I hope that you have been able to take lots of new ideas from your time with me, to play, push your boundaries and explore even further as you continue on with your creative journey.
It has been my pleasure to be a small part of that unfolding and I wish you much happiness and success on your path. I have compiled the following notes to help jog your memory and give you something to touch base with as you continue to grow and flourish.
Please bear in mind that the process we enjoyed during the workshop was a fluid and interactive one, which grew out of the beauty in each and every one of you, and the ways in which we shared with, encouraged and inspired each other. I always feel that these classes are as much a learning experience for me as I hope they are for you. I teach in a spontaneous way and every class varies. I often take prompts from my students, which leads me off in a new tangent so these are not meant to be step-by-step instructions, but more of a jumping off point to help you on your way.
I am so grateful to have met you all and feel truly blessed to be able to work with so many talented creative people around the world. I would ask you kindly not to share these notes with others but encourage them to have the full experience and attend a Paint Mojo workshop for themselves.
Some steps we may have taken...
I encourage you to take these approaches and techniques and mix them up! Try a whole painting in earth tones! Throw the inks on first and then find ways to creatively add in your symbols, the possibilities are endless! Please note that as each workshop varies you may or may not have tried some of these approaches.
- Divide a 76x76cm canvas into a grid of 49 squares using a watercolour or pastel pencil (brand non specific). Be loose and estimate the line spacing. No rulers allowed! This is just one way to start and it helps sometimes to break up the canvas into smaller pieces, making it less daunting to make that first mark.. You could also try drawing on a spiral and then drawing radiating lines out from the centre to break it into smaller sections. Paint two boxes in each row with white paint or gesso. Go outside the lines! (this is purely to see how subsequent layers react against the primed canvas in comparison to the white or gessoed sections)
- Write your favourite poem onto your bare canvas using paint or ink, brushes small and large. Try to treat the words as marks rather than legible words. Be loose!
- Find interesting elements from your surroundings (natural or otherwise) and using black or paynes grey ink break paint these things onto your canvas, breaking them down into simple shapes and symbols. See if you can connect one symbol to another using different kinds of marks (dots, lines, curvy, straight, bold, delicate). Always think about contrast and diversity and use your “embracing the contrast” sheet of words if you get stuck at anytime.
- Put your painting aside to dry and spend some time thinking of personal symbols. Things that are important in your life. Things that have meaning. How could you express them as a simple symbol? Building a personal library of symbols will help you begin to find your authentic voice and potentially add a compelling narrative to your work.
- Mix up a dark colour using a combination of two deep colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel. I use pthalo turquoise and Transparent burnt orange. You could also use Black gesso. Try both and see what feels right for you.
- Paint your symbols into white boxes using as many different mark-making techniques as you can come up with. Don’t forget to vary your brushes and strokes, small, thin, thick etc.
- Try painting with your non dominant hand and with your eyes closed.
- Paint with twigs and make marks with other items found in nature. Paint a white box in your deep colour and scratch your symbol into it.
- Keep turning your canvas as you paint your symbols so there is no correct “way up”.
- Once you’ve finished painting in all of the white boxes, grab some colourful oil pastels and a white oil pastel and draw your symbols again in a couple more boxes in each row using several different colours and repeating some colours in parts of the canvas. Begin to think about connections as you randomly place symbols next to each other. If you feel drawn to, add some of the words you have used in your journal to describe your symbols. Scrawl them on large or small. It’s up to you!
- Use a paper towel to wipe off any excess paint~ it will smear and that’s ok. There is beauty in imperfection.
- Lay your painting flat and pick three warm colours and three cool colours. Drip the cool colours onto one end of your painting and the warm colours on the other end. You can use the Golden fluids and the acrylic inks interchangeably.
- Spray water onto the canvas to get the colours to move and spread. Use a foam brush and your fingers to move the paint more and watch with an attitude of “curiosity and wonder”. See how some colours work well and others end up a little muddy. Be open to surprise discoveries! Use paper towels to blot any excess water. Put painting outside to dry.
- I sometimes use the following two exercises (not both but one or the other) to “mess” up the painting a little, in order to figure out ways together to move through the mess to a better outcome.
During my workshops I use mostly Golden Fluid acrylic paints and Daler Rowney F&W acrylic artists inks PLUS a white heavy-bodied acrylic paint. (I have experimented with both cheaper brands and professional and results will vary)
Some of my favourite Golden colours are Quinachridone Nickel azo gold, Pthalo turquoise, Quinachridone magenta, Teal, Indian yellow, Paynes grey, Green gold, Titan buff and Transparent burnt orange. Also loving Fluorescent magenta in golden heavy bodied acrylic and Light grey at the moment.
My fave F & W inks are Flame orange, Paynes grey, Indigo, Antelope brown, fluorescent pink, Marine blue, White and all of the pearlescents for luscious shimmering glazes. I use a variety of brushes, foam and otherwise, most cheapies plus a few more expensive, twigs and other nature tools, bamboo skewers, credit cards, scrapers, stamps and stencils to achieve a diverse array of interesting marks. I also have several wide flat wash brushes from 1-2 inches that I am using widely with my ink techniques these days.
I often collage images, papers, text and words into my work using a gel medium. I also use other mixed media elements in my work including charcoal, watercolour pencils and oil pastels. With these materials we can work on canvas, watercolour and mixed media paper. Then to seal my finished paintings I use a gloss spray varnish.