Acrylic: CRITIQUE: Working in Mixed Media

0706odragonfly_600x260_2Finding the right balance of materials can be challenging in mixed-media artwork.

by Dawn Whitelaw

0706redcircle_600x253 0706odragonfly_600x260 0706layerfigure_600x264
Red Circle of Life
2006, oil, acrylic, and hammered copper on wood panel, 36 x 84.
Orange Dragonfly
2006, oil, acrylic, and hammered copper on wood panel, 36 x 84.
Layers to Figure
2006, oil, acrylic, and hammered copper on wood panel, 36 x 84.

This artist has incorporated hammered copper with both oil and acrylic to create unique works of art. In Red Circle of Life, the copper piece is an effective focal point and the paint serves as background to showcase the qualities of the metal. The composition in Orange Dragonfly also deserves praise because the painted image reflects strong color and contrast and commands center stage. The dragonfly wings are an echo of the copper on the edges and serve as a visual link between the painted image and the copper border.

Layers to Figure, however, is not as strong as the other two works. The figures are not visually strong enough against the copper bands—the copper and black bands command the most attention and the figures become secondary. The image appears as a very subtle painting with a very strong frame. To remedy this problem, the artist may want to consider toning down the copper bands or strengthening the figures.

About the Critic
Dawn Whitelaw studies painting with Scott Christensen, Cedric Egeli, Jim Pollard, and Everett Raymond Kinstler. In 2002, she received the Award of Excellence and the Best of Show award in an international art competition sponsored by the Portrait Society of America, and she has exhibited her portrait, landscape, and still-life paintings in juried shows  organized by the Cumberland Society of Painters, the American Academy of Women Artists, and the Phoenix Historical Museum.

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