Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Why I Like Working With Mixed Media and Acrylic

     For years I worked strictly in the traditional mediums and methods of oil and watercolor paint. There is a power and sensuous connection to feeling oil paint glide across the canvas as you "push the paint." Then there is the lush addicting smell of linseed oil that infuses the air as you work. The first "paint by numbers" set that my mother bought me at the local "five and dime" came as a revelation when I opened the first small pot of paint. The smell was captivating, invigorating and, truly addicting. I've loved it ever since. Then, the spontaneity that comes as you joyfully watch watercolor make choices for you as it moves across the paper by what seems like a life and energy force of its own, creating puddles, drips, runs, blooms and blends is fascinating. It can almost make you feel as though you are merely a participant as the paint itself decides what will happen as you apply a new color and fresh stroke. These things are truly wonderful. However, for my greatest enjoyment, I have found that working with acrylic paint and mixing it with paper, pencil, oil pastel, thickening agents and any other workable thing that can be added to the mix has caused me to undergo a creative change that I hadn't prepared for.
     Acrylic is also water-based and has the capacity to speed dry, unlike oil. Once dry... it's set. You can glaze it to shine or be dull. You can continue to work and add further glazes and layers as you wish until you reach the desired goal and effect. Acrylic can be watered down to a gorgeous transparent wash that will allow applied papers and other items to be slightly changed so that their original image and color still shines through brilliantly. I was taught in art school by my professors to "work fast." Time is of the essence and time is money. The more time I take at the production of a piece of art, the less art work I will produce. It isn't about working sloppy, carelessly or without thought to the quality of the work. It's about understanding efficiency and the value of being able to manufacture bodies of work in critical time frames. Acrylic paint allows me to do just that. I can paint quickly, efficiently and without the concern of a necessary drying time before getting the painting to a gallery. Also there is the capacity of using so many various other media along with it that gives a freedom to the work that no other has offered. I can apply lots of subsequent layers with other things like pencil, oil pastel, etc. that brings a fresh and fun application of color and fill to the work. Not to mention the clean up process is quick and easy and non-toxic.
     I hope you enjoy looking at my paintings and maybe this will help you understand why I make some of the choices I do with my mixed media and acrylic paintings... Here's one to illustrate my point.

"Bohemian Bouquet"
20X24 Mixed Media on canvas (SOLD)
Acrylic, acid free papers, pencil, oil pastel