Freitag, 22. Juli 2016

Dipping into Mixed Media

Well, I, too, am doing an online art class this summer.  I almost didn't because it's summer and my garden looks like a jungle, but I am making time,  yo.

The class I chose is called Mixed Media FX, full of ideas and techniques for working with mixed media and collage.  I have often wanted to try out this kind of art, but have never known where to start. The idea in this class is to use a journal as a place to try out ideas and techniques.  I have already found that I really love heavy-papered journals over regular sketchbooks.  I got a 9 x 12 bristol journal with 100lb. paper and it is soooo luxurious.  So far I have made about a dozen different backgrounds with papers and glues and paints, all very different.  Here is one:

There are a couple that I have been developing with textures and later in the class we will learn about relief techniques and collage elements.

At first in this class I felt like, "Wait, whoa, what am I doing here?  This is soooo not my style."  But I reminded myself that I can use the ideas to do things my own way, AND that it's good to branch out and learn something new.  One thing that really went against my grain at first was starting a bunch of backgrounds with no idea where I'm going and no end goals.  I only ever start something with an end in mind.  But then here is this class with a bunch of backgrounds and nothing in mind for them, and I'm skipping back and forth to different pages and... and... and... well, it was really enough to make my OCD blow a gasket.

BUT THEN.  Holy creative process, batman.  The ideas keep coming and I've had a couple pages take on a life of their own and turn into something that I kinda like!

This one started with tearing some scrapbook paper and gluing them onto the white paper.  A couple days later, I brushed some acrylic paint over the whole page.  And there it sat.  Then yesterday I got to the part of the class where the instructor demonstrated using something called acrylic molding paste with a stencil to make a raised textured design.  Well, I have no acrylic molding paste, though I could get some from Amazon if I so decide... but RIGHT NOW, what?  She said you can use drywall spackle, but (shockingly, acutally) none of that around here.  We had a bucket of drywall mud, and I opened that only to have my senses assaulted with major mold.  Ew!  From there, I moved on to plaster of paris.  I happen to have that around because I mix it with wall paint to make chalk paint for furniture (speaking of which, I have one in the works and still  have not finished it, but I will try to get that done and show here soon).

So I mixed up a little thick plaster of paris and used it.  It went on like a dream and I was all excited, until dried and started to crack like it would all fall off.  So I set about trying to make it stay.  First I brushed on a little watercolor paint and loved the way the plaster took the paint.  Then I tried different things, ending in good old Mod Podge.  We shall see now if that works...

There was one other page that has really been fun.

This one started out with an old watercolor study in which I was trying out a technique for a dark and gloomy sky (like, uh, 10 years ago).  It never went anywhere, but the colors were lovely and it was a very heavy, high-quality watercolor paper.  I tore strips of it and glued it onto a blue-washed page.  It sat several days that way.  Yesterday I used some bubble wrap as a stamp for some interesting shapes.  Then I glued some green burlap on the bottom.  As I looked at it, I thought it seemed like a sort of conceptual landscape, so I painted on the tree shapes and added some white speckles for sparkle.  Maybe a little weird, but I kinda like it!  It seems like it's showing opposites of weather all at once.  I don't know if I really want to mess with this one any more.  I thought of maybe some collage or word art, maybe down at the bottom on the burlap, but for now I'll let it be.  That is one part of this class that is still freaking me out a little-- sometimes the instructor will have something lovely going on and then she'll cover it all up with something else and I think, "EEK!"  I know it's all for practice and experimentation, but I still have a hang-up about loosing things...

I will make sure to show more as the class goes along.  I'm almost a week into, out of three, I think.  More to come!


  1. Love It!
    I know what you are going through with covering up the "the good parts." You will have to find your own stopping point for those kinds of things. Some people can cover up everything, which makes you wonder if they know what they are doing or merely slapping things around for a period of time. You needn't go that far, I think. Keep what you like.
    Regarding the cracks in plaster, that is GOOD. I have done classes where the whole point is to make cracks and scratches and peels to show other layers or add patinas over cracks. enjoy them and do things with them.
    I think I would agree that the burlap on your landscape might want something. Maybe try stamping some of the circles on it or broad paint strokes of subtle paint tones. Like extending the purple-y sky tones down into the green of the burlap. Or horizontal strokes for contrast to the verticals. Just a bit.

    Way to go. Keep it up. You will see your whole outlook on art making change and open up, even for doing realistic art.

  2. Love it! I'm still hesitant to try the whole random-slapping-together-ness of mixed media, haha. I measure too much. The Bristol journal sounds really cool, though... I wonder if I can find any around here? :)

  3. Mixed media can be quite controlled, too, even though many people use it as an experimental medium with no idea where it is going. If you prefer pre-planning you can still combine elements, which makes it mixed-media. I think the benefit of mixed media is that it helps us to try things we might not otherwise, which - for artists - is a good thing.
    Bristol journals are readily available and are very good for drawing media.