One of the many benefits of working in a series (in this case 100 small, square, mixed media paintings on the theme ‘Inspired by Greece’) is that the experimentation involved in producing several paintings on a theme fuels ideas…. and ideas lead to more experimentation, which in turn leads to the pushing of boundaries and increasing skills – whilst the parameters of the project help keep you on track – hopefully!
From the start of this project I felt drawn to exploring different ways of using the drawn line. Having started out with incising lines in wet paint and drawing into wet colour on the geli-plate, I moved on to simply drawing with some new-to-me, luscious acrylic marker pens. They contain free-flowing, artists quality acrylic paint and mostly seem to be used by graffiti artists. I particularly loved using the white, which gives a bold, clear, negative line – the blues aren’t bad either!
But my big love is the fine, delicate, wobbly line of a good old ink art pen – be it cartridge, fountain or a disposable waterproof nib art pen. The next batch of paintings in the 100 series makes use of this line as I begin to incorporate drawings from my sketchbooks into collage – cutting and tearing them and layering with scraps of Greek text, handwritten notes, stamped tissue paper… and anything else that takes my fancy including bakery paper; butchers paper and the fabulous graphic images on cheese papers!
Good composition is key to making these little collages work, and although they look simple, it can take hours of continually moving the various pieces around to find it! Once I’m happy with a composition, I tend to take a photograph to remind me, before starting to stick. The reason being, it’s easy to forget a layout the minute you remove it for gluing! I use a posh, rather expensive ‘glue’ called ‘matte medium’ as regular glue can yellow over time and ruin an artwork.
A fairly recent addition to this method is incorporating the handwritten text from some of the vintage postcards I’ve been working with. The words scribbled between friends, and the writing itself are fascinating and sometimes very poignant. Especially as most come from the era when I first visited Greece – way back in the 70’s and 80’s, and several come from places I knew rather well, having spent whole summers of my early working life in Corfu, Crete, Zakynthos and other resorts.
‘Beautiful Scenery’ is one of my favourite examples from this mini-series-within-a-series of collage paintings using text, drawings, and postcard handwriting. It has a fabulous old date stamp and combines text from both Corfu and Mykonos with a drawing of Koroni. It makes me (and other people too, I’ve noticed) smile – which can’t be a bad thing. The original is now in Stockholm, in the home of a lovely lady we met in Ystad during our Easter Exhibitions there.
A 50x50cm Fine Art canvas reproduction of Beautiful Scenery currently sits in my studio and makes me smile every day – I have plans to show it at my next Exhibition in Koroni at the beginning of August. Blowing the image up to this degree really brings out all the little details – the handwriting becomes a big part of the story and I love the overlaps, colour-runs and imperfections in the sketches. It’s nice to see these little 100’s take on a new, bigger and bolder life as a sizeable piece of wall art.