Tuesday 19 November 2013


Today's technical term is Smoosh - to press support to left-over paint to consume same

I'm a huge fan of smooshing because I do so many demos in workshops, and in the fray, it's not always easy to determine how much paint will be required.

Any time I have paint remaining on my altered book page or palette paper, I spritz it with water, drop a board or canvas on it, and smoosh.  Sometimes it's just a single colour,

 and sometimes it's a whole raft of them.

 I might pull the support off in a single direction,

or smoosh it in a circle before I lift it.

I love the unexpected surprises that appear,

 and what's left on the palette paper makes an awesome transfer as well.

These smooshes (OK, apparently I invented the term, since I couldn't find it in any reference 'book') can make a wonderful start to a painting.

Worship   2012  4.5 x 6.5" Mixed media  © Win Dinn

Between using cheesecloth, dryer sheets and smooshes, I'd be hard pressed to choose a favourite way to use up the leftovers - they all look edible.  And surely I'm not the only one out there who drools over a paint colour combo?

Friday 15 November 2013

I've been thinking...

... a great deal lately about why I do what I do, and the word that comes up more often than any other is PLAY.

Of the paintings I've done, the ones that make me really happy are those that are whimsical,

Fish Fancy 2009  Mixed Media  8" x 10"  © Win Dinn  Collection of the artist

incorporate silliness,
Watch your Step!   10" x 8"  Mixed Media  2009 © Win Dinn  Collection of R. Christensen 
include a play on words,

Keeping it Together    4" x 6"  Mixed Media  2010  © Win Dinn  Private Collection
use materials in a fun way (and in this case, an amusing shape too),

Night Train Through Creston II  2009  12" x 36"  Mixed Media  © Win Dinn  Private Collection
or pack an outrageous colour punch (I'm SO subtle!).

Harlequin Party  8.5" x 5.5" Mixed Media  © Win Dinn

It's also the reason why I love teaching so much...it's such a thrill to encourage people to be free, open and purposely playful for a full weekend of fun.  Amazing magic invariably results.

A drying table of participants' play
I'd love to have you join me for a weekend of play.  If there's no upcoming playshop in your area, why  not email me so you can organize one (organizers receive their workshop free of charge)?  There are a wide range of playful possibilities, and some mid-week dates available in winter and spring 2014.

What's the one word that drives your creative life?  How does it surface?  Please leave your comments so readers can get a glimpse into your personal focus.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Frottage, aka...

...rubbings are something that kids are taught to do from an early age.  Somehow, though, we mostly forget about it.

I love them...they're highly textural and can be wonderful additions to mixed media.  I've done the first example with HB pencil and a wide range of textured items.  Repeated light brushes of the pencil across a paper laid on a textured surface can produce a wide range of pattern.

A light wash of lemon yellow over all adds another dimension,

so it can be used as accents in this abstracted piece.

Here I've started a pencil rubbing directly from a deeply textured painting.

This test 'frame' rubbing with coloured pencil on palette paper was made using the corners of an actual mosaic frame.

I sprayed the result with workable fixative and transferred it to a support (in this case, mat board) to frame a photo.  And now I know that coloured pencil rubbings can be done on palette paper for transfer.  This frame won't ever hit a gallery, but it'll certainly go in my bag of tricks!

Some things you might consider attempting rubbings on:  stencils, textured doilies, plastered walls (truly lovely!), a row of books with spines aligned, stamps, bricks, textured wallpaper, a collagraph, and so on, and on.....and on.  Happy frottaging!

Friday 8 November 2013

In Claresholm, AB, the group is....

...crazy about mixed media.

This past weekend was another exciting time at the Seniors' Centre there, where we stamped,

Kerry and Susan work at the stamp table
 played with plastic wrap,
Ellen smooshes her plastic wrap start
painted drywall (really!),
Isabella paints a drywall compound piece
 and re-worked other paintings in some cases.

Louise adds found leaves and iridescent acrylics to an old watercolour painting

With a wide range of backgrounds in the arts from 'none at all' to watercolour, oil, textiles and jewellery, it was exciting to see what resulted from using the twenty-some mixed media techniques.

This piece by Ellen incorporates wasp-nest walls around the edge!

These plastic wrap starts are vibrant with energetic colour.

Kerry's piece incorporates the use of eye shadow - can you tell where?

This piece by Kerry was a show-stopper...it's truly lovely.

Louise'  revised  watercolour has a terrific moody feel after incorporating cheesecloth, an elderberry cluster tree, leaf trees and iridescent paints.

Meg's piece, started with a piece of Tyvek on a recent trip to Creston to play, has some additional hand-crafted stamps and paint layers now....looking luscious.
As often happens, the participants add and demo techniques of their own (I learn something new in EVERY workshop!).

Kerry, a strong volunteer with 4-H in Claresholm, demoed a method for painting flowers on t-shirts with Sharpie pen ink.

Meg kindly did a demo for us utilizing gold leaf and metallic papers.
As always, these workshops are a huge amount of work for many people.  Mega-thanks goes out to Alice Saltiel-Marshall, the extraordinary organizer, Kerry Hart, who acts as treasurer for the Claresholm events, and Meg Nicks of Sunny Raven Gallery who so kindly brings half of her store to supply the group.  Thanks, too goes to the Claresholm Art Club who secures and pays for the venue, which is superb.  And extra thanks to Alice, who forwarded all her photos of the weekend because my camera crashed just prior to the workshop.

Back row:  Susan, Barb, Alice, Louise, Meg
Front row:  Kerry, Win , Isabella
Missing from photo:  Ellen
I know the participants are happy when I read the comments on the satisfaction survey: 'Best day ever!', 'Thank you for a wonderful weekend.', 'Fun, fun, fun!', 'Wide variety of techniques covered!', 'A great learning experience.'  

This same workshop is going November 16 & 17 (just 8 days away) in Nelson, BC.  There are still some spots - would you like to join us?  Quick - PHONE 250 352 5905 to register with Oxygen Art Centre!

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Cheesecloth soaker

I know we've talked about cheesecloth additions before, but you keep asking for this one, so here it is.

Here I've got some cobalt green paint left over from a session.

I thin it extensively with water, and

drop in some cheesecloth (already lightly coloured in other areas.  I allow it to dry, pick it up, and

use it to mop up some leftover yellow paint the next day.

It will make an interesting addition to a background like this one.

And, you know the drill, the palette paper where it was drying will make a great transfer!  Look at all that terrific texture.

I keep a wide range of painted cheesecloth underneath my easel, and they become beautifully coloured in a great range of hues over time.

One of my students loves this technique so much she's turned them into a scarf-making industry, paired with mixed media broaches to go with them.

And if you don't want to go that far, you can, at the very least, feast your eyes on the rich colour you've created.

Friday 1 November 2013

At Halloween,

there are dozens of ways of celebrate.

Because I'm playing in the sandbox with a mixed media group here this weekend, I spent last night in the town of Claresholm, celebrating with my good friends Alice and Bill Marshall.

Some vampirish visitors, daughters to a friend of the Marshalls, were delightful.  The taller one seems mesmerized/appalled/horrified with Alice's costume.

As Alice later noted, it takes a talented witch to snort a spider out of her nose!

I think Alice

and I

made quite a splash when we hit Latte-Da for lunch. Bill liked our costumes so much that he took a different vehicle to the restaurant, and we have to talk him into sitting with us!

I hope your Halloween was as much fun and doubly creative - did your house and guests display the evening's required creepiness?
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