Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Mixed Media

Ten days is a long time for me not to have done any painting, but life at home has been very busy without a single morning or afternoon free to get into the studio. Also, at Art Club on Thursday of last week we were doing a drawing exercise, so that lost an opportunity to get the watercolours out. Drawing is not really my thing which maybe one of the reasons I was drawn to painting flowers. Who is going to argue that the petal or leaf shape is not totally accurate. Over time my drawing skills have improved, but I would not choose to do it, although I am aware that the experts say we should draw for 10 mins every day! For the drawing exercise I chose some pitcher plants. I really do not like the idea of carnivorous plants, but they have lovely shapes and markings, I used a 2B pencil on cartridge paper.

To make up for my lack of opportunity to paint, I spent some time on both weekend days in the studio having fun with some collage work. I try to keep the choice of flowers simple so that they are easy to cut around. I will try more complex shapes when I am sure the painting will work - more experience needed at the moment. What I really like about this process is the ability to really splash the background around without fear of spoiling the flower area. No more carefully painting around shapes to get a good background!

                                                     'Daisies' Mixed media on Fabriano
                                                      Artistico Extra White 44cm x 30cm

In hind sight I should have photographed each stage to show you how I did it. Maybe next time I will rememnber! Anyway, I started by painting the background on the Artistico paper. Wetting some areas,and adding paint, putting paint on to dry paper and spraying, both with plain water and water containing a few drops of ox gall to help mobility of paint. I then added a little sea salt to some areas to improve textural interest.
Whilst this was drying (it took some time as there was lots of water!)  I took a sheet of lighter weight and cheaper paper  (Lots gets thrown away)  and lightly painted wet in wet  areas of Moonglow, Rose of Ultramarine, Pthalo Blue and Cadmium Yellow in very loose areas from where I hoped to cut out the daisies.
When the Daisy page was dry, I drew the flowers in appropriate places and cut around them. I now had lovely daisy shapes already palely coloured with delicate shadows and markings.
The next bit was emotionally difficult as the background had worked so well,  that I could not make up my mind which bit to hide. I wanted it all to show!!

Anyway, needs must and I carefully pasted the flowers to the background using PVA medium. The petals have a tendancy to curl upwards when damp so patience is required.

Finally, I had the pleasure of re-defining petals, strengthening shadows and adding the stems, lines and splatters to the overall painting.  I splattered quite heavily with white acrylic ink around the edges of the petals to take away some of the harshness of the cut lines, trying to blend the collage pieces a little more into the background. Hope it worls for you!            


  1. The colours in the `Daisies' are very effective. I like the blue,red, green and the purple splashes at the top left. When enlarged by clicking on it the lovely colours really show up.

  2. Thanks for the comments Peter. Glad the colour combinations work for you. I have extended the Pthalo Blue and the Apatite Green further across the painting along the lower RH bottom edge, as, after looking at it for a while those colours seemed to stop suddenly in too straight a line. I think it helps.