8x10 inches, mixed media
One of my personal goals is to find a way to create art that is unique to me, or at least it doesn't look like a reflection of the most recent painting workshop I attended. In 2008 I had a solo show at the local library, and while the comments in the book provided by the library was positive, I had the uneasy feeling that my painting said more about the influence of my various workshop instructors than it did about the way I approach making art. That show, based on the variety of approaches, media, framing, sizes, everything, looked like it had been created by a committee instead of one person. Live and learn.
I still resist settling into a single medium or approach, but little by little I see myself gravitating toward either straight collage, or a combination of collage with painting and drawing. This little piece started out as a recycled quarter sheet of Tyvek. I didn't like the portrait I had created on a full sheet of the synthetic "paper", so I cut up the sheet and decided to see how else I could it. I glued down pages from an old telephone directory using soft acrylic gel medium, then went over the results with a mixture of gesso and acrylic paint, to unify the page. I like using the gesso/paint combination because it has some tooth, and I can draw and erase on it easily. The image of the woman came from a photo I took of a garden statue. I liked the simple shape, and the strong areas of sunlight and shadow, perfect for this technique. I used white gesso for the highlighted areas, then added black acrylic ink to the white create grays. Gradually I transitioned to all diluted ink. The results were OK, but improved when I went over the dark areas with a warm gray colored pencil, and the white areas with a white pencil. I wasn't thrilled with the somewhat neutral background, so I went over part of that with a marigold colored pencil, and then buffed the background to smooth out and brighten the color.
I'd like to try this technique on figures done in a figure drawing studio - but of course I need to start hauling myself back to that on upcoming Monday evenings. The days are getting a little longer, so that will probably start happening soon.