Sunday, February 10, 2013

What Happened?

Last year, as some would say, I went over to the dark side by being seduced into mixed media.  Some would say something in me snapped four and a half years ago when I walked away from a reasonably successful painting career, a real studio and moved from Canmore, a small town with a large thriving arts community, to Claresholm (where's that?).  You can't call it a mid life crisis, I'm not going to live to 120 years old, but right after the move I turned 60, became a first time grandparent and became a snowbird.  My focus changed.  Now, to quote a friend's mother, I paint for my own amazement.  I have became a dilettante!

Oh, I could blame all this mixed media mania on Win Dinn, but clearly there was a shift coming down the pipe because when the student is ready the teacher appears.  I've rattled on before about how much joy we find in each others company and the pleasure we take in working together. Win and John came to stay with us in November and she wrote a delightful summary of that visit here.

After that tandem painting blitz I conceived the notion that there ought to be more such side-by-side paintings.  Maybe one day we'll have an exhibition of them?  We could call it Seeing Double or maybe Double Trouble would be more appropriate?  Last month, Win and John returned to Claresholm and here is what we got into this time...

Inspired by Veronique Bottaro's work we decided we'd paint a feather 

There was plenty of  paint splattering and my new found technique which Win has coined  paint feathering

Now paint feathering is when you spritz water on wet paint then wipe the beads of water off, using a brush, with the most delicate feather touch.

I'M CLIPPING YOUR WINGS   16" x 12"  in progress

Win had me demonstrate the cob webbing technique which I learned from Ursula Reynolds last October.  It involves a lot of random paint dropped on wet paper that you have strategically stretched store-bought, artificial cob webbing over, letting the colours flow into and around one another. Splashing, splattering and in the picture below double fisted spray-spritzing more colour!

When it is dry, you peel off the webbing and look at the delightful paper you get!

I cut this sheet in half so that, another day, we can each paint a sea turtle.

Since giving her mixed media workshop in Claresholm last spring, Win is somewhat of a celebrity in this town.  We all want to play with her!  Just know that Win is back for a return engagement, her next mixed media workshop is May 4th and 5th.  Email me at for details. 

We spent an afternoon at Judy Dahl's studio where Kerry Hart joined us in making ever more messes

We do remember to eat, and of course, drink.  One night I made what I call the artist's dessert ...

Bosc pears poached in red wine.

... and to spend time with our spouses, who are incredibly good at understanding as well as indulging us in our need to paint so much of the time!

Breakfast on the morning of the Dinn's departure

Last week I learned that I'd sold my first mixed media piece out of Willowtree Designs.  Pretty exciting!


  1. As always, a delightful post, rich in colour, art and fun, Alice. And I'm still agog over that cobweb technique - it's hit my painting table in more ways than I could have imagined when I initially saw it!

    And I'm so excited to be coming back for the May workshop - there are some new techniques I've been playing with, and you WILL demo that cobweb one so the participants can learn it too!

    I am, once again, craving your artist dessert with that photo - I don't dare show it to John or he'll be campaigning for it to appear on our dinner table!

    1. Thanks Win. Guess I'd best pack up any fears about doing that demo!

  2. Great photo novella Alice & Win! I love your posts...from an old art appreciator.

  3. What a great post! You two are very are tempting me with all the spritzing, spraying and cob webbing, not to mention all that color!

    1. Laura, I'm keen to meet you. I'd love it if you would join Win and me, for some good old paint throwing, one time when I'm out in Creston. Mixed media simply provides a place for play that traditional painting doesn't. I can (and used to) paint just like you - yes, in watercolour too - we never loose that ability. In my case, only the desire to!