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Material Use for Mixed Media Paintings

Contemporary artist db Waterman remembers that, as a young girl, she liked to cut pictures out of magazines to cover school diaries, books and even her bedroom door.


Add to this the fascination that db Waterman has always had for walls full of old posters, peeling paint, scrappy billboards and weathered paint. Completely unintentionally she found a new way of working, in which she feels very comfortable and at home.


Image of the background to a db Waterman painting to show the mixed media process.

What is Mixed Media?


Mixed media art involves mixing different creative media to create work that incorporates two or more art forms. Mixed media is about breaking the boundaries between different art forms.


That's why db Waterman sees everything as a potential canvas.


Artworks can be made on canvas, paper or cardboard.


Her first mixed media technique to lay a foundation for her paintings consists of newspapers, magazines, pieces of paper, and packaging materials. This mixes db Waterman with acrylic paint in several layers. This creates a lot of depth and structure. And an image that is not achievable with 'normal' painting with acrylic paint.


The technique is intended to copy old weathered walls with torn posters and peeling paint. This creates an urban, street art appearance. The result is a surface with a lot of layering, structure and a lot of small details, which are often not visible at first glance but will surprise the viewer when the painting is viewed up close.


Initially, it lacked one thing that is very important to db Waterman; the transparency that can normally only be achieved with the use of watercolours or aqueous acrylics. This resulted in a second Mixed media technique.


The relentless layering of transparent watercolours is a challenge that db Waterman would not want to miss and after much trial and error, she finally managed to make the collages as transparent as a watercolour painting. Every layer of oil, ink, acrylic, pencil, crayon, ballpoint pen, watercolour, ink, charcoal and everything db Waterman uses remains visible in the artwork.


The creative materials that db Waterman uses for mixed media paintings


  • Canvas - paper - cardboard

  • Newspapers - magazines - old paper - music magazines - books

  • Packaging materials - plastic - tissue

  • Acrylic paint - Watercolor paint - Ink - pencil - charcoal - pastel -

  • Coloured pencil - coloured pen - marker - spraypaint - glue - varnish - own photos - digital images


The advantage of being a mixed media artist is that you can work very playfully and messy. Things 'arise' that you have not determined in advance. You get surprises from your own work. So it's a great medium to experiment with. Better to go too far and back off for your next piece than be too timid and never know what the mediums you use are capable of. As Ernest Hemingway said, "Write drunk and edit sober." The same goes for creating mixed media art!

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