Mixed media art comes in many forms. Today enjoy three Creative Spirits who have made use of mixed media in unique ways to express each individual, unique voice.
Saltee creates three dimensional works by collecting objects and arranging them in original ways. She describes them as mixed media assemblages. Like this work here:
I love her compositional decision in this piece to have three female forms repeat, but then also create a story for each piece.
When I taught high school on Cape Cod, a colleague (thanks Dawn!) exposed me to a project that asked students to create their own altars. They looked at altars all over the world for inspiration as well as artists like Robert Rauschenberg. When I see Saltee’s work, I’m always reminded about this experience.
Her work has a lovely narrative and I love seeing the objects she finds and manipulates to build her unique art.
Mitchell’s work is almost like a relief: semi three dimensional but working on a flat surface where she builds up texture with paper, ink and paint. She calls herself a contemporary paper artist.
When you see the next artist’s work, you’ll see I’m on a bit of a nature kick. Maybe it’s because I got to have a lovely tea time with a friend and her two new cute little yorkies. I miss having my own! Regardless, Mitchell’s unique technique of combining tissue paper and inks creates marvelous, interesting textures. Each piece feels like a portrait of the natural world.
Creative Spirit Virginia Simpson-Magruder
Simpson-Magruder works in altered books and jewelry design. Her work is exploratory, often seems to have a female narrative in her books and a huge focus on nature and wildlife. Her work brings me back to nature. I feel like I get to walk alongside her on a nature walk when I look at some of her work. I love how women figures are just naturally part of the world she creates in her altered books.
Sometimes when she travels, Simpson-Magruder brings a book to use as a journal space which documents her experience. Her work feels like a self-portrait, a personal journey, and an opportunity to reconnect with Mother Earth.
Why do artists limit themselves to work with one medium?
I once felt (and sometimes still battle with perfectionist tendencies) that communicated I was not skillful unless I achieved my work using one material. That meant I had “mastered” the media and maybe then “I was good enough.” (For what?) Mixed media affords artists all kinds of opportunities to explore ideas and convey messages.
I love these three women because their work is so strong, skillful and interesting because of their use of mixed media. So, in honor of their work, I have a small challenge that reflects the style and message of each artist.
Creative Spirit Creativity Challenge
In honor of Sara Saltee’s work, I want to you to be on the lookout this week for a unique object. You can have it in your home, you can find it on the street or at a local thrift shop. Now, incorporate and use this object as part of an artwork you’ve started or planned to create. How does it transform the way you see your process and art?
In honor of Col Mitchell’s unique use of material, I want you to select two media you’ve NEVER before combined and work with them together. What can you build that is new and different?
In honor of Virginia Simpson-Magruder’s great strategy of using altered books as a space to explore her travel, I want you to bring a book with you on your next trip. Use it as a space to journal and visually document the experience. Collect all the ephemera from the trip and use it for pieces of visual storytelling.
Be Courageously Creative: Choose at least one of these Mixed Media Challenges to apply to your next artwork and share it in our Facebook Group!
Discover Altered Books with Carrie Brummer of Artist Strong
Join me for a 4 part video series and webinar workshop where we explore:
- The benefits of working in altered books
- How to choose the right book
- The techniques you should use to prepare your book for making art
- 3 Ways you can prepare the backgrounds of your pages and get making!