Friday, August 17, 2012

Making mixed media art with Paul Murray

mixed media: in visual art, refers to an artwork in the making of which more than one medium has been employed. (

On Friday we enjoyed a fabulous day of being taken through a process of building a mixed media piece of art with Paul Murray.

Paul provided us with an extensive materials list which included prepared boards, paints, pencils, images, papers, found objects, binding medium (or PVA glue) ....... plus our imaginations and an open mind!

There are many ways of making mixed media art. Thankfully for us newbies, Paul walked us through a process which familiarised us with the appropriate ways of layering materials, which glues to use when and what materials need to be sealed before adding paint or more layers and so on.

This is what we did:

1. Get a gesso'd board ready. We used 5mm mdf. This stage was basically collaging paper images. Select drawings, newspaper clippings, images from magazines, photos. Spend some time looking at them, arranging them, sketching ideas that are generated by the images, then when satisfied glue them down with binding medium or PVA glue. The binder is applied to the back of the images before they are stuck down - NOT the surface because the next stage required us to draw/paint on the collaged images.

white gessoed board with photos, ink paintings and newsprint added

2. Draw over the images with ink, charcoal, pencil, conte or whatever drawing tools you wish. We were being as spontaneous as possible for this exercise, so drawings were random responses to whatever was inspired by the images we had collaged. After we were happy with the drawing we sealed the whole board with binder medium/PVA and let it all dry (or used a hair dryer to speed the process).
ink and charcoal over the images - note 'veiled' effect of ink over the images
3. Next choose, arrange and re-arrange 'found' objects and fabrics on the board. Glue down and dry. Large objects will need to be glued with hot melt glue or, clamped with PVA and left dry before continuing.
I glued wire mesh (hot melt glue gun), cardboard, lace and calico onto my work

While I waited for the work to dry before moving onto the next stage took a photo and did some photoshop work on the images.
'hue/saturation layer added

'fresco' layer added, 'curves' altered, some painting brush work applied
4. This is the stage where we worked over the image we had created with paints, looking for images, creating depth.
final image



It was a lot of work getting through these steps in one day, but thoroughly enjoyable and great to be adding new skills and understandings to our 'artistic' vocabulary.

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