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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mix it Up...

An Accommodating Curve   watercolor/gouache   27 x 14
These days, I am quite drawn to mixed media paintings....they offer more surprises than works that are more pure.  When I first joined my local art organization many years ago, those who painted with watercolor were teased with, "When are you gonna use REAL paint?", jokingly (?) meant to acknowledge the supposed superiority of oils.  This whole notion, in fact, smacks of a REAL MAN society....and I really don't wanna go there.  I would like to think that mixed media works are now mirroring the multicultural aspect of our society and our world.  We taste and sample foods and products from all over the world. I, for one, find this to be very stimulating.  I did a turn at gallery sitting last week at Summit Artspace gallery and found that I am quite taken with the work of Sean O'Donnell, a young painting student at the University of Akron.  His use of pencil and small bits of folded paper affixed to the canvas are novel and offer interest and novelty.  Why then, do we hesitate to add another medium, as if we are tainting the pure?  I am not sure.

Many years ago, I did lots of watercolor work on top of a gouache under-painting.  It changed the quality of the strokes and added a milky quality to the paint.  "An Accommodating Curve" is an example.  When I took this painting to critique, the leader was visually confused as to the medium.  It looked a bit like oil, a bit like pastel.  Whatever.  His comment made me happy.  

I look forward to the day that we don't have to check-mark our supposedly "pure" race on applications of all sorts.  I really don't like purity all that much.

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