Mixed Media Semi-abstract Painting

October 9, 2017 by Diane Marcotte

There are times when I just want to create a painting without the detail that I usually include in my art.  Something fun and expressive.  Something outside my comfort zone. Something that is quick and requires little forethought. Something loose and colourful.  Do you share these thoughts sometimes?

Like many artists I have supplies that I seldom use and, horrors of horrors, often forget I even have them!  So recently I thought to myself… what can I use to make a different style painting?  Something totally different. It was actually fun to go through my stash of art supplies looking for anything that I might use in a mixed media painting.  Here’s a list of what I decided to use:

  • 12″ gallery-wrapped canvas
  • alcohol inks in five different reds plus a green
  • alcohol ink markers in shades of red & dark green
  • white Gesso
  • white soft pastel stick
  • red heavy-body acrylic paint
  • stencil of small round circles
  • leaf & branches stencil
  • Golden brand Molding Paste
  • Spray varnish (5 coats)

The first step was to prime the canvas by giving it two coats of Gesso. Then the fun began.  I dropped ink onto the canvas, using five different reds in total – Ranger’s “Red Pepper”, “Watermelon”, “Poppyfield” and “Cranberry” along with Pinata’s “Santa Fe Red”.

Five Red Alcohol Inks

Five Red Alcohol Inks

Drops of Red Alcohol Inks

Drops of Red Alcohol Inks

Then I used rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip to move the inks around a bit and cover any white areas.

Spread inks with alcohol

Spread inks with alcohol

I had in mind that I would try and identify any shapes that looked somewhat like a flower. Using a white pastel I drew an outline around each shape.  Change your mind?  Not a problem as the white pastel rubs right off.

Identify Flowers

Identify Flowers

I wanted the red flowers to stand out so I needed to remove colour from the background.  Using Q-tips saturated with rubbing alcohol I scrubbed out the areas around the flowers.  The inks were quite staining so I wasn’t able to remove a lot of colour with this method.

Removing some colour

Removing some colour

So I painted this background area with a layer of Gesso.  I found that Gesso was more opaque than the white acrylic paint I had on hand.  Not wanting the whole background to be a flat pink I further applied coats of Gesso in some areas. It is fun and exhilarating to do a painting like this where you haven’t thought through exactly what the end result will be.  It leaves you open to change your mind as you go along. Note that as this point I also decided to delete some of the flower shapes in the lower right.

Gesso over background

Gesso over background

More Gesso in certain areas

More Gesso in certain areas

Using a stencil with small circles and red heavy-body acrylic paint I applied the paint over the stencil using a palette knife. I felt the painting needed another colour.  So I applied white Molding Paste through a leaf and stem stencil which I would later paint green with alcohol ink.  This gave some texture to the painting as well.

Stenciling

Stenciling

Time for another change.  I didn’t like that lone leaf shape.  The Molding Paste takes a bit of time to dry… so off it came.

Removal of leaf shape

Removal of leaf shape

To tie in some green I sponged some green alcohol ink on to various areas using a piece of felt onto which I added drops of ink.

Hmm… some flowers were floating in space!  Time to add some branches.  For that I used a variety of alcohol-ink markers in dark red and dark green as the painting needed some deeper values.  Then I got a bit whimsical and added white Gesso centres to some of the flowers and drew a design in a red alcohol-ink marker.  The canvas edges were painted with white Gesso and the whole thing protected with five coats of gloss spray varnish.

Finished Painting

Finished Painting

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Demonstrations

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