What does mixed media mean to you?
Being able to grab any art or craft materials and throwing them together, without any “rules”, is what mixed media means to me! The current mixed media genre is built on many different crafts and it’s great to have the freedom to combine these skills and materials wherever your imagination can take them.
How long have you been a mixed media artist?
I grew up in a house with a crafty mother and a father that worked in printing, so we always had a combination of new crafts coming into the house and an endless supply of paper. This lead to card making in my late teens and then into rubber stamping through the 90’s. My interest in stamping grew with the wonderful local craft shows Stamping Down Under and Melbourne Paper Arts (aka Paperific) and through the online group StampHappy, where stampers from around Australia held swaps and meet-ups. I took a few classes with Joy Bathie, learning altered book and painting techniques that built on my papercraft love and quickly evolved into the mixed media genre.
As the online mixed media world expanded, I lapped up everything I could from Lisa Vollrath at Ten Two Studios and Michelle Ward and her Green Pepper Press Street Team challenges. I started my own blog ~ Michelle’s Art Adventures ~ in 2007 and joined more online groups and challenges from around the world.
Then in 2009 the Mixed Media Art website was started to share my love of mixed media with other women who knew they wanted to be creative but didn’t know where to begin with materials or supplies. This has lead to my own expansion of skills and techniques and discovering a range of talented people to learn from and gain inspiration every day.
How has art impacted or enhanced your life?
Creating art takes me to my happy place – there is no better feeling when that rush of inspiration builds inside me and I begin to pull out all sorts of materials and the ideas begin to flow to create a wonderful piece of art. It balances out the mundane elements of life and provides comfort when things go bad.
What are a few of the mixed media supplies you find yourself turning to the most?
- cereal box cardboard
- acrylic paints
- paint brushes and found objects to “paint” with
- Watercolor paper to make art journals with
These materials are enough to keep me amused for many hours.
Who are some of your favorite mixed media artists?
There are SO many mixed media artists that we can follow online and it’s interesting to note my own evolving preferences as I discover a new artist or technique that I must try. Here are my current “Top 5 Fav Artists” and this list is always being added to!
Tell us about your creative process.
I’m lucky to have a small space to create art – it’s half office, half studio. Often my first step is to find my art desk under the mess left from the last project and put things away. Then I choose which element of mixed media I will jump into – lately it’s been either an art journal layout, a mixed media painting or playing with my Gelli Plate.
When I’m art journaling, I will find an inspiring quote to focus my creativity. Then I will add some background colour with paints and papers, and then write out the quote and stamp or doodle around it, pulling out images or embellishments until I think it’s finished (always a hard call – I often leave it overnight and when I think it’s done, sign and date the page; then NOTHING gets added – IT’S DONE!!)
A mixed media painting will begin with a layer of paper ephemera and a coat of gesso (or sometimes the other way around). Then I will choose a colour palette (usually blues or greens; I’m not very adventurous with colours!) and add layers of paints and stamping and found object “stamping” to add interest. To finish a painting, I will use stencils or stickers or rub-ons. I love how these make it easy to add features onto the painting and not cover up the wonderful backgrounds. Like an art journal page, sometimes it’s hard to know when to stop.
Regardless of the type of art I’m creating, I will have the computer on, streaming a podcast or TED talks [http://www.ted.com/], usually around personal development or business development. It feeds one part of my brain, while another part is caught up in the creative process – it’s a great balance for me; my truly happy place!
What makes your mixed-media art unique?
A tricky question – I’ve given it a lot of thought but I don’t know what makes my art unique. I am still developing my skills and create such a range of pieces that I don’t see a single element that is in common with each of them. Often there will be a word or quote, and a border or edge but I don’t think someone could look at one of my pieces and think, “That’s by Michelle Brown!”
As I’m not selling or licensing my artwork (yet) I have the freedom to have not yet developed a unique style that is mine. I prefer to develop techniques and repeatable processes that I can share with others so that we can all develop our skills together.
|I’m passionate about mixed media art and enjoy sharing my knowledge and techniques with women around the world, to allow you to express your own creativity. I understand that many of us have an inner need to create and by learning a few basic techniques the amazing world of mixed media art is accessible to everyone!I live with my husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia. I’m a self-taught artist with Mechanical Engineering qualifications and a love of writing. Somehow this all combines into a lovely life, balancing running two small businesses, a family and nurturing my own creativity.|
|Michelle is offering a copy of her book, Creating Layers in Mixed Media Art, to the giveaway!|