This time, experiment with using both traditional art tools and ‘non-art’ media. Use wax crayons, ballpoints, highlighters and fat marker pens together with pencils, dipping pens and oriental brush pens (and so on). Think again about your support; perhaps use a coloured wash and/or collaged, textured surface. Whichever media you choose, make notes on how the drawing style, visual effect and conceptual possibilities change or emerge with your use of the different media.

I was quite at a loss as to how to start this exercise. I’ve never done mixed media work before and generally I’m not particularly fond of pieces that have lots of different things stuck to the background. But then my local ‘Scrapstore’ had an open day and I went along with my friend. I found quite a few nice bits and pieces that will doubtless come in useful in future, one of which was a roll of fabric-like paper. It looks exactly like what teabags are made from and is very tough. It doesn’t wick ink away from a drawing pen (but it does from a dipping pen, as I found out on the final piece, much to my irritation!) and it takes both soft and oil pastels really well. Also the tiny holes and widely spaced fibres show whatever colour is put behind it (the photos don’t show this particularly well for the final piece). I thought this might enhance the frilliness of the nigella tendrils and also portray the rough surface of the brick in an interesting way.

Composition:  I gathered a few more handfuls of seed pods to really load up the picture and give me lots of variety to work with. I just dropped them beside the brick and was really pleased with the way everything landed, even the tiny one that skittered away to the left slightly (I did move that one back a bit closer). Nobody move!

Progress shots.  Afraid not! I nearly threw this away after about ten minutes. I absolutely hated the way it was going whilst I was using coloured pencils. Fortunately, I persevered and started layering up the colours using pastels. I used both soft and oil pastels. I used markers, drawing pens and dipping pen and ink (note bright green splodge beside the right-most seed pod). The marker pens were too course and the colour too uniform so I have used drawing pen to break those marks up. I was finding it difficult to achieve the detailed black holes where the seeds escape once I had used oil pastel, so I whittled down a bamboo skewer to a tiny wedge shape and used ink. I found that I could push the ink into the pastel to create the slightly wrinkled surface observed on the larger pods.

Final piece, plus close-ups.

I think on reflection I would have liked to do more to the left corner of the brick, and I wish I hadn’t used marker pens as some of the stalks still look quite crude. But this is actually my favourite piece since my highly reflective pots in Part 1, which I really wasn’t expecting!

One thought on “PART 2. Project 2, Exercise 3 Experiment with Mixed Media

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