Sunday, July 18

Mixed Media Art Experiments


Hi Blog Friends!

the summer holidays have started and things are a bit slower than usual. As mentioned in my previous post, I'd been in a bit of a creative slump these past months until I discovered mixed media art for myself. After watching a couple of art videos I went ahead and bought the Dina Wakley Mixed Media Art Journal that includes four different substrates - thick paper, canvas, burlap and kraft. I thought this was a fun way to experiment with different techniques on various surfaces. The great thing about mixed media is that the possibilities are endless. This may come as a surprise to some, but watercolor is not for me. I find that I need to wield a big brush and slap on paints that have a creamier texture. Heavy body acrylics are perfect for this. They can be thinned down with water to mimic watercolor effect or made more fluid by adding medium. I like them straight out of the tube. I don't mind visible brush strokes - that's all part of the mixed media fun! 

When I started painting I told myself to 1. let go of perfectionism and 2. just enjoy the process. Of all styles I like abstract art the most. Of course art is subjective, whether you like abstract or not. For me it's all about mood and composition. I'm drawn to bold brush strokes, unusual color palettes and texture. This is why I incorporate collage, stamps, ink, stencilling and art journaling in my work. I also like the grungy or messy style, but maybe not quite as messy as Dina Wakely or Alisa Burke are known for ;-)

Below is the very first art page I had done after ten years of not painting at all. I had this image in my head for a while and this is what came out on the page. The funny thing about mixed media is that I don't really know how the page will ultimately turn out. I simply enjoy the process, sometimes adding or removing stuff while painting. 

I was curious to try out the canvas and burlap. I normally sew with canvas, but it is smooth enough to paint or stamp on it. I tried stamping with archival inks. I found that simpler stamps work better than detailed ones, as the canvas does soak up a lot of ink and because of the texture some finer details won't show up clearly. As for the burlap - well there have been mixed reviews on this. It's got quite a rough surface and burlap tends to fray. I have to admit the fraying is a bit annoying, but I solved this problem by lightly varnishing the edges. When they are dry they are a bit stiff, but no longer fray. I was going to try some Sashiko stitching, but haven't got around to it yet. I did, however, finish a page on the Kraft paper. I initially tried painting on it, but found that Kraft does not like wet mediums - it buckled immediately and does not go back to its shape after the paint has dried. So instead I stencilled on a design with heavy white gesso and let that dry completely. After I worked my design over it using colors such as burnt umber, siena and a creamy brown that would work with the Kraft background. I incorporated some washi tapes, a doily and ephemera as well. The gesso acts like a resist and I do like how the different textures show through the paint.

Would you believe one of my favorite tools are crayons! Yes, those that kids use. I love the neocolors II by Caran D'ache. They come in plentiful colors, intense pigments and since they are water soluble you can use them wet or dry. The background for this next piece was done with crayons.

Experimenting with different techniques is so relaxing. And you don't even need that many tools/paints to get started. A box of crayons and basic set of acrylics, a couple of paint brushes, some black ink, a stamp or two and you are ready to go. As for collage, well you can use any bits of news paper, ticket stubs, old pieces of gift wrap, paper doilies...

Sometimes I like to go in and pick out details with marker pens, such as I did in the image above. I have a basic set plus black and white. The white is great for adding highlights.

This last one is my personal favorite. I love this color scheme! I used acrylics to paint the circles, then added some scribbles and doodles with crayons, stamped some images and finished with some journaling. 

I guess you could say I've overcome my creative block. And I'm still setting some time aside each weekend to explore various techniques and come up with new art spreads. I may show a finished piece now and again, but my main focus will still be fabrics and sewing :)

Speaking of which, I also made this casual summer shirt, since tie-dye has made a comeback this year! I think the sunburst motif turned out quite well. 

I hope you're enjoying your summer wherever you are in the world. Till next time - take care and stay safe!