Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Summer of Painting: Abstract Mixed Media

For the last three years, I have been obsessed with learning about every possible technique I can use in mixed media artwork. Even though I can really see a lot of improvement overall, my painting skills with acrylics are not that strong. So this summer I have been focusing most of my effort on painting. I'm finally getting to a comfort level with them, and am enjoying the process so much. Most days I take my "studio" outside so that I can enjoy the beautiful weather we're having here right now. The funny thing is that the more I paint, the less I blog! Did I mention that I am obsessed?

I started out the summer painting whimsical, cheerful garden scenes and florals Diane Culhane's wonderful online course, "Paint Your Garden".  I do love flowers, but my heart has been leaning more toward abstract compositions in the past few years. Recently I've been working my way through a fantastic course offered by Julie Prichard and Chris Cozen - Layer Love 2.0.  The class focuses on painting abstract paintings with Golden Open paints. And finally, all of the techniques and things I've learned in the past three years are coming together exactly how I want them to. Here are some of the abstract paintings I've been working on this week.

"Climbing Higher"
Acrylic on 10" x 12" panel

One thing I'm learning about painting is to slow down and trust the process. The Open paints dry more slowly which gives you more time to work with them. That has really helped me to relax and not panic over paint drying faster than my brain can think of what to do next! It also is forcing me to work on a painting over several days. I tend to want to finish a piece all in one sitting, but I'm finding that I can't do that with these paints. At some point, you just have to set the painting aside and let it dry before working any more on it. Otherwise, you'll end up with pure mud on the canvas.

This next one is actually done over a floral painting I'd started earlier but wasn't happy with. There were too many different colors and patterns and it felt too busy. Plus, my flower shapes felt tight and didn't look loose and free like I wished they would. So I mixed some grey and covered a lot of what was there, adding some sgraffito (scratching into wet paint) so that some of the bright color and patterns still showed. It all came together so quickly and felt right. I love when that happens!

"Find Your Way"
mixed media on 8"x10" stretched canvas

This was another painting I'd started a long time and was not happy with. So I added more collage and layers of paint. Today it occurred to me to add an image transfer. This photo is actually one of my own, which makes me so happy!

In the Mist
mixed media on 10"x10" cradled canvas

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. I appreciate your comments so much! I'm linking this to Paint Party Friday. Take a look and check out the exciting work artists from around the world have been doing this week.