Michelle G Brown | Mixed Media Art

Dare to Share: Giving the Gift of Creativity to Others

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This article is written by Laura Thykeson

As artists, we may have endless amounts of Vision, Talent, Techniques, etc. that we use when creating something magical from nothing more than a thought. Such is the miracle of art! But there is one more piece to the recipe that has to be included in order to be productive, starting from the first time you began creating, all the way through your creative journey right up to the end. It is this particular attribute that I wish to address.

The final item, often taken for granted, is DESIRE! We must have the “desire to create” something physical driving us to take action or we would never complete a creative project! Our wonderful, unique designs and abilities would just drift through our imaginations forever and never see the light of day, much less be shared with others in a physical, tangible form. Desire drives us, compels us, even obsesses us to try capturing that ephemeral bit of idea and create and form it into some substantial, artistic representation that can be touched, seen, shared with others for moments or even decades. Something solid and permanent that will remind the world for years, that “We were here”. This Desire is what I feel we should consider sharing and passing on to others and has little to do with “talent”. It could be that driving  “desire to create” that may be the main quality we should think about fostering in others when sharing our gifts with others. People of all ages and walks of life may be hungry for even the simplest form of self expression but don‘t realize it yet. That is where we come into the mix. We need to bring to others the desire to begin, and a few items to begin with. I have some ideas for accomplishing this, and all it involves is a little bit of effort, things you are going to be doing anyway because you can’t help yourself, and a tiny bit of brainwork or networking with different groups or gatherings of people.

Laura Thykeson suggests we can spread our creativity by giving some mixed media materials to help our friends start their journaling process

First, gather some inexpensive items to include as “artistic desire supplies“. I suggested the items below, feel free to change it up to better suit the recipients. Remember-those receiving the items don’t yet know that they are going to develop the Desire to use them, all they know at first is they received a “gift”. Later, they will realize what the REAL gift is! Anyway, here’s the basic list, all are sold at dollar or discount stores:

A bound book with blank(lined or unlined) pages. (I use plain composition notebooks. They are sturdy and cheap, fun to embellish, handle collage and light watercolor decently)

Mechanical pencil(s) and 2 permanent black markers (Sharpie works great)

Eraser

Glue (gluesticks and/or school glue- I add 1 or more of each.)

Scissors

Children’s pan watercolors (Crayola makes a great set for kids or adults for less than $5)

Waterbrush or 2 inexpensive brushes and a small plastic bottle of water (for the watercolors)

Magazine(s) with suitable words and pictures for collage work

Finally,  you need a container. You can find great used totes from resale shops or garage sales, get blank canvas totes and embellish or leave blank for the recipient to personalize after they are consumed with the “desire to create“! Finally, not fancy but functional, use a large ziplock bag.

Laura Thykeson suggests we can spread our creativity by giving some mixed media materials to help our friends start their journaling process

To jumpstart the creative process, inside the book you included, do a page(s) yourself in SIMPLE collage, combining images and text, done on an easy, colorful watercolor background. Have the collage convey an emotion, or simple theme. Handwrite a word or two on the page in black marker.  Lastly, (do in Word, then print copies), include an artist bio and mission statement, and include your email address, along with an idea of the “real” gift you are hoping to pass on.  A few ideas on using supplies and tips for how to get started are helpful. Then, it won’t be long before the “desire to create“ hits them and off they go! Underprivileged or at risk youth groups, hospitals, assisted living and nursing homes are all great places to put this project to work! You never know whose life you may change!

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Laura Thykeson has been totally immersed in mixed media art for many years. She discovered altered books and art journals about a year ago and have been hooked ever since! She has always loved mixed media art because of the variety and the “no rules” aspect! Laura lives in Granbury, Texas USA.

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Mixed Media Canvas – “Be Brave” Girl

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This article and mixed media canvas was created by Melanie Statnick

1. Start with a blank canvas. I’ll be using a hard board canvas for more support. Cover the entire service with decorative tissue paper of your choice using Gel Medium. The paper creates great texture for this piece.

Printed tissue for canvas layering

2. After you’ve dried the tissue paper start covering the surface with white acrylic paint. Dry between layers of paint.

Printed tissue is covered with bright paints

3. Start layering your background starting with the lightest paint colors first. Apply paint in a diagonal fashion using back and forth strokes with a med size brush.

Add more colours with diagonal strokes

4. After your layers of paint have built a foundation as your background you’ll want to use an 8B graphite pencil to free hand sketch a character anywhere on your canvas.

Lightly sketch with graphite pencil

5. Next you’ll want to go over the pencil line using a black marker. I suggest a 1.2 mm.  Line the face and body. This will make your character stand out.

Define sketch with 1.2mm black marker

6. Using a ruler pick an open spot on your canvas to create a rectangular space to write. Using your black marker outline the rectangle twice creating blocks to write in words. Choose words that are inspiring to you.

Use ruler to add lines and words

7. To complete the painting use stamps and stencils of your favorite and create the next layer to your back ground. In some spots you may want to layer over your character as you see here. Add details to your characters body face and clothing.  When using your stamps be sure to use permanent ink pad. I also suggest using lighter paint on a dark back ground when you stencil.

Stencilling and stamping add final touches to canvas

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I’m a Canadian Mixed Media & Collage Artist out of North Carolina . I create art daily from my private studio. My artwork is fun and whimsy . I teach mixed media & Art Journaling online and in classroom. I hold mixed media workshops around the USA. My artwork can be found in art galleries and shops extensively in NC with international private collections. I have created my personal line of original stamps to purchase and use in your art. Look in my Etsy shop for my line.

Please visit my website to learn more about me and my work on Facebook.

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Taking the leap from Hobbyist to Full-Time Artist

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This article is written by Keri Sallee

Pursuing a dream is never an easy task. It takes strength of heart, a heap of patience and maybe…just a dash of insanity.

Many people thought I was beyond crazy when I decided to quit my job and try my hand at being a full-time artist in the paper-crafting/mixed media world. And in all honesty, it was never something that I had considered until I met an amazing woman named Cheryl Boglioli. This homeschool mom/medical transcriptionist turned full-time artist and social media maven has become my mentor as I figure out my way in this new territory and today I want to share some of her wisdom and experience with you.

Cheryl Boglioli full-time artist and social media mave

Be practical

So you want to be a full-time artist? Here are some practical tips from Cheryl:

(1) Do your research! Take time to figure out what kind of business is right for you right now. There are LLCs, DBAs and so many others. Seek help from those who know more than you. Cheryl was inspired to take her leap into full-time artist by attending a Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) roundtable discussion with other designers and still uses them and CHA as resources.

(2) Find a mentor. The mentor/mentee relationship can sometimes be misconstrued, Cheryl says. It’s not meant to be someone who does the hard work for you or acts as a business coach. Rather they are meant to be your example of a professional designer and to be your sounding board for questions. This is a very special relationship, so choose carefully.

(3) Be prepared for rejection. You will not get every opportunity you reach for and it’s hard not to take it personally. Here’s what Cheryl suggests: think of it this way…they aren’t saying “no” to you or your art…it is just not what they are looking for. Cheryl also reminds us to be open to critiquing; in the long run, it will make you a better business person and artist.

(4) Be organized and have a plan. Cheryl loves tools such as Google calendar to keep track of deadlines (a necessary evil! LOL), both personal and professional. Being organized she said, also helps keep the lines of communication clear and allows you to be an active member of the art community, both vital to your cause.

Cheryl Boglioli full-time artist and social media mave

The Artist’s View

Getting to do what she loves everyday is Cheryl’s favorite part of her choice to become a full-time artist. In her studio in historic downtown Fort Pierce, FL, she has the opportunity to be surrounded by the positivity and creativity of other artists. But, she says, it can be easy to get bogged down with creating for others, deadlines and the business side of what you are doing. Cheryl’s suggestion is to make time to play. Take time to sit at your desk…in your studio or wherever you create and create just for you.

Be prepared to ask yourself self-evaluation questions. Cheryl says that is some of the best advice she received from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Always be asking yourself questions like “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” and “What am I passionate about?” The questions and answers like this will always be changing and will help guide you, so ask them often.

Be inspired by those around you, but stay true to yourself is another great piece of advice from Cheryl. Even as advanced as she, she still takes classes, learns from others and then incorporates it into her own person style.

In a Nutshell

You CAN do it! That is the most important thing that Cheryl has taught me. Yes…there are rough days, but then there are days when you are so inspired there aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done. It takes planning and faith to move forward, but if others can do it….so can you.

Photo of Cheryl and Keri at Winter CHA 2013

To learn more about Cheryl, check out her website: Cheryl’s Window and for the complete interview, check out my blog: The Creative Life Studios

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Keri Sallee is a paper-crafter and mixed media artist who believes that EVERYONE was made to create. She loves thinking outside the box when it comes to her designs, like her Wizard of Oz inspired high-heel shoe that won her a spot on Graphic 45’s 2014 Design Team. She has also designed for The Canvas Corp family of companies, Susan K. Weckesser, The Craft Warehouse, Authentique Paper, Want2Scrap and The Buckle Boutique. Her favorite artistic quote is by Picasso and it says “Inspiration Does exist, but it must find out working.”

You can see more of Keri’s work on her blog ~ The Creative Life

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Faux Dichroic Glass

This article has been written for us by Linda Giese

Making faux dichroic glass is a little smelly and time consuming, but a whole lot of fun and endlessly creative!  Whenever I get out all the stuff I never want to stop.  I keep adding more elements, trying new color combinations and when something works particularly well, I want to do it again before I forget what I did.

coloured glass

There is a little planning in the process and a whole lot of serendipity. I’ve been surprised more than a few times with how a particular embossing powder acts on the surface.  Some spread into flower blossoms and some leave airy spaces while others cover everything you did before.  The Asian text loses the paper and leaves the beautiful lettering.

So let’s get started.  I use my 44 year old electric frying pan for my heat source.  I learned the technique from a friend with a hot plate.  We set the glass on a craft sheet, but often burned our hands or dropped the glass using tongs.  I tried to find an inexpensive used hot plate to no avail, so looked for another option.  One more of my small appliances is now dedicated to my art.  I tried putting my glass pieces on a craft mat, but soon had powder and beads all over my pan.  I also burned my fingers and dropped a few pieces.

Frypan to make your own coloured glass

I tried aluminum pans, but most had patterned bottoms so the heat was uneven and parts of the embossing powder took forever to melt.  My little foil boxes work so well.  I can pick them up easily and keep most of the powder inside the boxes. I can also easily remove the finished pieces while leaving others in place.

The other materials you will need are sea glass, clear embossing ink, clear ultra thick embossing powder, assorted colored embossing powders, a small spoon for adding new elements and a toothpick for moving things around.  Optional extras are microbeads, glitters, shiny papers and foreign text.

materials needed to make your own coloured faux dichroic glass

The sea glass can be clear or colored, but should be nice and flat.  If you can get real sea glass with the smooth edges, that would be ideal.  But I often uses the bag of sea glass from the craft or dollar stores.  I prefer the bottle of embossing ink with the dauber top to the pad.  I feel I have more control and get better coverage.  I found my shiny papers at the dollar store as holographic tissue paper.

The process is quite easy.  I heat the frying pan to between 250 and 300 degrees fahrenheit   I tear some pieces of aluminum foil and fold up the sides, pinching the corners for open boxes, trying to keep the bottom nice and flat.  I put embossing ink on one side of the glass and dip it in the clear ultra thick embossing powder.  Put the glass, powder side up, in the foil box and into the heated pan until it melts.

Now it is time to have some fun.  Add some papers (save the text for a near the top layer)or add microbeads, or colored embossing powders a bit at a time with a very small spoon.  Let each layer melt before adding more.  Don’t add too much powder at a time. Whenever you want something to show through, add more clear embossing powder on top.

I keep preparing new pieces while waiting for others to melt.  You will know it’s all melted when the whole top is shiny.  You won’t have to add any more embossing ink after the first layer because the wet powders will grab the additional layers.  Leave the pieces in the pan as you add things and remove when they are finished.  The top edges of the foil are cool enough to carefully lift out of the pan, but be aware that the glass will be very hot!  Let it cool before you touch it.

materials needed to finish your own glass

Now that you have a nice array of beautiful pieces, what do you do with them?  Most of mine are made into pendants.  I also crochet gold thread (just a chain stitch) for the necklace when I sell them.  I use 24 gauge wire, cut a piece, make the top loop, wind randomly and tighten.  Sometimes I use my gold pen on the edges and or back.  I tried the metal tape around the edge, but wasn’t pleased with the result.  I also like making the smaller pieces into pins.  I glue them (I use Aleene’s Tacky Glue) to small pieces of mat board and embellish them.  I adhere a pin back.  You can also use them on a mixed media canvas or board.

faux dichroic glass pendants and brooches

Let me know if you come up with more ideas for additions or uses.  Have fun and be creative!

Hugs, Linda

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Linda Giese has an altered book in the Autumn 2012 issue of Art Journaling.
 She welcomes emails, questions and comments at linda.giese@yahoo.com

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