Mixed Media Artist Janelle Nichol

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This article is written by Michelle G. Brown

When I first came across the work of Janelle Nichol work, somewhere on the Internet, I wanted to know more about her. I loved her pieces that I saw; they were delicate and feminine, and with a distinctive look that combines mixed media with fine art painting. I had a chance to catch up with Janelle via Skype so we could chat about her work.

Janelle lives in Alberta, Canada with her family, and I was delighted to discover that Janelle is actually a self-taught artist. While she has always been creative, and also has a previous career in music teaching, she has only been painting and collaging for about five years, and as what she considers “seriously” for three years. Her style includes collage and paints, and she just loves trying things, which fits perfectly under the “mixed media” genre.

mixed media painting by Janelle Nichol

With a focal point around women and children, Janelle’s style has been described as abstract folk art. Her work shows a strength and softness in the same piece. One of her favourite comments from an art show customer was that her work “celebrates women for who they are”!

Janelle’s go-to materials include the full range of mixed media materials, with gesso, paints, tissue paper, gelato’s, intense blocks, sprays, Distressed inks and stains all being part of her collection. Anything that adds texture also features; moulding paste, sequins, glass beads and all sorts of unexpected ephemera can be seen when looking closely at her pieces.

When I asked about Janelle’s mixed media process, she tells me she will often start with a sketch and a vision that includes the images and the mood, feelings and colours of the piece.

Then she creates the background, which can take on a life of it’s own but will stick to the colours and feel in her vision. This maintains the mood Janelle is trying to achieve with each piece. Tracing her sketch onto the mixed media background adds the focal point and Janelle then paints in her figure. Here we can see these steps as this piece “A Meditation” progresses:

mixed media background by Janelle NicholCreating a background

mixed media painting by Janelle NicholSketching in the main figure

mixed media painting by Janelle NicholPainting in the figure

mixed media painting by Janelle NicholDetail hidden in the finished piece

mixed media painting by Janelle NicholThe final piece “A Meditation

Once Janelle has finished a mixed media painting, she will take high quality photos which allows her to turn her paintings into cards and prints. Then Janelle changes to her “business” hat, where her images are added to her website. Janelle does all of the work herself and she likes the balance that being an artist and business women provides. While the paint is drying, Janelle promotes her work through her website and Facebook page, and prepares for the numerous shows she does.

There are a number of shows that Janelle regularly exhibits at and it gives her a chance to engage with the public, as well as meet other artists. The show customers love seeing her work in “real life” as all of the depth and texture always looks better to see a piece of art in person. The shows also give Janelle a chance to put her face to her work and helps the sales process. It has taken a few years to build up to the number of shows Janelle is currently doing.

Our discussion then turned to the future for Janelle. She is currently working on the 2014 Fall shows, along with a book that will include her work with inspiring quotes, “like a coffee table book”, which is currently planned for a Fall 2015 release. Janelle’s head is full of ideas for new mixed media paintings and calendars and so many projects and opportunities, including looking into teaching online classes, as well as a secret “new thing” that is in process but now quite ready to reveal to the world, just yet (she promises we will be amongst the first to know when it’s ready to go!)

Whatever Janelle turns her hands to next, we will certainly be following along.

You can see more of Janelle’s work on her website: JanelleNichol.com or her Facebook page.

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Janelle loves sharing her mixed media process and in this video you can watch her create at least four different backgrounds, with different sized canvases using a variety of mixed media techniques! I lost count of the number of media she uses: gelatos, sprays, inktense blocks, distress inks and stains, paints, tissue paper, markers, gesso, stencils – a that’s just for the backgrounds!!

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Michelle G. Brown is passionate about mixed media art and enjoys sharing her knowledge and techniques with you to allow you to express your own creativity. Michelle understands that many of us have an inner need to create. By learning a few basic techniques the amazing world of mixed media art is accessible to everyone!

Michelle lives with her husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia. When she is not creating or on Facebook, she’s at karate training.

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The Story Behind the Artist – Seth Apter

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This article was written by Michelle G. Brown

While the true definition of “mixed media art” is extremely broad, there are three main categories in abundance on the internet at the moment – mixed media painting / collage, journals / books and mixed media assemblage. The artwork of Seth Apter may well be one of the most recognisable in the mixed media community, with his pieces crossing between these main categories. Many of his pieces are dark, rich and full of layers and elements of interest, put together in such a way as to engage the brain as well as the visual feats presented to our eyes.

Seth Apter New York City mixed media artist

I was very excited to meet Seth in person during the CHA Winter Show 2014 and jumped at the chance to chat further to get an understanding of the story behind the artist. I have followed Seth’s work via his blog ~ The Altered Page ~ which has been around for many years and celebrates and shares Seth’s mixed media adventures.

Seth Apter New York City mixed media artist creates wonderful pieces of assemblage and collage

You might be mistaken to think that with the richness and depth of Seth’s pieces, that he has been gluing bits together since he was a small boy but this wasn’t the case. Seth’s introduction to mixed media art was during vacation in 2000 to Washington and Vancouver when he wandered into a gallery, “like one you’d find in New York” and discovered this new and wonderful type of art. It turned out to be encaustic and collage mixed media, and Seth began talking to the gallery owner who happened to be the artist of these pieces that Seth was admiring. A month after buying a few pieces and returning home, Seth received a handmade postcard from the artist, just checking in that Seth was happy with his purchases. Seth wanted to return the thank-you but felt a store bought card would be inadequate to post in return, so he set about creating his own postcard. This “mail art” went back and forth, and Seth was captivated and leaped into the world of mixed media, through looking online at what other people were doing and through taking classes.

Now over 10 years later, Seth has written and curated several books, teaches extensively and continues to share his love for mixed media. Seth has a home-based studio, allowing him to work when he pleases, most often when he gets his second wind at 11pm. Having a separate studio space would make this kind of work much harder to do.

Seth Apter New York City mixed media artist creates wonderful pieces of assemblage and collage

In April 2014, Seth has extended his repertoire to a gallery exhibition as part of the New York City Art Expo, a juried show that has been going for many years. Seth was finding through all of his obligations with writing, developing products and preparing for workshops, he was having less time for his “own art”. Committing to the exhibition allowed him to change focus to make artwork outside of his “job” tasks. It was also a great chance to meet other artists and get exposure to the broader art community. When I asked Seth what had surprised him about the exhibition and the process of preparing for it, Seth replied that it was an amazing education. Seth created and submitted three separate series for the exhibition. The series that got the most attention and had the best sales was the series that Seth actually liked the best himself. He had not expected this. It was a great reminder for Seth to create work that appeals to him and that will also then resonate with the audience. The exhibition also helped Seth to set the direction for further work and he will continue to “do what comes to you, do your heart”. He wants to remind all of us that when we do what we are passionate about, others will relate to it.

With Seth living and working in New York, he finds he is surrounded by inspiration every time he steps out of his front door – the energy of the city, the architecture, the culture and the shops, all provide a dose of daily inspiration. Even the found objects that Seth picks up can spark a new piece. Seth finds that working on more than one piece at a time is a way to keep his work fresh and moving. Often working on three or four pieces, he will leave them and then return to them with fresh eyes to decide if the piece is finished or not. Another way of assessing his own work is for Seth to take photos of works in progress and the view them on the computer. This allows Seth to see his work differently and what may have appeared finished at first glance actually needs more work.

Layers are a key part of Seth’s mixed media work. He suggests that we experiment and use products and colours we don’t like or usually use in the lower layers. It gives us a chance to use up product we have bought or experiment with colour combinations that are outside our usual comfort zone. In these base layers, they are often covered up, so we are free to play and see what we can come up with. I love this tip from Seth – it allows us to give ourselves permission to play and experiment. And you just never know which product or combination will spark a new idea or move your interests in a new direction. And there are always new products to try. Seth says he is a self confessed “product fiend” who loves getting new stuff to play with.

Seth Apter New York City mixed media artist creates wonderful pieces of assemblage and collage

“The wonderful or not so wonderful thing about the craft industry is there is always something new” Seth says. And that leads to trying new things and evolving his process but he always comes back to the basics; gesso, acrylic paints and glazes. Seth will then use the new products, like inks and sprays as adjuncts to the core of his designs. Of course, he loves stencils (his latest stencil designs can be seen over at Stencil Girl Products) and enjoys playing with Gelli plats to create prints to use in backgrounds or in small pieces in collage. Seth also loves bookmaking and likes to use Gelli printed papers to cover book board, either to create a book or to use as a layer in his collage.

Seth Apter New York City mixed media artist creates wonderful pieces of assemblage and collage

We got onto the topic of helping people expand their crafting into the freeing space of mixed media, where anything goes. Seth suggest finding other creative people on line and taking classes to move you out of your comfort zone. And consider the art supplies you have and might buy – which ones give you freedom to use in a number of different ways.

If you wanted to take a class with Seth, you can see where he will be on his website www.sethapter.com. Seth finds teaching so inspiring and learns as much from his students as they learn from him. it gives everyone a chance to become part of the community. “I love seeing excited and happy students” Seth says “and seeing the impact I have with students who start less than confident, then let go”.

Seth Apter New York City mixed media artist creates wonderful pieces of assemblage and collage

One of his upcoming teaching engagements will be part of the Art Is You team heading to Australia in August 2014.

“I’ve always wanted to visit Australia” Seth says and he will have his chance to combine the trip and teaching with an a amazing group of instructors in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. You can read all about the Art is You Down Under tour of their website www.art-is-you.com.au Seth is very keen to see what the mixed media community is like in Australia

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Michelle G. Brown is passionate about mixed media art and enjoys sharing her knowledge and techniques with you to allow you to express your own creativity. Michelle understands that many of us have an inner need to create. By learning a few basic techniques the amazing world of mixed media art is accessible to everyone!

Michelle lives with her husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia.

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Story Behind the Artist ~ Gaby

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This article was compiled by Michelle G. Brown

Michelle first came across Gaby’s work at the Designer Showcase at the Craft & Hobbies Associates Winter Show in 2014. Michelle was drawn to the combination of the illustrations and industrial in Gaby’s work and wanted to learn more about the artist behind the Showcase.

Graphic designer Gaby

Hi! I’m Gaby, illustrator, artist and pattern designer. I started Gaby&Co in September 2012 when I began commuting on the Metrolink Trains for the first time. I traveled to and from Downtown L.A. Monday-Friday to my graphic design job. I enjoyed my 1- hour commute because I was able to see many urban industrial sites. I already photographed urban buildings and colorful distressed metals, and in September I started to draw them as well. I began posting weekly illustrations on my website, which have now turned into daily sketches of street objects I come across while I travel.

Graphic designer Gaby

I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in graphic design and a minor in photography in 2004. I always enjoyed taking art classes of all mediums while in college and continued to take night art classes after graduation. I enjoyed working as a full time graphic designer during the day and then working on hands-on art at night. In the evenings I’ve taken photography classes, painting, ceramics, jewelry making/soldering, jewelry enameling, DIY design/collage, children’s books illustration, silk screening and a couple more classes I might be forgetting about.

In September 2012 I started to illustrate, urban buildings specifically because I was so attracted to them. That same month I created my website gabyandco.com as part of my commitment to post weekly illustrations. Early 2013 I began creating products with my illustrations and decided to attend my first DIY event, Patchwork Craft Show in Long Beach, CA.

To help me prepare, my husband helped me silkscreen my illustrations on cotton fabric by using our homemade silk screen station. My mom, who is a wedding dress designer, taught me how to sew zip pouches and helped me sew a few for the show. I was so proud of the first run of Gaby&Co zip pouches!

Silkscreen printing on fabric by Graphic Designer Gaby

Silkscreen printing on fabric by Graphic Designer Gaby

Silkscreen printing on fabric by Graphic Designer Gaby

I also printed my first zine of illustrated buildings. I had a fun time at Patchwork and sold some of items, which meant the world to me. It made me realize that people are interested in my products.

Ever since Patchwork I have silk screened and sewed more products and have been lucky to be a part of other shows like Unique LA, the CHA Show, LA Zine Fest and look forward to participate in more.

machine embroidery on fabric by Graphic Designer Gaby

It’s been fun turning my illustrations into zines, zip pouches and other products.

I live with my husband Cesar, a terrier-mix and funny dachshund in sunny Southern California. Thank you for having me Michelle!

You can see more of Gaby’s work and connect with her here:

www.gabyandco.com

www.facebook.com/hellogabyandco

twitter.com/hellogabyandco

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Mixed Media Artist – Marjolaine Walker

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This week, mixed media artist Marjolaine Walker shares her story with us – take it away Marjolaine…

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Hi, my name is Marjolaine Walker. I’m a mixed media artist from Ottawa Canada. I’ve been working in the creative industry for eleven years now but didn’t discover my true passion until three or four years ago. I’m the owner of Twelve Stones Scrapbooking (and Art Studio) which is a travelling store. I also teach out of my studio.  For a long time I desired to be a teacher and designer but never thought I was good enough so I hid myself behind the retail front where I figured I belonged. I never told anyone about my dream because it felt too out of reach. Two things happened a few years ago to get me to where I am today. The first was taking a mixed media class taught by Donna Downey. It was there that I fell in love with mixed media and I became free to be creative after Donna told me to stop thinking so much. I have a habit of over analyzing every little thing when I am creating so this was a huge eye opener for me! From there I taught a class only as a favour for a friend and discovered that not only did I enjoy teaching but people actually wanted to take classes from me. It took another two years for me to call myself an artist.

Marjolaine Walker

As a stay at home mother of four children I find it difficult to make time for art but I make it a priority because it’s important to me. During this season of life I don’t get to be artsy as much as I would like but these years with my children will be over before I know it so for now they come first.

I get my inspiration from my faith in God. Most of  my pieces have part of my heart on them. There’s often a much deeper meaning to my art than what is known or seen. It’s always my hope that my art encourages and inspires others. It warms my heart when my art deeply moves people and touches them in an amazing way.

Marjolaine created mixed media art using found objects and things in her studio

I love to use all kinds of products and found objects on my projects.  My goal is to use up everything in my studio in a fun and creative way. I have accumulated so many treasures through the years and I don’t want them to go to waste. If you look closely you will often find costume jewelry as part of my art.

If I could change anything about myself as an artist, I would make myself more organized and tidy. My studio is almost always a disaster and it sometimes stifles my creativity. I waste precious time looking for things that are piled up on my five work tables. On the other hand, I prefer being creative over cleaning!

Marjolaine Walker is a mixed media artist from Ottawa Canada, using found objects and things in her studio to create these fun pieces

I love to travel and it is my dream to some day teach all over the world  but for now, I stay a little closer to home. My art friends are a diverse group from around the globe and I cherish my time with them twice a year. It’s an awesome community to be part of. As a designer member of the Craft and Hobby Association I am part of a special family who encourages me every step of the way. As a teacher and artist, my top priority is to help others to believe that they are good enough and creative enough to make their artistic dreams a reality.

My art can be seen on my blog: www.twelvestonesscrapbooking.blogspot.ca

Marjolaine created mixed media art using found objects and things in her studio
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