Are You Afraid of Mixed Media?

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This article is written by Anjuli Johnson

How to overcome your Fear of Mixed Media

Having the courage to break into a new form of art can be tough.  I remember my scrapbooking days and being fascinated with other forms of mixed media I would see around me.  My scra’pbook pages were one thing- the altered books and art journals I would see in magazines were on a whole other level.  There are so many talented people who do amazing things with canvas, books, paint, beads, paper, and an infinite number of other mediums.

How to overcome your Fear of Mixed Media

I was inspired every time I turned around, it seemed.  But the idea of actually trying to do something that didn’t involve preserving my own memories was extremely intimidating. How could I, just an ordinary woman, find a way to create such unique mixed media pieces?  I wanted to learn these awesome techniques, but I didn’t want to just copy what everyone else created. The only thing I had that made my creative work unique were the photos I used in my scrapbooking.  So, I kept my mixed media dreams in the back of my mind and stuck with what I was comfortable with.

How to overcome your Fear of Mixed Media

Of course, then came 3 years of limbo.  I moved across the country and couldn’t afford to bring any of my things with me besides the bare necessities, and it was that long before I was able to access any of my art supplies.  To say I felt the absence of a creative outlet would be an understatement.  By the time I opened those boxes and started organizing everything, I was starving for my long lost supplies, most of which I’d forgotten I had.  There are few things better than unpacking boxes of art supplies.

How to overcome your Fear of Mixed Media

The creative ideas are like a flood.  It was during this period that I finally found the courage I needed to start experimenting in unknown artistic waters, and as a result was able to develop my signature abstract collection that has been featured in several galleries around Raleigh and has led to some of my first commissioned works.  I’ve have further in the last two years than I could have dreamed possible.

How to overcome your Fear of Mixed Media

Throughout those months I realized the work I was doing was something I hadn’t seen anyone else do. My pieces were unique, not just because of my individual style, but because I was using tools and supplies in ways I hadn’t seen anyone else use. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized the infinite possibilities that are available to those who work in mixed media.

How to overcome your Fear of Mixed Media

Most artists who work with quilling strips have a very different way of using them.  Some of the things they create are amazingly intricate, but are less abstract in nature- less accidental than my pieces.  It’s been interesting to see how my quilling is similar and yet different from most quillers out there, but that is an aspect of mixed media work that I love- the fact that artists can take different techniques and mediums and use them in brand new ways that people haven’t thought of before.

How to overcome your Fear of Mixed Media

I don’t know to what extent other artists have struggled with the false idea that anything they create will be derivative; simply a copy of another artists work.  In some ways, it almost felt like an excuse for me to not even try, despite being a legitimate fear.  I do know that all artists wrestle with fear in one form or another.  It is a daily struggle, but the more we create, the more we learn and the less fear becomes an obstacle.  What art supplies do you use in a unique way?  What pieces or collections have helped you overcome your fears?

How to overcome your Fear of Mixed Media

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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 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, her blog at www.thefarpavilion.blogspot.com, and like her Facebook page TheFarPavilion

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Mixed Media 3D Flowers

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This article is written by Barbara Rankin

Barbara shows you how to make these beautiful 3D altered art flowers using simple household products.  All you will need is a roll of heavy duty aluminum foil and a roll of paper towels, along with some white gesso, acrylic paints, and flower dies or punches.  Barbara will also show you several ways to colorize and alter these beauties, and how to apply them in your art.

Spread some white gesso over the foil, lay paper towel on top and continue spreading gesso over the paper towel, ensuring the two adhere to each other well and there are no air bubbles.  You may find that you need to do this in sections before the gesso dries. Do not worry about wrinkles; they add texture.

applying gesso to paper towel and aluminum foil

Add DecoArt fluid acrylics in colors of your choice.  I used Phthalo Green-Yellow, Cerulean Blue, Titanium White Primary Yellow, Cadmium Red Hue, Primary Magenta, and Quinacridone Violet.

adding fluid acrylics to paper/aluminum foil

Spray DecoArt white mist through a damask stencil.  The white spray mist will pick up some of the color beneath it and give you a lighter shade of each color.  Perfection is not necessary because this is all going to be die cut into smaller pieces.

DecoArt white mist sprayed through damask stencil

As you can see, this disguises the separation of colors and makes it all cohesive.

photo of colored/stenciled sheet

Die cut flowers with any flower die.  I used the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die.  You could also free-hand cut them.  You will have a nice selection of tattered floral pieces that all work well together.

die cut flowers from each colored section of paper/aluminum foil sheet

Use two sets of the flowers from the same or similar colors to make a single, fluffy flower. Before layering the petals, ink the edges with Vintage Photo distress ink. This will give some added depth and dimension.

Photo of the die cut petal shapes used to make a single flower

Layer the petals, largest to smallest. Make a hole in the center of each petal and add a decorative brad to keep them together.  Pinch and twist the petals to form a fluffy and full flower.  I used tweezers in one hand so I could grab each petal easier, while pinching them with my other hand.

Flower formed with help of tweezers

Here are all three flowers from this one sheet.

three finished flowers

Here are a couple of cards I made using two of the flowers.  I can think of many uses for these. I think they would look absolutely lovely in a mini album, scrapbook, page layout, or canvas.

two cards using two of the three flowers

two cards using two of the three flowers

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Barbara is a mixed media artist who loves to teach.  She loves to learn new techniques and to share her knowledge with other artists.   She is a contributing artist in a book:  Make it in Minutes: Mini Albums, and has been published in several paper and online magazines.  She is currently on several design teams:  ColourArte, Sin City Stamps, Altered Pages, Gina’s DesignsLasercuts, House of Cards Monthly Challenge Blog, and Craft Hoarders Monthly Challenge Blog.  She has served as a design team member for The Robin’s Nest and Creative Paperclay®, as well as guest designer for Craftwell USA, Unruly Paper Arts, and Gina’s Designs.

She lives in the Memphis, Tennessee area with her very supportive husband of 32 years, and her two Yorkies, Chloe and Zoe.

You can see more of Barbara’s work on her blog at Black Hole Art Studio or via Facebook – Black Hole Art Studio

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Altered Steampunk Bird

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This article is written by Barbara Rankin 

Barbara shows you how to take a wooden bird, a simple coffee filter, some jewelry findings, and die cuts, then combine them with ColourArte Silks Acrylic Glazes and other mixed media, to alter this sweet little steampunk-style home décor piece.  These techniques can be used for any project and will help you have a better understanding of how to apply them in your art.

This little wooden bird is going to take on a new life in Steampunk world.  I found this little guyby Art Minds in my local craft store.

bare wood bird

Remove the screw eye first.  Tear a coffee filter into strips and adhere to bird with Mixed Media Adhesive.

coffee filter adhered to bird’s wing

Paint bird with ColourArte Silks Bolivian Blue and beak with Silks Harvest Sol (mixed with a bit of Silks Mango Mama)acrylic glazes. [www.colourarte.com]

painted bird with Silks paint jars

Add a wash of ColourArteSilks Mallard Green to the breast, tail and wing feathers for a bit of highlight.  It is subtle but effective.

birdand Silks paint jars

Adhere a 6” x 7” piece of Ranger foil tape to a sheetof silver metallic cardstock. Die cut four wings and two crowns with the Cuttlebug Cut N’ Boss folder. I also cut out two hearts, not shown in photo. Trim lower portion of one of the wings for each side, as shown.

photo of metal foil covered cardstock and diecuts

Apply DecoArt Metallic Lustre Iced Espresso to crowns and Black Shimmer to wings.  Add ColourArte Silks Rusty Mauve to one heart, thenhit high spots with black archival ink (Noir Black Palette Hybrid ink used).  Add metal bling to crowns and shape crowns and wings with fingers.

photo of painted metal foil covered cardstock and diecuts

Begin adding embellishments to the bird.  Adhere two wings to each of the bird’s wings, layering one over the other.  Join the two crown pieces, shape and adhere to the bird’s head.  Add jewelry finding with black gemstone on each side of head for eyes.  Add curved tubular beads to each side of the bird’s tail feathers.

adhereddie cut wings, crown, eyes, flowers

Glue tiny bead chain with “Seeds” charm around bird’s neck, gluing bead chain together on top.  Cover the glued join with Tim Holtz’s Ideaology metal flowers and leaves.

photo of bead chain with “Seeds” charm around neck and metal flowers

Here are two side views of the finished altered bird.  Isn’t he adorable!

right facing bird finished

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Barbara is a mixed media artist who loves to teach.  She loves to learn new techniques and to share her knowledge with other artists.   She is a contributing artist in a book:  Make it in Minutes: Mini Albums, and has been published in several paper and online magazines.  She is currently on fourdesign teams, ColourArte, Sin City Stamps,Altered Pages, and Gina’s Designs.  She has served as a design team member for The Robin’s Nest and Creative Paperclay®, as well as guest designer for Craftwell USA, Unruly Paper Arts, and Gina’s Designs.

She lives in the Memphis, Tennessee area with her very supportive husband of 32 years, and her two Yorkies, Chloe and Zoe.

You can see more of Barbara’s work on her blog at Black Hole Art Studio or via Facebook – Black Hole Art Studio

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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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