Trust Your Instincts | Mixed Media

Life is never perfect. We have days that are amazing and filled with happy news and laughter, but we also have moments of doubt, fear of the unknown, and anxiety over gas prices and who’s going to win the next syndicated television talent show. Are you with me?

Distant Freighter (re-inker glaze and acrylic on wood panel)
by Serena Barton, author of Wabi-Sabi Art Workshop

OK, I actually pay little attention to the final outcome of TV contests, but I can tell you that without the low points, we wouldn’t be so aware and appreciative of the high points. One of my favorite sayings is that you can’t have the mountains without the valleys. Life, and everything that goes along with it, is bumpy.

Because art is life (and yes, I can say that with full confidence), I think it’s fair to say that art is bumpy, too. It’s easy to embrace the ecstasy of creating the ultimate piece of artwork that both satisfies the process and fulfills our need to create; but what about when something goes wrong? The paint mixes in a way that was unplanned, or the paper tears.

Our first response might be to feel devastation on the level of running out of coffee on the Monday morning after the time change when we’ve stayed up too late the night before. Or maybe not. But my point is that it’s OK when things go “wrong,” especially if you see it as wabi-sabi.

Serena Barton, author of Wabi-Sabi Art Workshop: Mixed Media Techniques for Embracing Imperfection and Celebrating Happy Accidents, advises us to do this: “Experiment, enjoy, keep working, embrace accidents and mistakes, and trust yourself.”

In addition to offering inspiration for looking at your art with less judgement, Barton offers guidance on how to create layers of texture and use unexpected materials to create mixed-media art that goes with the flow. She not only teaches you how to ride the bumps, but also how to create them. It’s empowering.

Do you already observe wabi-sabi on and off canvas? Tell me about it!

Until next time,

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Mixed media art inspiration by Serena Barton |


Blog, Mixed-Media Painting Techniques


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