Often, I find it helps to have some kind of prompt or challenge to jumpstart my creative practice. I adapted Jenniebellie's challenge to make one layer a day on several backgrounds. My twist was to take seven basic layers that I usually incorporate and do all the layers on one canvas.
After I chose my seven techniques, I printed them out and cut them apart. Next I chose the order randomly, and challenged myself to use what I had on hand to fulfill the prompt.
Here's the order that presented itself to me.
For my focal image, I picked two magazine images and glued them with a glue stick onto a piece of watercolor paper.
I really liked this old photo from a vintage magazine, and the colorful rubberbands caught my eye, so I arranged them together. In this process, you get to make several decisions, which can be part of the challenge, but also built my confidence, as the page evolved. With each decision, I realized that I do have some basic color and design knowledge that emerges while using a mostly intuitive approach to quickly adding elements based on the prompt.
My second prompt was "add color." Since acrylic paints were on my table, I grabbed three colors and white. I poured random blobs of paint around the page, and spread the color with a brush.
I sped up the drying process with my blow dryer, and then moved onto layer three, which was spritz water or ink. I used yellow ink and water, and let the ink and water drizzle down the page. The effect was very subtle and caused the picture to crinkle, but I liked it.
Layer four was my most challenging, to doodle or scribble on the page. I really never know where to start with this step. This time, I happened to notice a floral print on the wallpaper in the photo. I decided to doodle a floral border with a black pastel.
With three more layers to go, the decisions became more and more driven by the previous layers. I chose a stencil that seemed to compliment the emerging design. I placed it over the open spaces and dabbed gesso with a sponge brush onto the page. Will I be happy? How much is too much, always hovers over me, while I add each layer.
With each layer, I was conscious of my focal image. I liked it so much I made sure to not put too much media over it.
Sometimes this is hard,especially since it was my first element. Normally, I add the focal image near the end of a page. Layer six was to add a repeated stamped image. I saw a stamp on my shelf across the room, and the red ink pad was on the table. The stamp complimented the floral border that I doodled earlier.
My last layer, to add paper scraps, ended up being a decision that took a bit of thinking. Usually, I randomly glue scraps of paper to a page first. So this time, I decided to intentionally glue the scraps of paper in the blank space near the photo, to make a type of journaling box to use later.
I have been enjoying this challenge so much that I've been sharing the idea with others. I hope you'll try the challenge.
One of my students suggested to write responses on a separate piece of paper, to process how each layer affected her, as she made her page. (Or if you want, write your response to each layer right on the page, and see how the writing adds to the layers.)
Enjoy the process! Here's to seeing NEW!