Beauty in the background

When I started to learn how to create mixed media art, I realized something about myself.  I simply LOVE the backgrounds.  Not that I don’t love the details and the focal point, but the background often goes unrecognized for its beauty.  Now, as I put together backgrounds, I build layer upon layer of paper, glue and paint, marker, stamps and pen (and coffee filters, we can’t forget coffee filters!)  When something doesn’t look quite right, it is easy to simply to paint over it with a nice dark or opaque color or I can choose to leave a little peaking through.  It’s there for a reason after all.  It is forever part of the background.  Glued in place.  (and trust when I say there have been many many pieces I have tried to rip off with no success!!)   I put it there for some conscious or unconscious or subconscious reason.  It’s fixed.

background1 copy

I guess this is true of life isn’t it?  Our backgrounds are part of who we are.  We can try to cover over the pieces that we don’t like or try to repaint the whole canvas.  Here’s the thing about mixed media though… the edges of the paper always show.  Place your background in the right light, and they show.  They are simply there forever, and that is a beautiful thing.  It’s what makes the piece work in the end.

So as I pull out my paints and paper these days, I have taken a different perspective in my creative process.  I am using more transparent paint.  I am embracing those pieces that stick out as part of a greater canvas, as part of my struggle to create.  I have to be honest… Creating this way for the first time was seriously scary though.  Why?!  How can paint and paper and glue be scary?  Was it fear that people would not like what I created?  Was it fear that I would not like what I created?  Was it fear that someone would see what I was doing and laugh?  Luckily, before too much of a neuroses set in, I found out that this feeling is natural and normal…fear in doing something new…fear in embracing your struggle.  So I moved forward with the hope that maybe I would like the change.  Maybe I would create something lovely.  Maybe it would feel good to let all of my layers show and not hide any.  Imagine my surprise when the backgrounds I started to create where brighter and more vibrant.  Their composition more dramatic.  They were more reflective of who I really am… as a person, as a mom, as a creative soul.


So as you go and create today, embrace all your layers.  They make the canvas of your life beautiful and better yet, they allow the precious details to really shine.

2 thoughts on “Beauty in the background

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