Mountain waves (visual poem)

mountain waves 031116

I spend part of May in the Blue Ridge mountains celebrating my wedding anniversary. The view from Grandfather Mountain (in Western North Carolina) is like this – when is it a mountain, and when is it a wave in the ocean? It is overwhelming, especially at sunset

This is composed of cut up cardstock tests of Distress Ink – the edges of the main test. Reassembled like this, it looks like I’m trying to take pictures of the mountains, and putting captions underneath.

Card stock
Distress Ink
gold paint with glazing medium
Tim Holtz Idea-ology quotes.


(Click on the image to see it larger)

Hidden messages

Hidden messages 031116

The base of how to do this was inspired by Nick Bantock in his book “The Trickster’s Hat.” My library system did not own this so I used the “suggest a book” feature and they ordered it as an e-book for me. I read it on my device and enjoyed being able to copy the exercises I was interested in trying onto a Note so that I could save them for later. This particular exercise involved tearing out color images from magazines (I used a travel magazine from AAA) and gluing them down. Bantock recommended using only blue and green (with no yellow-green), and then using blue paint to cover up the torn edges. I did this, but wasn’t happy with it after looking at it for a few days. I dabbed titanium white mixed with glazing medium to it to soften it. I like how it looks like fingerprints, because I usually use my fingers when painting, but not this time.

The “filler” paint used was a mix of acrylic – light blue, permanent green, phthalocyanine blue, and white. It was just too bold to blend in with the existing images, but the color mix was excellent so I’ve used it in two other projects I’m working on. I learned in a project from about a year ago that I get excellent and random results from putting the paint blobs on my palette right next to each other but not blending them. I dab the brush between them, picking up random mixes of color. I also enjoy doing this with a brush that is a little beat up, with some bristles missing. This produces unexpected shapes in the painting, depending on the angle I hold the brush.

Hidden messages detail

I then added words from Tim Holtz’ “Idea-ology” line along with and paper pieces I created. They are from a previous experiment, using card stock, Distress stains (vintage photo, peeled paint, mermaid lagoon, cracked pistachio) that were then sprinkled with water from a free toothbrush from my dentist. I added gold paint mixed with glazing medium. Once dry, I cut up the art into strips. None of that was intended for this project – I was learning how the stains worked (not like I thought or hoped) and I’d needed gold paint for another project and had some left over and didn’t want to waste it. I picked the best card stock test and added the gold to it.

Projects are not linear. One influences another. Sometimes to complete one, you have to stop it and learn (or discover) an entirely different technique on a separate project. What seems hopeless or at a dead end often just needs to sit aside for a while and be looked at again later with new eyes. Keep working. Keep experimenting. Also, art materials don’t have to be expensive. You can be a “starving artist”, but still be a good one. In fact, a little difficulty/disability/oppression/resistance helps with making art. Contented people don’t make art, because they are happy with things the way they are. Artists show how things can be, but they often have to do that from a place where things aren’t great.

Created 3/7 through 3/11 2016 Base is a Strathmore Visual Journal.