I gently prop my first mixed media art piece against the wall next to where I write and smile. My first attempt at this art form pleases me, just as a child’s awkward ballet performance elicits a mother’s delight. The piece squeals “gaudy, flamboyant, Phantom of the Opera-like,” but I don’t mind. The feelings that inspired the attempt have been cocooned for a very long time.
I think back to when I fashioned the background using Kelly Rae Robert’s techniques demonstrated in her book Taking Flight. Playing with new supplies kept me busy the entire day. Then right before bed I thought, I need my own unique expression. I fell asleep and in the night awoke from a dream of an open mouth with a butterfly fluttering out.
The words, “Find your voice,” formed next to the image.
That’s it! I thought. My voice will come from what’s inside of me. The desire to become a mixed media artist has emerged over the last few years. Yet I’ve often argued with myself, I’m not the painter; my mother, sister, and daughter are the painters of the family. In spite of my misgivings, I obeyed the inner urges and bought all of the supplies needed to explore this fascinating art form.
I chose one of the coarse masks I’d fashioned from plaster cloth because it looked earthy to me and finding one’s voice is rough, unfinished, and difficult to discern.
Now as I admire the finished product, I contemplate how seekers of voice often parrot others’ art until they find their unique expression. I wasn’t thinking about parrots when I made the piece, but now I notice the resemblance with the showy feathers.
Yes, this next phase of my creative journey will include mixed media art. I’m excited to see what emerges as I seek to “find my voice.”