Marybeth Heikes

Paintings in Watercolor & Mixed Media

Orchestra Series #1

Orchestra Series #1

Acrylic collage

My inspiration for this painting is my love of music. I love all the different musical instruments and their shapes that describe them.

My goal for this design was to work in a square format, which is more difficult to arrange shapes in than using the traditional rectangular composition. I began gathering the materials — sketches and photos. I completed many sketches and had to narrow down which instruments would be best for the square format. I did not have enough sketches, so I did more in different sizes and used tracing paper for each one and arranged them on my support, a 300 pound watercolor paper. I do not cut up my original sketches, as I re-use them for other designs. The 300 pound paper is tough and it withstands buckling and works well for this size. I use lots of water to dilute the acrylic matte medium when gluing the papers to it. I do put weights on the collage after it is done to keep it flat.

When beginning a collage I also get the mat, frame and glass ready. Most of the time I lay the mat on the design to get a better idea how the composition is working. That encloses the design and I am able to move the shapes around and find a better design.

I narrowed down the instruments to a violin, sax, french horn, clarinet and piano. The next step was to choose colors which is difficult for me because I love them all! I began using a red oxide-burnt sienna for the violin. Sorting through my large inventory of hand-painted acrylic collage papers, I picked out other reds and its complement green. Using a limited palette unifies and strengthens the composition. Sometimes at this point I discover I do not have enough of a color and have to stop and paint a sheet. While working and editing shapes I decided some sheet music by Debussy would be appropriate to add to the background.

I always get more ideas for the next collage and write them down so I do not forget them. Lately I have used an index card while I work to do this. The paints I use are either Liquitex or Golden. The main colors in this painting are red oxide, dioxazine purple, light teal, lavender and cadmium red.

Want to Buy It?

Format Size Price
Original 16″ × 17 ½″

White wood frame (20" x 21") with white mat

$800.00 |
Print 8″ × 10″

Actual image size is 8″×8.75″.

$20.00 |
Print 11″ × 14″

Actual image size is 11″×12.03″.

$30.00 |
Print 16″ × 20″

Actual image size is 16″×17.5″.

$45.00 |
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*Frame and mats not included unless noted. Shipping costs are for the continental U.S. Ordering help & policies.