An artist I met recently, on seeing this and the images of other dragonfly paintings of mine, told me that Native Americans in the Southwest considered the dragonfly a symbol of life. Where you find dragonflies, you find water – and water is essential for life.
In this little painting, and the others in the series, I have created the stencil of the dragonfly, from a drawing I did of a dragonfly some years ago. I have cut a new block to print the dragonfly's image on the stenciled one, in the next layer of the process.
Combining methods like this is one of the things I love most about mixed media – you try a little of this, and what about that? And what if you did this...? It encourages experimentation and discovery in ways that other kinds of painting don't necessarily. I have no idea how they'll turn out – I'm just enjoying the process. I'm looking forward to teaching both relief printing and making and painting with stencils (in two different workshops this time) in the coming year. You can do so much with both these processes! Here's to the joy of discovery!
Where does the time go? Already Thanksgiving has passed, and December is here.... I'm putting together a workshop schedule for 2012, with visions and revisions as to what workshops I'll be offering - and I should be able to announce them soon.
In the meantime, I've been working on a series of small relief printed paintings. Incorporating relief printing into painting is fun and wonderfully exploratory. You can't predict how the results will turn out – so you just appreciate it. If you approach it as a layering process, each layer adds new interest, depth, and complexities.
It's a method you can use to create beautiful papers to incorporate into collages, or you can use it directly in paintings. With these paintings, I intend to add stencils and block prints – but I like to stop and appreciate each stage just as it is before I move on.
Finally I've been able to get back to the new art tools I made for relief printing! I spent today playing with them, experimenting with the shapes and textures they make, and layering colors. I'd also made stencils, using a wonderful stencil–making technique, and tried different ways of incorporating them into my painted papers. It was a joyful process!
These are all techniques we'll be using in the Paint, Stencils, and Relief Printing workshop coming up on Saturday, August 13th, 2011, at the Calistoga Art Center. You can see some more of my results at Paint, Stencils, and Relief Printing: Adventures in Mixed Media. They are fun, lighthearted creative processes – I'm looking forward to sharing them!
Today I scoured the aisles of a dollar store, finding all kinds of things I can create art tools from. Huh? you might ask. Art tools at a dollar store?
Yep. I'm preparing for the workshop I'll be teaching in August called Paint, Stencils, and Relief Printing: Adventures in Mixed Media. I already had a nice collection of lovely and unusual items for relief printing and creating interesting patterns and stencils, but now I have more.
Wonder what I might make of a swimming noodle? A bag of hair bands? A plastic basket? Sponges? Place mats? Art tools galore.... The fun is just beginning.
Karen Lynn Ingalls
I am a working artist in Napa and Sonoma Counties, in northern California. I paint colorist landscapes of rural California, teach art classes, workshops, and private lessons, live in Calistoga, and have my art studio in Santa Rosa, California.