mixed media piece with quilling

Abstract Mixed Media Piece- “One Great Whole”

I have had such a difficult time writing this post.  I don’t know what it is, but every time I try to type out the meaning, or the process of this particular mixed media piece, every word that pops up on the screen is terrible, and I hate it.  It’s taken me a week to get to this point, and I can truthfully say I have never had such a hard time sharing a piece of my art, which is funny because the artwork itself was so easy to create- my ideas were flowing, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and the materials cooperated (for the most part).  Yet now when I want to share what I’ve created, how I did it, and the meaning behind it, I can’t seem to do it.

So, I won’t go into detail on the meaning behind my piece, as I was originally intending to do.  I’ll share with you the process, and listen to your ideas and questions on its’ meaning in the comments.  (hint, hint!)

Abstract Mixed Media Piece with India Ink and Quilling

adding symbolism

My initial idea with this piece was do make it completely black and white.  I began by taking my compass and drawing a variety of different sized circles on the surface of my 20*20 canvas.  I used my calligraphy pen to draw over the circles with black india ink, then spritzed the wet lines with water from my water bottle to feather the ink.

It was at this point that I had a flash of inspiration.  If I outlined one of the smaller, central circles with colored ink, it would really pop against the black and white.  In that moment of inspiration, I knew what this entire piece was supposed to represent, and from there it affected every choice that I made- elements, colors, words, my paper pieces- everything.

Here’s the full process outline-

  • I began by drawing circles with my compass, being careful not to punch any holes in the canvas.
  • I outlined the outside circles with black india ink, then while the ink was wet, I spritzed them with water.
  • I did the same with the colored circle, though I used 3 colors- purple, turquoise and teal india ink.
  • Once the surface was completely dry, I went over the circles again with the same colors, adding a rough, sketchy outline to the edge of each circle.
  • Lines of “lightning” from the main circle reach out to colorize former gray areas.  I used some fast and messy calligraphy along those lines, adding specific words.
  • Quilling pieces next!!  Just a few black and white ones.

Everyone responds to art differently, and even when you add specific ideas into your work, others will see different things.  I would love to hear anything that comes to your mind.  What does this mixed media piece mean to you?

adding symbolism to my artwork

mixed media piece- black and white with a pop of color mixed media piece with calligraphy abstract mixed media piece mixed media piece mixed media piece with india ink

Thank you for reading, and especially for sharing your thoughts below!

3 replies
  1. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I had to say it, I couldn’t resist the comparison. I was biologist in another life and it stands out every time I see certain configurations. 🙂

    It is always intriguing what makes its way into our consciousness, and what others’ consciousness draws from our work! Never-ending exploration.

    You are most welcome, it really is a joy to see what you do- there are things/techniques that you do that I’ve never tried, so it helps to push me a bit outside of my comfort zone.

    I really need to blog more, but I find myself lacking things to say. It’s hard. I also am not quite to the point where I feel “good enough” to do tutorials and whatnot. Perhaps one day!

  2. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I always get such inspiration from your posts. When I look at this, I see the center- something that matters more than than the elements circling around it, orbiting, almost.

    The textures are so subtle… very intriguing.

    But I also see what looks like three eggs being fertilized. 🙂 Can’t help it, it’s the biology geek in me.

    • Anjuli Johnson
      Anjuli Johnson says:

      LOL! You know, I don’t know what it is, but in almost every painting someone points out something of the feminine, whether it’s eggs being fertilized, or female body parts, I get comments like that all time, and yet I never consciously add them to my work. I find it very interesting…
      Thank you for your kind words, Kelly. I’m so glad my blog is a place of inspiration for you. I love your blog, as well. I’ve been thinking of adding a full art landing page, like you have….


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