Those of you following my little ramblings lately will know that I crave something else in my work- there is something missing.

That something is a looseness and freeness of movement, and it is texture.

Finding Maria.

Now I know followers will know I’m experimenting with Powertex to achieve texture, but then someone in the Powertex family mentioned Abyssimo This a group begun by the artist Maria Grossbaum Fondler

I was instantly blown away by her art: the vibrant colours; the abstract designs; the use of natural materials and the wonderful, wonderful textures. Her work is ‘alive’ and joyous. To my delight, Maria created Abyssimo as an on-line school for mixed-media and texture art, so I took part in a number of her courses.

It’s been an interesting, messy, hilarious and sometimes frustrating couple of weeks, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the learning curve- crampon steep as always. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I experimented with some ready made moulding media, fibre paste and crackle paste to see the effects these give: I love the crackle paste but am not so keen on the shininess of the glossy moulding paste I used.

Abyssimo crackles

Using crackle paste in a more abstract image, following Maria’s course, was hugely satisfying, and introduced the idea of sculpting media before drying to add a shaped dimension. I was like a child on Christmas morning: impatient for the paste to dry and the cracks to form. I loved the unexpectedness of it all, and the randomness of the final effect.

First of all I realised the shapes worked better the other way up! Then as the work progressed, I began to understand how the medium soaks up pigment, how it runs into the cracks and flows unexpectedly. It also became clear how to use layers of thinner colour to achieve the final shade that I wanted.

I was quite pleased with the finished piece/ It’s taken me out of my comfort zone again, it’s a bit more abstract, and I loved using metallics.

Abyssimo mixed media project

Then came the multi-media course. This was something completely new and was hugely exciting but pushed me right out of my comfort zone! I found using the moulding paste to sculpt abstract patterns difficult- in fact I procrastinated so much that it began to dry on the canvas before I’d decided what to do! I really should have planned the design… but there’s no freeness in that though is there! Why did i find this so hard? I have no idea, but it was messy fun and I enjoyed using different mark makers to create new and interesting surface patterns.

I’m not sure what happened next, but I got totally carried away with some super acrylic inks, and forgot how intense they are and also quite opaque. Yeh you’re already there- they are difficult to layer to create subtle colours!!! So I ended up with a piece that is coloured quite uncharacteristically for me and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it: actually, that’s not true… I am uncomfortable with it! It is so ‘loud’!!!! What happened to the subtle layering of colour????

I’m leaving it for a while before I come back and decide what to do. But if all else fails and I can’t live with it, I can always paint it white and start again. Gotta love acrylics!

So what next: tomorrow I start a new piece using all the parts of the experiments that I like!! It’s getting really exciting now: I have the materials, now I just need to refine my use of them…… refine them a lot! Think it might take a while!

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