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Mixed Media Painting

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Mixed Media

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Mixed Media Painting uses many types of painting and combines them in a single work. To get the benefits of all combined media we must organize our process to conform to the nature of each media.

Archival Quality

Acrylic painting techniques

Preventing acrylic paint from drying out
Acrylics are often preferred because they dry faster on canvas than oil paints due to their polymer base. This also affects the time acrylics stay moist. A trick to keep paints from drying out is to spray a light mist of water over them occasionally. Moisture-retaining palettes also increase acrylic paint drying time, and can be substituted with a shallow container, a sheet of grease proof paper, and piece of wet watercolor paper.

Creating fluid paints
Fluid paints can be used like watercolors, or for glazing and washes. To create a more fluid texture, water is added to the paint. The ratio of paint to water depends on how thick the glaze is expected to be. An opaque glaze or paint consists of more paint than water, and will give a more solid color. A translucent glaze or paint will be the opposite, consisting of slightly more water than the opaque version, and will have a smoother texture. Translucent glazes show more of the colors underneath the paint compared to opaque glazes. Paint should be watered no more than 50 percent or the paint will not stick to the canvas. After mixing the paints, allow time for the air bubbles to rise to the surface.

Painting glazes
Acrylic paint glazes are often used to create more depth in an image. These types of paints are light enough when brushed onto canvas to show the layers underneath. This technique is commonly used to create more realistic images. Light colored glazes also have softening effects when painted over dark or bright images. Artists can mix glazes themselves, or can buy pre-mixed acrylic glazes. It is best to wait for each layer to dry thoroughly before apply another coat. This will prevent the paint from smearing or leaving unwanted smudge marks. After the application of several layers, rubbing alcohol can be brushed or sprayed on to reveal colors from earlier layers.

      Painting Into The Print

First Manhattan Portrait 1958

My process of "Painting Into The Print" got a very early start. When working on the first "Manhattan Portraits" 1958, I used several Linoleum prints as a start. I painted into the print extensively and then used part of the matrix, (by only inking a few spots) to echo the shapes. Later when studying the Italian 13th & 14th Century masters I learned that they made extensive use of pattern printing and stamping as part of their work. One of the variations in the "Manhattan Portraits" process was to use the brayer, a soft faced roller, picking up uneven multi color ink spots from the glass and rolling directly on the painting. Then using the same ink pattern to load the matrix and reprint. "Printing Into The Painting."

Introduction to Mixed Media painting. Photo-Digital archival print, reworked with acrylic to a dynamic painterly conclusion. 13"x 19" unit base, combined into mosaic installations.

The point of all the variations created by interrupting both the painting and printing process is to achieve cross-pollination. I first heard the term cross-pollination in art and learning from Jack Tworkove at the Yale School Of Art many years later. In short the cross-pollination enhances the language of the image. It offers a wider diverse source which entices the eye into a new interpretation. A new way of making, a new way of seeing. There is a point here. Tradition in art when adhered to as a strict method, only produces imitations of a successful product line. An old product line. The creativity of any given age, is in the departure from "was" to "can be."

An illustrator who I met in New York explained that he used a strict unchanging process. The work he did had no relevance in it's physicality. It was a stepping stone in making a photograph. The photograph became the matrix in offset printing which made a magazine. I started painting into photographs as a desire for color. My first camera was a Brownie. The grayscale of my early photos needed a little help. Later when studying Venetian and Flemish glazing methods I realized they also developed a similar process. A series of oil paintings I experimented with adapted these influences. They started with completing a grayscale under painting and then layering glazes to render subtle coloring. Another method of grayscale painting was based on the 14th Century cartoon. A gray tinted ground was worked into with black ink. Semi-tones of gray to white established volume. Then glazes offered the suggestion of color.

The subject of photography influencing painting and the physicality of art is a subject of long discussions I had with Alfred Leslie. He came from an abstract expressionist attitude in his art to his own realism. One of his observations was that realism came to the rescue of art when it lost direction. He also felt that photography of European masters work heavily influenced the abstract expressionists. The glorification of the detail with close up photographs, presented the brush work as monumental. These were very interesting observations. In his own realism works the detail of his brush work remains dynamic. My own relationship with brush and image is to play off the mark as a quotation of abstraction, within the representation. When doing a completely abstract work, my marks become elements in their own universe.

Web Art (Landscape)
    Re-Involving Process

Landscape W24, 2005

Tolstoy 3, 1970 - 2003

This image called "Landscape W24", was created by starting with 1. traditional oil paintings which were digitized and imported to the digital studio, 2. photographs imported to the digital studio... printed, re-painted, digitized and imported to the digital studio, 3. All of them Re-Worked in the digital studio, printed as digital pictures, 4. Organized in HTML and Java script code for web viewing. Digitized from the web and presented as you see it.

This image called "Tolstoy 3", is taken from a finished oil painting, digitized and imported to the digital studio. Re-Worked in the digital studio, printed as digital picture.

The concept of Re-Involving a work of art into a new generation of art may begin with any medium. The start might be a photograph, a painting, or drawing, or a printed image which might combine several sources. The reason for re-involving a work is to continue the investigation. To see what happens.

The ways that re-involving art seems endless. There was a period I called Re-Birth, where I took paintings compleeted in a previous series and painted back into them. Some of them retained the image of their previous incarnation, others went on to resolve into new works.

© 2009 Glen River Publications