When you are making painted papers for Mixed Media collages or working directly on a support (paper, canvas, art board etc.) you may want to add texture to your piece. In MIxed media, many different types of wet and dry media are used to offer a variety of marks, strokes and textures. A really cool way to create texture is to roll your brayer into a puddle of paint and than to roll the brayer again over a remnant of plastic mesh before finally rolling the brayer onto your work. The result will be the creation of nibs on the brush that will create a wonderful pattern once the brayer is rolled onto a Mixed Media piece. You can also try rolling the brayer (with paint already on) onto other interesting objects that you use for texture such as corrugated cardboard or patterned wallpaper samples.
It is amazing how you can create so many interesting marks and textures with common ordinary objects and household materials such as an old plastic credit card. One of my students in my Wednesday WHAL Mark making class introduced me to this credit card technique. You begin by placing paper (in this case we were using waxed deli paper called Kabnet) over an old credit card and making a rubbing with a pencil or black crayon. Plastic credit cards can also be used as "a palette knife" to spread paint on paper or canvas. You can also scrape into a painted paper with the edge of the credit card to create nice lines and marks.
If I am being totally honest I can not remember if I started to doodle and I said, hey this drawing looks like a Conch shell and I ran with it. Or, I was studying the patterns and twists and turns of a Conch shell and incorporated these spirals and textures into my work. Whichever way this drawing happened, it is a reminder how helpful it is to look at the world around you. You will find so many intrinsic marks. lines, shapes and patterns in nature that you can mimic in your own way in your abstract art. This drawing was done with a simple Uniball Vision black pen on a small white sketch pad. The drawing has a nice combination of darks and lights, a repetition of shapes spiral lines and a sense of three dimension or depth because of the way the lines were created.
It is not unusual for me to start off a collage in one palette and to end in a completley diffrent zone. During one of my recent sessions in my art studio, I was working in soft cream colors, only to leave the studio with an incomplete piece that ended with shades of aquamarine and dark blues. One thing is for sure, never fall in love with your first layer. And if there are papers that you really are keen on, don't use them in the early phases of your piece, because if you work like most of us, these pieces will eventually become buried with newer layers. I also have learned through the years not to be too careful when covering my support with the first layer. Just let it go....the piece will eventually emerge that wants to be found.
I spent a delightful afternoon this past Saturday at the flagship store of Lillian August in Norwalk, CT. shopping for sofas. But it wasn't long before i found their book department and i was preoccupied with style and design books. I drifted off to the in house cafe and sat down with a cup of complimentary Harney & Sons tea and discovered Malene Birger's new title "Move and Work". I was in black and white heaven. While this book is one of those oversized coffee table books on interior design, it is also a treasure trove for Mixed Media artists who like to work in black and white on different surfaces. You will find lots of bold stroke black and white designed pieces of artwork done by Malene on all types of surfaces and supports both in paint and collage. This is a wonderful book to appreciate the beauty of black and white and to encourage you to experiment in your own work.