Artist Col Mitchell uses a fascinating technique to create highly textured art images. See more of her work by visiting her website.
One workshop + one untried medium + a twist on material = equals an entirely new technique that has me mesmerized. And since 2008 the very short story is that I work as a contemporary paper artist making energized paintings of nature and wildlife on a textural fusion of sculpted papers on canvas or panel.
My technique encompasses three key stages: Sculpting and manipulating a wide variety of papers to create subject appropriate texture and lines based on a consideration of the character, personality, individuality, and performance level of each type of paper.
Layering semi-transparent acrylic washes in exploration of the hardened surface, establishing my under-colours, as well as generating interesting and unpredictable effects through interaction with the differing qualities of the materials; unique to each piece.
Applying a galaxy of multi-hued pen-nib applied ink lines to define the subject, enhance depth and movement.
This third stage becomes an intense visioning process of reaction and inspiration to the interaction of the paint and the paper, often evoking a meditative type state, a state that at first may seem at odds with the intrinsic energy portrayed in the finished work –but meditation is quite different from the relaxation of sleep. Meditation heightens consciousness, and is a path to a renewed sense of dynamism (energy).
By way of quality and character of crumple lines, crinkles, folds, ridges, tears, absorbency, repellency or sizing that are personal and individual to every type and sheet, my fascination lies in paper’s subtle yet undeniable ability to contribute to the process and influence the outcome.
The following works, made from a single sheet, illustrate a basic difference between papers. The paper used in Enchanted Forest Daydreams is called “silk”, while the paper used for The Tree, the River, and the Mischief-maker is called “taizan.” Notice the greater abundance of branches and curved lines in The Tree, the River, and the Mischief-maker in comparison to Enchanted Forest Daydreams. Silk wanted to keep its shape, it did not want to buckle and bend the way taizan did. Silk’s comparative inflexibility created straighter lines when it creased, and broader expanses between creases. This evoked a leafier tree than the taizan worked tree.
Often a single sheet can comprise both foreground and background. In Sunset Becomes Her, the sky, the tree, and its branches developed from a single whole sheet of bond larger than the canvas; the Raven applied on top of the bond in black card stock.
I am continually exploring the alluring intricate synergy between the paper structure, the paint and my own contribution; the result greater than the sum of the individual effects. I strive for each piece to project the internal energy inherent in all matter, establish rapport, grasp that most basic language where a natural magnetism or recognition occurs, a “visual pheromone” if you will.