My new mixed media paintings have been through quite a process! They started out last summer as six squares on a sheet of 100% rag art paper (the good quality archival stuff used by professionals). I used only three acrylic paint colours (a blue, a red and a yellow), made some big swooshing brush marks and stamped a few circles on top with the end of a cork, if I remember correctly. And then I set them aside, not sure what I wanted to do with them.

They resurfaced in January and I decided to develop them into more refined pieces. I already had the loose, brushy base layer but I wasn’t pleased with the colours as they were. I wanted to introduce some new colours and collage elements such as bits of text from vintage magazines. I happened to have a selection of gelatin-prints made with acrylic paint on translucent rice paper that would inject new colours and let the under-layer show through a bit. I love having a ‘ghost’ of the layer beneath!

As I developed these paintings through the most rotten February weather, I craved colour. Some artists love using a more muted palette in the winter but I wanted all the saturated colour I could get. The other thing I wanted was to work across all six pieces at the same time. For example, I mixed up a beautiful jade green or peachy colour to add into all of the paintings. This helps to link them together as a collection.

Teresa's still life paintings in progress on a drawing table.I also introduced something a little different for me. I created some paper stencils of containers and vase shapes and painted around them. This meant that each container shape kept the colour and texture of the layer underneath. There is an element of chance with working this way. I really enjoyed that!

In between painted layers and marks, I glued in smaller shaped elements cut from gelatin-printed papers. This is a very intuitive process. Sometimes an area ‘feels’ like it needs another element or pattern. Even the tiniest snippet can enliven an area of a painting with a twinkle of colour or a dynamic shape. 

Close up of a painting of two red vases next to a paintbrush and piece of blue art paper.I did not keep track of how many layers each painting has because I was so involved with the enjoyment of making them. I imagine that each one has at least three or four layers, if not more. Once it feels that a painting is done, the next step is to seal the surface with a gloss gel medium and then a professional UV satin varnish to protect the painting. The satin varnish is a lovely finish that brings out the luminous colours. 

This collection of still life paintings is now available for purchase in my shop. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about how I made them and, as always, feel free to email me with your questions and comments.