Friday, February 5, 2016

How to create a mixed media painting

I attended the Artists of Northwest Arkansas monthly meeting in January,  and had the privilege of watching Karen Ahuja demonstrate her abstract mixed media process. She uses a wet on wet technique with fluid acrylics. I was really inspired by her paintings and couldn't wait to give her technique a try. 

I started out by wetting my canvas and applied Golden fluid acrylics onto the canvas, letting the colors mix and drip-it's very messy! I let the first layer dry, and then added another. This is what I ended up with.

Well, of course, I saw flowers here and loved the color scheme. I used a water soluble graphite pencil to sketch in a rough design.

Then I defaulted into my own techniques, and had to add some papers. I have some great vintage hymnal and responsive reading papers I found online that I'm loving using right now for my under layers of my paintings.

I used paint mixed with a soft gel gloss medium for the background so it would be semi transparent but thick. I wanted the papers to peek through, and also I love scratching designs and words into the paint.

Here I added a few more drips and the flower stems. Also started filling in the flower shapes with a heavy body paint mixed with soft gel to give a heavy impasto look to the flowers. I really like the look here, but as you will see I messed it up in the next step :/

I attempted to make the vase transparent, but that look wasn't working for me. I also added in a table here. My paintings never turn out how I invision them in my head, but I try to go with it and enjoy the process.

As you can see, I ended up painting the vase white and added some stencil shapes with gold paint mixed with a heavy matte medium.

Lastly, I gave it my usual distressed look by using a palette knife and some raw umber paint. 

So my painting looks nothing at all like Karen's style, and most of the underpainting is covered, but I still had so much fun experimenting a new technique, and loved the way it turned out. I'm will definitely give it a try again and do a few things differently the next time.

Look for this painting at the Junior Civic League The Big Party silent auction.

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