Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Gift

THE GIFT   mixed media on cradled panel   9" x 12" 

Now that it has been given I can tell you about the birthday gift I made for my Muse.  Kari is not only a gift she has the gift.  The basis of this is her favourite Charlie Russell painting, When Shadows Hint Death.  Over it, using Photoshop, I laid a sepia-toned, semi-transparent layer of my portrait of her (photo of it) as well as a photograph I had taken of my Father, when he was 82. 

Layers of the foundation created in Photoshop printed on 100% rag Stonehenge paper

Paper adhered to the cradled panel.  Acrylic paint distressed the corners and opalescent paint over the crystal ball

I rubber stamped the nondescript text (representing messages from the other side) on tissue paper and laid it over the entire image.  This not only relieved me of the angst of spoiling the image (with messy stamping, and yes I ruined one piece of tissue) but it also created a highly desirable, ethereal effect.

Of course there had to be feathers (see the link at the bottom of this post) collected by her daughters

For days, I pondered what to put in the bottom left corner.  I bought a concho, I made a clear gel buffalo skull, but neither of these seemed right. Mixed media makes you wait.  Wait until the right piece arrives.

Bill and I were honoured to be invited to Kari's (and Steve's) first branding on May 22nd.  (The photo essay can be viewed here.)  I went there looking for something and snitched a needle (used for inoculating the calves).  And wouldn't you know it, when I edited the 100 plus photos there was a singled out calf (of 300) that I had just happened to catch in a perfect pose.  Was it serendipity that I had caught Calf number 175 standing alone and perfectly still?  Absolutely.  She is the only completely hand painted element.

Detail of  CALF NUMBER 175   acrylic  (in the piece she's only 1.75" x 2" - half this size)

Thanks to my Muse for enjoying The Gift; thanks also for the inspiration and to the Universe for the loan of creativity and talent.

For the story of how Kari came to be my Muse click here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Entering Uncharted Territory

On  May 13th, a week to the day after Win Dinn's Mixed Media Workshop, and following a delightful Mother's Day brunch, Denise and I spent the afternoon mucking about.

Avery joined us for a little while

That was when we simultaneously realized that this is not ever going to be an instant process!  As easy as it may appear to a novice (that's us) it's harder than you'd expect!  There is no such thing as alla prima here.  There will be no immediate gratification.  I started the following three pieces with Denise but finished them at home where I had all of my gear ... and will it ever be enough?

DEEP PURPLE   9" x 6"
snap dragons, feather, shimmery fibers, fragment sheet music, rubber stamp script 

The more I dabble the more aware I become of just how thought provoking this way of making art is.  I now know a piece can't be finished until I find just the right embellishments or oddments (or they find me).  Much time and brain power is used incubating what to do next; how to help a piece grow and reach it's maximum potential.  The constant searching and questing is like a dull ache or longing.  Rather perfect metaphors for the practice itself!

GOLDEN SONG   6" x 9"
palette transfer, stenciled dot ribbon, dried leaf, skeleton leaves, rubber stamped music and script 

And then there are all the gels and pastes to learn how to employ and enjoy.  I'd never heard of Clear Tar Gel before ... but oh what magical properties is has.

Some kind of textured gel background, shimmery fibers, crushed chilies,
tissue paper, fragment sheet music, dried leaf and marigold with painted stem

And waiting, just hanging around waiting for all the right stuff to be finished, is this ...

WARM WATERS   9" x 12"

I'm in deep folks, way over my head in fact.  But please, please don't try to save me!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mixed Media Workshop

When we were in Palm Springs I was mesmerized by this magazine image.  One day I mean to paint it and when I do the angel will have the hands and face of my Muse ... but in the meantime I am experimenting with it ...

STAR ANGEL, "For all we saw was splendor unsurpassed"
magazine transfer and mixed media   12" x 9"

This past weekend my good friend and mixed media artist, Win Dinn, came to town to give a workshop.  Two absolutely electric days.  Win's work sheets indicated that we'd be shown 21 methods and by golly she got to every one (and more) which is why all nine participants are still reeling and buzzing with excitement over what was taught and learned.  Freely giving of herself to all her students, regardless of their artistic level or ability, each one comes away feeling empowered to make art.  Please consider booking a workshop with Win and see her art here:

"Sandwiches" ... dried and crushed leaves between semi transparent papers 

Colour ruled.  Acrylics were painted, drizzled, rolled and scrubbed over various gel mediums and other "starts"  

Each of us were given an old law book to "alter" in our spare time.  What spare time?  Still, we managed to slop extra paint on paper and began sticking random things on the pages.

My law book cover  in progress

My law book interior

With mixed media anything goes and there is simply no limit to the possibilities.  I'm so ready to play like this.  To view the entire photo essay of the weekend click here.