which art supplies to use when - Mixed Media Questions

by Crystal
(Methuen, Mass USa)

which art supplies to use when - Mixed Media Questions


Hey Milliande,
With all of the types of supplies that are out in the world today, how do you determine what to use especially if stuff is in boxes, containers, baskets etc. I try to look through my stuff all of the time to remind myself of what I have. Do you just pull things out that you have not used in awhile, and use them in a project.
I have watched you for over 3 years, and have been involved in the art community; collage and mixed media for a few years. So I know how to do things, but just don't know what I should use and sometimes I overdo my pages say with too many shapes from stamps too many colors, too much shadow ...
submitted by Crystal
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Answered by Milliande

An interesting question, and a difficult one to answer. I guess it depends on how one personally would like to work, rather than there being a universally applicable answer. As always I can only speak from my viewpoint .

I tend to go through " phases" of using particular art supplies over another. I tend to choose one way and explore that for a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, then move on to some other art material.
When Art Journaling it depends on WHERE I am journaling. I sketch a lot when travelling so tend to always use pencils,permanent pen and ink pens, watercolor crayons and an aquabrush as my staples. I go through phases of using lots of materials on a page do " decorate" a page to a theme as it where but these days I use my journals more as jumping boards for ideas rather than making final pages.

There is a tendency to " overdo" it whatever art material one chooses, even just using acrylic paints, one can overdo texture , add too much color ... the trick for me is to sit quietly and listen to when the muse silently whispers ...it is enough .. rather than letting the dominant brain half jump in and be greedy for more play :-)

Personally I like to be surrounded by my art materials and then grab what inspires me in the moment rather than pre-plan what I am going to do, particularly when working in journals. To that extend I prefer to keep art materials in open stand up baskets where I can SEE them, I also use plastic or glass SEE through containers for different kinds of art supplies like pens, pencils, colored watercolor crayons, pen and ink bottles etc so I can grab a set as it were when it inspires me.

I tend to separate dry and wet art materials in my approaches .. for day to day stuff I tend to work dry as I can fit it in around homeschooling my daughter ..so I work with stitching, pen and ink or colored pencils, maybe an aquabrush with a small watercolor palette and reserve wet playtime for when I can free a few hours strung together. When I need more setup time , like for printmaking I tend to work again when I have a few hours in a row.

As to what to use when ... for me that depends on what mood I am trying to create, what I feel like playing with on that day and I dont think there is a hard and fast rule as to a correct way of doing it. I might doodle to start off with with pen and ink, then wonder what a watercolor wash might look like over it and when I am still not feeling the result is pleasing to me then I may add some textured gesso to cover some up, reveal some or start over.

All in all it is the freedom to not have a particular outcome in mind that helps me to release myself from expectations and just enjoy the possibilities that present themselves through play.

Milliande :-)

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