Playing with Canvas by Heather Goldstein


Do you ever feel stuck? That may be a ridiculous question because I can’t think of any artist whose creative juices are always flowing. One of the best things an artist can do, in my opinion, is to PLAY and try something new! Sometimes I find that I get so involved in developing my concepts and making sure the painting I am working on will fit in the series I am trying to create and say what I want it to say, that my brain just shuts off and says, “NO MORE!”

Every once in a while I need to take a break and I found that playing in different mediums are the best arenas for me to do just that. One of the most inspiring classes I took in school was Fibers! I have used the medium for a number of different things. First, I love dye work and silk painting! Working on silk is a nice change from canvas or paper because of the hand (how it falls) of the fabric. Silk paint is wonderfully fluid and I always enjoy beautiful abstract qualities I can achieve and the great things the paint does on its own.

The best thing that I have done, however, is play with my canvas!! I’m not a huge fan of waste and I admit to being a total pack rat! I stretch my own canvas so when I am cutting away the extra, I put it to the side to sew it together later! You can use it to make yourself a Frankenstein painting! It is always fun to stretch your boundaries. Working on a canvas like that forces you to rethink your composition and work with limitations.

The other great thing you can do is to stuff your canvas! I started making dolls in Fibers and then decided to combine the best of both worlds and make stuffed heads for painting. I sewed canvas together and then stuffed it with doll stuffing (you can use newspaper too). Then, I just gessoed and painted! They were later used as part of an installation, but sometimes you need to take a breather and try something new in order to get inspired. I was having a horrible time and stressing out trying to finish a painting and oddly enough, painting stuffed heads helped me clear mine!

How do you play?
The Execution of Humanity
Mixed Media



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