Donna Baspaly: A Voyage of Discovery

Discovery plays a major role in my mixed media work?I don?t know what the end result will be until the piece is actually complete. That means I have to be alert and maintain a relationship between my ideas and what?s happening in the paint. I?m particularly intrigued by the concept of layering the surface with different media to create depth. This produces greater visual interest and commands attention, qualities we all want in our work. My approach can be roughly broken into 10 simple steps:

1. Build a structure. I try to start each painting in a new, creative way.

2. Add texture. Creating texture at the outset gives me the opportunity to set up a dominant rhythm.


Facing Time

3. Select a palette. I choose my colors based on the feeling I want to convey, and, because of the abundance of texture in my work, I use a limited palette.

4. Layer color.

5. Take time out. After each layer, I take a break to examine my painting from new angles.

6. Examine the shapes. As the painting develops, I check to make certain the elements are interesting in height, width, depth, shape and size.

7. Map for success. When I?m satisfied with the basic shapes, I identify images and pull them out of the chaos by mapping their perimeters with white chalk.


Crystal Mystique (mixed media, 20×33)

8. Accentuate the positive. To accentuate the stronger portions of the painting, I use a more concentrated pigment of color.

9. Adjust the temperature. I pay close attention to the overall color temperature, trying to keep it either warm or cool.

10. Final decisions. As the painting nears completion I again step back to make sure the overall design is working. I check to see if I need to bring the focal point out some more, if the original substructure can still be detected, and I may add some accents.

Working with mixed media gives me a level of creative freedom I couldn?t approach if I limited myself to one medium. With a little experimentation, it can do the same for you.

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