I was scrolling through email in my daily dispatch from Unroll.me when something caught my eye. I typically just delete all of the emails, but I had been stopped by an image — an energy — in an email from The Bascom. The sketched and painted image of a woman’s eyes and a nose against a collage background was profoundly beautiful, ethereal, and moving.
I clicked on the email to investigate.
I learned that the image was part of an advertisement for a mixed media class to be taught by artist Christine Peloquin in August. As quickly as my heart was electrified by the image, my excitement waned when I saw the dates for the class; I would be in Europe while Christine was in Highlands.
Disappointed, I closed my laptop shut and headed out the door to meet a client.
Later that afternoon, I thought of the image again and returned to The Bascom site. I sank into the image again, and once more, I felt a strong knowing that I had to learn this technique. There was something beyond the beauty of the art that was pulling me, and I decided I was going to find a way to learn it.
I reached out to Christine, and after a few exchanged emails, we landed upon her giving me private lessons while I was In Jacksonville Beach. She would drive up from her home in Florida for two days and work with me in the cottage I rented. Elation!!!
Christine arrived with samples of her stunning work and all of the materials we would need for the two days. We unloaded her car, set up, and dove in.
Prior to seeing the ad in The Bascom catalog, I had never even heard of mixed media (that’s how much of a newbie to the art world I am). Christine explained that we were going to take the 20″ x 20″ wood panels (which look like canvases, but are made from wood) and affix paper, fabric, and ephemera to the boards in a collage we designed. I happily dove into the massive pile of fabric and paper and began pulling items that sent little shock waves through me.
Once selected and laid out on our panels, we took matte medium and slathered it all over the base. We put down the pieces and added a layer of matte medium on top. We set the panels aside to dry over night. The next day, we took the images we wanted on top of the panels and created “windows” with painter’s tape. We put down a layer of charcoal and created an outline onto our panels. Then we used a finer piece of charcoal to add definition and detail. Once the image was complete, we sprayed the panels and let them dry.
Next, we used acrylic paint to bring the image to the front. I felt not unlike Frankenstein’s creator, bringing my image to life. I felt as if I were floating, suspended, in a current of excitement, wonder, and sheer joy. Dormant sections of my brain were illuminated with firing synapses, and my heart soared. I couldn’t believe what I was creating!
As you can see in my finished work pictured above, there are little surprises in the piece that were a result of unintended, happy accidents. These miracles transport me each and every time I view the piece and take me back to the experience of being in that buoyant sea of creating.
Not unlike the first conversation one would have with aliens who had landed via UFO in your backyard, I had established contact with a foreign part of myself I had never known. I shook hands, spoke in halting sentences, and then finally embraced it fully. We had not only become fast friends, but were instant soul mates. Where have you been all my life? What else are you capable of creating and bringing to life?
If something is piquing your interest, making your heart skip a beat, and/or flooding your mind with curiosity, stop everything and follow that butterfly. Let it lead you to the meadow, filled with color and delight. Run to it.
I’ll meet you there.