Branching Out

My experience with mixed media in the past has been limited to line and wash applications, such as the Turkish Tram I shared recently. 

Oh, there was one crazy abstract I did a couple years ago which included pieces of fabric among other things, but it was not a very successful project. 

Now that I’m putting together an art journal, I’m learning more about combining various media in a single project, and today’s art journal page represents that in a very visual way. I call this page “Branching Out” because I’ve used all of the following:

  • Graphite
  • Pastel
  • Charcoal
  • Watercolor
  • Colored Pencil
  • Collage

Here’s the completed page, still shown in my sketchbook on the scanner bed. I was going to crop the image, but I actually liked it just the way it was. The scanner background forms a frame, and it made me smile, so I kept it.

Branching Out 08-21-2020

The August theme is recycle and when I opened this ruined sketchbook — the same one that has my lovely tomato plant — this page had white blobs of paint on it. Great!

I began rooting around through a stack of papers near my drawing table, and I came up with the “striped” paper — not really striped paper at all, but the result of trying to print something when the printer was desperately low on ink.

Next I rummaged around inside my watercolor box and found a sheet where I’d been practicing watercolor washes. Perfect!

I cut, tore, and taped the pieces down. I would have used glue — and tomorrow I will have some — but once again it was “make do with what you have”, and I had tape.

What could I draw? I didn’t have to think too long to come up with an answer. This page is about me and my art, and I’m celebrating myself now as a landscape artist. I’ve come to more fully understand why I love landscape art and what painting means to me. So, something simple — very simple — that would represent nature. Of course I chose a tree, and with a graphite pencil, I began to draw.

As I drew, the concept of branching out developed in my mind. That really is what I’m doing with mixed media. I’m reaching out, moving in different directions, and through it all, I’m growing.

I knew I wanted to use several different media, so I began with colored pencils. I added charcoal where the drawing moved onto the “striped” paper. Where the branches extended beyond the paper, I used pastel. I used pastel, too, to create little “leaf circles”, just because they were fun to make.

I’m pleased with the page. For me, it represents many things, and while the thoughts and feelings and the memories aren’t clearly spelled out, they don’t need to be. The tree itself and the idea of “branching out” is more than enough for me, and this art journal is a personal experience.

I could have done more. Maybe I should have added words or a quote. Maybe next time, I’ll do that. I’m learning day by day, and I’m having fun scrounging around for bits and pieces and little things I can recycle to use as part of my art.

I’m glad I’m doing this journal, and I’m happy that I can share the experience with others.

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