practice, step back, and don't smoke

What works for me and my art making practice is making work. I make art just about every day, I believe and have seen that even on those days I paint over everything or make a pile of unsalvageable crap I am learning. It is part of the process of painting. Some of the things I have learned I try to tell my brain over and over and over (like… make sure to step back from the painting to make sure you SEE it. It really helps to have some space between you and the work. When you are up close you can’t see the balance, the whole composition or how colors and marks are relating to each other. Really and truly it helps to turn the canvas upside down or even leave the room then return and your reaction will tell you if its finished or if there are areas you need to edit. It Always looks different and you may even like it without perhaps overworking it. This was so much easier when I smoked cigarettes. THAT REALLY WAS SUCH A HARD HABIT FOR ME TO BREAK. The biggest reason it was so hard is because it was always my motivation to put down the paint brush and LOOK. I had a fear that I wouldn’t stop and step back and LOOK long enough without having that little delicious thing between my fingers It gave me a reason to break.. And for awhile it was quite challenging physically and emotionally for me to not have it and I wouldn’t step back..the studio anxiety was high to say the least and the paintings probably wished I had never quit. lol. But I did it!!!! I stayed smoke free and painfully worked through it.

So now that I don’t smoke and haven’t fortunately for years I try to have more than one canvas or work on paper going at the same time. This helps me not put so much pressure on one piece. It gives me the chance to also let layers dry as I am working on other things. But this sort of “solution” evolved because I was working everyday and figured it out sooner than later.

Tip of the day “practice, step back and don’t smoke”

My approach to abstract mixed media work on paper

I often times get asked what materials are used for these mixed media works on paper. Its a great question! Currently the works on paper contain some( if not all) of the following ..colored pencil, charcoal,pastel, marker, collage, paint, ink, spray paint, gouache and acrylic. I typically use mixed media paper which is great because once anything with water like inks or paint hit the surface it won’t buckle . My other choice Is to use a very heavy weight watercolor paper anything that is around 300 lb weight. Good paper is not cheap but it is worth every penny. One more thing I always prefer Smooth surface over rough generally speaking because I like the line quality of my marks to be smooth and crisp.

Usually when I approach an abstract mixed media pieceI have no preconceived notion of what it should or shouldn’t look like. I work intuitively letting color , the variances of materials and mark making be my guide. Most importantly I step back …LOOKING for areas that interest me to further develop or edit and remove areas that Im not quite satisfied with. This process of adding and removing is critical to the work and helps create the paintings journey. With all its beauty bumps and bruises it is Becoming. The viewer has the opportunity up close to see the layers that went before and its history and ghosts of lines or color make the work have more depth. Kind of like us right?? Reminds me of The Velveteen Rabbit story. It is only after the stuffed toy has been loved so much that its tattered and torn in places, missing fur and a maybe even a dangling eye that it Becomes…