Monday, May 13, 2013


(Note from Paula, the original Mixed Media Manic: ) I'll just quickly introduce my guest blogster and then get out of the way! I "met" her on LinkedIn, where she is an enormously  supportive and encouraging presence. Chris Marshall is mad about color (or, as Chris puts it, "colour") and texture. She lives in Perth, Western Australia, with her artist/photographer husband and teammate, Steve, with whom she partners in their business, Marshall Arts. In addition, she coordinates an art centre and gallery! Chris works in acrylics, watercolors, pen, mixed media and the digital arts and maintains a sensational website at   Now here's Chris!

Hi, everyone! I’m a mixed media / collage and digital artist and I have fun with my art. I work totally intuitively, love to experiment and let my art come from deep within me so every artwork has something of me in it. I love looking at all types of art but when it comes to my own art, I'm happy in my own skin. That is, I don't aspire to be like anyone else and I don't like being labelled or put in a box. 
Chris Marshall, mixed media art
Blue Mountains Odyssey, by Chris Marshall, features
texture made from tickets, brochures and other  info collected on  holiday.
I just LOVE mixing my media and creating something intriguing out of often unrelated materials and objects. I work on paper (heavy watercolour paper, 638gsm with a rough surface), canvas or board. I work totally intuitively, sometimes starting with an artwork in mind (eg Blue Mountains Odyssey, above); sometimes inspired by something I find (eg Out of the Blues, below); sometimes I just play with materials and/or a technique and see what happens (eg Absorbed and a Hint of Autumn); and other times I’m totally inspired by the feel of a place that I have been, like Intriguing Wetlands and my Ningaloo series. 
mixed media art, painting
Out of the Blues, which began on an impulse when I picked up a second-hand scarf for $2.
because I was so taken with the beautiful colors.
As watercolours was the first medium that I used, I like washy looking backgrounds and the magic that happens when the wet liquids of different viscosities combine; I often start that way, mixing watercolours, acrylic paints and inks, sometimes also using a light modelling compound in the background. I also often use fabrics of different textures in my surface treatment.                                                                                                                       
I don't have a plan for the finished work but I do go rather zen and let the artwork lead me where it wants to go. I often turn the work in all four directions and work on it from all four angles. Sometimes I work on the painting thinking that it will be that way up, but then turn it around and it heads off in a completely different direction! I find this way of working wonderfully exciting and very creative. Sometimes I am amazed by the finished artwork, wondering where on earth that came from.
Chris Marshall, fine art
Absorbed,  Japanese papers collaged onto a heavy watercolour
paper (rough surface),then caran d'ache crayons on top.

collage/painting, fine art, mixed media
A Hint of Autumn,  started by blowing watercolours
around with a straw! Again it uses Japanes papers then wooden
 buttons, dyed fish scales, threads and other bits and bobs.
I do sometimes use words in my collages but tend to bury them in the artwork so they are not obvious. I generally use impasto gel as my "glue" but usually bleed in some colour while still wet so the added piece sort of emerges from the background.

I do like the finished piece to have unity. I personally don’t like the sort of stuck- on look, so wherever the journey of my artwork takes me, I bring it all back together either with colour, with my penwork or with painted marks and repeated patterns so that everything looks as though it belongs.

Intriguing Wetlands, below, is inspired by the reflections, the stillness, the birdlife of the wetlands....the washy acrylic and ink background with twigs and leaves,  coloured wool, combed out staples of wool that Spinners use (here representing bird life),  a bit of jewellery, some paua shell, some green netting. Throughout I try to match and echo the colours so that you have to look really closely to work out what is part of the background and what is foreground, what is painted and what is a collaged. I'm trying to capture the look and feel of the wetlands when you stare into the water and can't work out what is above the water, what is under the water and what is a reflection.
Chris Marshall, fine art
Intriguing Wetlands by Chris Marshall
collage, painting, mixed-media
Ningaloo IX, Hidden Depths, the latest in a series.

Detail of Ningaloo IX, below, shows the dyed fish scales, bits of orange bag
(the white bits are where gesso has been dribbled through the orange bag and allowed to find its own path). There is also some shredded japanese paper  which has fantastic fibery threads. As you can tell, I often use different japanese papers, especially those with long fibres. Some of them go quite transparent when you stick them on so that all you see afterwards are the individual fibres. Fantastic!

Detail of Chris Marshall's Ningaloo IX

Thanks to Paula for giving me this opportunity to share my passion for mixed media/collage with you. - Cheers, Chris M.


  1. Hi Paula and Chris! I already am familiar and love Paula's work and am so glad she featured you, Chris on her blog. The depth of color you achieve is mesmerizing. I am a color fanatic and you use delicious combinations of color that sometimes appear to leap off the canvas and at other times sit by quietly taking a supporting role. Together they tell a story that is beautifully intriguing. I, too, work intuitively and love the feeling of surprise, the wow, where did that come from moments that sometimes occur. While, I just love all of your pieces on Paula's blog, I am particularly enchanted with "Intriguing Wetlands". I'm always fascinated with paintings that include reflections. I don't think I could do that and so admire those who do it so well as yourself. I am going to check out your site! Also, when I read you have an art center and gallery, I was inspired because that is precisely what I am working toward now! Finances take awhile or I would already be open. Thanks for sharing your thought process as you create as well as your finished pieces. Best to you and to you Paula!

  2. Thanks for your lovely comments Shauna. It was a real surprise when Paula asked me to be her guest blogger and I had to think really hard about what I wanted to say.

    Intriguing Wetlands was created for an exhibition inspired by the Peel Inlet area of Western Australia - you can see it on

    The best of luck with your art centre and gallery - I run one (part-time) on behalf of Melville Community Arts Association and it is such a vibrant place to be. I sure hope that you get to follow your dream soon.

    Chris M


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