last summer when michaels had *BIG* canvases on sale for 50% off, i thought, "well maybe i'll make a big collage as a stopgap" and bought one that was 30x40". and it just sort of sat in my art lair. mostly due to a lack of time, but partly because i wasn't really sure what to do.
flash forward to new year's eve: we were staying home... i was caught up (well, relatively) on assignments... i was feeling brave in the sort of resolutionary way one does feel brave on the threshold of a BRAND. NEW. YEAR. and i thought, "all righty then. let's do this!" so i started.
bear in mind... i still didn't really have a plan, as such. i'd settled on collage because, frankly, it's my comfort zone. and a 30x40" canvas is *BIG*. also, i have quite a few "treasures" in my stash of vintage paper; things that i've been saving because i couldn't quiiiiiite bear to use them in something that'd be sold or given away. which is what i do with nearly all of my non-sketchbook work.
but on new year's eve i suddenly thought: ok, i'll do a big random vintage paper background, and PAINT the mandalas on top. so what kind of paint? acrylic? but then you lose the look of the paper underneath. which i thought would be ok, until i fell in love with my background, as collage people sometimes do. :0 right then, i need translucent paint: gouache? watercolor? it looked good. but it was wet. and some of the vintage paper was a bit fragile, so i was not going to get a chance to re-work anything. which might be a problem. meanwhile, in the autumn, i'd been playing with the idea of layers of vintage paper under stenciled distress ink and/or modelling paste and/or both. and i'd liked the look. but you can't color a whole big canvas full of mandalas using distress ink on a fingertip applicator. can you??!
the whole thing took about ten days. ten totally obsessed, rushing through chores, can't-wait-to-get-home-and-work-onnit days, or more accurately, nights. some of them pretty late nights. unusually for me, i never got stuck. there were times i wasn't sure what to do next, so i'd stall by finishing up whatever section i was working on, and adding detail, or going over the outlines or adding texture. but by the time i got to where i had to make a decision, i knew what to do. there were a few corrections made along the way. and a massive "retrofit" of paper around the sides of the canvas when i realized that the blank edges were gonna look WEIRD unless i wanted to spring for a very big frame. which i didn't.