Adding Maps to Your Artwork

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This article is written by  Anjuli Johnson

Mixed Media map collage with chipboard elements
I am such a map fanatic. I can’t explain why, there’s just something about them that sparks my interest. It could be any type of map, too; historical, topographical, maritime charts, star charts, it really doesn’t matter. I’m hooked. So, when I was asked recently to create a collage for a missionary who had been serving in Eastern Carolina for the past 18 months, I knew I needed some maps to showcase the cities where she had been assigned to serve. I had to find maps of three cities in order to complete the piece that was forming in my head. Luckily, finding maps to use is pretty easy.

There are multiple places you can find maps online. There are several Etsy shops that sell different sized prints of various cities in different formats and colors. This might be a good idea if you want something really big, but for the purposes of collage work, I needed something free that I could print off myself. Google searches are always a good idea, but some of the best places I have found maps, both for this project and ones I’ve done in the past, are libraries. Most local or state libraries have digital collections of maps that are provided free to the public and can be downloaded or printed. I have found so many maps of the same city from different time periods that I could stay busy looking at them for years- it’s fascinating to see so many in one place!

mixed media map collage art using maps of various cities

Since I was focusing on Eastern Carolina for this piece, the maps I used were from UNC Libraries map collection.
Love it! Once I found the maps I needed, I downloaded them and printed them on 4*6 photo paper. The background, however, I printed 18*24 on a large format printer and used it to cover the entire 12*12 canvas. I made sure to spray each one with Krylon acrylic coating to make sure the ink wouldn’t run as I worked with the paper.

So there you have it! Is anyone out there as obsessed with maps as I am? I’d love to see what projects you’re working on!

map collage using mixed media techniques to include maps of North Carolina cities

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Anjuli Johnson is a Mixed Media Artist from Raleigh, NC.  She began her art career as a scrapbooker, and it’s been an evolutionary process ever since.  She loves all things mixed media- paper, paint, pens, wire, gears, clay… the list goes on and on.  She is constantly trying to push through her fears to discover and develop her talents, meet new people, and learn from those around her.  To see more of Anjuli’s art and techniques, check out her website at www.thefarpavilion.com  and like her Facebook page TheFarPavilion   Follow her on Instagram and Twitter as well.

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Focal Points in Mixed Media Art

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This article was written by Madeline Faiella

Emergence

We talked about telling a story with mixed media art and now let’s talk about adding texture.

Emergence

I chose this piece to explain the process because it’s easy to see what I did.  This piece is 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide but try it on a smaller surface if you like.  The surface I used is actually a court room board that an attorney let me have to which I added a base of white paint and gesso.  It’s great when you can re-use something.

The face in this piece is done on paper, painted with acrylic and attached to the base with gesso.  I applied gesso and molding paste in layers across the base surface and around the face in light, graduated layers using a wooden stick.  It’s vital that the edges of the face “live” within the background so lighter layers are better.  Sometimes I add color to the gesso and/or molding paste but in this case I started with clear and let it dry thoroughly.  When applying many layers, drying is very important.  This piece took a while to complete because the humidity here in South Florida can make it very difficult for drying even with the air conditioner on.  Leave your piece to dry overnight between layering to ensure that it’s very dry.

Layer after layer I created my piece with careful planning yet enough spontaneity to keep it free.  I used a trowel and molding paste colored to my desired color and ran it over stencils, burlap and other means of textural items.  Keeping the colors in mind, step back from your work each time you add another layer or item.  Build layer by layer.  The bags that hold oranges make a great textural tool.  Be creative and see what’s around your studio.

Try new things, keep it layered and have fun.  Happy arting.

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Madeline Faiella is the owner of Madeline Faiella Designs, LLC.  She is a “tradigital” artist.  She works traditionally and digitally in Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.  Her work is featured on home décor, electronic devices, stationary, fabric and more.  Her arsenal of tools is broad and her work varied.  She is licensed, published, appeared on TV and radio and has written continuing columns for the art and creative community.  She has a line of non-toxic acrylic paint “Art Jacket” with Earth Safe Finishes.  Her art education hails from The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and the many years she absorbed cultural enlightenment globe-trotting during a 23 year singing career.  She’s been drawing, sewing and making since she was a child. See more of her work at www.madelinefaiella.com

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What if Scrapbooking is dead? Other uses for Tools and Supplies

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This article is written by  Ann Strecko Koeman

While I attended the last Craft and Hobby Association Conference and Trade Show in Anaheim, California in the United States, I often heard the following phrase:  “Scrapbooking is dead.”  Now, I also heard several people bemoan that statement and even express complete denial, while others nodded in agreement and expressed their own agreement.

Crop bag with Scrapbooking tools and supplies now used as Mixed Media tool kit

Although I do believe that the commercial and retail aspects of selling scrapbooking supplies has reached its peak and is quickly declining as so many fads do, I don’t believe it will completely disappear.  After all the concept of collecting and cataloguing memories in paper form has been around since the invention of paper, it also continues to be essential to our existence and to the history of our future generations.  Although the accumulation and collection of memories is done differently these days and appears to be the wave of the future.  We take a lot more digital images now and record a lot more of our experiences, we just do it differently.

So what are we to do with all of those tools and supplies we have invested in over the decades?  I say, keep them and use them.  If however you have chosen to completely give up on anything handmade then please send your unwanted tools to another loving home.  But if you are reading this, I gather that you still have a love for the handmade process.  Mixed Media artists now is the time to take advantage of all those clearance sales and cast offs of unwanted scrapbooking tools.  Just because a tool or supply is marketed to be sold in one market does not mean it cannot be used in another.  Over the years I have collected a variety of skills and thus a vast collection of tools including an overpriced collection of intended for scrapbooking tools.  I am keeping my best tools for my Mixed Media work.  As a Mixed media artist any supply is game and any tool is game.  I will use my straight edge 12 inch trimmers, my punches, and even my page layout guides in my art.  I still need to cut things, make shapes, and those plastic page layout guides, well they make great stencils!

Mixed Media Art background made with the help of Scrapbook doodles templates and punches

As for all those 12 x 12 papers I have collected, they are great in mixed media making, especially in making my own books.   so are those stickers they make great masks.  All those embellishments are just that, embellishments.  I am also hanging on to my old scrapbooking supplies and tools because I am way behind in my memory album keeping.  For example I have yet to finish my now 18 year old son’s baby album!  In the mean time I am having fun collecting more of my neighbours unwanted  out of date scrapbook papers, and buying out lots of discontinued embossing folders at low prices.  Scrapbooking may be a dying fad but Mixed media art making is very much alive.

Art journal page with layer of scrapbook paper fussy cut images and die cuts

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Ann loves to collect and organize as many tools and supplies as possible because she is always making things.  Incredibly she finds a use for most of her collections.  She enjoys making Mixed Media Art because it allows her to use all her skills and collections.

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Story Telling through Mixed Media

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This article was written by Madeline Faiella

Hero’s Return

Mixed Media Art is a great way to tell a story with your art.  It can be a color theme that is beautifully put together or similar objects that tell their tale.  Mixed Media Art is a great venue for storytelling and I have a piece that I was inspired to do that tells a story.  It is called “A Hero’s Return”.

textured artwork using the irresistible Neon Pico Embellisher.

In this piece you a bit of mystery and strength in that the eyes are in the background and one can only imaging the many people who have lived and still live behind those eyes waiting and wondering about their loved ones.

There is layered texture and the color theme is strong.  The American Flag is paper that was put in water to age so it hassome life.  The soldier’s buttonsare “stand-out” elements that gives some call to your attention.  The burlap placed over the mirror allows you to see yourself and it causes you to think.  It is the reflection of yourself in the work.  The burlap adds that element of roughness and also stands to keep that reflection of you less clear; again, causing your mind and “eyes” to move (think) and look around the piece.  Keep the viewer’s attention. The color red is a great theme for a strong piece.

When creating your Mixed Media Art, ask yourself what is the story you want to tell.  It can be deep and intense or playful, fun and whimsical – or simply a work in colors.  No matter what story you are telling remember 3 things: 1) have a story to tell; 2) be sure your color theme is a good one; and 3) have fun while creating!!!

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Author bio:Madeline Faiella is the owner of Madeline Faiella Designs, LLC.  She is a “tradigital” artist.  She works traditionally and digitally in Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.  She is licensed and her work is featured on home décor, electronic devices, stationary, fabric and more.  Her arsenal of tools is large and broad and work is varied.  She is licensed, published, appeared on TV and radio and has written continuing columns for newsletters.  She also has a line of non-toxic acrylic paint “Art Jacket”   Her art education hails from The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and the many years she absorbed global cultures during a 23 year singing career.  She’s been drawing, sewing and making since she was a child. Madeline sometimes exhibits at local galleries and she sells directly to a group of collectors of her fine art and jewelry. See more her work at www.madelinefaiella.com

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