Step by step – 100 artworks part 3

Step by step – 100 artworks part 3

I strongly believe in inspiration. I wouldn’t be where I am artisticly or personally if I hadn’t had access to inspiration. For this piece I (almost) followed the steps in this video series from Laura Lein-Svencner. Well, up to a point. Then my own process totally took over and things evovled…

First, a few magazine clippings and a bit of patterned paper was glued down with gel medium step1

Pale green acylic paint was rolled on with a brayer to push the collage papers back The white paint was sprayed out of an almost empty paint bottle, something I love to do even though it’s pretty hard to control step2

Shadows added with a bit of burnt umber


Then some scribbles and marks using Neocolor I crayons I have no idea what characters will emerge from this yet step4

Next step was to stamp with some homemade stamps. Stamps can be made in a lot of materials. Mine are linocut Now a human figure is beginning to show step5

Another layer of acrylic paint. This time I scribbled with a scewer into the wet paint


And this is where I lost myself. The characters took over and one thing led to another = no documentation of the last steps But this is how it turned out

Mixed Media on paper, 20 x 20 cm “Forrest friends”

100 artworks part 2

Just watching

Little Red Riding Hood

I miss you most when the stars are out

So I decided to work with mixed media in my 100 artworks challenge.

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.

Want to see how it goes?

Artist's log

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.

Ugly is all right!


Some years ago I took a course in art therapy. From the first brushstroke, we were told that the purpose was not to paint pretty pictures – but to paint important pictures. Important in the sense that they could tell us something about ourselves and the things going on in our lives and our heads. A kind of personal status report.

And I tell you; it was tremendously surprising how much I and my fellow students have been told and transformed through our paintings and the interpretations of them – guided by a skilled art therapist!

I fell in love with art therapy. But the first couple of months, I often left class quite frustrated. I loved painting and my pictures were often admired by others. The problem was that I painted “pretty” pictures. When the day’s assignment were given and it was time to grap the brushes, I already had a clear picture in my mind of what my painting would look like. And then I painted it.

But it really wasn’t any fun. It was after all just a commission. And when we were to interpret the pictures, there were no great insights for me. Because I had been too focused on restoring the image from my mind rather than play, enjoy the process and let intuition rule.

The breakthrough

After a few months the breakthrough came. I decided that I would paint an ugly picture. I gave myself some rules; no bright colors (I love bright colors),  only use big brushes, sponge or fingers to paint with. And then I would spray the painting with water, lots of water, so that the paint ran and I had no control over the outcome.

And I had a blast! I played, experimented and was completely present in the moment, following the running paint and feeling (not thinking) where the brush strokes should go. Absolutely wonderful!

The biggest surprise came when I stepped back to see the work. But wait – my painting was not ugly. It wasn’t exactly beautiful, but it most certainly was important. And it was packed with interesting stories. The uncontrolled paint had created stunning landscapes populated by dragons, angels, butterflies, snakes, elephants, Indians and many other creatures who apparently lives its own life in my subconscious mind.

And now…

Years later, I’ve actually become quite good at letting go of control and let intuition rule … when I paint. And it slowly rubs off on other areas of my life.

So go play! Let go of control and performance. Let intuition take over and see what happens.


^ Charlotte