Project 2 Still life – Exercise 3 Experiment with mixed media
For this exercise I set up quite an ambitious still life with bold colours and several extremely different textures.
I made several small sketches using different materials in my A3 sketchpad and then made two larger studies:
I liked the ideas but wanted to use ink with watercolour and perhaps gouache or/and oil pastel so I continued to experiment but on a larger scale:
This experiment was carried out using watercolour, chinese ink and oil pastel on Hahnemuhle 300g watercolour paper. I felt that the eggs and lemons worked but that I would have to work tighter on the chicken mesh basket and eggs in the basket! Some of the watercolour also needed to be bolder.
My next experiment was using a brush to add wash to the ink:
Whilst I liked the effect of the chinese ink in this image, I was extremely heavy handed and need to be more delicate with this awesome medium. With the eggs I saw an opportunity to explore further with this ink in expressive mark making and use of tone all in one.
Maybe this is something I can revisit with the following monochrome exercise?
Experimenting with the chinese ink, I found that immediately after making marks it was easy to move a wash from the marks made but with EXTREME care or the ink can run disastrously. Also I found that when the ink was very dry it was more difficult to dilute the marks with water, and that I could place a watercolour wash over the top with care. I smudged the marks with my hand accidentally twice which was a disaster – I made two heavy mistakes this way with the result that I had to start again!
My final piece worked reasonably well but I need to work with more care and precision – something that I am continuing to practice. During this final work I started with the ink first, then again I made a mistake but in doing so used kitchen paper to remove the mistake. I then used the kitchen paper to make similar ‘smudging’ of the ink rapidly all over the image. An innovation – but possibly resulted in the image becoming less fresh and a little muddied. Next I laid on some watercolour washes. Once this was dry I laid some heavier watercolour washes on top. Left this to dry and then worked once again with the ink. Finally I placed heavier colour over the piece using oil pastels.
Overall I was pleased with my experimenting and use of mixed media – I feel that I have overworked the piece and lost some of the freshness available with the mediums used. I think the combination is ok and that I made a reasonable attempt at a very ambitious still life – I could have kept going with the experimentation but need to move on (and revisit the ideas in the future). Unfortunately my photos of the final piece do not do justice to the complexities of the build up of colours in the different mediums.
The approach was original and used a mixture of many ideas and influences from a wide range of images in books, Pinterest, and the internet in general.