Friday, September 19, 2014

pushing past your boundaries


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It has been a full week here in the studio. I have been cleaning and sorting the place, rearranging furniture and doing what is required to turn this awesome ‘room of my own’ into a teaching space.  My jungle of plants had to temporarily go, as well as my funky hanging basket chair.
I have wonderful cp enthusiasts arriving tomorrow morning to start my sweat shop/boot camp - Coloured Pencil Basics. (just a test to see if they are actually reading my newsletter, ha ha)

All I know is that when I am done this season of teaching, I am going to be wandering around wondering where I stored everything!

In the midst of all this, as I was procrastinating, I started a small mixed media piece. As I worked, I was thinking about how surprised people are when they see what can be done with coloured pencils.

That is the topic of this week’s newsletter, this notion of our mediums having limits and boundaries.
Have you pushed the limits and boundaries of your favourite medium? If you haven’t, maybe this should become a part of your regular art making time!

If you work in acrylic you know that it can be used in ways such that the results resemble oil paintings or watercolours. But did you know that there are all sorts of various media – from gels, pastes to crushed stone etc. that can be added into your art? Just check out Golden’s website to have a look at the goodies they offer, www.goldenpaints.com.

If you love watercolour paint, have you tried working with YUPO (a very unique, synthetic, waterproof, artist grade paper)? Google YUPO and be wowed by the fabulous images that come up. You can also use gouache and inks on it.

I am not suggesting that traditional ways of working have to get chucked. I would never advocate that. In fact I love the simplicity of working pure (just pencil and paper). So, of course you don’t have to work all of the time with gels and YUPO paper or move into adding markers, or work in collage.
BUT, what I am saying is that stretching past the boundaries you have with your medium will give you some fun thrills, seriously. Besides, exploration is a vital part of making sure our creative waters don’t become stagnant.
As for coloured pencils, well they can do an awful lot that most people don’t expect. You can dissolve or melt the wax binders (wax based pencils vs. oil) with solvents or heat to create art that looks it was done with oil paint. You can work on coloured sanded pastel paper to create art that resembles pastel. You can work over watercolour, on canvas, on wood, even gourds.

Down below is a sneak peek at my current work in progress. The colours are a bit off due to the lighting. It was raining outside so I made due with snapping a pic in the studio. The colours are brighter and more intense in real life. 

This is a departure for me in that I almost always (like 99% of the time) choose to work exclusively in cps. This time I am also using Caran D’Ache’s Neocolors II. Woo-hoo!

You can see them on the right hand side of the photo. These are water soluble wax pastels if you aren’t familiar with them. I am using them dry.

As you can also see, I am working on a coloured piece of paper, a sanded pastel paper.

I am using the pencils and the wax pastels interchangeably, as I build up my colours. They work very well together, one on top of the other. The image is about 7 inches by 8 inches.



You might be asking what the heck is this?

It is an abstract exploration of line, colour and pattern inspired in some way by the juncture of flower petals (hydrangea leaves). Also, as I work, I am ‘seeing’ something that makes me think of butter fly wings. In the end it isn’t meant to represent either petals or wings but this is my mental hook up at the moment.

For those of you who are familiar with my realistic botanicals, this is what I do in between those works. These sorts of pieces can get finished faster, are very creative for me and are a bit of a palate cleanse. I don’t have the time right now to dedicate myself to a large, detailed drawing and something like this is just out and out fun.

At this point I already know that some of this isn’t working well and a section was later erased and some lines changed direction. When I reached this stage, I hit the pause button. I was working very quickly and I needed to step back and actually look at the work critically. It was time to assess the composition and my intent for the patterns and colours.

I love this stage. I will post a work in my studio, somewhere where I can see it easily. I look at it, study it, analyze it, and I also set it free in my subconscious for my brain to keep on musing upon it even while I do other things.

I have worked on it a bit more and I shall continue to keep you posted on what becomes of this mixed media piece.

If you would like to view coloured pencil art in which other media is used, check out this link:  http://www.cpsa.org/view-explore-this-10.

The Coloured Pencil Society of America (a fabulous organization by the way, and did you know I earned signature status with the CPSA some years ago? Toot, toot! – that’s me tooting my own horn J) holds an annual on-line exhibition in which artists can submit mixed media work. (I haven’t entered this one yet, I have only entered their exclusively cp exhibitions.)

The works juried into the mixed media exhibition are posted in an on-line gallery – which is what the link I gave you above shows. (The cp only exhibition is hosted in a physical gallery and is not posted on-line, so you won’t find it on the website).

If you need to bust some of your assumptions about the limits of your medium, look around to see what others are doing. Look on-line, in art magazines and in galleries. Stretch yourself. Dare to try something you haven’t done before. You can always go back to your regular way of working later. This isn’t about forcing you to give up what you love. In fact, whenever I wander off to play in any other medium besides cps, I get fed up quite quickly and I go running back to my cps. That is why my adventures usually include cps! J

This exploration would make a fun artist’s date. Nudge, nudge...Are you ready to step outside your comfort zone and your limitations? Let loose a bit, play. If your new work looks goofy, no one has to see it. The point is to push those boundaries out, even just a bit. Come on...you can do it...


signs of autumn in the forest

2 comments:

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

Yupo was interesting to work with, I need to get some more to play with. I've been reading about different ways to intaglio print, and would love to try them but cant due to physical limitations. but will find a way around that eventually :)

Teresa Mallen said...

I have no doubt you will. :-) I love the way intaglio prints look.