cross pollinating ideas

Taking up where I left off yesterpost, mixing up the mixed media ideas in this next step of red-orange monochrome.

Moving on from the first layers I showed you yesterpost, having set these pieces aside to dry I came back to find this lovely heap of semi-raw ingredients on my desk to play with today.

To unify the layers I began with, I’m using the same brush pens and acrylic paints + a little metallic orange and watercolor in deep orange and burnt sienna.

(the metallic orange looked exactly the color I wanted in the jar, but is more of a pale pinky coral on paper… but nothing that can’t be assimilated later, and some of that sheeny-shine will likely show through the layers)

Beginning with the envelopes, I wanted more vibrant color. Previously I used water to soften the coloured areas, but of course this dilutes the richness. I’ll often do this back and forth dance with pigment and water to build the layers up. As the water drops push the pigment to the outer edge of the puddles, a wiggly outline forms when it dries. Where the color is pale the pattern from the envelopes shows through.

While these were drying I moved on to the packing paper/newsprint. Being so thin, the color had seeped through to the other side and I really like the effect of both side. So I tore it in two to use make 2 new pieces.

The heavy mixed media paper doubled as a drop sheet so has been gathering incidental art marks along the way. I trimmed the edges to make a backing to collage the flimsier paper onto.

Now I could have just glued it down, but the patterns from the crinkles so delighted me I wanted to take this a step further. To give it some texture underneath so I could recreate the same again with more color and water, I glued a tangle of string between the two papers.

Finally I went back to the painted paper, trimming it down to make two small pieces, then adding a new layer of the acrylic, this time blending with a palette knife and repeating the mark making with the comb.

I can see potential in all of these, but none are quite finished yet – join me next time to see the final details take shape 🙂

This is what the process looked like today


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Violet-Blue, Violet, Red-Violet & Red)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

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1 color: 3 beginnings

beginning a new color for the month — Orange-Red — with experimental layers. What to do when you don’t know what to do.

Where to begin?

How to begin?

What to begin?

“Start before you’re ready. Don’t prepare. Begin.”

– Steven Pressfield

Beginning before feeling ready seems easiest – in a contrary sort of way – when I’m unencumbered by ideas.

When the muse is nowhere to be seen and all I have is a heap of colors and paper, it’s like the pressure of ‘making something’ has been pushed away.

If nothing good emerges, so what. I’ve usually enjoyed the process, maybe learned something accidentally, maybe not.

And sometimes a seed of magic sprouts forth. Maybe not right away, maybe days or weeks or longer into the future. This happens enough of the time for me to trust it’s always possible.

So far in this year of color I’ve showed you a full start to finish process of some pieces in this collection. In reality though, I rarely make one piece at a time.

Mostly I cycle between few different pieces. I utilise the waiting to dry time, or the I’ve lost all direction moments, when a piece needs to be set aside and left a while. I shuffle my attention to the next piece.

Sometimes it’s a way to stretch and find divergence – I did/used one thing on this piece, now to try a different thing on this one.

Sometimes a common theme develops – like little splashes of water or paint – focussing on one, but spilling across to others (purposefully sometimes, not always). Or I’m so enjoying making – for instance – tiny squiggles that I add them here and there to different pieces until I get bored with that and feel called to make broad stripes, color washes, collage or whateverelse and around I go with that for a time.

If you have scattily erratic leanings like I do – I totally recommend this approach – especially if you like to work fast and furious!

“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”

– Arthur Ashe

Today – first steps into the realms of Orange-Red – was one such day: here’s what using just what’s on my desk looks like. One color, no particular ideas!

Ingredients:

Papers:

  • envelopes foraged from the recycling pile (love those geometric patterns printed inside)
  • packing paper – this is the thin stuff, a lot like newsprint
  • mixed media paper – heavy weight, great for thick paint layers.

Colors:

  • water soluble markers: letraset aqua marker & ecoline brush pens
  • craft acrylic paints

Techniques:

  • scribbling across overlapping papers – switching directions – random marks to fill white space with color.
  • water drips & splashes on water-soluble ink – move color around.
  • scrumpling up paper – lightly brushing color on to catch the texture.
  • acrylic craft paint directly onto mixed media paper – finger painting with non dominant hand- smudge, smear, mark making with a comb.

I gave myself 20 minutes or so to play and to see what early stage ideas would come up. Then to put all this away for a few days, and look at it with fresh eyes and develop the next layers [which you can see in my next post coming very soon!]

Here’s how today’s creating came together.


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Violet-Blue, Violet, Red-Violet & Red)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

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You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

shapes in reds (part 3)

familiar patterns, following lines, dots & dashes, boxes in boxes.

What are the patterns you always return to?

One of my favourite patterns is this stacking of squares.

I love the little bits of edge peaking out from underneath, fluffy torn edges contrasting sharp cut lines. I like them a little bit off-centre, edges lifting here and there.

Like the other techniques I’ve been showing you through this series, the beauty comes less from skill and more from repetition. I think that principle applies to more than just art making 😉

Sometimes these squares within squares are all my muse requires. Other times she demands extra!

dot … dot … dot …

All these straight lines are an invitation to tweaking into something new – dotted lines ……..

A hole punch can make two types of dots: the holes and the tiny circles that are cut out. Pen drawn dots and dashes tie these together as they can cross over the edges. Paint markers leave dots that sit slightly raised from the surface, ballpoints leave indentations as well as the ink, together these all make paths to lead the eye. The can look like little stitches (I really like mixing these little marks in with real stitches too)

Here’s how today’s creating came together.


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Violet-Blue, Violet & Red-Violet)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
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You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

shapes in reds (part two)

red painted papers, rolling & ravelling.

are you ready to roll?

If you saw yesterpost, you’ll know that the painted papers I made last week were intended for further adventures, I love making 3D elements in collage, so today I’m exploring this again, but in a different direction:

Instead of blocky raised shapes I’m making these rolled shapes.

I’m fascinated by spirals, and love to explore them in every way I can in my art. The spiral is a metaphor for just about everything in life, and it’s also a super simple motif that’s super easy to create.

The rolled up paper forms are a sort of spiral through their own layers (think of looking at it end on), and by rolling the paper on the diagonal it has the appearance of changing direction in the middle.

Add to this another layer by binding in thread (which also helps hold together the sometimes unruly paper) with the alternating directions of the white torn edges, the direction of the print, altogether make a multidimensional criss-crossing which is endlessly fun to minds like mine!

I think that variation is everything.

Varying the direction, the weight and thickness of the thread, the narrow band of color with a smidge of back and white contrast, echoed by the shadows in the in between spaces and highlights of the paint’s sheen.

If I did this again I think I’d explore the variations further – with thicker yarn – and with black and white as well as red threads.

Here’s the step by step of how I made today’s piece:


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Violet-Blue , Violet & Red-Violet)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
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You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

shapes in reds (part one)

red painted papers, recycling, reinventing.

What does RED mean to you?

Often associated with passion and energy, RED is attention grabbing: from the red stop lights and warning signs to advertising where it’s the color used to draw our attention to the big SALE signs.

Today I’m using three shades of red acrylic paint and some scrap paper from some of last month’s red-violet pieces that wound up in the recycling box.

Layers of acrylic paint spread thin have a transparency that allows patterns and print show through from underneath, the color is similar enough not to interfere.

These painted papers will be the basis of three different pieces in this month of red.

This time I’m making something a bit more dimensional than the usual layered shapes: Rectangles cut from mount board, wrapped with the painted pape build up a multi layered landscape of shapes.

Working in this small scale with one color, channels all the focus into the process, it’s a jumping off point for another project further down the line. I want to revisit this theme in a bigger format… but that’s for another time!

Meanwhile, if you’d like to follow the journey of how this piece came about:


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Violet-Blue , Violet & Red-Violet)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

color mixing in layers

red over violet, violet over red. repeat as required 😉

This month’s color is Violet-Red, the berry hues of maroon, magenta & cyclamen pink.

Today, the thing I really wanted to do was see how much variety there is in this narrow band of the color wheel. The pinky-purples to the coolest reds. Without stretching far in tonal value, how does one color show up against another?

Well, to begin each medium has a quality aside from the color. The paints I’m using today are craft acrylic that have a satin-almost-matt finish.

I’ve got a few markers, some water based and some permanent – some of these new and juicy with ink and some quite dry which make more feathery lines.

Crayons and colored pencils have a certain sheen that picks up in the light, sometimes with a little color shift from the waxiness.

Piling on layers of color, mixing the mediums between the layers, adds layers of character, a sort of aliveness, as the different marks overlap and interact together.

Nothing here is complex. Nothing requires years of practice, skill, or concentration. It’s just a belief that by keeping on going, something good will appear.

Every time I do this I hear the same conversation in my head:

“it’s just a mess”
— it’s not done yet.

“it’s going nowhere”
— keep going.

“I don’t know what I’m doing”
— none of us do, keep moving.

“It’s getting worse”
–keep moving.

“I hate this”
–you know that will change

Yes.
Yes, I do.

Today was no exception.

Truth be told, right up until I was looking at the final photos you’re seeing here, I was a little bit disappointed with the outcome.

So in case you hear a conversation like this start up in your head, know you aren’t alone. You can let that conversation run along in the background while you content yourself with the act of moving colors around, in whatever particular order takes your fancy.

Here’s how today’s creating came together.


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Violet-Blue & Violet)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

some more of the iceberg

In these strange days I’m leaning extra hard into my creative practices.

Most of what I share here in this blog is from my one color a month project, TWELVTY, but there’s a lot of other stuff bumbling away in the background.

I think of that other stuff being the other 9/10 of the creative iceberg.

illustration: one page at a time

In this month’s studio musings email I shared a new project I’m just embarking on.

It’s something really enormous, both literally, and I hope, figuratively too.

All of this is feeding into what comes next.

‘The sun wants to shine.’

I add these little thought snippets to my drawings.

Oftentimes words from whatever I’m listening to as I draw. Sometimes they have a meaning to me at the time, but sometimes the meaning arrives weeks or even years later.

Or the meaning gets lost and reappears later, morphed, updated to the current moment.

It’s a leap of faith – putting this out there into the internet, and saving these thoughts in my drawings. Faith that it will have some meaning to someone -a future version of me, or a present day version of someone reading this.

It’s like a lot of loose puzzle pieces to me right now.

I’m intrigued and entranced by the process of puzzling, through drawing and words.

To slow down the spiral enough to catch focus on what the elements of it are:

The repeating patterns, the sequence of feelings, the stories that play out over and over again.

I don’t have answers, but I do have observations, and new questions all the time.

If you’d like to join in me in this curious adventure, sign up to my newsletter and I’ll show you where I’m at right now. Let’s puzzle some of this out together, shall we?


Hi – I’m Mixy!

This is Mixy 🙂

I’m a mixed media & textile artist from London, UK.

I love to share what I’m making, and I hope it brings some inspiration to your creative time.

You can see what I’m making on this blog, and in these places too

Join Me!

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Irresistible Textures

Playing with color resist over texture: mixed media experiments with tissue paper, gloss medium, oil pastels & ink. Oh my!

I couldn’t sit down and draw these kind of organic squiggles, that look like the bark of a tree, like a dry riverbed, like the craggy contours of a rock. These intricate organic details take serendipity to shape in all the unexpected, uncontrolled ways that makes mixed media appear magic to me.

Like a lot of folk I’ve been getting parcels in the mail of stuff I’d ordinarily get from the shops until the upside down of 2020 changed everything. With every parcel I get a bunch of free art making materials, corrugated card & packing paper, bubble wrap & tissue paper. It all gets recycled in some fashion, most often becoming fodder for my studio hoards.

Tissue paper is especially fun, and today I wanted to use the texture of scrumpled tissue as a kind of resist, to explore new ways to enhance these universal patterns.

I used gloss gel medium to stick the paper down. Making sure to get a some places flatter and some places super wrinkly to test this idea out to its fullest. Little torn bits layer up and fill in the gaps and very flat parts.

The gloss gel, once dried, I figured would work as a resist against watercolor ink. But for an extra layer of resist I also used a couple of pinky-magenta oil pastels to skim across the ridges of the dried tissue before dripping on the ink.

I love these intensely pigmented inks by Dr PH Martin (in Magenta + Red-Violet) but I think you’d get the same effect with any drawing ink or watercolor paint (I must experiment more to find out – watch this space!)

I wet the surface with water before the ink and encourage it to find its way through the rivulets of texture with a loose floppy brush. I might have been a bit heavy handed in all the excitement here, but I dabbed up the too much and the patterns revealed themselves again.

I think this would look amazing with a bit of metallic something in the mix to give it some twinkle, so I might give that a try next!

This is the process, and how they all turned out!


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Violet-Blue & Violet)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
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You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

idea seeds

This month’s color is red-violet: all that’s magenta, maroon & wine coloured.


“There is a seed inside of every tree and a tree inside of every seed.”
 

 Matshona Dhliwayo

Much of the art I’ve shared with you in these single color posts have a common seed of an idea: a doodle.

Often times it’s in messy watercolor or ink splashes, I get excited by the dynamism of moving water and pigments, the witnessing of art making itself. This never gets old to me!

Today I was interested in painting 3 pieces from a common seed to explore the directions they could take.

(I could come back and add more – this is just how the process begins)

To keep the pieces similar to begin I dragged and splashed color across all three together.

(I used Quin Violet & Rose of Ultraviolet from Daniel Smith+ an unnamed red-violet from the Kuretake Gansai Tambi Japanese Watercolour set)

Extra Idea Seeds…

Here’s something I often do when I’m working small like this (these pieces are maybe 4 x 5 inches or so) – I use a blank page in a sketchbook or art journal as a drop sheet.

I can happily paint over the edges and let color spill around, when the paint is too watery and/or I’m too impatient to wait for it to fully dry, I can use the page underneath to blot the water, as well as to clean off my brush.

All this makes some beginning patterns for the first layer on that page into the bargain: More seeds for more ideas!

watercolor doodles

Once these had dried I moved on to the next step for today’s creating – a medium I didn’t use for a really long time – but was inspired to revisit: coloured pencils.

I recently picked up a couple of Derwent Procolour & Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils. Oh my days what a world apart these are from the ancient coloured pencils I’ve had kicking around since forever ago!

The pencil doodles were all about following the lines in the paint shapes, wiggling around the contours and the negative space in between, filling with spirals, squiggles and little circles.

Taking each piece in turn, my intention was to give each its own character, like siblings in a family, related but still unique.

This is the painting process, and how they all turned out!


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Violet-Blue & Violet)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
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You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

book pages & thread doodles

After yesterpost’s experiments with stitching paper, my thoughts moved on to other ways of making doodles with thread. I’ve found no better way to create perfectly organic scribbles than with loops of thread!

I’m using book pages for two reasons: first off I love the contrast of the printed text and the abstract splotches and whirls of color. Secondly, I’ve got a big stack of old books I’m recycling into art I was curious to compare how the different types of paper reacted to this process.

Some of the books are very old, the paper has become brittle and porous, their pages soak up water like a sponge. One old text book is printed on a slightly shiny paper (think magazine page sheen). This was by far my favourite from the way it reacted to watercolor paint, the pigment granulated wildly and created this fabulous crackled finish. It’s inspired me to play with magazine pages another time.

Like a map detailing the tributaries of a waterway, watercolor paint on printed paper.

The process was a simple one, my usual splashy wash of watercolor across all the pages, extra water, then using sewing cotton. I let the unravelled thread make a pattern in the wet paint. Then some extra paint and water for good measure – to make sure it’s all soaked through – and wait for it to dry.

Just for good measure, I gave the process a second round, this time with purple ink.

The patterns from the thread were the perfect cues for doodling.

This is the thread painting process


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue & Violet-Blue)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.