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Mixed Media Painting – What’s the Commotion About?

Posted on Mar 24, 2014 by in Mixed Media Painting |


Steampunk painting pattern by Cindi Estes at Art Apprentice Online

Steampunk Mixed Media Painting Pattern by Cindi Estes

Mixed Media Painting - What’s all the commotion about?

By Cindi Estes

Mixed Media Painting is a broad term that can and does encompass a vast array of mediums, styles, and surfaces. It can be painted, inked, glued, built, layered, stamped, gessoed, embossed, embellished, sewn and inlaid. There are rules to follow and there are no rules that can’t be broken! Employ your composition, color and value skills, but also throw everything to the wind and have a play at it! Mixed Media is done on canvas, wood, paper, fabric, and metal, you name it! It is done as a stand-alone piece, a wall hanging, in an art journal or to hang on a wall or sit on the floor! Right now,  mixed media is very popular in home décor. Art journaling is popular and there are many classes, both in person and held online.

You can create an abstract design, you can do a whimsical portrait, and you can pour out your feelings and your dreams and goals, and then cover it all up so that only you know it’s there. You can use any kind of paint, many use acrylic paints or even watercolor media. Many also use inks or texture mediums, many use pencils and pens as ways to add interest. Stencils are commonly used and all of these effects and applications are thrown together with an idea in mind…or not…to make something that either the whole world can understand…or only you. Many times artists will feel overwhelmed by the idea of just playing around without a specific set of instructions. But once they try their hand at mixed media without boundaries, they might find it exhilarating and free-ing.

Include ‘found’ treasures into your mixed media painted art work

When I start to design a mixed media painting I usually have an ending in mind, but not always. Many times I will choose either a color combination, or use a stamp or a stencil and just see where my creativity takes me. By the time I finish I may have 40 different embellishments scattered all over my table and floor! Ribbons, corrugated cardboard, strings, ephemera, ink, old jewelry pieces, paints, and markers…whatever I have in my stash that fits where my piece is going at any given moment! Much of the “stuff” that I use in my mixed media pieces comes from yard sales, clearance bins, scrapbook stores, hardware stores, dollar stores, my old jewelry boxes, my mother’s drawers and memory stashes. Anywhere you are, always be on the lookout for some little treasure you can re-purpose into your mixed media art work.

Choose your supplies wisely

An important consideration in mixed media is what adhesive to use and in what form. I use Scott Quick-Dry adhesive for gluing down paper and light weight objects. It holds well, gives you time to position and sets quickly. I use Ranger Glossy Accents for heavier and thicker embellishments such as wood or metal 3D objects. I also use Red Line tape or Scor-Tape for assembling chipboard boxes and other objects that will endure a certain amount of pull or pressure.

My Mixed Media Painting…Here’s A Starting point

My personal formula is to try to have some paint or ink, some paper, some metal, some wood, some shine and some texture. I find that when I am making one piece, my mind shoots off into ideas for 3-4 more. I have to jot them down so I don’t forget. I keep some shipping tags on a metal ring with different ink/paint combinations to give me some ideas. I call upon the composition principles I have learned over the years from taking Color classes from Gaby Hunter, Blending classes from Sue Pruett and Design Element and Principle classes from Neadeen Masters. Susan Abdella has taught me under-painting using values; Donna Richards has taught me drawing principles. I have learned more in 7 years of classes with these master teachers than in 30 years of painting. I have also learned a lot from teaching my own classes both on the internet and in person at retreats and conventions. I believe that a teacher learns from her students as much as they learn from her.

I really hope you will take a leap of faith and call upon what you already know, what your inner child wants to show the world and just take some time to play! Enjoy your creativity! How about trying my latest steampunk painting pattern…In this design I walk you through the step by steps for creating this fun themed design. This steampunk design is ready for your immediate download at the Art Apprentice Online.