Sunday, June 30, 2013

Those blank canvases didn't stand a chance (and a GIVEAWAY!)

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 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? can I spread peanut butter without the knife?" So yeah...same goes with painting.'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  


  1. I love how you can get messy and have fun creating, my fave type of crafting nowadays
    Fab giveaway from

  2. I totally agree.. blank canvasses just CALL to you!! I loveeeeee making canvasses ... the freedom to add whatever you want and any textures you want!! Thanks for the chance ...

  3. That canvas is amazing! I love how with mixed media you can go all out, there are no rules. And I love that sort of 'layered' look mixed media art can give to a painting or journal.

  4. what i love most about mixed media art is that there is no rules. you just do it! the creative freedom rocks!


  5. I love how inspiration and ideas just flow from you guys. I'm really drawn to mix media because you can layer different textures and add depth. They seem to really come alive.

  6. Beautiful work!
    I love the possibilities of mixed media. Nothing to tie you down, just layers of texture & inspiration, & beauty! Mixed media so freeing!

  7. I love the fact that one can really express themselves through mixed media by the colors they use, the amount of layering that is added, etc. You guys are truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this beautiful process and for a chance to win!

  8. I love the fact that one can really express themselves through mixed media by the colors they use, the amount of layering that is added, etc. You guys are truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this beautiful process and for a chance to win!

  9. oh my goodness.. I need to win the girl with the pink hair! lol! i love mixed media art because of all the dimensions that make things pop out at you. And because you can use Anything to create Something.
    Happy Day guys! Im back out to the garden!

  10. I just love your art work. Why? because I think about how it could withhold in my college art class critiques - EVEN though it is completely light-hearted and whimsical.
    When I was a young painter I remember somewhere along the lines getting the idea in my head that in order for art to be good, it had to be dark or political or just heavy in some way.
    Thank god this is not true!
    I love how many different elements y'all use. and how you somehow always manage to make me love pastels :)

    -andrea @

  11. I've only recently discovered mixed media, but I immediately fell in deep! I love the way pieces can change and evolve as you work on them and I really love that i finally have a reason to play with paint!

    Your canvases are so adorable!


  12. Thank you for sharing your process. Love these girls.

    I love mixed media because there are no rules, I can be me and be free.

    I am a follower and love it :)

  13. Want so much! =D I love mixed media because there are no rules! You can bring so much personality to a piece.

    Marilyn (

  14. Mixed media art. Gives different textures feelings and colours makes things pop and adds some fun you wouldn't find in other art, it's beautiful and fun to have around at home or work because it adds live and fun to your room. Mixed media art is just a very uqnic way of art and beautiful in any space.

  15. Love, love it! I really like how his gel medium looks like wax. Is that because of the kind of medium he used, or just the layering?
    Love mixed media just simply because it's fun to play with all the different supplies.
    Crossing my fingers to win! :)

  16. Mixed Media is the total relaxation for me. I make mini albums and since approximately 1 year Mixed Media. I can let my creativity run wild and messy. I love it!

  17. first of all i love yours and aarons work! and second of all, i love how when working if it doesn't seem right, you can paint or collage right over it, and start over. and no rules! you are the boss! i would love to win this piece. thank you so much! carlanda

  18. YOU TWO ARE AMAZING!!! I love your finished pieces and this has me craving a creative project. Jen is wonderful with DIYs, I... not so much. But I want to learn. My favorite thing about mixed media art is how creative you can be, messy yet simple, bold yet demure. I love how anything can be incorporated!

    I follow your blog! Mine is

  19. Mixed media...hmmm...what's not to love? You get to use WHATEVER your imagination can think of to make your art piece! So cool and sooooo much fun! It's awesome to just let your whims carry you!

  20. Your artwork is so dreamy! I love the colors and themes. It just brings happiness!! My favorite thing about mixed media is that 'anything goes.' You can incorporate scraps of paper, found objects, and text and you can create a masterpiece with just the simplest items. Absolutely lovely!


  21. Mixed Media Art is the Queen of Endless Possibilities!!! I love your color palettes & artwork!!! So much fun & whimsical! Thanks for this, what a cute new series from the both of you!

  22. LOVE! Your canvases are awesome, those stencils look amazing! I started out as a scrapbooker, and found my true love - mixed media. Canvas, albums, etc, love it all! Blank canvas, metal pieces, paint, YUM!

  23. I need to have a go at this but don't have the materials! I love the texture of mixedmedia xx

  24. Jenny and Aaron. Once again, the two of you blow me away with your creativity and beautiful mixed media work. This makes me want to finally do something with my mini blank canvases or maybe with the small wood panels I bought! I never know how to start decorating them... but I love your tips!

    Anyway, something I love about mixed media is the way I can save pretty little bits and pieces of things and it gives me an outlet in which I can use them to create something cool. I have such a hard time tossing anything cute and pretty - I save ribbons from packaging and tissue paper from gifts... so I love using them to create new artwork.


    Now excuse me while I go start a new piece... hehe.

  25. No one can do this like you and Aaron, Jenny! But I love how anything goes with mixed media art; maybe something you have had in your jewelry box for years or in a junk drawer and build something unique and awesome out of it; perfect recycling! Right now I am going through 2 storage spaces of my stepdad's, who unfortunately I lost in March, but he was a hoarder...but of such cool retro stuff! I am coming across stuff that I have never seen or heard of before but I know it is cool! Especially since learning so much from people like y'all! Love the canvases and will be watching the shop :-) Love bunches!

  26. What I loe about mixed media is that it is so free form and there are really no mistakes... You can begin heading in one direction and happily end up in another I. The layers of creating. That feeling is what I call my mojo. LOL Susan Purrpage3 at verizon dot net

  27. Mixed media is great because you can put together anything you think of! There are no rules. It's big, it's little, it's simple, it's complex. Your imagination is your only limitation : )
    Love your work!
    Terry fryer

  28. Hi, I just found your adorable blog through luluslittlewonderland and wanted to say how happy I am to have found it!


  29. I love mixed media because it is so varied. You can use anything you have and make something beautiful.

  30. Love everything about this guys! Your joy and creativity in working together are the most near and dear!
    Colors, Whimsey and Scale are amazing!

    Always love to see what you two are up to!! Thanks for Sharing!!

    You can always find me at or leave me a FB msg!

    Have a great week! (Back to pitting out my studio tomorrow,,,,and although I didn't go through a hurricane, I do get winter flooding in the studio in this old house....)

    Hugs to you both!

  31. Always a follower, and I love how mixed media can turn into almost anything. All the possibilities!

  32. This is so lovely! I've been following on bloglovin for awhile now and I love when you post your artwork on here! I love the fact that mixed media has so much going for it with the texture dynamics! <3

  33. Aaron, that is a portrait of me!
    Except my lips aren't as pretty. :-)

    I love mixed media because you can't mess it up, if something isn't right you just go over it and change it until it works. It's a fun, no brainer way to (play) create!
    You have both inspired me to try mixed media and I am loving it. I even keep lil scraps of papers, tickets, receipts etc to incorporate into my next piece.

    Thank you for being you,
    Smiles, Dolly

  34. Love, love both canvases!!!! The colors are so refreshing to look at!!!! Your technique is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing such beautiful things ! I love to see when you have a new blog post. Thank you for the giveaway as well.
    Best regards, Wanda

  35. I am always a huge fan of your gorgeous work. Your work is so amazing and the colors are just gorgeous! Very inspiring. Have a beautiful week and love to you!

  36. The best things about mixed media art is it's the easiest way to use those unused materials and you can sit down in front of those materials without a plan and in minutes you've somehow made it all come together into this beautifully creative piece of art!
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  37. This post is so inspirational! I have been in a creative rut lately, with tons of blank canvases staring me in the face, but I haven't got a clue what to do with them. After reading this, I think I will try my hand at mixed media art!

    Thanks so much for the chance to win this amazing piece.

  38. A wonderful post, love how you describe what you do so we get an understanding of how to do things.
    What do I love about mixed media?
    The joy of going through stash and just using what I have, not knowing what I am going to do initially but being inspired as I look at what I have to hand and just playing to see what the end result will be..The JOY of playing that I had as a child comes back to me when I get in my art space

  39. I love mixed media because it is so fun! There are so many things that you can add without being formal! These Mixed media prints are Fantastic! I love the colors and the creativity! They are PERFECT!

  40. oh this canvas is sooo cute, I'd love to win! It inspires me a lot esp. the its pastel colours are beautiful!

  41. I think that the reason why art touches me so deeply is because the other artist, through their artwork, speaks for me. Their art is able to vocalise or visualise parts of my soul, deep feelings that I am not necessarily able to express for myself. It makes me realise my inner world isn't just my own, others feel similarly, have similar depth of soul and have an amazing way of expressing it on behalf of me.

    With mixed media it happens on very deep levels as there is so much layering and texture going on. It's like each layer represents a part of the artist that isn't superficial or obvious, the paintings seep through the cracks and push forward parts of their soul.

  42. I have been a follower for quite some time. The canvas is just full of so many techniques. Thanks for a chance to win.
    Hugz, Z

  43. Love your art. what I love about Mixed media... no two are alike.. it is the most creative style I know... Mixed Media involves so many other styles all mixed up.... it is a mental expression... thanks for the chance to own a lil beauty...

  44. What I love about mix media artwork/s is that it gives every artist a chance to express their freedom. Freedom in a sense that they are able to choose any inspiration from almost everywhere via different media. It also gives one an opportunity to be more creative in turning various materials into a masterpiece.
    In a simplier words: doing Mix Media Artworks takes every artists' imagination into a higher level without limits.

    love lots,

  45. I love how there are so many choices of materials to use. It's so much fun to just let your imagination go wild.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  46. These are so cute!!!
    I follow on Bloglovin'!
    I am at!

  47. I love getting these peaks into your creative process. I think my favorite thing about mixed media is that I can create things with my daughter, who is 4, and we can work together to make something awesome. (She's really proud of this piece, and I love it!

  48. I totally love, love, love your style, please pick me,pick me, lol. I love all mixed media, the more in a painting, etc., the better. Thanks for a chance to win something awesome.
    Kimberly Budash

  49. I saw this posting on Facebook and had to come visit! Definitely a new follower and totally inspired by the girls! Techniques on these are total eye candy results!!! Awesome !!!
    Dara Lynn

  50. I love all the texture in mixed media! Papers, metals, and wood....all of them so fun...oooh ooh and fabric...and paint...I love them all.

    Pick me Pick me ; )

  51. Now following you via email. What I like about mixed media art is that you add all kinds of bits and pieces to it.

    1. Forgot to leave contact info should I be the lucky winner.

  52. The first time I attempted doing a mixed media canvas I was hooked! Like you said even a beginner can do it!
    I love building up layers and adding both canvases you guys came up with.

  53. What I love about mixed media is is every one is so one of a kind and original. It tells a story. Isn't that what art is all about? That little girl is Adorable (with a capital A). I follow you and would love a chance.

    xo Danielle

  54. I was a scrapper for years, but I found myself yearning for more less structured art. I found mixed media art and I was like a kid in a candy store. I'm still learning, but what is so wonderful about m.m. is no rules, make a little mistake, incorporated it into the piece, make a big mistake...well that's what gesso is for! :)

  55. I loved watching your process....I can't wait until your book is published! Mixed media is such a beautiful way to express oneself and your art does that perfectly.

    Missy (

  56. I've just found your lovely blog today and have followed in Bloglovin'. I love mixed media because I can use bits and pieces from so many of my other crafts. I use yarn, thread, fabric, gathered bits from nature, buttons, etc.

    Your blog is a happymaking place. I'm charmed!
    themissyaya AT gmail DOT com

  57. I love the dimension you get with this type of process. I wish I could take one of your classes.

  58. i love the creativeness that goes into mixing all the prints and textures!

  59. So glad I came across your blog. Just love the artwork. Am now a follower and can't wait to see what's to come!

  60. I fell so so deeply in love with both your blog & that piece of art! Here's hoping I win.

  61. Whoa! So awesome! I've loved your blog for ages, (& those yummy kale & sweet potato quesadillas have become a fave of ours!) both of your work is so cute and happy! I love mixed media because of all the layers of goodies you can put in and discover as you look at the piece. Thank you for the chance to win! :D

  62. GFC follower- Shannon F.

    Both of those turned out way awesome! I love all the layers and how with mixed media you can use a bunch of items from other projects and mix them in. What a great way to express yourself as an artist!

    Shannon F.

  63. I loved mixed media and especially working on canvases. Love your girls! I like the layers and texture and the fact that anything goes!

  64. Love your girls! I love the texture and layering that can be achieved with mixed media. Would love to win a canvas from you.

  65. What a cutie! I love the waxy look Aaron achieved with the gel. Thanks for the step by step. I'm going to try this. It would be great to win!

  66. Can't resist the opportunity for a giveaway from you guys!!!

  67. I absolutely love everything about this blog! I stumbled across it while on Pinterest. It has inspired me to get back in my craft room and create! I have scrap booked for years but life got in the way, but you have truly reenergized my creativity! I love your color schemes and all your ideas, I thought you were me for a minute after looking at your blog. And your beautiful pink hair is perfect! Thank you for all you do, I pray you both will continue to be blessed in all you do!


Thanks so much for reading! We absolutely love to hear from you please leave a comment if the mood strikes you, or if you have any questions for us about a recipe, project, art supply , paint color, etc. Don't panic if your comment doesn't appear right away...we moderate all comments to avoid getting tons of spam. Thanks again!!
xo Jenny & Aaron