A few years back I learned how to paint intuitive and embrace building layers as a way to building the story and depth in my paintings (Thank you Flora Bowley). Since then I haven’t felt “the fear of the white canvas”, but this time I was suddenly struck by it. I had a pretty hard time getting started with the collages. I got out books, magazines and papers, but they only got as far as moving around on my tabletop for days. I couldn’t make up my mind as to how to get started.
It is not the first time I work with collages and mixed media, but this time I probably had higher expectations for myself and the journey I was about to begin. I forgot that I always do best when I have a playful and experimental approach.
At last I jumped in. I started to cover a series of papers with scraps. Then went over all of it with white paint and a brayer in order to get a more uniform and grungy surface. I quickly found persons hiding in the emerging shapes and began to paint them.
A few (of the 10-12 pieces I had started) was quite good. They had some of the qualities I was looking for, among other things, that the collage papers clearly shone through in several places and had clearly inspired the subject. And I’m crazy about the grungy background and the slightly dreamy / poetic expression. But the rest of them, didn’t excite me at all.
More inspiration was necessary
I was missing something. One night night I was
wasting time researching on Pinterest and found this series of videos with Laura Lein-Svencner.
Watching Laura work made me realize that what I miss in my paintings are depth and multiple layers. It is a very natural part of the process when I paint with acrylics. In fact, it is often my favorite part to play and build up layers, experiment with colors, shapes, patterns, etc. But somehow I had not thought of the importance of this part in my mixed media experience.
I’m starting a new series now, where I will follow the steps from Laura’s videos. I’ll work on creating more depth and I will force myself not to let the characters take over until much later in the process.
This challenge is ment to be a journey of artistic and personal exploration and development, so I thought that I would record my observations along the way:
- I am obviously into teal, fluorescent red and orange – and have been for a while now. I’ll absolutely allow myself to change it along the way if I want to, but right now it’s a happy love affair.
- I like it “dirty”, grungy, splatters, marks, patterns.
- I must remember that layers and marks is something I love to work with, so do not force subjects to emerge to quickly.
- My characters are rarely happy. Sadness, melancholy, thoughtfulness or ambiguous smiles / facial expressions are more my style. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s tremendously interesting and I will explore this more in the future.