Artist Soul abstract landscapes

Four abstract collage-based landscape mixed media works.

At the end of October, Laly Mille ran The Artist Soul online retreat, a short course packed with inspiration for creating abstract artworks. I am a fan of Laly’s art style and have created a couple of pieces based on classes she has run before: river and rocks from Wanderlust 2019 and the more recent butterfly grid.

An inspiration scrapbook page with a selection of collage papers, fabrics, images, and odds and ends. In a palette of greens, browns and golds.

On the first day I did something that I haven’t done before, but which, if I can persuade myself to take the time to do again, was actually really helpful. I started an inspiration scrapbook. This involved going through my stash of collage materials, choosing a harmonious selection of pictures, papers, fabrics and odds and ends, and then putting together a page that could be used as the basis for something, rather than just winging it, which is my normal way of working.

The second day used the scrapbook as the starting point for creating a series of four abstract landscapes.

The four landscapes with the horizon lines drawn in and the collage materials in place.

After drawing horizon lines on each of the panels, there was another change in process. Whereas I would normally just grab a handful of collage papers to start with, use some, and then add to it as I went along, this time the first step was to make four small bundles of collage materials and use those to add form and texture to the landscapes.

The first landscape with the horizon line in the centre of the panel.

Once that was done and dry, I could then build up the colour in the landscapes with a variety of mediums. The biggest challenge being, as ever with mixed media work, knowing when to stop.

A low horizon line on this painting leaves room for a lot of texture in the sky.

I am really happy with how these turned out; these will end up on my wall as soon as I find some frames I like. I’ve never tried creating a series of works like this and it was surprisingly satisfying — doing the same thing over has always been one of the things I find hardest and it can make practising anything extremely difficult, but I just hate repeating myself. I think that, although the process was the same, these are visually sufficiently different and, of course, they were created at the same time and I wasn’t starting from scratch with the next one as the last one was completed.

The third abstract landscape has a high horizon line.

The third day took some of these ideas and moved them onto a single canvas, but that can wait until Monday.

The final abstract landscape has a jagged horizon line going from low on the left side to higher on the right.

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