From what I hear from my online art friends, and local artists I know, it seems most artists get creatively stuck at times. And stuck I was, after the slow and sickly start to this year… I just didn’t have the oomph to launch into a new collection or the courage to attempt a large canvas, and unusually, didn’t much feel like drawing! I needed something bite-sized, messy, mindless and manageable… so I turned to my favourite creative freedom fighters…. decorated papers!
Armed with… acrylic paint; my favourite proceon dyes; a sturdy roller; a long-lost gelli plate; a bit of church candle; oil pastels and boxes of accumulated tools of the trade; …I began gradually replenishing my stash of decorated papers for collage – and at the same time, refilling my creative well. These dazzling greens were inspired by my short walks around the edge of the village – past the fields and olive groves bursting with acid yellow wild flowers and vivid green, metre tall weeds.
These hot colours were similarly inspired by the clumps of red anenamies out there and those really tiny, pretty pink wild flowers I don’t know the name of… The decorated papers are created quickly, working in batches on one colour range at a time to keep the colours fresh and avoid overthinking the process. I really wanted some spring greens, so worked with these first using my concentrated proceon dyes for the vivid yellow-greens. The old Gelli plate came out of the drawer for the first time in ages to create some of the first marks – I love the random textures it gives as a starting point on blank paper. Subsequent layers were made by variously scribbling with candle wax or oil pastels, stamping with acrylic paint using bottle tops, corks, bits of flip flop… you name it. And then I got the stencils out….
After several days, I had a healthy stash of brand new decorated papers in a yummy range of bright and inspiring colours – including blues of course! The hard part was making myself stop… For the first time ever, I’ve started using some of these papers in a mixed-media sketchbook, creating quick collage combinations from torn strips and combining here and there with drawn images. Here’s one of the first pages…. more will follow in the next blog post… so stay tuned.
For any fellow artists out there, I’d recommend this approach for getting you going – it’s quite freeing and a lot of fun, what with all that colourful mess and ripping and gluing… and not being so attached to the outcome. If you’re considering joining me for a private Tailored Art Week, this would be something we could include and needs no prior art experience at all!