Inspired by an exhibit of computer-manipulated photos, I spent one weekend last month altering some of my travel photos (see above).
This weekend, however, I experimented with materials quite unfamiliar to me, just because it sounded like a challenge. Some were complete failures, some not-so-bad.
Which brings me to a question I often ask myself—am I a painter or a mixed media artist?
Whenever I venture in more “crafty” things, I feel like I’m floundering. I greatly admire those artists who work in mixed media. Not only do they have to know techniques with one material, but several. And have to know how to blend them together to make a satisfying whole. Not an easy accomplishment!
One of my favorite art magazines is actually a mixed-media craft magazine. Some suggestion in a book or article can spark an idea in a different direction. I get a lot of inspiration from crafts and most ideas in my notebook do not involve sketches for paintings.
But I wonder if mixed-media informs or dilutes my art? It can take a long time away from painting. I remember how long I struggled to create a workable design for an everlasting, hand-made calendar I envisioned. Countless sketches and notes and experiments and failures occurred until I wood-burned some cubes and wire-bound a set of my paintings to flip weekly.
Often, I am intrigued by and challenged to create in 3-D. Yet, for me, such art requires planning and sorting and preparing whereas painting is more spontaneous and joyful and experimental. Mixed media, or anything other than painting, often feels too detailed, too regimented, reminding me too much of my daytime job. Since I have to be so precise and logical at work, I embrace being wild and intuitive in my paintings. If a project gets too bogged down, I can loose interest quickly.
So, I’m back where I started. Still fascinated by switching media and still somewhat baffled and frustrated with it. How do you resolve being pulled away from your primary art form? How do you limit yourself-- or do you?