howdidyoudothat

How did you do that? Mixed Media works explained

This post explains the method I use for creating the mixed media works.

I take a lot of pictures. I take photos with my phone when I am walking or driving, and I see something that I know intuitively will work well as a painting.

When I start a painting, I go through all of my photos and choose one. I edit and crop the picture on my computer so it will fit on the canvas the way I want it to. I do this process for all of my works, not only for the mixed media works. I like tweaking photos to maximize the effect that I want the painting to have. Here is an example of a painting I did where I spent a lot time finding the "perfect" edit. I wanted the figure to be slightly off center so the folds in her robe would be emphasized. I like having figures slightly cropped so their bodies are pushing off the edge of the canvas, thus not revealing all of the figure. I think this creates a little bit of tension and therefore makes for better composition.

Once I have the perfect photo, I do a line drawing of it on an 11x14" sheet of acetate, which is the same thing as a clear transparency. I use the Sakura Pigma Micron pens in sizes 1 and 3.

When viewed as a photograph on the web, most people ask me if the work is a watercolor. These paintings are difficult to photograph because of the glass like reflection the acetate creates. Here you can see three different photos of the same painting photographed under different light as to minimize the reflection.

It is a long process because of the many steps involved. It usually takes around 3 hours for me to do the drawing, sometimes longer, and then about 10-20 additional hours for the painting; this in addition to taking the photo and spending anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours editing the photo. Sometimes I obsess over a tiny area and spend a lot of time trying to get the color and movement of the paint perfect on both the acetate and the paper. My goal is for the work to look effortless, but this is created by intense scrutiny and constantly reworking the paint. I recently did a painting of Chicago only to find that the painting on paper did not look right. It looked okay, but the "feeling" that I wanted the painting to have was not there. I could not figure out how to make it look better, so I redid the entire painting on paper.