Tag Archives: Experimental Painting


Sedona Sunset - Experimental Painting, Acrylic Ink, Collage, Papers, Gauze

As a business woman, I have lived by my wits, using creativity and invention to fulfill on client requests.   As an experimental artist, I live in this same place of Curiosita.  Currently, I am re-reading How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb. He describes Curiosita, this first of seven Da Vincian Principles, as “an insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.”  How fun is that?

The experimental artist starts by asking a question: “What would happen if…..if I let these two inks merge….if I added washi paper here….if I collaged on some interesting shapes…if I scrunched up plastic wrap and left it there until the painting dried?”  The entire piece is created through inquiry.  And it’s one that doesn’t stop after the painting is complete.  You will see something different each time you look at it, if you’re curious.

Many times I’ve tried to think in advance of what I want to paint.  It really never comes to me until I start.  It’s a lot like writing.  If you just start writing, the ideas and characters show up.  There is something to be said for doing sketches if you’re trying to create something recognizable.  Value studies are good to see if your piece is balanced.  My value studies come from photos of the painting as I’m working on it.  I will switch the photo output to black and white to see if I have a preponderance of one value in an awkward place or whatever else might need tweaking.

Soulmate - Experimental Art, collage, acrylic ink, weaving

Usually I will choose three colors of acrylic ink that will be interesting alone and in combination.  For example, the colors of purple and yellow when run together, make a luscious brown that you can’t get any other way.  One of my favorite pieces “Sedona Sunset” (shown at the top of this post) was an experiment to discover what would happen if I mixed turquoise blue ink with orangey red.

“Soulmate” was also an experiment in color with blues and reds, so it comes off as purple.  This one I sketched out and carefully designed.  When it was finished, I thought it was too structured, so I cut it into strips and wove it back together, collaging on some of the leftover pieces.  Then I wove gold wire through it for a final touch. It’s one of my favorites.

When you look carefully at “Disk Derby”, you’ll see that I used a variety of textures, but all the shapes are circles.  This adds consistency to the piece.  For more interest, I ran threads of dyed gauze throughout.

Disk Derby - experimental painting, collage, acrylic ink, papers, gauze

The joy that erupts when I’m creating is equaled only by singing in a choir that is so good you can feel the overtones.  It’s an energetic experience and one that I hope for you when you purchase and enjoy my paintings.

Morphing a Collage

Morph a Collage Digitally and Literally

Great color and texture but poor design

Today I “finished” a very colorful collage. You can see that the design is not good, but there are some nice areas of color and contrast. So I photographed the entire piece, and also some areas that I liked. I also digitally clipped a few spots out of the collage. These I will use for prints and notecards or for a digital collage. I also tear strips of prints and even use pieces of old collages in new ones. Nothing gets wasted over here!

Here are three clippings:

This clip captures the diversity of textures in the original

Photo Clip
This photo clip could make a fun greeting card with a little tweaking – texture or paint
This clip is pretty dramatic and could be a framed print for the right person!

There are a lot more places to clip out of here. One collage can make a lot of digital designs. And if you’re good with Photo Shop, you can enhance these and have a wonderful time!

Next I painted diluted gesso over the entire thing, adding a few more collage pieces. It’s a lot more interesting now, don’t you think? I’m certainly more excited about it.

Here it is ready for the next adventure!

Tomorrow when it dries and flattens, I will lightly add some watercolor using a dry brush. This is just to bring out the texture and see who or what wants to come out and play. Isn’t this fun?

I hope you are able to follow-along and enjoy collaging. The real trick to having fun is to realize that everything you create can be turned into something else if you don’t like it. But, don’t be too hasty to destroy a piece. Sit with it for awhile. Sometimes I look at my paintings and collages for months before I decide which way is up; or if it has any meaning besides a colorful and interesting design.

Stay tuned!



Crop to Find a New Creation

I really love the idea of notecards.  Personally, I only send them as thank you notes or birthday cards.  The rest of my communications are via email.   There are still some Baby Boomers out there who don’t use the internet all that much, or consider it too impersonal a way to communicate.  Those are the people who should buy your notecards or receive a pack of them as a gift from a loving friend or child!

Not all paintings or collages look good as notecards.  But portions of a painting might look great.  Case in point is my painting Evolution. The texture and colors are so magnificent in person that a print of it just doesn’t give you the same Wow.

Evolution - collage, acrylic ink, varnished, framed and sold

But, a part of this same painting looks great as a notecard image.  What do you think?

Digital clip of original painting "Evolution"

I took a portion of Jody’s collage from the last post and clipped it digitally to make an image that could be nice on a notecard.

Digital clip of Jody's original collage "A New Beginning"

See anything you can do with some of your paintings and collages?  Let me know what you think.

Collaging with Kids

Red, Blue and Yellow inks again produced lots of color

Collaging with Kids, again – very fun.  I managed to get a couple of videos in here for you along with some photos of the finished collages.

My friend Jody is genuinely generous and full of love.  One example of this is what she’s doing right now – enjoying her 6-year old grandson, Zander.  He lives in California.  We live in South Carolina.  She got on a plane a couple of weeks ago and went to California to pick him up.  This kind of trip takes an entire day each way.  In a couple of more weeks she will get on a plane with him and take him home.  Then she will cry for about half the trip home and the rest of the trip she will be thinking of other generosities we, as her friends, will benefit from. If you don’t have a friend like this, drop everything and go seek one out.  The best way I know to become loving and generous is to be in the presence of someone who treats you as if you already are.

Yesterday Jody and Zander and I played at collaging.  I did things a little different this time.  We collaged the paper first, and then we dripped the diluted acrylic ink.  The reason for this change of order is that I noticed people have trouble covering up a painted paper with washi or other paper.  They think they are destroying the Mona Lisa, rather than just creating a surface.  For some people, this is the first time they’ve put any paint onto paper in many years and are so excited to see how interesting it looks.

What we did to get ready was to watch a DVD called “Return to the Ice Planet.”  It’s about 10 minutes long and was written and created by my two grandsons.  It’s a spoof on “Star Wars” and starts out as Episode 0.  It was shot in their backyard, family room and the hills of Woodland Hills CA. It’s a fine example of brilliant kid humor and creativity. Zander loved it.

Then we got down to painting!

Step 1:  We mixed a little glue and water onto a cardboard and then painted the glue mixture onto our paper where we planned to put the washi paper.  Then we put down the washi paper and painted a very light coating of glue and water over it.  We kept doing this until we had about 10 or 15 pieces of washi paper all connected to each other in some way – a corner or a side.

Step 2:  We sprayed the entire paper with water until it was covered, but mostly around the non-collaged areas.

Step 3:  With small squirt bottles of red, blue and yellow diluted acrylic ink, we dripped a little ink onto the paper and watched it run into the crevices of the washi paper and run around the watercolor paper.  The more you squirt with water next to the ink you dropped, the more it moves.  Usually at this point, we would let it dry for a few hours or overnight.  But since there was nothing on there that would blow off, I used a hairdryer, mainly blowing onto the back of the painting.  If you really want some interesting ink movement, let your piece dry naturally.  Once the hair dryer hits it, the ink stops moving.

Step 4:  Next we put three circular shapes onto our paintings.  We used a metal ring, jar lids, embroidery hoops and a yogurt container. Then we squirted more ink around the edges.  These we let dry overnight to be ironed in the morning.

We got in the mood this morning by watching the first episode of “Picasso” – a video that shows him using a marking pen on paper to create an image of him as the artist, painting a nude model.  What’s so amazing about all of the episodes on this video is how much black he uses.  He thinks in negative space, evidenced by the way he started the drawings.

Step 5:  The final steps can be a variety of things:  Ink an image over the interesting background (line on shape), paint around the shapes with watercolor pens and then squirt to make the paint run some more, or add more collage paper and then drip ink or draw.

Zander drew animals and faces and around some square shapes with watercolor pens, squirted a few and declared himself finished.

Zander age 6, has given himself the stage name of Alexander Best

Jody put a few little dabs of watercolor onto her piece using the watercolor pens, squirted it a bit and decided she liked it the way it was.  She did spend a lot of her painting time just enjoying Zander laughing and playing around with his piece.

Jody’s Black Hole, Chess piece or Rocket – or whatever your think it might be for you!