As you may remember I am teaching a mixed media art class at a local art center. We’ve just finished three classes. I’ve taken my students, who are all experienced adult artists in various mediums, through a grounding in collage, paint techniques, and today, in combining the two.
From this point we will spend a number of weeks approaching mixed media from the standpoint of various genres – still life, landscape, portraits, etc. But these three weeks form the basis for all the remaining work we will be doing.
During this class, one thing we did was go through the process of creating backgrounds for mixed media work. My goal was to have the students see how it works to use layers of paint and paper to build up rich visual texture.
I brought in a mixed media piece I did some years ago to illustrate what I was talking about today.
Today, these backgrounds were not made with a specific goal – just to practice the technique, feel some ease in working this way, and to avoid turning a background into a composition.
Not that the last bit is a bad thing – I do it all the time, just start in and let the composition go where it will. But today, we needed to stop before that point in order to focus on just doing mixed media work. And, it’s also important to realize that in some cases, you will want to create a background for a specific purpose or image to follow. You don’t want to lose control and wander off.
It’s hard to do this, I think. The brain wants to see patterns, to begin to organize, to choose a direction.
Next class, I told the students! We will do it next time in our class.
When we finished, they had done some really nice work. I want to show you. Here are a few:
and here is a composite photo (it looks odd because I combined a couple of shots) of all our work.
I am very excited about the work the students are doing. Next week – the topic is ABSTRACT. Let’s see where that takes us!