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In my last post, I talked about painting a bit more experimentally. As it happens – and it’s only a coincidence – I’ve been giving my Wednesday evening class some lessons in mixed media painting.

Going experimental

My featured painting is the result of one of the experimental exercises I gave my class. I’m not about to claim it’s a good painting. It’ll never see the inside of a picture frame. Also, I should point out that it’s a rough and much-altered version of an Ann Blockley painting, although I’m not sure if the lady would recognise it.

Everything but the kitchen sink

We threw everything but the kitchen sink at the painting. Beginning with an underlayer of white gesso on watercolour paper, we proceeded to build up a background on the lower half. This was to represent a steep bank. We added paper collage elements in the lower right corner. A loose wash of yellow-orange paint went over the bottom half of the sheet. Then we stuck on some torn strips of white tissue paper, which we’d first crumpled up. Pink and purple tints got added over the tissue paper.

When the bottom half of the sheet was dry, we painted in the two trees with dark brown paint, creating a few large branches with fast strokes of the brush. Smaller brushes were pulled out from the trees with flicks of the wrong end of the brush. Adding more wet paint to the tree trunks, we tilted the paper vertically and let the dark brown paint run downwards. The tree roots painted themselves, the paint trickling along the wrinkles in the tissue paper.

For the final touches, we put in a bit of blue sky and some green foliage.

Not my finest work, but…

OK, so it’s not my finest work. It’s just a demonstration piece, meant to give my students some new techniques to try out. But I have to say, doing it gave me a lot of fun!

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