Four Seasons

This article is written by Gloria Malouf-Marsh

In this painting, I have used the ‘Four Seasons’ in explaining how they are interpreted and cultivated  in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

In the three months of spring, all things on the earth begin to grow.  The natural world is resuscitating and all things are flourishing. This is a time to activate and promote the positive side of nature, which in turn is the principle for cultivation of health.

In the three months of summer, it is a time of prosperity. Nature is blossoming, and an attitude towards life is a manifestation of a cheerful state of mental equilibrium. This is also a time for gratitude and appreciating all our gifts and the overall positive mental approach to life as a result.

The three months of autumn is the season of ripening.  In autumn it is cool, the wind blows fast and the atmosphere appears clear.  Our minds should be peaceful to alleviate the soughing effect of autumn. Experiencing moderation of mental activity for balance is very important. This is a time of cultivation of moderation and harmony and prevents outward signs of agitation.

The three months of winter is the season for storage.  This is a time of hibernating, having quiet mental times, providing extra rest, warmth, taking care of our bodily organs and preserving our energy for the following seasons. This is a time to keep out of drafts and the cold and enjoying the glorious radiant sunshine in its splendour.

My favourite months of the year are May and October.

Mixed media painting to express oneself

My study of Taoism has greatly influenced my lifestyle and thinking.  I enjoy the rhythms of nature, walking, meditating, and spending time in the sunshine and fresh air.  In Chinese philosophy the yin and yang symbols are used and their meanings provide the intellectual framework of Chinese scientific thinking, especially in the field of medicine. Maintaining optimum health plays an integral part in this science.  Illness and emotions are seen as disturbances in the balance of yin and yang. This occurs when one’s balance in life is exaggerated as being too excessive. One could overwork, or one could be the opposite and not be motivated – the need for balance is of paramount importance, blending the strong and the soft. The yang being the heavens and the yin being the earth. Yin is passive and yang is strong.

My canvas is rectangular in shape, and I halved and marked it vertically and horizontally. I then painted the top part being spring, summer, and the bottom autumn and winter, and being cyclical.  The colours in the painting are vibrant.

I painted the top part first and followed with the bottom. Each season told a story. The variety of colours – warm, hot, and happy greatly affected my mood. Cyclic rhythms of nature contribute to weather and environmental changes. I went on a journey with nature and was in awe of its magnificence. It’s a natural phenomenon how the seasons take form.

It’s important to challenge oneself and work ‘out of the box’ as this expresses our personal creativity.  I could have covered the branches in spring and summer with foliage, but I said no – this is how I interpret the seasons – working from the inside out.  Surprise yourself! You may be amazed at the end result!

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My name is Gloria Malouf-Marsh. I live in Brisbane, Australia, in a very leafy suburb called Indooroopilly.  I live with my husband Greg and my daughter Salwa.

Among my many interest are, singing, playing the piano, cooking, doing voluntary work and studying Ayurveda and Taoism.  I’m a Yoga Chi Gung Teacher.

The weather in Brisbane is glorious in winter.  We are experiencing some very cold weather at present.  I’m looking forward to springtime.  The atmosphere is very clear and fresh and spring is preparing itself with celebration.

My art class is on Wednesdays and I so eagerly look forward to going. The group of ladies is so friendly, interested and caring.  Our teacher is very supportive also. I enjoy variety of mediums very much – collage, acrylic, etc.  I believe, the recipe to maintaining momentum with my brush is to keep on practicing and creating at home and making this a habit that I love. It’s amazing how much confidence we acquire after daily practice. No excuses Gloria, to do other things, practice and practice puts one in the mood and motivates one. It does wonders to my self-esteem and creativity.  This is so beneficial generally.

I have enjoyed painting this art contribution of the Four Seasons very much.

Enjoy and create something from nothing.

Emails are welcome- My email is:

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Santa Fe – New Mexico

This article is written by Gloria Malouf-Marsh

This scene captures a Spanish/Mexican feel.  The countryside has rolling hills, scenic mountain sides and glorious vivid and bright colours of the rich culture of life, fire, and courage.

New Mexico is a Spanish colonial living history site. It boasts beautiful parks, river valleys, scenic mills and historic buildings dotting the countryside. It is so scenic… ranging from Westerns to Civil War sagas, have been filmed there.

Santa Fe – New Mexico Acrylic PaintingI started this composition using crimson red and I used a sponge dabber, which managed to spread across the whole canvas. I found the base, red colour off set the blue clouded sky and enriched the breadth of the frame.  I deliberately did not use perfect cloud formation in the sky, as I wanted to create my own shading and composition.

At first, I sketched a rough outline of my subject matter, the mountains where they started. The shadowing of the mountains added perspective. I concentrated on the two houses, the road just off the middle, and last of all, the fence. The fan brush was used to create the grass spikes. This added more depth. With the fence wires, I applied a silver fine pen to the wires so the fence line would be a feature of the painting.

Bright colour brings boldness and character to any subject matter and also reflects the rich colours of the countryside. These colours enliven the artist within and shape takes form.

The foliage of the trees and colour combined, orange/yellow, brown and gold were dabbing effects.  I used the deer brush for this application. I felt this brought a sense of balance and especially the semi-circle shape below the mountain range and undulating hills. The two houses had a hacienda feel.

Acrylic painting is ever so forgiving. I believe this is the way to go if you are a beginner. I take more risks now. I begin a painting with a bright coloured background and kick starts the imagination to take risks.  This boosts one’s confidence. I have been amazed with the outcome and end result.


My name is Gloria Malouf-Marsh. I live in Brisbane, Australia, in a very leafy suburb called Indooroopilly.  I live with my husband Greg and my daughter Salwa. Among my many interest are, singing, playing the piano, cooking, doing voluntary work and studying Ayurveda and Taoism.  I’m a Yoga Chi Gung Teacher.

In December of last year, our beagle Cassie died from cancer.  She’s sorely missed by us all, but I do very much miss our times together when I’d be painting away.

Beagles are very loyal, loving and caring dogs.

My husband and I have not long returned from three weeks in Vietnam.  The highlight of our trip was Halong Bay. Halong Bay is a UNESCO Heritage site, and is surrounded by limestone mountain formations. We went on a cruise for 3 days, and I was in awe of this amazing place. We had a wonderful time. It really is a special place to visit.

The weather in Brisbane is glorious in winter. We are very spoiled with sunny days, clear blue skies, and the weather is very conducive for applying the brush on canvas.

I have enjoyed painting this art contribution of Santa Fe very much.  It’s amazing how much confidence we acquire after practicing daily with the brush, doing any form of Mixed Media art creations.  Motivation is the word of paramount importance for me, in being creative. I, sometimes find excuses with trying to always be creative, working my imagination, tracing, stenciling, drawing, etc…So, I say there are no excuses, but to continue and prod dry patches. I’m the one to encourage myself not to lapse into excuses.

Enjoy and create something from nothing.

Emails are welcome

My email is:


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The “FEAR“

This article is written by Cheryl Crane

There are many layers in this artwork, layers of thoughts, tears, imagery, and art materials. This artwork was inspired by the 911 attacks on the world Trade Center. There are 2 thoughts intertwined in this piece.  One, Fear of death and dying; hopeful for a better life as we journey with the angels to a greater life without fear.

Below is a weaving of wisteria that inspired the imagery for Fear.  Fear was created after 911 as a reminder of evil that lurks.

Image preparation and materials

It’s a mixed media artwork that combines:

  • Stamps
  • torn newspaper with names of victims from the attacks on the world trade center
  • imagery representing death and dying.

The Angels on the face are digital imagery created from a painting. Green oil paint is used to complement the red and cause strong contrast.

The angels represent hope. Each piece of mixed media is painted on with gel medium.

Cheryl Crane

This piece began as a large Reeves watercolor, paper and a lot of newspapers, stamps, and textured papers.

I first planned my imagery levels of fear…fear of death and dying.  This imagery is collaged figures that are placed within the hair.  Different textures/papers are torn and ripped then glued using gel medium. The 2 stamps represent the United States and the beginning of Fear when the atom was split and the atomic bomb fell on Japan.

There is also ripped paper from an old Japanese newspaper.

Also in the hair of Fear is a ripped black paper.  If you look closely you will see the names of the victims who died in the attack. These names were posted in the Free lance Star.

On one half of the face is a cropped altered image of the Angels of Death.

This painting of Angels is an oil painting that hangs in Fredericksburg Baptist church in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

I took a photo of this painting and altered it using photoshop.  I then glued it onto the watercolor paper using gel medium.

The overall color scheme was planned as a monochromatic scheme.  However, I decided to add the greens and red (compliments to show conflict).  I used water and oil paint in the background.

That is how I created my artwork – The FEAR. I hope you like it!



Cheryl has been an art educator for 25 years in Stanford County Schools. She also teaches private lessons and sells art in her company Paint with Me. She is known as the Angel painter.




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My Favourite Materials – Part 3 Painting Tools

It’s no secret that at Mixed Media Arts we support everyone who has an inner need to create. We want to use materials that we have at hand, around the home as much as possible, or are fairly cheap and easy to buy, as compared to corporate lines of specialty papers and embellishments where you need to buy something from the entire range as the colours don’t match with anything else. It can be very frustrating.

This post will focus on the tools I have around my desk when painting and creating backgrounds.

Part 3 – Painting Tools

Adding colour using cheap paints is a great way to add colour and mood to your mixed media piece. But I don’t use expensive tools; cheap paint brushes will be fine as you are starting out. Rinse them well before using them, to get any stiffness out of the bristles and then dry them on an old cloth (that can become your painting cloth) to remove any loose brush hairs.

mixed media art painting can use a variety of tools

A paint water pot can be a plastic container or reused jar; it needs to be solid, so that won’t tip over too easily when paint brushes are in them. Also don’t over fill them with water – it is better to change the water over frequently. Make sure you have a cloth on hand for water spillage (take care not to have your water pot and cup of coffee too close together in case you try to put your paint brush into your coffee!)

Another tool I use for adding paint layers is old credit card or store cards, use for paint scraping.

mixed media paint scraping

This technique was used in creating many of the backgrounds I have posted across the site, including the small canvas from the ephemera kit.

small mixed media art canvasmixed media art canvas

And if I need a paint pallet, which I don’t use very often, I re-use a polystyrene meat or vegetable tray. These can be reused further, as long as you take the time to wash them out after you have finished with them.  More often that not, I won’t use a paint pallet; I will mix the paints or add water directly onto the artwork or canvas, but this method isn’t for the faint hearted, only the lazy!

I hope this encourages you to have look further around your art area and see what else you have lying around that you can use.

Happy creating!

Here are other materials that I like:

My Favourite Materials – Part 1 Cardboard

My Favourite Materials – Part 2 Text Ephemera

My Favourite Mixed-Media Materials – Part 4 Plastic Sheeting

My Favourite Materials – Part 5 Embellishments




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