Sounds a bit messy and indecisive, doesn't it? But I'm a Libra and apparently indecisiveness is a universal trait of lovely fair-minded, beauty-loving Libras everywhere, so I come by it naturally. You may have noticed that a good portion of the images on my website are labeled “mixed media”. Logic dictates that if I use pretty much every art supply on my table then I will save a lot of time not waffling over which medium to use and won't end up second-guessing myself on whether I picked the best one for the job. Would it, could it have been better if I'd used watercolour rather than acrylic? Would pastel give me better “atmosphere” than ink? Would I have been able to take it to that next level with Photoshop but chose coloured pencil instead? Use them all! Win-win! It's also a lot of fun to combine and build and experiment! It feeds the mad scientist in me without inadvertently blowing up the house.
For many years I worked mostly in graphite, acrylic ink, and coloured pencil … usually separately, not in combination. Then I discovered Photoshop and fell instantly and madly in love! Actually that's not entirely accurate. It was more like I found Photoshop and fell instantly and madly into frustration and after an initial period of scraping my brain matter off the computer monitor, I gave up and put it away for months. When friends asked me to do a poster for their upcoming show - which required not just an image but some nice font as well - I knew it was time to steel myself and face the monster again . But that cracked open the door and somehow I accidentally did something in a way that worked and the puzzle pieces started to connect. Photoshop is a great lumbering pig of a program that can dance like a ballerina for you once you get the hang of it and offer it undying love, but having the patience for that when you're fumbling away on your own, requires a lot of dedication. I had just enough success with my poster project to up my dedication game and about a hundred Photoshop books later, I actually knew what I was doing and could paint with it the same as if I was using brush, paper and ink. And since coloured pixels don't spill or stain, there was the added bonus of the carpet and walls staying clean!
So enamoured was I of my newfound love, I devoted myself exclusively to painting in Photoshop for over a decade. But then one cold, drizzly, winter afternoon, my messy, wet, gooey, tactile art supplies began a siren call from their dusty home in the studio closet. I brought them back out into the light; blinked owlishly at them for a bit as I fondled their long-ignored glass jars and smooth wooden casings; and began the process of getting reacquainted. I gave them some new friends: alcohol inks, watercolours, acrylics, pastels and metal leaf. Not all of these materials play particularly well together but because digital had become so second nature to me, I decided to scan my new traditional experiments into Photoshop and start layering them over each other and then painting over top, creating all sorts of new combinations. This has now become my preferred way of working. And because I'm also a total printing nerd and own a 50lb professional wide-format printer (my baby, known affectionately as“the Beast”), I could instantly make archival prints of my creations. Yes, I CAN have my cake and eat it too!
But that's not the end of the story! Apparently I have a roving eye. I've recently found a new love! It swept me off my feet with its extraordinary good looks and fun disposition and it plays so nicely with all the others! In the next installment I'll give you the juicy details about my starry-eyed infatuation with ArtResin!
There's always more cake to be had!