Monday, April 21, 2014

New Work in Mixed Media Painting, Joss Papers, The Circle of Creativity


Flowers in Her Hair
Mixed Media on Canvas
Acrylic, inks, book pages, joss papers, mediums
Marcy LaBella 2014

 I have been doing      lot of mixed media painting...and have been incorporating sewing pattern, joss papers combined with with acrylic paint, prismacolor pencils, inks and acrylic mediums. 

Joss Papers are something I came across accidentally when I inherited a lot of art supplies after the death of my good friend Judy Fleming a few years back. Judy was a fabulous potter, gardener, cook, painter, weaver and all around creative person.  Her daughter Drew let me have lots of Judy's pottery hand tools which I cherish, an old table loom, beads, a lovely old easel and lots of miscelanious art supplies. Judy like all artists was a collector and Drew found cleaning the studio and placing some of the larger equipment daunting so a bunch of folks from my art co-op went several times to sort, clear and price some of the items to be sold and to help her list them for sale.

 One of the many treasures I came away from Judy's studio clean out with were some Joss papers - something I was not familiar with at the time but have since become obsessed with.  Joss papers are lovely lightweight tissue or rice papers with beautiful often metalic designs.  I have since learned that Joss Papers are traditionally used by the Chinese to honor and venerate the dead.  They are traditionally folded and burned, and the silver and gold symbolizes money and abundance.  As beautiful as they are they are very inexpensive and can be purchased for under $5 for a large package.  You can also get a large sample packages of all different types for around the same price - they are available in Chinese or Asian markets or online....  I recently purchased some lovely Joss papers on Ebay.

An Assortment of Joss Papers

In my work I randomly attach Joss Papers to the canvas with matte acrylic medium, in the beginning stages of a painting.  During this process I also layer and scrape paint many times on and off my canvas.   During the process of building the substrate I use inks, layers of sewing pattern, printed paper, joss papers and paint until I am happy with the result.  It is a very organic process and one that is always evolving. 

I have been evolving the substrates and backgrounds of my paintings using both richly textured papers, printed papers, ephemera and mixing these with painted surfaces. The themes have been feminine figures and portraits and these themes have been carried over into my work in ceramics and into my metal work.
mixed media on canvas
acrylics, prismacolors, inks, papers, mediums
Marcy LaBella 2014

I am continuously evolving these ideas and am very engaged at looking at work that is being done currently by other artists that I admire currently and from the past.  Kudos to Gritty Jane DeRosier, Misty Mawn and Paula Agnew and I am ever grateful to Frida Kahlo and Beatrice Wood for their early work as role models for female artists everywhere.

She Dreams of Spring
Mixed Media
acrylics, prismacolors, papers, mediums, book pages

I am happy to incorporate something so beautiful that was passed to me posthumously from a dear friend into my current work.  It is interesting that my using Joss papers meant to venerate the dead are now hopefully honoring the tradition of creativity that began with my friend in peace dear friend.


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