Experiments of a Self-Taught Mixed Media Artist: Part 1

I’m in heavy experimentation mode here in Studio Nettle, folks. So much so, that I’m launching an entire blog series in which I can get my art geek on and discuss what I learnt when I decided to answer the abundant, “what would happen if I did this?” questions. Today’s post will be about how I’m finding working on a series in order to build a cohesive body of work.Paint on Palette

Some Back Story

Last year, I decided to focus on just two techniques. Having done that, I decided I’d do something similar this year and add a few more things to my toolbox. This time around, instead of experimenting with a new technique or medium, I’ve decided to experiment *within* my current repertoire of techniques.

That is, I’m still focusing on combining Ranger’s Distress Inks with PanPastels, and dry brushing with acrylics, but I’m doing things differently and playing. I’ve made a ginormous list of new things to try in combination with my old tricks. I love making lists. I think I’ve got enough material on that list to keep me experimenting right throughout the year.

Thoughts on Working in a Series

Apart from a half-hearted attempt to focus on a subject matter last year, this is my first real, grown-up attempt at working on a cohesive body of work. I’m 2 months in so far and I’m loving it! Specifically:

  • I’m enjoying having a “routine”, if you will. When I sit down to dream up a new painting, there are some cozy parameters in place. Even so…
  • Within those parameters are an endless array of variations on the theme, which I’m excited to have the opportunity to fully explore.
  • I’m enjoying the sense of security it provides. Working in a series takes the pressure off because I know this isn’t the only version of this particular subject matter I’ll ever produce. It’s one of many and if I think of something I wish I’d done differently or get a belated bolt of inspiration, I know I’ll have an opportunity to run with it next time around.
  • Coming up with a novel idea for a painting every time I begin a new one is taxing. If I don’t quite feel up to it, it can sap the fun out of it a little. Also, once I have brainstormed several novel ideas, choosing which one to go with is always agonising. Painting is time consuming (at least, the way I do it is). So choosing between several ideas that excite me feels like a heavy commitment. Now I get to skip this step, draw whatever variation on the theme that takes my fancy at that particular moment and go straight to the playing-around-with-my-pretty-art-supplies part.

Next Time Around

In Part 2 I’ll begin showing you the fun new techniques I’m experimenting with!

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