held at the library. She talked about collage as her most recently favored art form for its choice of textures, colors and the use of personal items.

Dixie Sampier, a member of East County Arts Association, invited everyone to her demonstration on creating a collage last week at the Rancho San Diego Library. The Santee resident is well-known locally for her first-rate watercolors and oils and, more recently, her collages, many of them with a coffee theme.

Sampier was the featured artist at this month’s ECAA meeting , which is always held at the library. She talked about collage as her most recently favored art form for its choice of textures, colors and the use of personal items.

“I always like to explore, so I love that it’s always a different effect with collage. It’s a very creative adventure,” she said.
Sampier showed examples to use in piecing together collages, including copies of old photos. “Never use the original, always make a copy,” she said. The hodgepodge of items she has collected over the years in walks around town include pieces of paper she’s found, even the patterns on the backs of envelopes.

Ordinary items found around the house are also secrets to Sampier’s eye-catching collages. She held up a collage, pointing to the patterned side border.

“This border came from rubbing pencil over a piece of an old kitchen sink drainer,” Sampier said. She laughed when everyone gasped.

“Believe it or not, I’m not a hoarder,” she said, holding up the brown corrugated paper found in light bulb packaging. “I just use everything I can.”

Even coffee grounds from Sampier’s morning coffee have found their way into her collages. “I found out that just this morning the coffee shop own by Ralph’s nearby has sold one of my collages with the grounds in it,” Sampier said.

The trick to creating an effective collage is to choose and stay with a theme. “You have got to have a focal point,” said Sampier, recommending “The Complete Guide to Watercolor” by Edgar Whitney, one of her long-time mentors.

Although the book is about how to create a pleasing watercolor painting, the two chapters about design and composition for both representational and abstract art present universal design elements for all art forms, including collage, Sampier explained.

“Collage is the kind of art you can get real crazy and quirky with, so you do need some focal element to the image,” she said.
Another design element that Sampier employs is the echo effect, which is a small repetition of a dominant image, color or pattern. In the end, Sampier says, the creation of a collage is all about fun.

Sampier’s goals of teaching the public about the joys of art matches with the overarching mission of the East County Arts Association, which formed in 1976. The mission statement of ECAA is to promote friendship, fine art appreciation in all visual media, and provide art education for the membership and the community. Since the non-profit’s modest beginning of a small group of artists, ECAA has grown to become of the largest visual arts organizations in East County.

Meetings are held each month at the Rancho San Diego Library. Each meeting features a demo by an artist, and is usually followed by a workshop the next week. For more information about ECCA, go to www.eastcountyartsassociation.org.

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