I know I sound like a broken record these days, but man oh man this feeling of being finished with the book is awesome. And I'm not talking about taking a break either. I'm under the spell of INERTIA. In the void of having those deadlines etc...me and Aar are continuing to undertake as many projects as possible. And not Surrrious projects...just stuff that we feel like doing at the time. For instance, those silly little bookmarks we made last week on whim are actually some of our favorite things.
In our creative life I guess we're painters first. And the act of making a painting takes hours or days and in the end we have a finished painting. That's that. But with mixed media crafting we get to use so much stuff from our finished paintings as source material for endless projects. A cupcake or a girl will end up in a hundred different contexts. Its a much more freestyle process...way less surrious.
And when we're getting into the process of mixed media crafting we can't help but think of teaching the stuff. And we love that we have so much source material to use in classes. When we teach mixed media canvases or art journaling we always incorporate our imagery into the class kits and also bring a rubbermaid full of our prints and sticker sheets and papers. Having the available imagery fills in the gaps for the students. They can flip through the stuff and have a jump off point for a canvas or journal page. So there aren't any worries about having to know how to paint a cake or cupcake or girl. You can just have fun with backgrounds and placement and learn about drop shadows and washes.
But doing the book put us in step-by-step mode and it flicked a switch. We totally can simplify the actual painting of images and make that the main focus of a class. We were practicing this weekend. Like that highschool writing assignment when the teacher tells you to write out how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It seems simple but you gotta take your time with the steps. So many students hand it in and the teacher will read through and say..."where's my knife?...how can I spread peanut butter without the knife?" So yeah...same goes with painting. Anyway...it's something we're really looking forward to doing!
So yesterday Aaron and I were cleaning the studio and on our table was a stack of blank canvases in different shapes and sizes. And really...I know its cliche...but a blank canvas really will call out to you. So if you have any sort of creative bent and find yourself stuck...just get around a stack of blank canvases. Before you know it, one or two of 'em won't be blank anymore.
So that's what did us in. The cleaning stopped and we sat down to work. And again, we were also approaching things with the eyes of students. We made sure to use products we all see everyday on our favorite blogs, in scrapbooking supply stores...all the stuff you want to dabble in and have been wishing to try. And we also wanted to tie in our girls...painting them in steps...using our drawings as templates.
I went with a 12"x12" square. First thing I did was grab a favorite stencil. Fun strips of geometric patterns. A lot like the background stamps I used on my bookmarks last week. I think I was going for an enlarged version of those bookmarks.
Next I used Amy...a girl from one of our sticker sheets. On the photocopier I blew her up to fit the big canvas...Which is pretty much what we would do if we were teaching this. I then made a tracing of her for some other steps I would take, and I went ahead and glued her down just as you see her here.
I added some flecking, and stamping, and some dimensional hearts made with molding paste.
I'm a sucker for talk & thought bubbles... And you can see I did some paper piecing here. Using my tracing I traced out her hair, collar, and shirt so I could cut patterned papers to fit.
I wanted to paint her face in steps...very simple steps...loose...with simple shadows, highlights, floated color, and some outlines. I added some "stitching" and a real button...and a super cute puffy fabric bow! (from Maya Road) Really, this whole thing can be done by a beginner.
Of course I had to add some words!
I had a great time working on this. Really laid back and fun. And it went by so fast.
And here is what Aaron was working on across the table from me! He went with a cute little chunky square canvas...a 5"x 5". Lots of layered vintagey papers and washes of color. He rendered a simple cute girl on watercolor paper and like I did, glued her right down to his canvas.
Aaron's favorite way to finish his pieces is always with Distress Ink. For years he was doing this with paint and rags...then good ole Timmy Holtz comes out with this and answers a prayer. Aaron's favorite color to use is Gathered Twigs.
Aar's canvas has so much texture. He kept layering up thick coats of heavy gel medium with washes in between coats. Also, he'd retouch the Sharpie outline on the girl so she wouldn't get too muted. And although Sharpie is permanent it will smear if its on top of a finish and then re-brushed. So in between coats he would spray her with some fixative.
Aaron's gel medium gives the look of beeswax. He embedded some gold stars in a few places.
Isn't she so sweet? She totally looks like a blogger! right?! I'd read her blog!
And here they are hanging happily side by side.
Hope you enjoyed a peek into what we've got going on lately in the studio. To show our appreciation we're going to do a giveaway of Aaron's canvas! To have a chance to win you just have to follow this blog and leave a comment on this post telling us what you love about mixed media artwork. Make sure you leave a link to your blog or any other way for us to contact you if you win! We will choose the winner next weekend! Good Luck!!
xo, Jenny & Aaron