Book Review: Creative Girl – Mixed Media Techniques for an Artful Life

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This article is written by  Teresa Abajo

Hello! Teresa Abajo here and I will be reviewing Danielle Donaldson’s book Creative Girl – Mixed Media Techniques for an Artful Life. It was published in 2015 by North Light Books, who bring us a number of other wonderful art related titles.

book review

Danielle Donaldson is a graphic designer and has focused her artistic efforts on watercolour and graphite drawing techniques. Her work is wonderfully colourful, with lots of details she adds with pencils and markers.
The introduction invites us to discover our very own creative happy place by organising our time, personalising the process, creating stashes and sorting supplies. Throughout the book, the emphasis is on staying active creatively – never on productivity or creating to a particular standard.

We start (as many art books do) with a list of all of the supplies Danielle uses to create. I’m happy to say there aren’t too many specialised materials required. In fact, you’ll likely find you already own most items, or can substitute with the brand you already use. There are many household items she uses too – things like glass jars, salt, pins and old books.

book review

In the first chapter, Danielle talks about where much of her crafting takes place – on her couch surrounded by distractions I for one would find too much to bear! She puts together handy little stash stations containing creative tools and materials and she indulges in small snippets of creative time throughout the day. Again, the emphasis is on crafting often, rather than crafting for long periods of time. I found I could very much relate to that – I certainly find it easier to steal moments from my day rather that schedule a huge block of time for crafting. Organisation is key, and Danielle explains how she uses and collates Inspiration Folders.

The next couple of chapters focus on watercolour specific techniques and contain lots of ideas for mini projects and art exercises.
In Chapter 5 Danielle covers developing your own signature style – putting ‘you’ into your art work. She walks us through the creation of various girl figures in very simple, well photographed steps. Here’s where I am with these lessons:

book review

The next part of the book gives us lots of examples of “hot mess solutions” or how Danielle fixes components of her work with which she isn’t happy. Cover ups, work arounds, walk aways, let it go – simple self explanatory terminology.
The last part of the book has a beautiful gallery of Danielle’s work. Now that I’ve read her book I feel inspired to deconstruct a piece and have a go at replicating the components that appeal to me.

Creative Girl – Mixed Media Techniques for an Artful Life is part drawing and watercolour play manual and part realistic guide for those of use wanting to inject a little more art into our daily lives. It’s a beautifully presented book, written in simple and encouraging language and I’m sure you’ll be as thrilled as I was to add it to your craft library.

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DIY Candle Holder

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This article is written by Sandra Parés

Today I am going to show you how to make a candle holder with a magic light to illuminate our summer nights.

Candle Holder

The supplies I will use are the following:

  • An open top container glass (to make these candle holders usually I use recycled glass jars)
  • white tissue paper
  • the big shot and a star die
  • 8”x10” Gelli Plate
  • a brayer
  • black acrylic paint
  • a stencil
  • extra heavy gel medium (gloss)
  • 2 paintbrushes
  • Facetten-Lack metallic platin Vica Deco
  • a makeup brush
  • Primary Elements of LuminArte
  • hairspray
  • wire and a candle

First of all we will start using the Gelli Plate: we will use the brayer to put the black paint over the stencil, then we will press the stencil over the gelli plate. With this step we can print the mark of the stencil over the gelli plate. Then we will take a piece of tissue paper, it must be large enough to surround our glass jar. And we put the tissue paper over the gelli plate to print the texture. With this step, the mark of the stencil will print in our tissue paper.

And with the Big Shot and the star die we will open a few holes in our piece of tissue paper.

Candle Holder

Then we will paste with extra heavy gel medium the tissue paper around our glass jar and we will leave it to dry. Then we will paint the holes with Facetten-Lack to give a touch translucent at the glass. For this step, also you can use any paint or paste that allows you to do this translucent effect.

Candle Holder

Once dried we can add the color. I will paint with the Primary Elements of LuminArte, I will use the pigment directly. First of all we have to spray the entire glass jar with hairspray, you will see how the jar is wet. Taking advantage of this dampness, we will catch the Primary Elements pigments (the color or colors that you want) with a makeup brush and we will paint with them making circles. When we run out of pigment or hairspray dries, we will go back to add more product to get the whole jar painted.

Finally, if we want to hang it somewhere, we only need to put some wire around the jar. And don’t forget to put the candle inside!

Candle Holder

You will see that the result will be beautiful and shining: a candle holder with a magic light for our most special nights. The first time I used these candle holders was at my craft stop in the “Enchanted Night“, the shopping night from my city, and they produced an amazing shine!

Candle Holder

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Sandra Parés loves working with mixed media! The colors and textures leave her amazed and she enjoys creating and getting their hands dirty with paint and gesso! On her site My mixed media you can find a mixed media online store, art and craft products, mixed media workshops in Spanish, tutorials, ideas and mixed media techniques.

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Creating Acrylic Backgrounds with Water

 

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This article is written by Anjuli Johnson

As a self taught artist, I would say that I’ve experimented with a lot of paint.  Watercolor, oil, gouache- but I always come back to acrylic.  There’s so much to love about acrylic paint- how different brands react so differently to certain techniques, the fact that it dries fairly quickly, and especially how it reacts to water.  My spray bottle is one of the most used tools in my studio because of how often I use water and paint to create acrylic backgrounds for my mixed media paintings.  I have 3 paintings to show you, and I’ll outline how I created the backgrounds for each one.

Texture paste and quilled paper pieces on an acrylic background

Magnetism- For this piece, I began with a dry canvas.  I used red paint on one corner, orange on the other.  I brushed the paint closer to the center without the two colors touching, and then used my spray bottle over the entire canvas.  The water is what brought the two colors together in the center of the canvas, and I tilted the canvas a little each way until I was satisfied with how the colors were blending.  If you start with a dry canvas, it may take some extra effort to get rid of any brushstrokes, which may or may not be a concern for you.  I don’t usually like to see my brushstrokes, so I’ll continue working until the water has blended the paint smoothly into the canvas.  One tip- this brand of acrylic paint is Liquitex Basics, which was an essential factor in achieving the lightning type blending you see here.  Other brands do not react the same way, which I find incredibly fascinating.

Close up of the point of blending colors orange and red

True North, mixed media painting with an acrylic background

True North- With this piece, I misted the canvas slightly before I began.  As you can see below, I used greater concentrations of paint in certain areas and worked until, once again, all the brushstrokes have disappeared.  I added some splatters of white and blue paint to add more color, which react with the water to blend slightly with the paint around it.  Super cool!

True North mixed media painting with acrylic background

True North progress shot of acrylic background

Mixed Media painting with acrylic background, Pacific Reef

Pacific Reef- For this piece I didn’t use a brush at all.  I started with a dry canvas, and added thick spots of paint in random places, many times overlapping, especially with the white.  I used my fingers to flatten and spread the paint as I sprayed the canvas with water. Make sure you’ve tipped it up so the water will draw the color down the canvas to create that flowing effect, and if you want the colors blended smoothly, make sure you wet the entire canvas.  I have mixed the brands I used with this piece- the craft brands usually spread very smoothly over the canvas, whereas the liquitex or winsor newton brands will spread in different ways.  I love it!

Mixed media Pacific Reef with acrylic background

So many awesome ways to use water with acrylic paint to create amazing colored backgrounds!  I’d love to hear how you create your acrylic backgrounds and if you come up with any new techniques for using acrylic paint and water together.

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Author bio: Author bio:  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 every since.  She loves all things mixed media- paper, glue, paint, canvas, pens, wire, gears… 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. TheFarPavilion

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Mixed Media Magnet

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This article is written by Sandra Parés

Today I am going to show you how to make a decorative fridge magnet with mixed media. If you have spent these holidays at home or if you have come back from your trip and you haven’t remembered to bring gifts … you can make these fridge magnets to give away to your family or friends!

The supplies I am going to use are the following:

  • A square piece of wood 6x6cm (you can also use hard cardboard).
  • Gesso
  • Modeling paste
  • An old credit card
  • 1 stencil to make abstract backgrounds
  • 1 stencil with a sharp image to fit inside the square 6x6cm
  • Acrylic paints in various colors (I am going to use Silks Acrylic Glaze because they will give amazing brightness)
  • 1 brush
  • 1 sponge
  • 1 piece of adhesive magnetic tape

First of all we will put gesso on wood and we will let it dry completely. With this first step we will have the support ready for painting. Then we choose a light colour of our acrylic paints and we will paint the surface with it.

Putting gesso and painting the first coat of acrylic paint.

When the layer is dry, we will take a stencil that allows us to add texture over the background and with a sponge we will stencil the template using a contrasting color to the background layer.

Stenciling the background with a acrylic paint

Once dried we will take another template, this time we will choose a stencil with a sharp image. And with the credit card we will catch some modeling paste and we will fill the gap with the paste. With this step we will have a embossed figure. We will let it dry a few hours until the paste is completely harden.

Filling the stencil with modeling paste

When the paste is dry we can paint the figure with acrylic paints. Also we can paint around the edge to give sense of well finished. Finally when all the work is dry we have to put a piece of adhesive magnetic tape to get the magnet.

Painting the magnet and putting the adhesive magnetic tape

And with this easy way we can make these beautiful fridge magnets:

Handmade mixed media magnets

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Sandra Parés loves working with mixed media! The colors and textures leave her amazed and she enjoys creating and getting their hands dirty with paint and gesso! On her site My mixed media you can find a mixed media online store, art and craft products, mixed media workshops in Spanish, tutorials, ideas and mixed media techniques.

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