Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mixed Media Surface Insight and Experience

Working in mixed media for me allows the freedom to use all the fun papers,scraps,and all my found objects and treasures ( junk by some standards).
When I first started experimenting with mixed media on my own a few years ago, I found several challenges and with those trials and errors I thought I could share some of my experiences.

Thrill Chill by Susan Walker
on canvas panel
Mixed Media Canvas and Support
Having the right tools and materials can make all the difference to tell your story. If you are working in mixed media and want the freedom to use lots of layers, fabric, found objects, and more, make sure you consider your support. I have used stretched canvas, canvas panels and newer to me,the canvas boards.
I love the look and the versatility of hanging a traditional stretch canvas.Though it is harder to stamp on as the 'give' of the fabric doesn't always allow the entire surface to touch the stamp. I have a few strategies  to get this to work better for me.I placing something under the canvas for support but it takes practice and flexibility in the final look. I take my work around the side and so having the depth of the canvas allows me to do this. They even make a deeper profile gallery canvas that has even more edge if you like. These too are easy for receiver to hang or set in an easel.

side of a panel
Frightful by Susan Walker
 The panel the only thing I don't like that its is thin and can't wrap and paint around the sides as much. Though I continue to use them a lot. They stamp very nice and also come in a variety of sizes..Larger sizes for me are more challenging to hang as I don't frame. Right now I attach a tab that can go over the hanging nail or hook.
-Another recommendation is go to the hardware store and having them cut a plywood board into desired sizes. This is  to be cheaper than buying from art stores but I have yet to try this.(On my list) Always prepare your surface carefully by sanding the rough edges and using gesso.

A quick note about preparing your surface
Gesso comes in white, black, and even clear. I love using white gesso because the light shines through when adding transparent paints making the colors vibrant and bold.If you don't like something gesso too can be used to 'wash' it all away ans start new. A comfort knowing and allows me more freedom in my process. I don't dwell on getting it just right every time with this 'out' sometimes you may need to sand your surface and apply another layer of fresh gesso.
Once you are ready start layering your board with colors that entice you. Adding papers and found objects as you like!
I plan to have future posts on this and other experiences I have had with mixed media approaches that work and didn't work for me.
Love to hear from you too!

 Joyful by Susan Walker
on canvas panel
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