Melinda Tidwell

Collage Artist


Live Workshops - 2020 SCHEDULE


April 17-19 fri-sun 

Bonny Studio

Dallas, TX


April 24-26 fri-sun 

Studio Joy

Kansas City, MO


July 24-26  fri-sun 

Art Makers Denver

Denver, CO


Sept 26, sat 10-4

Artisan Expo 2020

Buffalo Thunder Resort, NM

 Online Workshops - 2020 SCHEDULE

FINE ART COLLAGE with Melinda Tidwell

self study, always available


Structures and Strategies

Coming Early 2020!

Santa Fe Studio


Dynamic Design with Collage and Books
Fri-Sun, 10-5
$550 + tax

In this 3-day workshop, we seek to unravel the mysteries of great abstract composition using collage processes and the fascinating material of deconstructed old books. Collage is the ideal medium for exploring composition and I am loading our backpack with 3 powerful “technologies” to make your exploration fruitful.


Structures: Abstract composition is such an amorphous thing. I felt very drawn to it but very lost when I began this work, so I really began to look at visual structures that artists were using to organize the space. I needed a direction to head in and I will be offering a variety of these for you to explore in our 3 days together. Structures are illustrated with multiple variations to invite your creativity to use them strictly or loosely, as you prefer.


Design: While there are a handful of principles of design, some are more important than others—- we will start with the most powerful ones. These fundamental principles will strengthen your work and give you a foundation to build on.


Materials: If Structures and Design are the skeleton and muscles of our work, Materials is the beating heart. You will begin with a curated, pre-cut, massive pile of collage elements I have created. The Collage Elements Horde. These collage elements are culled from hundreds of paperback and hardback covers and shaped with an eye to color, texture, shape and size. Beneath this visual feast is the more subtle context of history and meaning running through these fragments of our human society. You may want to use it or not, but this extra layer of “found materials” is definitely interesting. The idea is to dazzle your eyes and mind immediately, and to create an environment where combining and rearranging is easy and fun. 

Structures and Design will evolve each day, but Materials will be the fun part. The first day I provide them, succeeding days you learn how to make your own as we delve deep into the possibilities of The Book As Material:

Paperback covers, made from printed card stock, supply a lot of color, typography, and words to play with. They are easy to cut, tear, crease and fold, sand, and even sew. For our purposes, old is more interesting than new, but it is particularly so for hardbacks. Old hardbacks are covered completely in fabric and, if they are quite old, can be beautifully printed.  You will learn how to disassemble them, what bits to save, and the treasure of texture to be found in the dried adhesives and dangling threads.


Our end product will be a series of 9x12” book collages on paper. Each day includes an end of day critique to really look at what is working and brainstorm ways to make the work even stronger.  Each student will be provided with a presentation NOTES pdf that covers course material.

Class size is very small, a max of 8 students, and loaded with one-on-one instruction. It is a primary aim of our workshop that you not only learn all the techniques presented but that you strengthen your knowledge of abstract composition. It is a subject not often taught but it can greatly increase your satisfaction with your work. Beyond that we keep it fun and informative, my favorite.



We supply:

Collage Elements Horde


exacto knife

cutting mat

plastic triangle

metal edge ruler

acrylic medium (adhesive)



hole punches



paper towels/water

You bring:

books! paperback and hardback, older is better.

9x12 Fabriano Studio Watercolor 140lb cold press paper (2-5 sheets/day)

sanding mask (N100, disposable is good)

gluing brush(es)

collage materials of your choice

art materials of your choice


your lunch


 " I learned more about collage from you in a week than I've learned in years! You are an incredibly talented artist and teacher - totally worth the trip from NYC (though I wish you lived closer)"

-Stephanie Ross Suskin, NYC

"Thank you for a terrific workshop! My sister and I just had a great time. (She has since emailed me photos of her new work table and supplies for collage!) Really enjoyed getting to know you and spending time in your fabulous studio making collages. What a lovely break from the day job! ;-) And nice to ponder the prospects for a new work flow! " Margaret Suchland, Raliegh NC

"I really enjoyed the surprise and challenge of working with unfamiliar materials. Small pieces of paper that I hadn't collected for a specific reason, I had to rely on color and shape, not reference to my intention for it." -Sarah Milne, SLC

"Thank you so much for a very inspiring workshop! 

I was incredibly inspired by the setting and your studio space, as well as the content of the class. Not that I even got to try all the formats and ideas, but I have plans! 

Amazing what a week of single minded focus and few distractions did for my creativity and productivity" - Aud Le Cesne Byrne, Palo Alto

 "It was a wonderful experience exploring and creating abstract compositions. Using snippets of materials from hardcover and paperback books – titles, texts, images, diagrams, blocks of color, shapes, fabric, stitching – I’ve completed a new series of works using these wonderful found materials."  -Bonnie Binkert, Santa Fe


"If you are considering one of Melinda Tidwell’s Workshops, don’t hesitate to give yourself this wonderful treat!  Melinda provided fun materials to get us started right away and was a great guide in fostering our own creative processes along the way. She has an incredible eye for color, balance and good design, and you will find through her critique, your own discernment improves! All in all: very productive and satisfying, highly recommended." -Kathleen Taylor, Santa Fe

"4 month follow-up: I just wanted to tell you now much I'm enjoying everything I learned at your workshop and the new creative and artistic avenues it opened for me."

-V. VanTuyl, Prescott

"Thank you so much for a great class.  I found your approach to teaching emphasized students needs and interests.  The time spent on the critique was especially valuable.  Walking through each students work and taking the time to discuss and demonstrate alternative possibilities was truly a creative process.  I learned how to approach my work with a new set of questions.  The class was also fun and at times pretty hilarious! "-Nancy Sexton, NM

The view from my studio toward Santa Fe--- its :10 drive by car




To register, first shoot me an email (see footer below) to make sure there is still room in the class. If there is a seat available, please send a check made out to:

Tidwell Keeton Studios

20 Vista Calabasas

Santa Fe, NM 87506

tax rate is 7.125%



Upon receipt of your check, I will send you an email confirmation of registration with maps.



Santa Fe workshops are taught in my home studio in Santa Fe, NM. We are just :15 west of the plaza in spacious countryside, Santa Fe is a great town for easily looking at art.  Many artists live here and there are literally hundreds of art galleries in our art districts: The Plaza, Canyon Road, The Railyard. 

There is good hiking to be found in our nearby mountains: The Sangre De Christos and The Jemez. Trips to Taos, Abiquiu, Tent Rocks and Bandelier National Monuments, are popular if you have extra days to explore.


The summers here are nothing short of amazing, a fact I did not know when we moved here in 2012.  At 7000 ft, we don't get painfully hot. High 80's to low 90's mostly, and it is a very dry heat.  But the big secret is the summer monsoons which bring in the really huge clouds, lightning storms and the always welcome rain. Monsoon season is typically July thru September. Mornings are sunny and then clouds begin to stack around noon.  A quick afternoon rain, if we are lucky, followed by a glorious sunset.

The Albuquerque airport is an easy one hour drive away, or you can fly directly into Santa Fe from several cities. There are a lot of good airBnb choices for lodging or for a bit more $$, hotels. You will need a car to get around.


All workshops are subject to minimum attendance. If that is not reached by 2 months prior to the class, the workshop will be cancelled and your full tuition will be refunded.

You may cancel your enrollment in a workshop up to 2 months prior to the first day of class (so if the class starts June 6, you may cancel no later than April 6). You will recieve a full refund minus a $25 fee. After that there is no refund UNLESS we can find a replacement for your seat. If we can secure a replacement, full tuition minus $25 fee will be refunded.

We reserve the right to cancel or reschedule a workshop in the case of emergency (illness, etc). Should this happen, you would have your choice of a full refund or enrollment in a future class.



Copyright 2019 Melinda Tidwell. All rights reserved.

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