I believe as artists we are constantly pressuring ourselves to “define our style”, or at least I feel like I do. :) I’ve recently come the the realization that many mixed media artists are a mash up of many different styles, the sum of all of the artists that we’ve admired that came before us. We take what we learn from those whose work we admire and attempt to put our own spin on it. Or we create using various techniques from different teachers gleaned from all of those online and onsite classes we have taken. I am boldly claiming that I am such an artist.
Although I still don’t feel like someone could automatically pick out my work, I feel like I could be taking steps to get there. I had the thought a while back that it would be fun to embark on a serious “Study the Masters” type experiment. This morning I realized that I’ve actually been doing this for several years, through tons of time spent taking online classes, in-person classes, YouTube video tutorials, and one big retreat earlier this year. I have learned so much, from a variety of Masters–all of whom are so talented and willing to share their knowledge. So let’s take a little tour, shall we? :)
MY MIXED MEDIA JOURNEY–FROM SCRAPBOOKER TO MIXED MEDIA ARTIST
I was first introduced to mixed media with Christy Tomlinson’s She Art workshop. As primarily a scrapbooker, I never knew anything such as mixed media existed. What a revelation!! I quickly lost interest in memory keeping (and tried to lose the guilty feelings for not documenting every moment of my 5 kids’ lives!) and jumped right into mixed media. Just after I started to burn out on making She Art girls, Christy released the She Had Three Hearts Art Journal course and I was hooked on art journaling. This has actually been the longest lasting obsession because I can combine so many art forms in one place. Anyway, here is a prime example of what I was creating at that time in my life:
Since I was a She Art groupie, I learned about LifeBook, hosted by the groovy Tamara Laporte! This chapter in my life was so rewarding. With LifeBook you get a ton of lessons for an entire year from a wide variety of teachers. I can honestly say I learned a lot in this class. Some of my favorite “Masters” in this class were Tam herself, Dion Dior, Dina Wakely, Shiloh Sofia McCloud, Mindy Lacefield, and several others. Here is a sample of some of my efforts from their lessons:
I’ve taken an in-person class from Donna Downey, as well as a few of her online courses. Her Metamorphis class has hands down been one of my favorites. It goes well beyond just putting paint on a canvas. I got to explore an entirely different way to actually create a substrate using materials I never would have thought of myself.
In California I got to learn from Marah Johnson and Cheryl Mezetti, both are super fun and creative! I learned how to use plaster from Cheryl, as well as beginning encaustic. Something which I’ve always wanted to try out. She made it so easy! The result were two beautiful journals. Some of my favorite places to create art on a small scale.
Then I had an itch to learn how to alter my art digitally, which led me to Traci Bautista’s Digital Canvas eCourse. I learned a lot about how to use apps in conjunction with my handmade art. Blending the two has been very rewarding, and even led to a feature in Art Journaling magazine earlier this year.
As mentioned in my last post I once again got to learn from Christy Tomlinson, but as a big super special bonus I got to have two days with Jane Davenport, who is now officially my woman crush :) She is the coolest, nicest, person and a fantastic teacher. I went to the retreat for two reasons: 1. To meet Christy 2. To learn how to draw a face. Both goals were accomplished and I came home way more confident and willing to try something new. Here is some of my work from that experience:
There have been more courses along the way of course, Andrea Gomoll’s FACEnating Girls course, Alisa Burke’s Watercolor Bliss, and more classes from some of the previously mentioned artists. I’ve learned a lot from Finnabair’s YouTube channel as well:
I also have inspired by Cat Kerr’s mixed media assemblage pieces:
And a few mash up projects of my own that are some of my favorites, you will be seeing more on the blue painting soon, it was a special project :):
So just to sum things up, I think it’s important that we keep learning–keep trying new things. Eventually all that you learn will culminate in finding your own artistic voice. I always tell people I have art ADD. I bounce around between painting, sewing, assemblage, digital art, watercoloring, sketching…nothing is off limits. And you know, I’m okay with that :)
Have a wonderful weekend!