I am fascinated by the tiny magic that can happen with mixed media as I layer different mediums including paint, soft gel mark making, rubber stamping, sanding back, stenciling and glazing. There is a tiny world that happens when a thin layer – even a partial stamp of gesso – goes on top of another color. Then I apply a third color that seeps into the stamped gesso. There is a pleasure sometimes in the ethereal nature of paint and I love acrylics for their different levels of transparency even without using glazing liquid, just the various pigments are thinner and allow more light to pass through.
One of my favorite techniques is simply dry brushing white gesso over your surface. It creates a barrier for paint to remain on the surface and in the gaps between the brushing, the paint seeps into the fibers and creates a darker shade of paint. Pure magic, without much effort I must admit.
Sometimes I do a rubber stamped image like black gesso polka dots, then I layer with paint and while the paint is wet I drop a stencil over the top and wipe out the paint – a reverse stencil technique that is tricky to do, since the wet surface is slippery and when you lift the stencil off the surface it pulls the paint in mysterious ways.
I am also loving the variety of techniques available using a combination of gesso and Inktense blocks. I will write a whole separate blog about this medium, but wanted to post a little bit here as it’s very fun to shade an area with the pastel like block, but then use a wet brush to move the color around. You can also use the Inktense pencils to fill in and outline shapes within stencils and add water to these or keep them dry.
Stenciled layers are another favorite technique. Apply gesso through a stencil - I like to use a makeup wedge, let dry, then apply a thin wash of color. Repeat. Tired of the regular way to use stencils? Try a reverse stencil. Apply a layer of wet paint over a gesso primed area, carefully set down a stencil without moving it too much and carefully wipe out the stencil area with a dry paper towel. If the paint is too dry - use a baby wipe. If you are working with a plastic stencil it will pull up the paint in interesting ways when you pull it off your surface, adding an unusual an unpredictable quality.
There is such a vast variety of tools and supplies that artists can combine with mixed media that it is sometimes overwhelming, but understanding how the medium work (or don’t work) together is a great way to start to make your own tiny worlds of magic.