Friday, January 20, 2012

Be Daring – Experiment! Join the “Art Revolution”

Lisa L. Cyr’s first book: “Art Revolution; Alternative Approaches for Fine Artists and Illustrators” is a wonderful way to rev up your artistic engine. Cyr’s book is filled with examples, techniques and ideas featuring many different artists. The book motivates, excites, and inspires me every time I pick it up.

I also have her second book: “Experimental Painting; inspirational approaches for mixed media art.” If you’re already familiar with faux techniques and collage, this book will merely springboard you to your own experimentation.

"Release" -- 24x30 mixed media

Above is my first “exploration” titled “Release.” I know I will get better as I gain more confidence. My recent workshop with Art Cunanan made me realize just how “tight” my brush work has become from drawing and painting portraits using oil paints as my main medium. Although I was pleased with the bright colors I used in my watercolor, it was evident my brushwork and approach were far too precise; at least to suit Art.

Sample close-ups within the painting

I’m hoping that a few experimental paintings will help me focus on imagination more and fundamentals less. My featured painting has been an evolution of ideas. The first draft included a monkey, a woman, and a different phrase by Joseph Campbell. My goal was to have a painting within a painting; but the overall effect made the painting look like an “origins of man” theme and the interior orchid looked overtly sexual as if being compared to a woman. Campbell’s verse was: “Ohm..the sound nature makes when it’s pleased with itself.”

This could have made an interesting painting, but was not the statement I wished to make. The second draft used this verse from Campbell: “Art is the set of wings to carry you out of your own entanglements.” Using this verse made the painting’s title obvious: “Release;” and for me it was a release.

I was able too use the same “jungle” theme with vines, hints of leopard and gold leaf, and butterflies to represent the “wings” in Campbell’s statement. Using Cyr’s instructions, I first applied butterfly pictures using a medium gel gloss directly on the colored surface and then applying it to the canvas. A brayer and my fingers, pushed the print color onto the surface. A few minutes later, I lifted the paper up and pale images were left behind. In some areas, I left them as they were, and in others, I livened up an edge, or added a touch of color.

I also used modeling paste on the gessoed canvas before adding any paint. I wanted some of the vines to be three-dimensional. I also applied modeling paste to a fern leaf and pressed it on the canvas for a raised leaf effect. The interior painting also has a frame fashioned with modeling paste and lace. Gold leaf and acrylic finished it off.

I wanted a clear contrast between the wild jungle background and the beautiful wild orchid in the frame. I used acrylics on everything but the interior portrait which was finished in oils and glazes.

I’ve taken shots of some of the detail in the painting so you may see what it entails. The 24 x 30 mixed-media painting is available on my online gallery @