From Intangible to Touchable | Mixed-Media Art Inspiration

Today’s dose of mixed-media art inspiration comes from Kayann Ausherman, who contributed the following article for the “I Made This” column of Cloth Paper Scissors (January/February 2014).

Elephant Reaching by Kayann Ausherman

My love for art has always squirmed its way into every niche of my life, but it wasn’t until after a couple of busy decades raising my eight children that I began to devote time to it. In art, I find a way to combine many of my loves. I love the creative process of moving what is an intangible idea or feeling into a visible, touchable piece of art.

Elephant Reaching by Kayann Ausherman

I love collecting and composing inspiring and motivating words, and they often find their way in to my artwork. I love the serendipity involved in never knowing exactly how things are going to go, and the surprises that come up along the way. I love the endless variety of new techniques and mediums to experiment with, and I have tried many of them.

I first encountered the wonders of creating with CitraSolv® a couple of years ago. CitraSolv concentrated cleaner is an eco-friendly cleaner that doubles as one of my favorite art supplies. Sprayed on the pages of National Geographic® magazines, it dissolves the rich inks to create some gorgeous effects. I spray several pages at once and let them sit for a few minutes before checking them. Opening the treated pages to see what kind of wonderful designs and colors have emerged on the page is like opening a present. I am intrigued by the idea of words and images dissolving and combining to create something totally new.

The resulting pages can be used as is, but for this piece I wanted to make something a little larger than the original magazine page. I enlarged the paper with a copy machine and printed it onto a sheet of watercolor paper that would serve as my background. From additional sheets of CitraSolv-treated pages, I cut out the heart, the elephant, and the letters. Handwriting on a card from a dear friend was cut out to form the stars. I used black ink and acrylic paint to add features and shading to the elephant, and gold and black paint pens to accent the heart and words. ~KA

If Ausherman’s art and process alone don’t inspire you, surely the fact that she has eight children and still finds time to create art may. I have only two children and know that it can be difficult to make time for personal creative acts, which are second only to water for my health.

Hats off to her for this, and the dreamy work she has created.

Until next time,

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