Posted in Mixed Media Art

A couple of Mixed Media exercises

I love mixed media art, and as I mentioned a while ago, I’ve been recycling some old canvas boards to use for trying out various things such as collage.  I also attempted a watercolour and ink piece yesterday, then not overly happy with the way I had painted the feathers in the hat, I stuck some on! Hey presto – mixed media right?

Ok, so we’re told we learn from our mistakes – and I think that is so true.  Many artists won’t share their ‘mistakes’ – some say it demeans their ‘good’ art work, but I think if they did share them, perhaps others who are too afraid to attempt something for fear of ridicule or harsh critiques would just ‘give it a go’.

I am far from perfect in my art – to me it’s always going to be an ongoing journey – mostly because I do enjoy trying new things.

As I said in my last post, I wanted to experiment more with watercolours.  So rather than paint a flower or a landscape, I simply picked one of the oil paintings from my Modigliani book (yes, it really is my fave art book – haha!), roughly sketched out the one I chose.  I wasn’t really interested in getting it perfect, just wanted that outline so that I could go ahead and make a mess!  I think I succeeded rather well! 

Waterolour, Markers and Feathers!
Waterolour, Markers and Feathers!

One thing I noticed with this piece was that even though there is ‘black watercolour paint’, I ended up agreeing with other artists that you really don’t need it.  I only used it as Modigliani’s paintings often have a black outline.

On her face then, I did use thin black marker that I found in my pile of pens. Sadly this one is well past it’s time and hardly worked at all. (Add marker pens to shopping list!).
I also noticed that I really prefer the darker but brighter colours. I know watercolour is meant to be subtle, but I’ve seen plenty of work that’s just amazingly bright, so I was ok with that, and it helped adding glazes just to see what would happen.

My big problem came with doing the hat. I had thought about a black hat with white feathers, then a purple hat with blue feathers….oh decisions decisions! In the end I went with a dark purple/black hat and blue/black feathers. What a mess that turned out to be. It was then I decided to hell with it, and dug out a couple of small feathers and stuck them on.  Even though this was just a test piece, I think I’m going to find a nice piece of paper from my stash, and cut out a hat shape and stick it on.

Anyway – that was fun and after watching a few more videos I am once again ready to grab a piece of watercolour paper and try out some things from a couple of my art books that my MIL had that are now in my bookcase.

Oh and another must have, that I thought I had, is masking fluid.  It really is quite hard (for a newbie like me) to paint around the edges, much like a colouring in book.  I think the trick is to paint an edge around your main subject, or rather within the edge with the masking fluid so you don’t have to worry about slopping a bit of paint too close.

The paints I used on this were a mixture of ‘professional’ watercolours and a cheap box from China!  I think on the next one I will just use the cheap paints until I am satisfied I know what I am doing and not just ‘having a go’! 🙂


With the right hat nothing else matters!
With the right hat nothing else matters!


Now this is yet another recycled canvas board. It’s only 8 x 10 inches. It used to be an acrylic painting of some peppers I did back in 2007. Again, the first step was to gesso the entire thing with a couple of coats.

I then added some paint, ripped bits of paper, some lovely tissue paper sent to me by Liz and then painted in the face with the hat.

The words I simply printed off the computer and let the ink dry out for a day or so.  I have heard that ironing papers from your printer somehow sets the ink.  Haven’t tried that yet, but I might as even though I let the words dry out, they did smudge just a little bit when I stuck them down.  I also added some tiny red glass pieces across the brim of her hat and down her top.

After a while I decided that was enough experimenting, so I put a nice acrylic gloss varnish over the entire thing … now what do you think happened? Well it seems I did not use my permanent waterproof black jumbo marker – so when I put the varnish on it turned her face rather dull , but that’s ok, she’s only going to be sitting in my art room!

I stuck the flower and feathers on after letting the varnish dry out for several hours.

What did I learn?  I simply MUST get myself some waterproof pens that aren’t years old and mostly dried out, and keep them away from the normal markers, but most of all is that never think that all your art has to be perfect the first time.   If we felt that way, then what would a Musician do – give up after the first attempt at a riff?  Of course not, they’d just keep practising until they got it right – and that’s what we artists should do.

Feel free to share any of what you consider to be ‘disasters’, or even how you feel about work that just doesn’t quite come out the way you thought it would.



Self taught artist back living in New Zealand after more than a decade of living in Canada. Starting over in more ways than one but always up for the challenge!

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