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Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Spring Blows In - a mixed media painting tutorial

Spring Blows In
Cyndi Lavin, 2017
Sometimes (often), the thing you plan is not what ends up happening.  My plan was to try the swipe technique with acrylics mixed with silicone, so that I would end up with beautiful colored cells popping up through white paint.  The swipe turned out to be a complete failure.  I don't know why...others had worked wonderfully, some with even the very same colors.  But the trick is not to let a failure stop you from moving forward!



I poured acrylic paints that had been prepared with pouring medium and silicone oil.  Now that I look at this shot again, I think part of the problem may have been that the paint was just not poured thickly enough.


I swiped in an arch with white paint, but the few cells that formed were ragged.  So I continued swiping until the paint was smeared together and covering the whole piece.  I adjusted the colors and sprayed it with a bit more silicone to allow the colors to slide around a bit.



Just before the piece was fully dry, I misted it with alcohol and dripped black ink from the top.  The ink skittered because of the alcohol and silicone.  Turned upside down, I had some more of my beloved trees, looking like they were partially obscured by the arching colors.

Spring Blows In 2

Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wisteria - a mixed media painting tutorial

Wisteria
Cyndi Lavin, 2017


I don't have any step-out photos to show for this piece, but it is so easy, you really don't need any!  It's just a simple, joyful piece that you can make anytime you're between projects and want something fun to fill an hour or two.

1. Use polymer medium to apply wrinkled white tissue paper to a piece of watercolor paper.

2. Sponge on a background color if you like.

3. Lightly mist the paper and use a razor blade to add black ink lines from the top.  Let it dry and spray with fixative before proceeding.

4. Use your gloved fingers to make the blossoms, starting with the largest and moving to the smallest.  Add a bit of white to the larger blossoms to give some shading.

Here are the colors I used:
Hansa yellow light (background)
Phthalo blue, Dioxazine purple, Quinacricone magenta, and Titanium white - all mixed in various combinations

Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Book review: Art Journey - Abstract Painting



North Light Books has a beautiful new volume out that was edited by Jamie Markle.  It's huge, and has the initial appearance of a coffee table book, but I couldn't possibly bring myself to call it that after I started reading and gazing my way through it.  Art Journey - Abstract Painting asks the featured artists to answer many probing questions that all of us probably have: what is the essence of abstract painting?  How much planning do you do?  What is your inspiration?  Let's look at how their answers broke down!

When asked about the essence of abstract painting, some artists explained that their work is totally non-representational.  Some spoke of emotions, experiences, and their own inner world.  Others focused on the elements of design like color, space, line, and texture.  But a large group of artists spoke more about "abstracted reality," with objects seen in a different way, fantasy "landscapes" or "still lifes," unrecognizable (or semi-recognizable) macro views.  These artists are inspired by everything from man-made objects to the natural world, but prefer not to be constrained by realistic representation.  



The answers to the question about planning were quite varied also.  "None at all" was not uncommon from the artists who like to work intuitively.  Others begin with an intuitive start and then work towards balance and unity in their piece.  Some others work out a basic composition and/or color palette, perhaps using an underpainting.  But some prefer to completely plan and work out their ideas with color studies, value studies, compositional sketches, etc.  The take home?  Don't think that you can't be an abstract artist just because you like to plan!

The media used in the artwork in this book included more pastels than I was expecting.  Pastel can be considered a drawing or a painting medium, and it was just a bit curious to me how many painters have adopted (at least in part) pastels.  Acrylic, watercolor, oils, ink, colored pencils, and ephemera appeared regularly.  
As for inspiration, that was a wonderful thing to read about!  There were works about everything from the "view out my kitchen window" to the perspective of an airline pilot!  The subject matter ranged from totally interior or geometry to exterior things like nature or the urban landscape.  This is a beautiful and very inspiring book!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Moon Dance - a mixed media painting tutorial

Moon Dance
Cyndi Lavin, 2017
I was still stuck on the same sort of somber palette when I went to paint Moon Dance, but I did want to make sure that it had enough variety in value since all the colors turned out very low key.  Here's how I checked that:


Isn't Photoshop a wonderful tool???

Moon Dance started out as a double gesso background (black gesso, followed by dilute white gesso, and heated under a layer of plastic wrap).  On top of that, I added a Hansa yellow stripe.  


I pulled some grayed acrylic paints top and bottom using a slightly darker mix of gray gesso.  


No matter what I tried, I just couldn't get excited about it, until it finally occurred to me to flip it.  To this, I added some black ink razor lines and some white ink lines, drying in between so that not everything would be gray!  


Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Valley of the Shadow - a mixed media painting tutorial

Valley of the Shadow
Cyndi Lavin, 2017

I painted Valley of the Shadow a few weeks ago, before the weather turned a bit nicer here in New England.  It's not that my mood was exactly down... :-)



Anyway, I used white gesso tinted with Ultramarine blue and a drop of black gesso to pull streaks of Dioxazine purple and Ultramarine blue in two distinct sections.  I added razor lines of black ink and adjusted the colors as needed.

I used a foam brush on the sky with white gesso, Cerulean blue, and a few drops of Interference blue.  I used a very scraggly stiff brush to add white gesso and white ink along the "peaks".  
Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.
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