2.2.3 Experiments with mixed media
The quantity of drawing materials that I am traveling with is growing constantly. Besides an A3 folder with white and black paper and various pens and inks and acrylic and colour pens and pencils, now also a bag of sticks and pieces of plastic washed up by the ocean 🙂
This is a first rather timid attempt at mixing various media, especially wanting to experiment with the oil pastels that are new to me.
When I saw this box of washing powder, I wanted to create a still life that had some character of an old fashioned advertisement panel, with flashy colours.
I placed the objects on the tile floor. Here I used coloured pencils for the floor, as I wanted it to be more faded, and tried out the oil pastels for the washing powder, the orange bowl and sponge to let them be much more vibrant in color. Also the oil pastels let the colours blend, but don’t allow for as much detail as the coloured pencils. The I used coloured felt pencils for some scribbling in the shadows and the finer outlines , that were quite messy with the oil pastels.
In hindsight I wish I had cropped the drawing more like this ( but then the “advertisement character” disappears).
I called this a timid attempt at mixing media, because in the end it was more an attempt at trying the new oil pastels with a few other media. I will be more bold in my next drawings .
In Portugal the sardines, and cans of sardines are almost a national symbol and you see them everywhere. I am attracted to the shape of the cans and at the risk of falling into a clichee I decide to build a still life around a sardine dinner. A bottle of wine, a piece of bread, a little plate of olives, while using as many different media as I can.
So drawing the cans was more challenging than I expected 🙂 I will get closer:
I will go for a view slightly from above, as if looking down on the food on a table, and shift to portrait format to avoid too much empty space on the sides. I try to crop to check if it would be better to get closer, but decide that I prefer to see the corner of the table for more context and depth. I plan what media to use where, considering the surface and character of the objects.
I use acrylic paint for the cans, they remain glossy and hard looking but the quite thick and not so detailed painted character softens the shape of the stacked cans. I draw the bottle with sap green, violet and white ink which is also glossy but still looks transparent.
I use turquoise and white ink with a brush for the background and then a bright pink felt pen for underlining documents for the flowers and stripes on the tablecloth.
I use the same kind of underliner pen in turquoise for the Tunisian glass, which allows it to look flashy and transparent. The plate and olives are in oil pastels to render the glossy oily surface of the olives, and I smudged the plate that is more matte. Then soft coloured pencils for the piece of bread, entirely matte. Coloured pencils in purple for the shadows and then uniball pen on top for the deepest parts.
Not everything worked out as brilliantly as I had planned it here, but I am happy to have incorporated so many different techniques and media in one drawing that still looks coherent. I think the general composition is not thrilling, but works. Some parts , like the glass and the overlapping with the bottle are not well done. I like the cans most, although the shapes are far from correct. I hope I will have a chance to play with open cans, half open cans in a future composition somewhere. All in all it was fun to experiment with all media at once and it feels like this exercise opened up a lot of new possibilities.