As is often the case with me, I’ve been dabbling with some new ideas and just recently it’s been ‘mixed-media’. I’ve been experimenting using different papers as both grounds and collage material with varied and interesting results. I’ve particularly enjoyed using pages of musical score and pages from old novels among other textured papers and fabrics along with texture pastes, gesso, and other grounds.

My 1st 3 attempts at mixed-media

My 1st 3 attempts at mixed-media

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a wonderful mini-workshop led by Fina Art,  http://creationsbyfina.co.uk  where she showed us how to create a mini collage on a 3″ ceramic tile which can be hung on a wall. The theme was ‘love’ for Valentine’s Day, but true to myself, my love theme included birds, feathers and nature. I even used pieces of wood instead of ceramic tiles.

Mixed Media Tiles based on the theme of Love by Mandi Baykaa-Murray

Mixed Media Tiles based on the theme of Love by Mandi Baykaa-Murray

Keen to explore the world of mixed-media, I was over the moon to discover that an artist who’s work caught my eye at the SAA art show in London last Summer was offering workshops…specifically “Owls in mixed-media” !!!!! This had my name all over it, so I signed up…and on Saturday, I set off to Dorset in my little red Beetle to find the studio of Alison C Board.

http://www.alisoncboard-fineart.co.uk

The first time I saw Alison’s work, I was drawn to it…the subject, the textures, the colours and the overall gorgeousness – I’d love to be able to produce art like that but had no idea of how to tackle it. Now was my chance to learn…

Alison welcomed me and 5 other ladies into her wonderful studio where we were settled in to begin the workshop. I can honestly say, I don’t think I’ve ever used such a huge variety of mediums to create a single painting! Having said that, Alison demonstrated each step in the process very clearly for us all to see and understand.

We were offered the choice between painting a Tawny owl or a Bald Eagle with reference photos Ali had taken during a recent visit to The Hawk Conservancy Trust (an incredible place to visit if you like birds of prey!)

So, here goes… step by step as well as I can remember, thanks to the photos I took along the way. I don’t think I photographed every stage, but you’ll get the idea.

Step 1: Place and glue pieces of collage material on watercolour paper – randomly. Allow to dry.

Step 2: Apply various texture pastes to paper/collage, e.g.. gesso, texture paste, watercolour ground. Allow to dry.

Step 3: Draw bird on to paper paying attention to composition. DRY THOROUGHLY before the next stages.

Collage materials in place and owl drawn in.

Collage materials in place and owl drawn in.

Step 4: Using a waterproof pen, strengthen drawing paying attention to eyes and any important details. Protect any areas you want to keep white with masking fluid. Now using water soluble pen, work into drawing giving definition to the bird and then lightly spritz with a water spray.

Water soluble pen added and spritzed with water spray.

Water soluble pen added and spritzed with water spray.

Step 5: Add textures to the bird using appropriate pastes/grounds as above. Allow to dry.

Step 6: Using watercolours, paint in the background, blending away to the corners to create a soft vignette effect.

Background added in watercolour, blended away to the corners.

Background added in watercolour, blended away to the corners.

Step 7: Chosing 2 colours (a light and a dark version) paint areas of the bird using the light colour as a wash, then drop in the dark colour to create shadows. While the paint is still wet, sprinkle on some Brusho Powder to add texture and allow to dry.

Paint colour on the owl

Paint colour on the owl

Step 8: If any areas of collage appear too strong and distract from your image, use some white gouache paint to soften the offending areas.

Knock back any overbearing areas with white gouache.

Knock back any overbearing areas with white gouache.

Step 9: Remove any masking fluid, tweak any details with pen/paint and ensure the bird has more contrast than the background.

Finished mixed media painting.

Finished mixed media painting.

TA DAH!!! Finished painting – why not give it a go?

Big thanks to Alison Board for a great workshop…Hope I can join you again some time soon 🙂