Artist Soul canvas

A mixed media canvas divided into a grid with panels in purples, greens, blues and neutral. It has a focal element comprising a butterfly, flower and the words "use your wings".

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.

A close-up of the paint layers where the neutral and purple panels meet.

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.

A close-up of the words "use your wings" with a small gilded heart tucked behind them.

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.

The canvas displayed on a small wooden easel.

5 thoughts on “Artist Soul canvas”

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