Canson Canva-Paper: Great for Mixed Media!

I hit a wall a few weeks ago, after taking a week off painting. I returned to pastels and plein air, only to feel that I needed to breathe new life into my work. The best way I know to do that: experiment!

I've used Canson Canva-paper a few times before. I wanted to see how it held up under some thick paint, and played around with my palette knife and some acrylic paint (applied impasto style). After adding a layer of chalk pastel to each, I ended up with the following two pieces:

"Shimmer" 12 x 16 Acrylic and Pastel on Canson Canva-paper
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"Dschungel" 12 x 16 Acrylic and Chalk Pastel on Canson Canva-paper
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("Dschungel" is German for "Jungle." It's always been one of my favorite German words.)

Both of these pieces were based loosely on photographs taken around Southern California (one at a butterfly exhibit, another at a theme park). I honestly didn't feel much like painting at all, since I've been in a seasonal allergy fog for a few weeks. I told myself I would just slap some paint on the heavy-duty paper and see what came out. In a quick burst of painting, I "knifed out" the basic compositions for these two pieces and was quite pleased with the strength of the paper. I also love its texture, which shows through under the paint. The only caveat I have with this paper is that I have trouble getting a good photo of the finished piece. Thankfully, we had soft afternoon light today (unusual for this area), and I was able to take some good photos outside in the sunlight.

The following painting was also done on Canson Canva-paper a couple of weeks ago, in a rare plein air session where I had a couple of free hours to experiment with some oil pastels and watercolor. It took me until today to get a decent photo, which is why I hadn't posted it before:

"Canyon Houses" 12 x 16 Oil Pastel and Watercolor on Canson Canva-Paper
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In "Canyon Houses," I applied the watercolor both as a wash and straight from the tube for added texture. Again, the paper's texture showed through, lending a patchwork feel to the piece. I wouldn't recommend the oil pastel and thick watercolor combination for the timid artist-- it's easy to lose control of the watercolor. One of the things I enjoy about mixing media is that loss of control; sometimes I just start with a basic idea and see where the mediums take me.

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