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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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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