Mixed Media Painting Process

The Dialogue Between The Colors

When it comes to my “Front and Side” series of paintings, I have a process that involves several types of media. Because these are mixed media paintings, I am using different types of paints and mediums as well as tools.

dick-crispo-with-front-and-side-paintingsWhen I am creating these 4” x 8” inch paintings, which I’m continually doing, I start off with a piece of rag watercolor paper. This paper is especially important because it won’t destroy or age easily. As I work on these mixed media paintings, what I really have been looking at is how I mix the different colors, and because each painting is different; no two paintings are alike. The paints, the materials, and the colors and all will be different in each one. I may be using the same materials but in different sequences. In doing this, I can get different colors. Take for example the multi-color grays. In this way, I can make blacks and silvers. Then I can add blacks to the silver to make yet another gray. This process allows me to just keep expanding my color range and the mood of the piece.

What I’ve been working on lately is more and more layers, more sequences to help tell the story of the colors. These mixed media paintings are a story of the colors and the relationship between the two faces. The full face, front view and the profile. These mixed media paintings have different moods. Sometimes, the mood can cause the compositions to break up, or be more edgy than others, not as harmonious. Or, the art may take on a more monochromatic color scheme where I am using a lot of a single hue.painting-process-front-and-side

The profile is an important part of setting the character of the shape of the human face. Profiles come in all sizes and shapes, as everybody comes in all sizes and shapes. Everybody’s got different noses, different parts, but the fun for me playing with the shapes against the shape of the frontal view.

color-examplesAll the colors have to get to know each other. And all the different paints have to know each other. That’s a very important part of the process. How the colors talk to each other, how they get along. What do they mean, in terms of visual visual experience for the viewer and for the story. That’s an important part of the process. The different textures and different colors makes for different ways of seeing. And as I always say,  I don’t want any two of these front and side paintings to be like the last one I did. I could sit here all day and keep playing with all these different materials.

In my studio, I use Ottlites. Both at my drawing table and in the overhead lights on the ceiling. The Ottlite is the closest to sunlight that’s made by companies. 

For paints in these mixed media paintings, I am using several types:

  • Pearlescent ink
  • Acrylic ink
  • Alcohol dyes
  • Water colors
  • Oil pastels sticks
  • Hydrodyes
  • Japanese sumi colors
  • Aniline dyes
  • Liquid graphite (liquid pencil)

In addition to a variety of brushes to make the marks, I also use paper towels to create texture, and wire brushes.

Please be sure to watch the video to gain more insight into my creative process.

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