Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mixing it up

Mixed Media - graphite, acrylics, pen, collage • © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

It's always good to try something different now and then. It invites you to play. You need to approach new things – whether new media, techniques, colors, or whatever – with a beginner's mind. And that keeps you from getting into a rut, creatively speaking, and expands your sense of possibilities. You learn new things that you may call upon in the artwork you do the rest of the time – or you may find yourself called to explore new directions. All in all, creative play is a good thing.

Mixing it up with multiple media is a good way to play creatively. The piece above began as a graphite still life drawing, with acrylics used as watercolors, on watercolor paper, that I did as part of a series. You can see other pieces in the series at my painting blog, at "A last look at Open Studios" and "Simple Pleasures: Show at Napa Senior Center."

In this piece, the composition just got away from me. It needed another few inches at the top of the paper to make it work. Last week, in class, we used it to create a mixed media collage. I cut off the top of the painting, and we all chose scrapbook papers (available in single sheets or books at crafts stores) that looked interesting with it. I covered an old canvas in yellow ochre acrylic paint, and, when it was dry, began a collage layering process, combining all the pieces we'd chosen, along with the cut-out painting. I skewed the vertical stripes, to make them a little more dynamic, and I added pink polka dots on the table surface to give it a little more spice.

This painting may not be done – I'm not sure. This was how far we got in class on Wednesday. It was fun, it shook us all up creatively and put us in a playful state of mind, and it used the interesting parts of a painting that otherwise wouldn't have worked.

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