Focal Points in Mixed Media Art


This article was written by Madeline Faiella


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


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.


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




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Finding Inspiration

This article is written by Debbie Davis

When I’m at work and on the phone, I usually doodle on a sticky note pad.  Sometimes I bring home my doodles to use as ideas for artwork, or in my artwork.  Recently I was writing on a pretty blue sticky note pad using a red pen.  I realized how much I really liked the blue and red colors together and decided my next project had to be created using these colors.

Molding paste and collage in mixed media painting

Using a claybord, I glued on some pretty blue scrapbook paper along with some text out of a vintage book.  I randomly brushed on some acrylic paint in a blue color that was a little darker than the blue on the paper and also blended the book paper edges into the collage using a bit of gesso.

I love doing quick image transfers on my projects.  The music notes were added by spreading a medium layer of soft gel on the panel where I wanted the image to be.  Next I put some torn out papers with music notes (printed from my inkjet printer) face down into the medium, burnished it onto the collage and then lifted off the paper.  This technique is quick, fun and so simple.

I had never used molding paste before and was excited to try it out using a new flower stencil I just purchased.   I love the molding paste!  It added some great texture.  Once it dried, I painted the petals red and added some of the book text to the center.

I was working on the collage on my kitchen counter and spotted a red mesh bag of potatoes.  The bag was such a pretty red and just matched the red in my flower, so I cut out a few pieces and glued them onto the collage.  I think my hubby thought I was just a little weird.  Ha!

To finish it off, I randomly stamped on some white paint using a piece of cardboard and splattered on a bit of the red paint.

This piece reminded me of a hot summer day.  I decided to create another using the same color scheme with a little sailboat.

Molding paste and collage in mixed media painting



My name is Debbie and I live in Morton, Illinois (USA). I’m happily married and have a wonderful family that includes a daughter, son, son-in-law and 2 of the sweetest grandchildren ever!

What I love most about mixed media art is that you don’t have to be an expert at anything to create beautiful art. It is a great way to recycle found objects. Art is such a wonderful stress reliever. I just wish I had more time to play!

I have a shop on Etsy called Artful Explorations where I place some of the art I have created for sale. I just recently started a In Art Therapy blog having been inspired by others who are willing to share their techniques and ideas.


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