Saturday 9 January 2016

Venice in Mixed Media and Collage

Lovely workshop at the studio today, enthusiastic students and a great buzz in the room. We worked on quite a simple project so I thought I would share it with you and give you a little insight. I have been lucky enough to visit Venice many times and often admire the windows that I see along the canals, it was these that gave us the inspiration today and I have broken down the project in to steps for you to follow but put your own spin on it, and email me if you would like to share your masterpiece!

1. Choose your subject matter and where it is going to be roughly placed on the paper. You are going to be laying down collage materials before drawing out your composition, therefore it will be helpful to have a rough idea of where things are going to sit on the page. Here is the photograph that I worked from today:
2. Today I chose to use tissue paper for my collage material, glued down securely to my Saunders Waterford paper with Bindex, a wonderful product that I have only just discovered and glues all manner of materials brilliantly. I followed that with Daniel Smith watercolour ground (one of my favourite products) to both knock back the collage and add texture to the surface, applied with a palette knife.
(Difficult to see in this photograph but I'm sure you get the gist...)
3. I drew out my composition on to the surface (once it was dry) firstly using Tracedown and then adding lots of detail freehand, making sure that the pencil element was going to provide me with a map that will guide my painting.
4. I really enjoy starting off a mixed media piece with water soluble pens to provide a type of under painting before I start with the paint. Here I used Stabilo .68 and .88 pens in black and grey, then sprayed them with water to give a diffused effect.
5. Now the best part - crack open the paints!! As the walls of Venice are riddled with texture and interesting stucco finishes, I thought that it might be fun to incorporate cling film technique so I used Daniel Smith's Italian Venetian Red (obviously) with Lunar Blue so that they would granulate under the film.
6. After removing the cling film and going back in with more paint to strengthen the colour, I worked on the shadows, the glass and the pillars with combinations of Cerulean, Cobalt Turquoise and the previous two colours.

7. Finishing off a piece is always the dangerous part for me - which techniques or materials will I use and will I get in to trouble by including too much? Here I made a few alterations by incorporating a little more pen, white gouache and a few flashes of Inktense pencil for good measure.
The photographs don't really do the piece justice as the colours are brighter and I didn't get a chance to edit them but you get the idea....
You are welcome to use the photograph as reference, I took it myself and would love to see anything you create with it. I hope this guide gives you a little inspiration and the confidence to try out some of the techniques. Happy Painting all of you, Ali

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