What does Mixed Media mean to you?
For me, Mixed Media is about freedom and all kinds of possibility, playing and breaking the rules, in fact making your own! It doesn’t take long to realise that truly anything goes in the mixed media world, as you explore and find your own way. I love being able to break away from traditional interpretations (preconceptions even) about how some art mediums could or should be used, being able to change it up and mix it up, adding in new elements as an impulse takes me. I also love the complexity and depth of the backgrounds you can achieve in a multilayered piece of art.
How long have you been a mixed media artist?
As long as I can remember really. I can recall being delighted by drawing with crayons and then painting over my marks with bright colored dyes as a small child at school and making faux stained glass windows – cutting delicate arches and shapes out of black paper then inserting different colored pieces of plastic cellophane sheet behind them, placing these on the inside of a window for the light to shine through.
Also I vividly remember decorating a medieval princess cone hat (with scarf train cascading down from the point) and making ‘Womble‘ rubbish collecting bags’ with the Wombles ‘W’ logo in crayon and paint on paper (paper folded & stapled down the sides before I added the carrying handle) …I was always an eccentric and creative kid and I don’t think that has ever changed!
In college I turned to melting wax and painting Matisse-like still-life compositions with encaustics, oil pastel, metallic paint sticks, with some collage elements included, and indulging my absolute love of black and white photography. I sold one of those encaustic collage paintings to a Japanese visitor to the school – my first art sale – when I was 16 years old.
How has art impacted or enhanced your life?
I find the whole process of painting and art making to be a really relaxing and joyful way to express myself. I also love being part of the strong global community of mixed media artists, connecting with so many others has been wonderful. The creative process itself allows me to feel ‘in the flow’.
What are a few of the mixed media supplies you find yourself turning to the most?
I’m very much into watercolor and water-based media, anything that is water soluble and creates terrific effects, soluble pastels, paint pens and gel pens. I also love art materials that are either matte (flat) or shimmer and sparkle. And of course beautiful papers – Indian and Nepalese papers, fabulous vintage and patterned papers, I collect and upcycle any cool papers to include into my collages. I’m always on the look out for found papers and ephemera, things like interesting handwritten receipts or beautiful postage stamps and postmarks.
Who are some of your favourite Mixed media artists?
I love Mati Rose McDonough‘s playful use of color and the childlike wonder in her imagery and Mindy Lacefield‘s absolute raw abandon in her use of materials, her mark making and her ‘primitive’ style girls and animal paintings
Tell us about your creative process.
Well it all starts for real with the right music going on the stereo! Then I can journey on into it and lose myself deeply into the process – hours can go by and I don’t even notice the time. A walk round town or outside in nature is often a good way to prepare before I head in to my studio. Inspiration can come from my inner world or as an image from a dream.
When I work in watercolor it’s not always a spontaneous affair, not always throwing the paint on in a whim. It requires me to think through the layers first, particularly if I am using masking fluid to maintain certain areas. I find I prepare food in a similar way – I always think through what gets added to what, and in which order things get cooked! Watercolor has a bit of a life of it’s own and it’s not always predictable what the final outcome will be. I always stay open to the possibility of happy accidents occurring. Life definitely imitates art, and vice versa.
What makes your mixed media art unique?
I’d love to know! I’d love it if readers looked at my work here (and on my site) and left a comment to let me know what they feel when they look at the imagery, how they experience it, or perceive it. That would be amazing.
Where can we find you?
Website / Blog / Shop: http://www.catathenalouise.com
Facebook Art page: http://www.facebook.com/catathenalouisestudio