Mixed Media – Modern turns Vintage – Picture Frame

by Gabriele Hunter on November 23, 2013


Old Modern Becomes Vintage New – Mixed Media to the Rescue 

During a recent house cleaning exercise I came across this contemporary or modern looking photo frame and noticed the panels coming loose. I was getting ready to put it into the “dispose” pile and then a creative idea hit me.  Why not refinish the frame and give it a vintage look.   So I did a major transformation using different mixed media applications. Here are the painting instructions on how this was accomplished.

Mixed Media Supplies Used:
DecoArt Gesso
DecoArt Texture Sand
DecoArt Metallic Lustre Copper Kettle (Love that stuff)
DecoArt One Step Crackle
DecoArt Traditions Burnt Umber
DecoArt Traditions Transparent Red Iron Oxide
DecoArt Traditions Medium White
Tim Holtz Tattered Florals
Tim Holtz Tattered Leaves
Tim Holtz Grunge Paper
Rusted Tin Wire
Martha Stewart Silicone Mold with Birds
Decorative Brads


Mixed Media Step by Step Instructions

Step 1:  Clean the surface with warm water and let dry well.
Step 2:  Apply one to two coats of Gesso
Step 3:  Once dry, apply a heavy coat of Texture Sand with a palette knife.   Let dry overnight.
Step 4:  Apply one coat of Burnt Umber.


Step 5:  Apply some Transparent Red Iron Oxide from the inside edge and walk it to the middle of the frame.
Step 6:  Once dry, load your brush with Medium White and dry brush from the outside towards the inside.
Step 7: With a soft cloth apply some Copper Kettle Metallic Lustre to the inside of the frame.


Step 8:  Apply a heavy coat of One Step Crackle and let sit for a couple of hours until the crackle process is complete.



Step 9:  Cut out any embellishments you wish to add out of grunge paper.  Apply a heavy coat of DecoArt Traditions Medium White acrylic paint.  Let dry.
Step 10:  Apply a heavy coat of One Step Crackle
Step 11:  Use a mold with small birds (I used a Martha Stewart brand – silicone mold) and add QuikWood into the mold.  Let sit for about 25 minutes or until hardened.
Step 12:  Base the birds with Medium White.


Step 13:  Use a blending tool or soft cloth and wipe thinned Burnt Umber over the flowers, leaves and birds.  Also apply this to the edges.

Step 14:  Use a soft cloth and wipe some Metallic Lustre Copper Kettle over the edges of the leaves and flowers and birds.
Step 15:  Lighten some areas with Medium White


Step 16:  Use some decorative brads for the center of the flowers and attach the other embellishments using rusted tin wire.  Glue everything into position.
Step 17:  Add your favorite photo and enjoy!

I know you will enjoy making this adorable mixed media vintage piece…this old modern picture frame has been repurposed into a ‘new’ work of art that someone special on my Christmas list will be pleased to find under the tree. This mixed media application isn’t limited to picture frames, how about trying these fun painting techniques on other surfaces? For example, you can try this on an old mirror, boxes and containers and even on a high-heeled shoe. The possibilities for having some creative fun are endless…and don’t forget…many of the painting and art supplies are available from our online store at Art Apprentice Online. We’ll be happy to ship them out to you regardless of where you live!

Have fun creating – Gaby Hunter


3 Tips For Choosing Online Painting Lessons

by Neadeen Masters on November 18, 2013

Select An Online Painting Lesson

The internet gives us the ability to find online painting lessons quite easily. How do we know we are getting a class or online painting lesson that will give us what we really need…relative to learning painting techniques and skills that is? To the average person looking for good painting instructions, the photograph of the finished painting lesson is most likely the only thing used to judge the value of the class…
Water Transparency - Painting Seascapes - Online Painting Lessons
Perhaps this is not the best way to select art instruction…Let’s help you make decisions that will really push you forward on your painting journey. Getting the best learning experience is really what should matter…
Online Painting Lessons - Painting Seascapes
Online Art Class Objectives
  • When selecting an online painting lesson does the description of the class outline the class objectives? If not, can you communicate with the instructor and ask questions to clarify? Do you understand what you will be signing up to learn?
Instructor Support for Online Painting Lessons and Classes
  • When selecting an online class is there online support from the instructor? That’s to say, can you get direct feedback from the instructor, one on one? Or is the class format based on simply watching videos alone?
Online Painting Lessons – Forums and Communities
  • Does the online painting lesson provide the student with any type of forum or followup community interaction between students and teachers where one can see the work of other students so one might benefit through osmosis? Forums are helpful as they help students build confidence and learn from the instructor feedback to other students.
As you select your future online painting lessons, look to the Art Apprentice Online Art School…The experienced art teachers are accessible, friendly and always willing to help with tips, suggestions and further explanations. Art students get unlimited support for the duration of the class.
Choose from a wide variety of online painting lessons on how to paint flowers, seascapes, wildlife and birds, whimsy, decorative painting and lots more…


Bridging the Gap with facebook and Twitter – Online Teaching

by Neadeen Masters on November 12, 2013

How do we bridge the gap on the facebook?

Who ARE we…who ARE you? How do we connect and on what levels? In today’s cyber world of online business and online teaching…being real and developing trust through simple sound bite connections on the internet and through digital communications makes it even harder and more important than ever to get to know each other…but it is happening…Thumbnail photos, written profiles and shared friends seemed all we had to go on…but is that really it? No, I don’t think so…it has the potential to develop into lots more than you will ever guess.

Donna Richards,Sue Pruett, Neadeen Masters, Susan Abdella, Gaby Hunter from the Art Apprentice Online - Art Teachers.

Art Apprentice Online Teachers

Top left – Donna Richards, Sue Pruett, Neadeen Masters, Susan Abdella and Gabriele Hunter

Through our facebook and twitter posts we/you share the daily events of our modern lives. No longer isolated by distance we share successes, good days and not so good days. We share painting skills  and creativity, new grand babies, new puppies, weddings and engagements, jokes, funny images and inspirational quotes! AND least we forget, our artwork, art tips and ideas. Somehow our ‘facebook’ sharing does more than we realize…It helps us build relationships that in some cases can seem more real than some so called friendships of the past that walked in and out of our lives leaving us shaking our heads!

Art Apprentice Online - Art Teachers - How to Paint

L-R – Sue, Gaby, Connie, Susan, Neadeen and Donna – The Art Apprentice Online Magazine Team

On a personal level, as art teachers we get to know more about our students and followers…like distant cousins who share a bit of history and enjoy the same interests. We connect by the fact that we are wives, mothers, grandmothers, homemakers, pet owners, neighbours, farmers, artists, caretakers, art teachers and sometimes students. We experience the same feelings of joy, excitement, and success as everyone else. We experience loss, stress and fatigue. But through it all, we laugh, share a cyber hug, and giggle about the silly and sometimes very stupid things we do without thinking…like forgetting the exploding hardboiled eggs on the stove, washing the same load of laundry 4 times, or sliding under the garage door, (inside joke on facebook). We share our stories and experiences, and we love that you do the same with us.

Learning the Greyscale via the computer - Online painting Lessons

Not just a hand or a talking head…there are real people behind online painting classes, and those facebook  posts!

Regardless of distance, our cyber status posts have made us/you/we seem more human and real. We love that this aspect of online teaching has allowed us to bridge the gap between thumbnail photos, written profiles and daily status updates. Keep them coming…we love to hear from all of you…

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Art Terms and Painting Tips – Layering and Glazing

by Neadeen Masters on November 9, 2013

Glazing and Layering – Painting Techniques

As teachers, we often hear students confuse the art terms they use. It can be a problem if they misunderstand the painting technique the instructor is trying to explain to them. Sometimes it’s good to investigate the real meaning of common ‘artsy’ words we teachers throw around just to confuse you…right? LOL! No…seriously…it can make a huge difference to your painting…especially if you are a beginning artist just starting out. For example, glazing is a word that is often misunderstood. I asked art teacher Susan Abdella to jot down a few common mistakes she has heard….here’s one…

glazing and layering - Transparent Color - Art Apprentice Online

Painting Tip from artist and art teacher Susan Abdella

Painting Question: Are you confused with the terms ‘layering’ and ‘glazing’, are they the same thing?

Answer: The terms ‘layering’ and ‘glazing’ are almost synonymous with one another but there is a difference between the two.

  • Both are applied over a dried surface
  • Both painting techniques use a sparse amount of paint and can be mixed with a medium or water prior to applying to the surface.
  • Both are dried and often repeated.

Glazing – Acrylic Painting Techniques

A ‘glaze’ however refers to the application of a transparent color applied over a dried area to adjust the hue, intensity, or value and color temperature. In watercolor painting, artists layer thin transparent glazes and washes until they achieve the depth or saturation of color they desire.  Acrylic and oil painters will also use or layer transparent ‘glazes’.  It is very important to understand that layering is simply placing one layer of color over another, while ‘glazing’ is ALWAYS a transparent application. Antiquing, where for example, an umber finish is applied to create an old world patina is often correctly referred to as glazing.

Layering – Acrylic Painting Techniques

Layering is also a gradual build up of light and /or dark values and requires several applications before the desired result is achieved. Usually the first application of color will cover the largest area; each subsequent application of color should be smaller staying within the perimeter of the first color.  Think of a pyramid, each application is smaller than the previous.

Art Apprentice Online – Your online resource for the beginning artist who is serious about learning to paint!

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Winter Landscape Painting – Snow is Not White

by Neadeen Masters on November 9, 2013

Landscape Painting in Winter – Snow is anything but white!

When we hear landscape artists refer to the colors of ‘winter white’ this might seem a little strange to the non-painter, but when painting landscapes in winter, we have a chance to use the whole spectrum of color just the same as we do in summer, spring and autumn. We soon learn that snow is anything but white. As a beginning artist, we have to be made aware of the quality of our winter light source. If winter landscape painting is on your horizon…then you need to look for the following…How so you might ask?

Color - Winter is Not White

Observe the type of light when you paint winter landscapes

The sunlight in a winter landscape  is often different from that in summer or spring landscape…we know it’s all relative to where we live and to the weather. In the northern hemisphere the sun is lower in the sky during winter than it is in summer. As a result the quality of light is also different. Pay attention to this phenomenon for the best and most realistic results. Success also depends on the elevation of where you live and time of day…For example, the city where I live is in the north…British Columbia, Canada to be exact. It is  situated in a deep mountain valley, our winter days are often gray, while 25 minutes away, our local ski village sits high up a mountain top and is above the clouds. The sunlight at that elevation is strong and colors are seen as vivid and very saturated (yellow examples shown below) compared to the toned and often grayed colors found in the valley. Observe the toned and dull colors seen in the landscape graphic above.

color theory - Art Apprentice Online - Intensity

Painting realistic snow scenes can and will present the beginning artist with color challenges, as snow reflects sunlight and the colors of surrounding objects. One must learn how to judge the color of snow, snow covered objects and distant objects such as mountains, trees and fields based on value, intensity and color temperature. One important thing to remember…the overall sky color will also determine the color of the snow and what colors you see reflected in the shadows. Pay close attention to this on the next snowy winter day…or study other winter painting to look for these characteristics…

In the painted example shown above,  a few color swatches were pulled from the sky and the snow to show the close relationship between them and how warm they appear on this obviously cold winter day. White isn’t always white but a range of toned grays and other spectrum colors. In landscape painting, we must always refer to the light (sun) prior to starting…what angle, how high in the sky, the effect it is having overall, the weather of the day and time of the day…all these facets must be factored into the color you mix that day!

For more information on painting landscapes and other subjects such as color theory…check out our wide range of online painting lessons offered at the Art Apprentice Online


Everywhere there is a painting worth painting!

It’s 11p.m as I write this blog post and sounds of children paying in the street below drifts through my bedroom window. My Mom always said, “Change is as good as a rest” She was correct, Aix en Provence is a change from my daily studio routine. Our visit to the South of France is one I shall always treasure. So far, its been quite the experience. Each day has unfolded with a new discovery! Most especially fun and memorable as I experience it with another crazy artist and friend who looks at things in a similar manner. Today is day five of a 21 day artistic holiday! What have we experienced so far? Let’s see…

Limestone buildings - Aix en Provence Aix en Provence
Aix en Provence is unique in every way…
Perfect weather…The weather in Aix – en – Provence in October is all about warm days and cooler evenings making for enjoyable strolls along the narrow streets of the old city. Cool breezes blow the fall leaves off the trees to collect in loose piles along the sidewalks. Our apartment is on the third floor of a building in the heart of the old city. Our windows are kept wide open so we hear the sounds of the day as it unfolds below us. Bits and pieces of cafe conversations, the occasional scooter, car, or singing from one who’s had a wee bit too much ‘happy hour’ float through the air like the falling leaves!
Painting Inspiration in Aix en Provence Painting Inspiration in Aix en Provence
Art Supplies for all forms of Art...
If you believe in karma, you’ll understand why our first stop was an art store over flowing with art supplies. Less than five minutes from our front door was four stories of artistic inspiration. From mixed media to fine art, it was all there. Yes we have been back 3 times so far!
If you have deep pockets, the clothes shopping is to die for…Designer everything, great quality, amazing fashion style, but expensive. It’s still fun to look at. A pair of shoes will set you back 300 Euros and that’s just the start. It’s hard not to be tempted by the store windows that beg you to enter the tiny but beautifully displayed shops and boutiques. Displays are very artistic, it doesn’t matter if it is a pair of shoes, a hunk of cheese…or a loaf of bread…the French know how to create the eye candy that draws you in!
The architecture of the creamy old limestone buildings is simple yet beautiful. Mostly built in the 1700’s…It’s interesting to see them as they stand four stories tall on both sides of narrow cobblestone streets. Brightly painted wooden shutters frame most windows and heavy brass hardware decorate the heavy oversized wooden entry doors. The shadows cast from open shutters, street lights and window balconies makes for interesting patterns cast against the worn limestone. 
City dwellers live above the assortment of shops, bakeries, cafes and resturants, and it’s not unusual to catch a glimpse of home life during the late evening hours.
Courtyards and fountains abound, adorned with lions, cherubs and an assortment of other odd figures, and falling water from decorative spounts adds to the music of the street sounds. 
Fresh Spices and Herbs Aix en Provence Fresh Spices and Herbs Aix en Provence
Let’s see…food…Oh my goodness…fresh food is the norm. Daily markets overflowing with flowers, breads, and fresh produce and fruit from local farms are available for sale so its easy to buy food for just a few days at a time! Naturally it’s a pleasure to make the selections. Mouth watering olives, fresh herbs, tomatoes that taste like a tomato should, and melt in your mouth pastries and breads! Team this up with a glass of wine or a cold beer and your taste buds explode! So much for weight watchers!
Fresh Spices and Herbs Aix en Provence Fresh Spices and Herbs Aix en Provence
As I stated earlier…Everywhere there is a scene worth painting, from the brightly colored market stalls, to the old man sitting on the edge of a fountain waiting for his wife as she buys bread for the next few days. Naturally the camera has been clicking away…In Aix en Provence the artistic juices are flowing and the creativity is gaining a huge boost!
More to come as I share this trip with my fellow artists and friends …


Creative Inspiration for a New Painting

by Neadeen Masters on August 28, 2013

Creative Inspiration for a New Painting

In the last few days, I watched as our friend and business partner from the Art Apprentice Online, Gaby Hunter created a new composition for an upcoming seminar. Her creative inspiration and process was fun to hear as she shared her ideas with me. From an inspiration point of view, I thought it would be good for her to share them with you too…Gaby shared the following thoughts…

“The Mosel River region is the third largest wine region in Germany. I grew up right in the middle of it all…Surrounded by family vineyards and grapes also encouraged me to be involved in the harvesting of the grapes each year.  As an adult artist, anything to do with vineyards and `wine culture` speaks to me.

The Creative Inspiration

When the artists from the Art Apprentice Online got together for our annual painting session and company meeting in Kelowna, B.C Canada… a particular reference photo of Okanagan grapes really tugged at my muse.   After painting it I really liked the painting, but I always felt it needed something extra…perhaps a little `life`

Okanagan Grapes by Gaby Hunter from The Art Apprentice Online

Finding a Creative Solution

Looking through my own personal photos of birds, I came across a photo of a beautiful goldfinch. I had taken in my backyard last summer.  Voila! There was the missing link!  A new painting immediately took shape in my mind.

Creative ways to make it all Work

The ranges of warm colors of the grapes and grape leaves were adjusted to flow with the colors of the bird. The original composition was tweaked to make the gold finch bird fit the painting and tell a story. I also wanted the bird to be the main focal area of the painting.

Even though both paintings are quiet beautiful, (if I may say so myself) adding a bit of “life” to a painting can enhance and spark deeper emotions of the soul. Somehow I feel the series of grape paintings is complete…the little finch bird was the missing link! “

Golden Harvest - Finch by Gaby Hunter from the Art Apprentice Online

…If you ever encounter the same feelings of wanting to continue with a painting series but are stumped as to how to do it…don`t stop the creative process there. Dig deeper, explore other ideas…search through your photo files…you’ll be surprised at how and where the `creative inspiration` will come from…

For online art lessons and acrylic painting patterns from Gabriele Hunter…please visit the Art Apprentice Online for a wide selection of artistic resources created to learn painting right from the comfort of your home!


7 Useful Tips for Using Transparent Pigments

by Neadeen Masters on August 27, 2013

Look for Transparent Pigments

When it comes to art and painting techniques, there is a huge difference between transparent pigments and opaque pigments. Read the labels of your paint tubes and bottles, if it doesn`t state this information, chances are you are not working with artist or professional grade paints. Artist grade pigments are found with both transparent and opaque properties. Know the difference and you can predict the results.


Stay clear of Opaque Pigments

Titanium White is an opaque pigment…if added to transparent pigments they won’t be transparent any longer. If you want to use the transparent pigments for dimension as color glazes, here are a few things to consider.

  1. To lighten…Use the transparent pigments without adding white. If you want to lighten and area, for example, bring the fur or feather value higher (lighter) on a wildlife subject, first make the area lighter than what you want the final outcome to be, before glazing.
  2. The transparent colors will always lower the values or darken, if you add white to them; your results can be either chalky or muddy.
  3. If you are applying the transparent pigments in layers to add more dimension, start with the yellow pigment and work analogously around the color wheel from yellow to orange to red to red violet or the other way from yellow to yellow green to green then blue…etc.
  4. Regarding color temperature – It’s easier to warm a cool than it is to cool a warm so watch for this if layering transparent colors.
  5. If mixing the transparent pigments to make secondary and intermediary colors, mix from three Primary color families (red, yellow blue) to get your dark hues…Carbon Black is an opaque pigment, so stay clear.
  6. Creating a good black or dark hue: A great black is a mix of Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Phthalo Green –  Blue shade.
  7. A great dark blue is Dioxazine Purple and Phthalo Green Blue. This will work as a Payne’s Gray.

For more information about using transparent pigments, visit the color theory online painting lessons at the Art Apprentice Online.


How to Learn Painting via Written Instructions

by Neadeen Masters on August 9, 2013

Don’t snub your nose at reproducing someone’s design in an effort to learn painting. Whether you wish to become a fine artist or decorative artist you can learn painting from the work of other more experienced artists. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn when painting from this type of exercise.

Ways to Learn Painting

For centuries artists have sought different ways to learn painting. Besides formal art school, they’ve been learning to paint from more experienced artists who pass on their knowledge and expertise outside of the classroom. Today we can attend live painting classes, online painting classes, read books, buy art DVDs, and watch painting videos on TV. Whatever routes we choose to learn from we are seeking the knowledge other artists share with us. Each learning avenue serves a purpose and fills a need.

Learn Painting via Written Painting Lessons

There is one route that shouldn’t be overlooked…that is…To learn painting via written painting lessons. In the field of decorative painting, thousands of student artists have been buying ‘pattern packets’ for decades. Many accomplished artists, both fine artists and decorative artists have literally cut their artistic teeth on ‘pattern packets’. They learn painting at their own pace, on their own schedules and are still able benefit from the shared artistic knowledge and painting techniques of their favorite artists.

Cardinal Bird Art Study - Acrylic Painting - Neadeen masters - Art Apprentice Online

In An Aspen Grove – Winter Cardinal Bird – In-Depth Art Study – Painting Pattern

What’s A Painting Pattern You Ask?

Whether you call it Fine Art or Decorative Art, the student artist still needs to learn the fundamentals of painting theory and techniques. Fine Art and Painting Lessons can be delivered in many ways. Pattern packets or painting patterns as they are often called, either way they are the same thing. These written painting instructions and step by step photographs show the student artist how to reproduce a particular painting or painted project and include the line drawing. The student does not have to worry about the accuracy of an initial drawing. The goal is to learn a particular artist’s painting method, style and painting technique via the most affordable and accessible means. Many of these written painting lessons deliver bang for the buck and are often packed with huge amounts of valuable information to support the ‘why? and how?’ of traditional painting methods.

Benefits to Painting Patterns

-Easy and immediate access
-Wide variety of painting subjects to choose from
-Big bang for your buck!
-Easy download from the internet and saved to your computer viewed at any time!
-Print what you need
-Can be referenced over and over

Choose from a wide range of subjects and topics…learn painting and acrylic painting techniques from experienced teachers and artists who share their knowledge via written instructions and step by step photographs.


Color Palette Changes with Experience

by Neadeen Masters on August 1, 2013

Your Color Palette and Experience…

Inspiration comes in many ways. It is curious to see how an artist’s color palette can change and evolve over time. Experience is always the best teacher, we know this…experience also gives us permission to break the rules and think outside the proverbial box! My friend and business partner Gabriele Hunter has recently painted a beautiful fresh water fish, the Discus. The colors of this fish are clear, brilliant and inviting. But what inspired her to paint such a painting? What inspired her to paint with such a brilliant palette of colors?

Discus fish - Painting Pattern - Art Apprentice Online - Gaby Hunter

Change has come over her color palette

After a brief conversation with Gaby it is clear to see what a dramatic change has come over her color palette over the last few years. She will tell you that in the past, she painted with a much toned palette, often drab to her more experienced eyes today. When asked why she painted with such a toned palette, her response is that she was taught ‘that’s how one handles color’. In retrospect, her remarkable growth as an artist has freed her to experiment and play with color in many different ways. No more dull or drab paintings for Gaby, her personality shines through her new found playful handling of color!

All artists evolve over time

We evolve when we dance to our own tunes and not the tune of others. Knowledge and a greater understanding of the technical rules allow us to explore so many other options relative to the color palette. We experiment, we play and we have fun while doing so. We begin to paint from the heart. It’s good to look back, if only to see how far we have come…this helps us move forward with renewed energy and focus as we create art for the future.

In this painting, Gaby Hunter was inspired by a photograph taken by her granddaughter and her friend Nick…The photograph was taken on a trip to an aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. The colors of the fish spoke to her immediately…the rest is history. The painting is now an acrylic painting pattern for those artists who wish to learn to paint such a composition. It is also good to know a little history behind a painting.

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