It’s day 3 of the challenge. I had some fun with this peacock. I used a toilet paper tube to make the shape of the feathers. Toilet paper tubes make great stamps!
I wasn’t too sure about how muted and dark the colors developed during the painting process, but in the end the colors added to the dreamy quality of the painting. Sometimes when I work in mixed media the layers of paint can decrease the vibrancy of the paint. I like bright colors so this can take me out of my comfort zone, but that is usually a good thing too.
I’m working on designing a new card or postcard for Valentine’s Day to put into my gift wrapping bags for jewelry sales. I want to have a card with art on one side and directions on how to care for the jewelry on the other. I made this Valentine Bird Collage using paper I created with my new Gelli Printing Plate. You can check it out here:
The Gelli plate is so easy to use, even Tiny-Small was designing monoprints. We used stencils, leaves, and paint brushes to make prints with. It was really fun! I highly recommend getting one. If you do mixed media art it’s a wonderful tool. You won’t need to buy scrapbook paper and worry about copyrights anymore because you can make your own paper in any color or design your imagination can come up with. It’s also really fun to do with kids. Tiny-Small and I stayed up way past her bedtime because we were having so much fun. We completely lost track of time!
I prefer making my own paper for mixed media projects and art journaling. Sometimes scrapbook paper is just too uniform or patterned. I like the nuances the printing creates. Not to mention, some of the scrapbook paper companies have a lot of rules about whether or not you can sell art you create using their papers. It’s complicated and confusing and hard to keep track of.
After creating some prints and letting them dry I cut the paper up and created a collage with it. I drew and painted the birds on cardstock, cut them out, and glued them down on top of the background. I really like the way the doilies came out during the printing process. I used quite a few of those prints in this piece.
I really liked making the leaf prints too. I collected leaves the last time we were in California. Some of the leaves I printed came from Jim’s parents home, and specifically, from a tree his mom planted many years ago. That makes the leaf prints extra special.
Have you ever used a Gelli Printing Plate? What was your experience like?
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I decided to do some work in mixed media today. I needed to work in a way that brought stress relief and mixed media work always has a therapeutic quality for me, even when what I am doing turns out to be terrible. I came up with Two Blue Birds pretty quickly, and luckily, it wasn’t terrible!
Mixed media is a medium in which I have been trying to improve my skills. If you Google “Mixed Media” you will see a variety of styles. I seem to be drawn to artists who know how to layer well like Chellestein from Journal 52 and to artists like Catherine who seem to be able to put people, words, and textures together in fun and sassy ways. I stare at their work in awe and I love it, but I can’t seem to create that way. I’ve heard other artists say, “we are drawn to what we cannot do” and I am starting to believe that is true.
When I attempt a mixed media piece I seem to do better when I keep it fairly simple. I think I just get overwhelmed by too many possibilities when I try to add several elements into a piece. Somehow it just ends up looking cluttered. A few too many layers and my eyes no longer know where to look. My work gets too busy too fast and then I don’t know what to do with it.
The other day someone commented on one of my art journal entries. She said, “I love your pages because they are simple and that makes them powerful.” Her comment really made me stop and think. First of all, I was grateful because my word for the year is “simplify” so maybe I am sticking to it! I was also caught off guard because I’ve always felt awkward about my simple and somewhat plain mixed media pieces. I’ve been disappointed in them because I wasn’t able to pull off what I thought was a “real” mixed media piece. And by “real” I mean one with lots of details and layers under gorgeous images and words placed in just the right spot. To hear someone call one of my pieces powerful gave me new courage and confidence. Maybe it wasn’t so much that I was doing this whole mixed media thing the wrong way, it was just that I had a different style than the artists I admired most. Not to mention, it is always humbling to discover that someone loves something you feel insecure about. It makes you realize you should have more gratitude for what you can do and for what you are doing.
With my new found courage and confidence I started putting together Two Blue Birds. I thought maybe I would start embracing my simple approach and see where that path takes me. I can tell you for sure that I am much less frustrated by letting go of what I wish I was doing and enjoying more of what I am doing. I’m really happy with how Two Blue Birds turned out. I’m looking forward to doing another mixed media piece with my new “embracing my strengths” and having more gratitude approach!
Have you ever tried to paint or work in a style that you admired, but never really managed to pull it off? Did you feel more joy, or even relief, once you finally gave in to doing something your own way?
I want to remind you that I am on day 14 of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. If you would like to see all of the artwork other artists in the challenge have been creating please click over to Leslie Saeta’s blog and take a look. You’ll be amazed by what you see.
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