Alongside creating the abstract landscapes and this canvas, Laly Mille also wanted us to start to identify our art language — the colours, mark-making, textures, materials, formats and compositions that resonate.
I’m starting to get a feel for the colours I like working with and texture is definitely something that is important to me. Mark-making is harder: I think that shapes and symbols are closely linked to words in my mind and that makes them more meaningful and therefore harder to use in any vaguely casual way.
Most of my mixed media work has either been done on paper or MDF/greyboard panels; this is the first actual canvas I’ve used. And as for composition, well, obviously I consider the layout of any piece I plan, but I’ve never really thought of it in formal composition terms — it’s something that I need to read up on.
The one thing that I did learn while making this canvas is that I don’t like the grid layout: it is far too restrictive for me. That really isn’t surprising as my general preferences are based in nature and natural forms.
So, I followed the class and made the canvas and there are elements that I like — the layers of colour on the individual panels please me — but the overall canvas does nothing for me. As well as the fundamental problem with the grid composition, I also ended up falling back on a mixed media 101 style focal element in an attempt to pull it together. It feels like something I would have made three years ago when I first started playing with mixed media.
I don’t like it, but I know why I don’t like it. And that makes me happy.