I’ve been creating mixed media art journal pages for about a year and a half now. It’s something I never thought I’d be interested in, but I was making way too much wall art and it was piling up at an alarming rate. The idea of creating art without creating a lot of volume definitely had its appeal.
A video by Laly Mille, a wonderful mixed media artist, got me started. They I took a few of her classes and greatly enjoyed them. One of the things that characterizes Laly’s art is the amount of layering and the amount of detail she achieves. I suppose it was only natural for me to follow in those footsteps, at least in the beginning. And so, indeed, I did.
A problem with layering is that one inevitably covers up most, or at least a lot, of the work one does. Layering proponents deal with this problem by advising artists to not get too precious about their work. That’s fine. And often it turns out that the result of layering is an improvement on the base layers anyway.
I’m now three spreads away from filling my fourth art journal (each with sixteen spreads, counting the covers). That means, I’ve done 61 spreads! And I’m still stuck on layering. There have been so many times, as I worked on a spread, that I liked what I had and wanted to stop. But I stopped myself anyway. Surely there was much more to do. Yes, I stopped myself from stopping!
Finally, in my most recent spread, I listened to myself and stopped fairly early in the process. All I had was two images from magazines, a concept (chiaroscuro, or the juxtaposition of light and dark), and a simple color scheme. My ordinary process would have me adding many layers of paint and collage, then line detail and frames. But I liked what I had. Why labor it? I did think I needed a bit more texture in the background, so I added it. But then I let it be.
So, I have a new mantra: Let it Be!