Mixed media painting can mean different things to different people. To me, multimedia painting is a process that is based on a curious approach. "Unleash Your Heart Songs" was inspired by my Pug, Lola, and some of my favorite colors. Here's an inside look at the process of creating a mixed media painting:
1) The first photograph of the painting shows a quick laying down of the vibrant paint followed by a resist technique (taking some of the paint back off). I used a freeform application of paint with my hands followed by a spritz of water, blast of heat and a blotting of the entire surface.
2) The second photograph shows an application of papers: sheet music, yoga stick figure notes (I'm a yoga teacher:) and craft papers. The application of the papers is accomplished with a product much like the retro Mod Podge glue used in decoupage. This painting is now in the "what have I done" phase. Ugh.
3) So I press on! Layers of acrylic paint applied with fingers as well as some household items such as my trusty bubble wrap, drawer liner, a fork, the top of an old lamp, wine cork, and the lid of a Yankee candle-why I kept the lid of a used up candle, I don't know! The painting has gone from regret (of covering the initial deep purples) to regret AND chaos! "Move through the ugly" I tell myself.
4) For inspiration, I dig through a box of old sketches, papers, cards and choose a sketch to represent my subject, Lola! The sketch showcasing her Pug-attitude is carefully placed as I circle back to the acrylic paint texturing techniques - more dots and circles of paint applied along with smudges and drips of paint and ink. I'm feeling hopeful.
5) Now, it's time for words...but what words? ...and where are they going to go? I decide on more sheet music applied in the shape of a heart. I'm thinking...Dog, hearts, music..."Unleash Your Heart Songs!" I blurt out loudly... to no one. I give the painting a little more character with paint and gel pens, step back and call it DONE.
What has happened to those layers you saw at the outset? Some were covered up, or mostly covered and some are still evident in the composition of the finished painting. What I do know for sure is that they're all still there. Can you still see my yoga stick figures barely peeking out? ... the craft papers?... the vibrant colors from that initial layer of paint? What I've learned with this process is that there are no mistakes, no waste of time, energy or resources-it's all captured in the history of the painting.
Art can easily be all about the finished product, but the "Heart Songs" are unleashed in the process...the journey. This was an insight revealed by other paintings I've done, such as one appropriately entitled, "Embrace the Journey." Next time you look at a piece of art, consider its journey, its history...its "Heart Songs."
Linda Dias-the mindful painter
I've been doing quite a bit of painting this winter! Now that it's spring I'm ready to share my work with you. The painting you see here was completed for a special project happening soon. My colleague, Michele Sheridan, and I are very excited to launch our first May I Be Me Yoga series-providing accessible yoga to individuals with special needs. It begins May 2nd in the Upper Cape area and will follow with a Lower Cape series this summer!
So what does that have to do with painting? Well, the painting you see here was inspired by our vision for May I Be Me Yoga. The name, May I Be Me, is the last line of a Metta or Kindness meditation. It goes like this: "May I Be Happy, May I Be Free, May I Be at Peace, May I Be ME". As an artist, I continually strive to "be ME." As yoga teachers, we wanted our students to be able to do the same-be themselves in their practice. We decided to use this painting to create art note cards- putting the proceeds toward keeping class tuition reasonable. In addition to keeping class cost down, we understood the importance of keeping the class attendance numbers low in order to better meet individual needs.
Getting back to painting...this painting. The technique I used involved layers of stamping, dripping, spraying, stenciling, decoupage and just plain using my hands!! Take a closer look- see a Lilly? This flower was part of an art card my husband made from one of his paintings-and it took a little trip! He gave a box of his cards to a friend, who used one as a birthday card for ME years ago... I dug it out and imbedded the image into this painting. Mixed media painting allows the artist to use what’s at hand-stashes of cards, ribbons, pictures, scraps of wrapping paper - you name it! Mixed media texturing techniques use common household items such as bubble wrap, drawer liner...even Yankee Candle lids!! Did I mention that I used my hands rather than a brush? Whaaaat?? So take another look - look at the colors…texture…winged creatures…drippy tree branches and bubbly circles of different hues.
Interested in learning more about multimedia art? Or maybe you’re curious and want to give it a try? I'll be offering a mixed media class right here on Cape Cod in May. The location, dates and time are just about firmed up. As soon as I know, I’ll post the information on my website. If you stay tuned, I'll be posting paintings "in process" so you can see the evolution and finished product. Until then, give the Kindness meditation a whirl: "May I be happy, May I be free, May I be at Peace, May I Be ME!
the mindful painter:)