Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Create from the heART

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been maniacally inspired lately to create my most fun pieces to-date by Mary Beth Shaw's latest book, "Flavor for Mixed Media". Here is one of the paintings on paper created over the past few days incorporating white Gesso, liquid Matte Medium, Rowney and Faber-Castell Dry Pastels, Pan Pastels, DecoColor acrylic paint pens, Sakura Gelly Roll pens, Speedball Calligraphy inks, Koh-I-Noor Trans-Mix acrylic inks, Sakura Micron and Graphic #1 pens, Sennelier Oil Pastels, and ephemera (re-purposed paper) - truly a "mixed-media" piece:

The unusual shape of the paper you see above is from some fabulous watercolor blocks that I found at Pearl's; I am so excited by the long, skinniness of it! The paper is called Fluid Watercolor Paper and comes in the interesting sizes of 4x8, 6x12, 6x18, 8x20 and 8x24, as well as others. What I really appreciate about the blocks is that they are only glued on the long sides, so the advantage of not having to size the paper (wet the paper and allow it to dry) before painting is great and yet they are super easy to separate from the block when you are done by shoving a palate knife in one of the short ends and running along the long side.

I went in Pearl's again this past weekend and inquired how best to do-it-yourself frame these paper works of art (I usually paint on Artist Panels or Gallery Wrap canvases, so those are easy to wire up for hanging). I collected the materials needed and will show you what I do to mount these latest paper works when I figure it out! There are several Art Competitions coming up in the next few months that I am choosing to submit these paintings to, so making this happen is now a priority. :)

Here are a couple pictures of the process I have been in lately:

I'm working on about the 6th / 7th painting in this series and found today I was getting a little "stuck" in my design elements rather than having the ideas flow. Do you ever find yourself staring at a begun painting and wonder what to do next? I like to take a break when this happens and flip through art books for shape/color/concept ideas to move me along. Today I was reading from the art book, "Mixed Mania -  Recipes for delicious mixed-media creations" by Debbi Crane and Cheryl Prater, and found a spot-on quote  from famous artist Marc Chagall, "If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing." When I find myself thinking too much about a painting, I have to take a break, grab a snack or cup of coffee, refer to the thousands of photographs I have taken that are safely archived on my computer ready at my whim, read an art book with lots of pictures (we are working in a visual medium after all!) and come back to the work with a clear & fresh enthusiasm to be fearless in trying ANYTHING! When I hesitate to act, I remind myself that what I am doing is not so precious and I can always work OVER it or tear up the result and use pieces in other works if I'm not happy with the results...

Here's a glimpse of my work table as I was finishing up the above painting... messy, huh?

I love it when my working on art-making inspires my daughters to break out a journal or canvas and do their own work (one advantage to working on the kitchen table)! I buy hard canvas boards and artist panels when they are on sale at Michael's and Utrecht so they are always on-hand to grab when the inspiration strikes. In my home, none of my supplies are off limits; I want the girls to experiment and discover the joy of working with student and professional grade products and tools so they can see and appreciate the differences, giving them the knowing as they walk into the future of exactly what to use to get their desired creative outcome. Here is what they have done in the past week:

Devon (age 13) Oil Pastel

Samantha (age 16) Acrylic

I hope this article inspires you to pick up an art book, peruse the pictures, experiment with new materials and jump-start your next creative project. Please link to the art you create in the comments below so that we (myself and other followers in the art community) see your unique expression. Remember to share your art; I guarantee it will inspire others to joy in many ways!

Happy art-making!!! :D  Tristina

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bitten by the Bug!

It doesn't happen to me very often...I've read the gambit of art how-to books. Interesting, fun, a few ah ha moments here and there... But, I've become obsessed with the projects in the new book I just got in Michael's last week called, "Flavor for Mixed Media" by Mary Beth Shaw.

Below are the 3 pieces I created from Mary's first project in the book, "Painting Without Paint" (all on 12x12 Clayboard done together in a left to right series):

There's something about drippy drips that totally turns me on!

This book is filled with so many new techniques I haven't thought of using before, although I have all the supplies in my studio already. Mary Beth has me digging up my dusty dry pastels, slopping on the gesso, re-pumping my DecoColor paint markers, and using my luscious acrylic/alcohol inks in whole new ways! Her illustrations of the steps involved with creating her ethereal abstract paintings are spot-on and really have stretched my creative muscle. I have been painting almost non-stop (except for the trip to Pearl Paint and Utrecht to buy more supplies) for the past 4 days. HEAVEN!!!

Even though I have heard taught to me before (as I'm sure you have, too) to lay FAT  OVER  LEAN when painting with multiple painting mediums, I never really got it until Mary Beth showed and explained it to me in her book. She gave me cause to break out my fancy silky Sennelier oil pastels and dry highly-pigmented Pan Pastels and smoodge them all over the top layer of my new (paint-less) paintings...Fascinating.

I will have more paintings to show you from later projects in Mary Beth Shaw's book when I put the finishing touches on them. Happy Painting!  Tristina