Posts

Abstract Encaustic Maps with Layers of Color

There are so many artistic possibilities that are unique to encaustic painting. Achieving these kinds of transparent layers would be difficult, if not impossible, with any other painting medium.  It’s the main reason I love encaustic painting so much.  These encaustic maps have grids that are layered on top of one another.  They appear to be floating almost, and are noticeably at different levels within the painting.  Love it!

By the way, if you’re interested in purchasing this set, it’s listed here.

 

img_3392-compressor

Abstract Encaustic Maps

If you read my last post (also about abstract maps) you’ll know that I love the idea of the history behind the streets and grids that maps display.  How each city developed into what it is today fascinates me- the changing neighborhoods, the forgotten infrastructure, and all the hidden stories that these lines represent were constantly in my thoughts as I created these pieces.

Have any of you ever seen those shows that take you underneath the streets of a city?  They show you catacombs and sewers, modern infrastructure and historic, hidden places.  I love watching those shows, and I always wish that I was there with them.  The idea of touring beneath the streets of some of the most historic and famous cities in the world, learning the history and imagining the lives of the people who once stood where I would be standing, is so fascinating to me.

 

img_3387-compressor

 

Although these small 6×6 encaustic maps are not representative of any specific city, I imagine those hidden streets and sewers each time I see these pieces.  I created them organically, drawing the lines and shaping the grids quickly without references.  They really just represent possibility- how everything is created a piece at a time, and is constantly evolving.  Once thriving places will decay and be forgotten over time.  Maybe in the next life I’ll be able to understand the truth of what happened in so many of these places.  That would truly be awesome.

 

encaustic-maps-mock-up-compressor

Interested in purchasing this set?  Click here!

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!

Square Quilling in Mixed Media Art- “Building Blocks”

Boy, it’s been a long time since I finished a project!  Two weeks… that’s an eternity. My husband and I are both in a local musical- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and it is taking up A LOT of time.  (I’ll be making some gifts and scrapbook pages related to the show, so stay tuned!!)  However, I’ve been wanting to try square quilling shapes, and so I decided to put them to use on a piece in my “Colored Splashes” line of artwork, this time using square cookie cutters instead of circles.  (For my first in the series, visit this post.)

square quilling mixed media art

Square Quilling and Ink Splashes Video Tutorial

  • I used a set of square cookie cutters, brushed india ink onto the edge, “stamped” it onto the surface, and then spritzed the wet ink with a bit of water.
  • Don’t go too crazy with the water- you only want it to feather a little bit, and you should still be able to see the square shape.
  • I use multiple colors and stamp all the shapes I want while the ink is still wet.  You can let things dry in between applications if you wish, but this way the colors blend together a little and adds more interest to the piece.
  • After the ink dried, I used the same cookie cutters to cut out square holes in a scrap piece of paper.  These were my masks so that I could use stamps on the surface, but only in certain places- the paper caught the unwanted ink.
  • I had some leftover chipboard frames from some Scrapiniec chipboard pieces I had used in other projects (This chipboard is so awesome- the layered pieces especially!) I made sure all the edges were white by painting them with gesso, then adhered them to the surface.
  • Now, for my quilling pieces!!  I use Gel Medium matte to adhere them. I also stacked a few on top of others.  I’ve never done that before, but I love it!
  • The last step (which I should have done a few steps before… oops!) was to take my calligraphy pen and my ink, and sketch a few lines over the squares and around the piece.
  • Finished!!

square quilling abstract art square quilling art square quilling art with india ink square quilling abstract mixed media art

This piece is for sale here.

So, who else has fallen in love with square quilling shapes?  🙂  I thought so!  If you try any of these techniques, please leave a link for me.  I would love to see them!!

“Forces of Nature”- using a make-up dauber to create abstract pieces

I’ve been experimenting with different tools and mediums lately because I’m setting up some workshops and I want to find the best tools to create easily understood and mimicked techniques.  This is one of the best canvases from these experiments, using a make-up dauber with acrylic paint and india ink to create awesome layered, cloudy backgrounds.

using a make-up dauber to create- "Forces of Nature"

At first I didn’t like the using a make-up dauber.  It’s has a tapered end, but the bottom, where it’s the widest, is rectangular and when I would use it to add paint to the surface, I would get a rectangular, or corner imprint.  It wasn’t a huge deal because I would just spritz it with some water or smear it with my finger to blend it into the background.  Despite this, I’ve come to really like them and now I use them all the time.

They’re cheap, first of all- you can get a whole pack of them for just a dollar or two. The material is good for either daubing or brushing, they’re absorbent so they will hold a lot of water to help dilute the paint if you need it.  They’re still not perfect, but it’s fun to get messy!  I can spread the paint super fast with these babies, and then load them up with water and wring them out in certain spots that need it.

They are also great for layering- once your main background is dry, you add a small amount of paint to the end and daub straight up and down.  Especially if the paint your using is a bit lighter, but the same shade as the background, it will blend wonderfully and add more texture and depth to the colors.

Using a Make-up Dauber

One more thing about using a make-up dauber to paint – if you mess up and use too much ink or paint, the dauber is great at soaking it up (if you using a lot of water, like I do), and then you have it to use somewhere else.

using a make-up dauber to create using a make-up dauber to create abstract pieces using a make-up dauber to create mixed media backgrounds using a make-up dauber to paint

I hope this has been helpful!  I’d love to hear your feedback- what are your favorite painting tools?  I’ve always on the lookout for some awesome new techniques.  🙂

Abstract painting- “Master Plan”

Ok, confession time- this had been a rough week.  I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that the past few days have not been pleasant.  So, I headed to my studio and started painting.  I had no idea what I was doing, I just started working and let this abstract painting take shape on it’s own.

IMG_2961-compressorAbstract Painting Tutorial

I love this style of abstract painting because the way the paint and ink blend is so soft and spontaneous.  I can control the way it looks, and yet at the same time, I can’t control it.  Learning the way the paint and ink behave and allowing them to work the way they’re designed to work is so essential and powerful, and really easy.  When you let things go, the result can be fantastic!

In fact, since I just worked on this abstract painting without any really thought as to the finished result, I find it a little ironic that I named it “Master Plan”.  Perhaps it’s the gridded lines and squares and the map feel of the piece that makes me think of designed streets and a master planned neighborhood.  I guess not all good things have to be planned to the hilt.

And I have to say something about the purple- it was definitely therapeutic, working with my favorite color.  The different shades and brands of paint worked beautifully together.  I find it fun to use different brands of paint when I work, because they each have different qualities that are fun to watch and work with.

IMG_2962-compressor

IMG_2964-compressor (1) IMG_2966-compressor IMG_2969-compressor

Creating abstractly, especially when you’re not sure what you’re trying to create, can be a bit terrifying.  Don’t worry- even if you end up painting over what you’ve done, you still learn something in the process, and it’s exhilarating and so satisfying when you see where the piece has led you.  So throw aside your fears and give it a shot!!

Symbolic Mixed Media Collage- “Windows & Doors”

abstract mixed media collage

This mixed media collage is literally a huge mess.  🙂  I wasn’t sure what I was doing when I began, I just started working, hoping for it to take on a life of it’s own.

Do you ever finish a piece that you don’t really like, but you love all the individual elements and parts that make up the whole?  I don’t even know if that statement makes any sense, but that’s how I feel about this piece.  I confess- I am not in love with my finished work here.  And yet, I see so much symbolism shouting at me and there are things about it that I just love.

I love how every layer is peeking through.  I love how the chipboard and texture paste on top of the chipboard look like new layers added over layers of age and decay, as if they’re trying to make up for or cover what has happened in the past.  I love how the text is peeking through the gunky texture paste and colors, as if there are things written or done in the past that someone is trying to hide.

Of course, the chipboard is the namesake element- some are solid squares and some are open and filled with paste and ink while still allowing a bit of the background to show.  Those squares are like focal points, highlighting certain ideas and opinions while ignoring or blocking others.

mixed media collage with chipboard

I know it’s my personal beliefs coming through, but every collage I create represents universal truth.  All these elements- text, texture, chipboard squares, colors- they all represent what is true, what is not, and how human beings try to cover or reinterpret what is true for their own benefit.

mixed media collage with text

So it’s true… I struggle with this piece.  It is not beautiful or neat- in fact, it’s dark, dreary and, well… ugly.  But every time I look at it I see something new that reminds me that understanding what is true and what is not is a struggle.

Wow, what is it about collage that makes me try to be philosophical all the time? Even when I don’t know what form my mixed media collage will take, it always ends up being symbolic in nature.

mixed media collage with muslin

I’d love to know what each of you see when you look at this collage.  Do any of the elements have meaning for you?  Perhaps the way it’s assembled strikes you in a certain way?  I’m always so inspired by your answers, so I hope you’ll share them!