Thursday, July 27, 2006


I have been thinking of writing a series of comments or short articles about where new artists, aka mixed media artists, get their inspiration from. I was hoping to write these for Susan Reynold's bog, "The Museum of Modern Paper." Susan has been under the weather as of late and busy with her business, so I decided to put these ponderings here.

New mixed media artists, who are they, and why do they call themselves that? Well I can only speak for myself on this one. I rediscovered my artistic muse back in 1998 in the world of Rubber Stamps. I suppose many of you can relate when I say you need a 12 step program to recover from the buying frenzies! I am a recovering Stampahowlic, with an art studio overflowing with stuff. Every gadget, ink, paper, tool, book, media, bead, fiber, clay, that was ever invented resides on my shelves, counter tops, tables, and the floors in my studio. When I discovered that stamping was somewhat limiting for my artistic juices I moved on, purchasing a variety of acrylics, brushes, and subtrates in order to branch out into collage and, you got it, mixed media. With so much stuff, well I had / have to use it or wind up in divorce court. And so you have...the birth of another mixed media artist. And now that I have arrived, more or less, where do I get that inspiration from?

I'd like to say that I am loaded with ideas but sadly that statement only goes so far.... I use several ways to develop ideas. The first and perhaps most straight forward is the "How to" books and instructional DVD's. I have some wonderful books by wonderful artists. They are well written with a lot of pictures. The instructional DVD's are one step above the books and are almost like taking a real workshop. Sadly, I am more of a hands on artist so I would much prefer taking a workshop with a real artist, meaning an alive person, one I can interact with! This is of course the most expensive route. Anyway, I always come away inspired from quality instruction. I have written about several workshops that I have taken in this blog. I hope to be able to continue in this vain! Each time I take a workshop I try to learn a new "technique." That can be literally a new technique or some small hint or shortcut that the artist likes to use. I zero in on that in the workshop, practice it, and then go home and practice it some more. This in itself leads to ideas because I want to use the new technique which translates into doing more art.

Another way to "get ideas" is to study an individual work by some famous artist that you admire. Strangely enough, I did this when I was much younger. I would spend hours looking at Andrew Wyeth's work and then try to copy one of his paintings. Needless to say, I never mastered watercolor. But it was Jonathan Talbot who reaffirmed this way of developing a work and gave me "permission" to have at it. That is precisely what I did with Missing.

This work is pure collage, using Talbot's methods. I incorporated bits and pieces of papers that we as a society normally just throw away. Nothing was purchased for the work. The vintage photo was obtained in a swap. So many collage greats from the 20th century used items from the world around them. Not that I could ever be in that league, but it sure is fun trying!

I think I will try to explain my thought process and analysis in another article and for another piece. It might be fun to show the actual work that I dissected and then my attempt. Hmmm this could be very addicting indeed.



Kari said...

This is very thought-provoking, I shall enjoy reading your posts on the subject.

There is something that we all do that is common amongst us - and that is to collect, collect and collect. I think it is because we see the beauty in even the most humble of scraps of paper/rusty washer/faded photograph.

(I need to live to 100 in order to use up all the wonders I have amassed since this journey began, LOL!)

Kathy L said...


Being a mixed media artist definately carries some risk, although some of us, such as myself, past that point of no return long before we called ourselves mixed media artists (LOL)! I always appreciate your comments!


primdollie said...

This is great and wonderful idea!! will have to come back to see what you come up with and like how you go about the creative process!! and oh yes we sure can collect and then when you want what you think to be the perfect piece it's not there among the million and one pieces of ephemera we have!!!! that drives me wild! (or think it's there and what not and then can't find it!!!!)

Kathy L said...


AINT that the truth! I really need to organize but it takes so much time away from the creative process!


primdollie said...

Very nicely written and love the collage you created!! and oh lordie lets not talk about supplies!! you have seen only a little on the surface of my room that I posted on my blog!! trust me when they say she who dies with the most wins!! well I be winning!!!! (and no don't plan on dying till I get to use it all so I plan to be around for a long time I hope!!!) thanks can't wait to hear more on this!!!

primdollie said...

well now that have posted twice!! oh duh!! I best wait to see your new post now and not post twice again!! hehehe!! can tell I haven't had my share of much needed coffee today!!