mixed media

Wanderlust: doorway patterns

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The guest instructor for week three of the Wanderlust “Patterns” theme was Kellee Wynne Conrad (website, Instagram).

Kellee’s lesson was inspired by traditional tile patterns and the first thing we had to do was create our own. I’ve done a little bit of stamp carving before — including making the swallow stamp for my “two rivers” Wanderlust art journal — so I was able to focus on creating the patterns without worrying too much about the actual carving.

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I used the stamps to create patterned papers and used those, along with some other papers, to make a collage background. I wasn’t that happy with how it looked, but the joy of collage backgrounds is that ninety per cent of it gets covered up anyway…

The next part of the lesson involved painting a doorway. And I knew exactly what I wanted to create: I had a photo of a door surrounded by ivy that was perfect source material for this project. I just checked and I took that photo sixteen years ago (!!!), but the textures of the door and the ivy stuck in my mind.

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I sketched the shape of the door and some lines for the bricks and then took a deep breath. I knew how I was going to do the foliage, but the wooden door was a different matter. This was one of those “think about it too much and you won’t be able to do it” moments.

So I just gathered some paints — browns, some yellow, a touch of red, including some iridescent paint for a bit of shine — painted the grid to give me a starting point and then filled in the panels. Picking up different colours on the flat brush at the same time, mixing colours pretty much randomly on the palette, and just adding layers of colour until it looked right. I don’t think I could have made it look more like I wanted it to if I’d known what I was doing.

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After adding some base colour over the rest of the collage papers, I started on the foliage. With a selection of greens to go with the leftover brown from the door and a bunch of cotton buds held together with an elastic band, I just dabbed dots of paint around the door, building up layers until I was happy with the result.

After all that, the bottom left corner was looking a bit weak in comparison. I eventually fixed it by adding another layer of stamping over the top with one of the tiles I’d carved and ended up with my favourite Wanderlust creation yet.

Class:

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