Mixed-Media Memories and Mementos

A guest post by Nancy Anderson Nancy-Anderson-10Mementos, Memories, & Meaning in Mixed Media What I love most about mixed media is its flexibility, which allows one to work intuitively with minimal preplanning. When I’m not overly concerned about technique I am able to paint more enthusiastically. Many people have asked me how I create my mixed media paintings, so here is a guest post about the painting, “A Lifetime,” which represents the life of my great grandmother, Katherine Brown Beckerleg. It was completed after I had collected digitally archived family photos and letters, pondered everything I found and felt like I had gotten to know her. Before beginning this type of mixed-media painting, decide on a subject matter that has special meaning to you. Next, look for images and ephemera that relate to the subject. Scan the photos and ephemera into your computer. (I rarely use originals in case I have to cover them up with paint or reposition them.) I like to arrange the scanned imagery in a Microsoft Publisher document in various sizes and coloration. Print out what you wish to use on regular copy paper, which will then be cut up. I create my mixed media painting on 140 lb. stretched watercolor paper. Materials list: acrylic paints collaging papers: various photocopies of photos and ephemera such as maps, letters, stamps, receipts, and so on (I make sure that any images taken off the Internet are in the public domain.) gouache India ink watercolor watercolor paper (I use 140 lb. prestretched) white glue   Process for "A Lifetime"
First I drew the main figure of my great grandmother onto my watercolor paper and then played around with the positioning of my various pictures. I painted the main figure with a layer of transparent watercolor.

First I drew the main figure of my great grandmother onto my watercolor paper and then played around with the positioning of my various pictures. I painted the main figure with a layer of transparent watercolor.

I cut some of the figures out of the photos to make a more interesting arrangement. This was about the extent of my planning. From here on out it was just a matter of trial and error to get something near to my original idea, which was to surround my great grandmother with photos and ephemera to suggest her memories at the end of her life.

I cut some of the figures out of the photos to make a more interesting arrangement. This was about the extent of my planning. From here on out it was just a matter of trial and error to get something near to my original idea, which was to surround my great grandmother with photos and ephemera to suggest her memories at the end of her life.

I did a transfer of old wallpaper images by gluing them onto the paper facedown. When the glue was dry, I wet then scratched off the paper until just the image was left. Some of the image came off in the scratching, but that was okay as I wanted a weathered, peeled look.

I did a transfer of old wallpaper images by gluing them onto the paper facedown. When the glue was dry, I wet then scratched off the paper until just the image was left. Some of the image came off in the scratching, but that was okay as I wanted a weathered, peeled look.

I painted the background with raw sienna watercolor and then added red, yellow, and blue gouache to add some color.

I painted the background with raw sienna watercolor and then added red, yellow, and blue gouache to add some color.

I toned down the gouache colors with watered down white gouache.

I toned down the gouache colors with watered down white gouache.

I glued my images onto the watercolor paper with watered-down white glue brushing a little both under and over the image.

I glued my images onto the watercolor paper with watered-down white glue brushing a little both under and over the image.

I painted the main figure with gouache in strong tones, knowing that I would be putting more layers of gouache over it.

I painted the main figure with gouache in strong tones, knowing that I would be putting more layers of gouache over it.

I painted the stairway with transparent watercolor and added more gouache to the main figure.

I painted the stairway with transparent watercolor and added more gouache to the main figure.

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I worked on the stairway to give it more definition and then toned down the images with watered-down white gouache that had a little raw sienna added to it.

I worked on the stairway to give it more definition and then toned down the images with watered-down white gouache that had a little raw sienna added to it.

I added some tissue paper with blue hearts on it and then toned that down with white gouache. I finished up the figure of my great grandmother.

I added some tissue paper with blue hearts on it and then toned that down with white gouache. I finished up the figure of my great grandmother.

    Advice to readers: If you paint something that has meaning to you and you paint it just to please yourself, others will recognize the passion that you’ve put into the painting and cannot help but respond to it. This will help lead you on a journey to finding your artistic voice and style.   Nancy Anderson is a full-time artist in Southern California who works in a variety of media. Her mixed-media paintings have won several top awards in art competitions. Her work “A Lifetime” was published in the 2015 North Light art book Incite 3 The Art of Storytelling and she has had three pieces selected for inclusion in the 2016 edition, Incite 4 Relax /Restore /Renew. Nancy has taught art both to elementary school students and to teachers. She currently offers art workshops at her home studio and will be offering a workshop on mixed media for the Huntington Beach Art League, April 2016. nancyandersonart.com E-mail: nta55@roadrunner.com   T5831_160px_72dpi T5459_160px_72dpi  

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