Back in March, I took a short series of online classes called Mixed-Media Art Warmups through the Smithsonian with Marcie Wolf-Hubbard. You may remember her as the instructor for the Tiny House and Tiny Interiors classes I have taken. I really enjoy her classes, both for her instruction and for the sense of camaraderie with other Tiny House aficionados.
The idea of the class was to introduce and to work through various activities to get our creative mixed-media minds into action. The work we produced could be used for generating ideas or as the basis for a work to be added on/completed later.
Marcie gave us our prompt or theme, we quickly assembled our supplies, and we had between 8-10 minutes to work. After each one we discussed our efforts and then…on to another challenge!
It was a lot of fun. I liked the process of creating quickly and without stopping for self-judgement. Ideas flowed.
I’ll show you some of my results in a short series of posts. If I can remember the prompt (I was not good about keeping records matching art to prompt) I will mention it.
This image was a combination of two prompts. The first was to work with the idea of QR or bar codes. I interpreted this loosely to mean repeated square shapes with some kind of filling. The second challenge was on the theme of a gameboard. That is where the numbered squares came in.
This one involved taking a simple vase shape and going from there. I interpreted things pretty literally here, but as I think about it now, I would like to try the vase shape in a different context – maybe as someone’s head? Or as their body? Or as a ship on the ocean? You see what I mean about how you get ideas…? In this image, I used inks and a little paint.
In this challenge we did random writing on various papers using different writing utensils. Then we arranged them into a collage. I added a head to the person-shape on the right and voila! All done. I loved this writing idea, and I think it made wonderful papers to work with. We also talked about the concept of including writing in artworks and how it affects the viewer’s interpretation of the piece if the writing can be read, or not.
In this challenge, we created two different papers – and then we combined them into a composition. My “composition” looked too random to me – so after class I did a lot more work on this piece to create what I considered a finished image.
I especially like the third one. What great prompts! (K)
Thank you. Yes, I really liked this way of working (though with the limited time it sometimes got a little hectic, I always knew that if I made a good start, I could go back later and take things further). I think it got me to actually sit down and get to work, and then later to be able to feel that when I wanted to do some art, either I had some pages started, or I had a way to get myself moving if I didn’t have a clear plan.
Sometimes when you work quickly, things show up that might not if you were being more careful. That’s a good thing I think.
You seem to be getting a lot out of this particular course. It seems like the prompts being pretty specific while allowing a lot of scope for interpretation and approach is a good balance for you. I really like the vase one. It works like one of those optical illusion or Rorschach-esque images in that I can read it both as a vase and as a face – indeed I initially saw it as a robot face before I read your text. I also like the idea of using handwritten papers as collage materials.
You are right. This class was not as easy as I might have thought at first – I really needed to think fast and work fast. But as I reflect on both the prompts and looking again at the work I did, I can see how much it pushed me to try different thinking. I like that.
There can be advantages to creating at high speed. I have found, for instance, that it stops me getting so stuck in my own thought processes (no time for that, just get creating!) and it prevents me from over-working a piece and undermining the vitality it had from working at pace.
I also find I like how at first, I think my efforts produced something disjointed or incoherent, and then, as I come back to it later, I see bits of it where it holds together. And maybe I see it again later and it has developed more. I see things in it I didn’t at first. This before I make any changes at all. I find this fascinating, how it “changes” from the initial frantic creation moment.
Excellent, as always!
Thank you. This was a fun and really useful class.
Absolutely fascinating process with terrific results
Thank you. I think a lot of these prompts could be done with fabric, too.