Sunday, January 26, 2014

Creating Hope

Time for a peak into the making of my newest bit of mixed media artwork, "Angel of Hope."
Laurie Sikorowski

I have been wanting to play with something more 3 dimensional than a typical painting but not an actual assemblage or sculpture so first I doodled around in one of my sketchbooks (after a nice bubble bath which almost always gets me dreaming of some new something) and I came up with a shadowbox sort of idea. I browsed my scrap pile for some possible pieces to use as my base. My sketches -really rough, more like thought nudges, were more square or horizontal in format but all I could find that might work was the lid of a shoe box, a narrow sandal type box. Luckily I had some scrap cardboard left over from cutting out sheets to use as mailing backer boards. Putting the box over the board added a little detail and  jazzed up the proportions. I also grabbed a piece of chip board, you know the kind that comes at the back of a ledger pad to use for my cut out elements.

Next i started my angel. I did a loose sketch, really just the face as I knew I wanted the body to be a simple shape. I painted her with acrylics and watercolor crayons, then cut out her out and headed to my paper piles and baskets of odd bits to see what I could find. By now I knew my color scheme was going to be predominately green and gold so anything that might go in that direction was tossed on to the floor next to me.

I laid my angel aside, went back to my background and began using matt medium to collage on torn pieces of a paper towel saturated with green paints, magazine photos of a garden, and some old scrapbook paper left overs. I intentionally keep it messy with a few crinkles to catch a later layer of paint. 
I have a great collection of well, I guess most people would call it trash. I can't bear to throw away even the tiniest of paper so as I cut papers for one project, its scraps become part of the next ... and so on and so. Its kind of cool, each piece of new art has a bit of old art in it and its left overs become part of the next. I peel a bit of the top layer of some of the cardboard and add an old sheet of music (It came upon a midnight clear) to completely cover the substrate. Then I start to smear on some blue with fluid acrylic and watercolor crayons. Then back on my angel.

I lay her in the box to see how she fits and then look through the pile to my side and start trying different pieces to see how I want to continue. I tend to just pick up the first piece I see then move it around till it finds a home. I cut and tear the scraps to layer up the angel's dress. It includes some neat wrapping paper my daughter used at Christmas, part of a print that the ink ran out in the middle of, and a piece of vintage lace given to me by a friend. Next I add bits of cardboard to the back of my angel so she will hover off the background.
I slip her into the background for another check. I initially cut up a heart shaped gold doily for the wings but now I think the piece needs more color to tie to the color in the dress so I trim them down and add a bottom layer of red polka dots. I also cut some green wood grained lower wings (yes, scrap from another project) and serendipitously a few green feathers fall out of a basket as I pull out some copper wire for her halo. Its fate, I simply must slip then in as well.process of creating art

Back into the background she goes. Now I wonder, should I go in a different direction? I tear some printed paper and see how she'd do as a garden fairy. I add some of the red polka dot flowers to the frame. I also try some stars and a butterfly. Hum... Nice but I think she'll stay my angel of hope but I do see another piece developing in my head. I take off the hair and some of the polka dots (they weren't glue on so its easy, I'm constantly editing and changing things and sometime put off gluing something way too long -just in case, you know) I do keep the heart charm and a pair of flowers at the frame top. Finally I commit and glue it all together and then add a final bit of grunge over the whole thing with charcoal and fluid acrylics.

Just about done. I'm torn -do I want to attach the art on a canvas at a diagonal. I have a partially completed background on an appropriately sized canvas so I add a few scraps of the red polka dot paper and more red paints to it and see how it works. I like it but it gets a little too matchy cute which is fine but not where I was wanting it to go in my head.
So I sleep on it and this morning, I know what I want to do. I decide I'll use the red canvas for my next project.  It turned out nice so it'll make a great background. But for this one, I gather some twigs then wrap some of the copper wire and rustic ribbon around them for a hanger. I also find a little silver butterfly charm and add it to the twigs. Voila! Finished -unless I change my mind again. Hope you enjoyed this little peak in to my process :)

Mixed Media Angel


  1. What a wonderful transformation from beginning to end. So creative and I love the finished piece! I am always intrigued by mixed media art and I love the effect it has. Visiting you back from my blog....thanks for visiting me!

  2. Laurie this is amazing!! Thank you for showing pictures and explaining all the steps it took to make this gorgeous angel.I am very impressed! Now I am going over to take a look at your etsy shop . . .lol

  3. This process reminds me of making sour dough bread. You always need a bit of the dough from the last loaf you made to start the dough for a new loaf. There's leaven in the old bit and it leavens the whole new loaf. I love how your process uses bits and pieces of "leaven" from previous work to "leaven" an entirely new piece.

  4. Thank y'all for visiting. This piece was lots of fun to make. I'm glad you enjoyed seeing the process. Also love the imagery of the yeast -a what a great analogy.