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Mixed Media Explorations

Mixed Media

Ink, Watercolor, Collage

One of the wonderful benefits of teaching is that I look for all sorts of ways to explain/show my students the concepts I’m trying to teach. And because of that I’m always exploring and that informs my own work even if it was not the goal. Several years ago I was asked to teach a 3 day workshop and needed to come up with a good final project. Day one was subject matter exploration, composition and drawing in ink;  day two added watercolor to the ink drawing and for the final day we added stained paper collage. 

Day One

Sharpie & watercolor wash  

 That beginning day we worked with all sorts of subject matter in sketchbooks. Sometimes the watercolor wash was added after the drawing was done and sometimes it was done before. In this instance,  I used a vertical subject matter in a horizontal format with monochromatic color. That rectangle is 7″x10″, which is the same proportion as a full sheet watercolor paper. This way if you want it to translate to that size, you have begun in the same shape. 
By using sharpie, you can’t be too careful with details. The goal was to try several different formats, color schemes, etc.

 Day Two

Watercolor Underpainting – Ink Brush Drawing

The watercolor underpainting was done prior to the drawing since the ink brush I was using was water-soluble. I wanted to use this brush since the addition of water creates different values, thereby making it a simpler exercise.  Of course it could be done is many different ways and we talked about that, but to get the concept and purpose across, I wanted the initial painting to be done as simply as possible. 

Day Three

Stained Washi – Ink Brush Drawing

On the final day, we spent sometime in the morning staining rice paper or washi with our watercolors. While that dried, the plan for the drawing could be done. I usually do not draw with pencil first since that is my preference but several students did that as a first step. 
The stained papers were torn is the sizes and shapes according to each painter and then affixed to the heavy watercolor paper with acrylic matte medium. After that has completely dried, the ink drawing was added and water used to create tone.  I have purposely left this step unfinished as an example for my students.  Our eyes do such a good job of completing line, that it would be interesting to see just how much you could leave out and still have a good readable image.

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