Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Closure" of Sorts

I've been debating in my head whether to post more Mixed Media, as the harder I worked the less attractive my stuff became.

I've learned more about acrylic paint and media by experimenting on my own, especially how to cope with cheap material and/or not having access to some we used in class, and about colors and simultaneous contrast, and that's been interesting in the way I always enjoyed Chemistry class.

Some days, (and since I've returned from Australia I worked  between five and eight hours a day most days,) though, the effort looked futile, counterproductive, and presently the overwhelming feeling is I ruined a lot of good stuff I did in Australia, albeit incomplete. In drawing, or writing, I ever knew when to stop, and this proved to be the case with my Mixed Media.
However, playing with paint proved to be wonderful "living in the moment", errrr, moments, and this, and Discworld audiobooks, proved invaluable during the weeks leading up to and in the aftermath that was the general election in New Zealand. (Maybe another post; maybe not.)  Plus, I didn't want yet another unfinished project becoming a mammoth in the stash room.

So here is the first of three books. The first Seth Apter workshop I wet to was called Mixed Media Dossier. (If you scroll down on the link, you'll see a brief explanation; it's the second one.) Mine is a tad smaller than A5, portrait, with seven inside and two cover sheets. One day workshop allowed me, and many others, to learn a few techniques and get some backgrounds done.

We could make a notebook/journal, with or without a theme/purpose, or a bound volume with lots of nice stuff to look at. I wasn't sure what mine would end up being, but I had a vague theme of destination addiction/places. The photos are positioned as if I've bound the pages.
The front cover is actually more yellow/gold than green. and far more saturated. I "unified" the look by applying a few layers of very diluted yellows with glitter medium. (Seth says cheaper paints have binders, which make the colors dull; I guess it's like obscuring the pigment.) I used Carol's expensive liquid acrylic paint in class, and tried to modify my cheap tube paint with gloss gel medium and gloss varnish, (I only found glazes after I invested in three bottles of gloss varnish,) to emulate the look, which made the parts I worked on evenly shiny, rather than delicately glistening. Luckily, in some parts, the good paint shines though beautifully.  
I unified the back of the front cover in a similar way, and added a bit of pale yellow greens and pale blues representing patina. I think it was more interesting when the white bits of the paper still showed.  Page one, I did very little; when I came home I saw these as unfinished; now I like pages like these, even though they are unfinished.
When you lift the front cover, this is the folded wings you see. Again, it's much more yellow/gold; the two sides look much better than before, but also flatter, because of the repeated layers of varnish, less delicate. 
The middle part of page two looks half-heatedly finished. But this yellow/gold page was really haphazardly done, so this is an improvement. Page three, again, I unified the look by applying a think layer of pale blue varnish, but it's possibly my favorite. I can't remember now when it had white untouched bits.
Page four is an example of how I ruined my original, bright Australian pages. It had textures, and probably a combination of yellow/gold/copper/dark blue, but wanting to increase the dark blue area, I kept applying vanish instead of straight forward blue and made the whole page very green. Then I applied 2*reds, 2*blues, purple, gray and black paints and then covered it with a diluted black glaze, then added the "badge" with gesso. It's not one of my favorites, but I like that I brought it back from the "definitely not" pile. Page five, unified with several layers of blue varnish, though I'm not sure if it looked much better before the unifying. Well maybe. I like this page.
Page six; another "why am I still doing this" page, and the "white" parts are not white/silver but very shiny. During the day it's a little like staring into a starless night. I worked on this for days and days and days. Page seven, I'm not sure if this is staying as once again, I overdid it with the blue unifying glaze; this one has three or more different blue varnishes.
Page eight was something of a revelation. It was the worst of the dark-blue-layers-gone-completely-green and doubly sad because it had my favorite gessoed textures. I piled paint, then gesso on curvy shapes, more paint, and things to progressively worse, so I applied gesso with a credit card making straight lines and rectangles, not seen in any other page.(Page four gesso came later.) Again came the cool color paints and I was lost in this tiny space, and at one point it started looking interesting to me. I want to keep this as a memento of that experience. Page nine, I gave it the smallest Payne's Gray/blue wash on the left, and I was happy.
Page ten was the worst of the unfinished pages so it was at the bottom of the pile, but after loosing the Australia/workshop feel in so many pages, I am happy to keep it as is, totally unfinished. Page eleven is the only one that looks more interesting in the photo than in real life; it looks very messy in a in-between style; I might touch it up.
I gave up on page twelve for now. Again, it's more yellow/gold/orange. I can't remember what it looked like when it came home, but I made three yellows and two browns, as well as pale yellow green and pale blue, and made up a couple of yellow oranges, mixed some with glitter medium, and used gel medium and varnish, and it looks dirty and flat and overly shiny. Page twelve didn't look so dark until late yesterday afternoon when I got so frustrated I started vanishing everything. I thought I'd do one representing sleepless nights, and what remains is an upstairs bedroom. For the night I used every blue, gray, black and a bit of dark green I had, but I might touch it up again.
Page thirteen, (and twelve) had wings but they were so terrible I cut them off! Clearly I don't like what developed; I even thought of chucking this out, but I just hate to give up, so I'll revisit this. Or not. I always loved both sides of the back cover. This inside one is my favorite gesso pattern, though I never figured out if it's a compass or a seal of some sort. 
Back cover; again I thought it was unfinished but I love it as it is now.
I'm supposed to bind the top but because I may revisit, I've connected them with yellow paper clips for now. I'm walking away from this book because I can't get over the  dread of ruining the sunny, lovely Australia/Workshop feeling, but I know I'll revisit. A glimpse of what this book looked like can be seen in the first photo here.

Blogger changed its photo update mechanism while I wasn't looking, and with that, the photos upload appear bluer than they are when see directly from my hard drive. I may come swap the yellow photos later. Or not.

6 comments:

  1. In the workshop, we used high-quality fluid acrylics which could be poured directly onto the page and dealt with immediately. At home I'm using cheap tube paint which needs to be sometimes diluted on suitable surface, (palette, plastic containers, lids,) and mixed well, though I also do put a bit on my finger and apply them directly to the paper, too. But it most definitely slows down the process. It doesn't help that my work surface is about 1/2-1/3 the size of the workshop.

    With the prepping of the paint and the speed with which the paint dries before they go on paper, (I'm always spraying unused paint with water,) I tend to work with fewer colors at once and feel I have to finish using them. As a result, I tend to cover bigger areas with one color, and so all the pages started to look the same.

    This is similar to my drawing. I get to draw big in the classroom with plenty of room and no worries about what falls on the floor. At home I don't have that kind of a space.

    Still, they are not restraints; these are just different conditions.

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  2. LOL. Mom hates my postcards. She asked me once again what I see in collage and mixed media, why I'm wasting my precious time. I don't have a convincing answer, except all road leads to weaving, and I know everything helps, though I can't put my finger on anything specific. Color, and I hope composition, come to mind, but how these help is never straight forward to me.

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  3. I like what you're doing here, Meg. Anything goes in Mixed Media. Do it for the love of the process. That's reason enough. If it doesn't ultimately lead back to weaving, so what??? Mixed Media is its own thing. It's okay for you to be a multi media artist, and those media don't necessarily have to relate to one another. Have a great weekend. xo

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  4. But but but I need hobbies. I lost weaving as a hobby, (well not really), and though I'm doing better with bread I also want us to eat less gluten, so I need a hobby I like but won't obsess about. Drawing, MM, they are all nice, but I'm not going to go into it "seriously".

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  5. But it looks like fun, and that is the main thing. I love the cover so much, Meg!

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  6. These ARE fun, if you can stay in "play" mode, Margery.

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