Creating art doesn’t have to be about brushes and canvases only. Try combining more traditional methods and surfaces with different techniques, and you might be surprised at the results. If you opt for creating art on a wall or other large area, you might to want clean your surface with a pressure washer first to give yourself the cleanest “canvas” possible.
For a Jackson Pollock-esque effect, trying using a thicker paint (something the consistency of typical house paint) and letting gravity do some of the work. By flicking your loaded paint brush in the direction of the surface from different angles (or by rotating the surface if that’s possible), you can get different sized drips and splashes.
To achieve a subtler finish, try using a rag to spread your paint. Starting with a graphite version of the drawing under the paint will ensure that your image maintains its integrity, while the smeared paint offers a blurring effect.
Using a roller to apply your paint is a great way to get layers, albeit sometimes irregular and unpredictable, into your finished creation. Another way to achieve flat tone is to apply a blob of paint and then press a piece of paper into the blob to transfer paint to different areas. Pressing plastic wrap into wet watercolors and letting it dry results in some pretty cool patterns once you remove the wrap.
When it comes to adding textures, you might consider using a piece of cardboard or something similar in place of a palate knife. Sponges of all types are also great for adding textural variations. Try using a paint-covered string pulled taut and snapped against your canvas for a new take on straight lines. Sprinkling your semi-wet watercolor washes with various chemicals (like salt, alcohol, or liquid soap) can produce fairly intricate, always new and different, and totally organic patterns. Another great way to add textures, irregular marks, or even repeating patterns is to use stencils. Don’t feel limited to using prefab stencils, either. Any object that’s got holes in it that paint can get through will work. Instead of spray paint, it might be easier (and produce fewer fumes) to use a diluted acrylic in a spray bottle.
For the ultimate in personal expression, consider letting your body be your brush. Lay out a large plastic sheet, cover whatever body parts you’d like to use in the paint of your choice, then go to town. Sticking with the larger scale, think about using an old mop or broom or even a fallen tree branch as a brush.
Lastly, consider lesser-used mediums for your work. Natural dyes from coffee and many fruits produce great colors, as do food dyes. Splashing a bit of varnish on your piece adds another element of texture and color change.
In the end, the creation process is just that–a process. You, as the artist, should feel free to explore and test as many mediums and techniques as your imagination can suggest. Not every experiment will be a huge success, but every step you take outside the box can take you farther away from the ordinary and into a place that is uniquely you.