Video: Acrylic Mixed Media Portrait – Chrysalis

Mixed Media Acrylic Portrait Painting - Chrysalis

Good day wonderful people! 🙂  I had a bit of a break due to the studio organization and a family visit, but I am back today with a new mixed media art process video.  A new girl has joined my portfolio! Her name is Chrysalis (thanks to a random dictionary page that showed up in the collage) and she was created mostly with watercolor Spectrum Aquablend pencils and acrylics – both Golden fluid and basic Americana craft paints.

Mixed Media Acrylic Portrait Painting - Chrysalis

You can watch the time lapse creation video below:

I wanted to try my hand at several painterly layers, and I had the idea of piling layers and designs into a girl’s hair flowing upward, and so she was born.  I try to pay attention to color theory when selecting my palette, and this time I went with a primary triad of turquoise, magenta and yellow.  These colors can make some beautiful mixes, as you can see in the spots of greens and purples on the painting, but for the most part I tried to keep the colors shining on their own.

Mixed Media Acrylic Portrait Painting - Chrysalis

I learned a few things during this process and other lessons were reinforced:
  • There is always an ugly stage (or five) where you will want to give up or you will wonder “Oh no, what did I do?!” but you need to trust the process and keep moving forward.  It won’t start to come together until you add more layers and details!
  • It is okay to dive in with the paintbrush even if you don’t know where you are going with it.  If you take too much time to plan it out, you may never go anywhere and you may be disappointed when the paper does not match the image in your head.  Have fun with your mark making and later you can bring it all together.
  • You have to be willing to give up previous layers to get to a better place.   There are going to be moments when you are afraid of “messing up” or losing a layer/design that you particularly like.  If you are still in an early stage of the painting, you may need to let it go so the whole piece can grow and deepen.  Remember, it is just paint, and you can bring something back later if you want!
  • Fine tip applicators take practice 😀
  • Golden fluids take a long time to dry when applied thickly or sprayed with water, so keep a few other in-progress pieces handy to work on in the meantime.

Mixed Media Acrylic Portrait Painting - Chrysalis

Supplies used:

Mixed Media Acrylic Portrait Painting - Chrysalis

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Art & Craft Studio Tour

Art & Craft Studio Tour

I always enjoy seeing other artists’ work spaces.  They are full of inspiration – what materials they use and how they organize their supplies.  I also find less-than-perfect spaces to be motivating, because it gives me hope for my own studio located in our completely unfinished basement.   I hope you feel the same, because I spent the last couple of weeks going through my stash and reorganizing all the goodies, and I wanted to give you a little tour!

First, I just wanted to share the top lesson that I learned:

Organization is key, but so is having everything VISIBLE and WITHIN EASY REACH.

This means that having all of your paints organized is wonderful, for example, but does nothing for you if they are in a closed shoebox off on a shelf in the corner. The opposite is true:  You can have a big ol’ box of dozens of paints right on your table, but if you have to waste time sifting through the box looking for what you need, it will ruin your flow or you may just stop using that material altogether in favor of the one that is right at hand.  So take your materials out of their packages as soon as you purchase them, and arrange them where you will see them and where it takes minimal effort to retrieve (and put away!)

A quick disclaimer before the tour:  you should know that I am an art supply junkie.  I love art and craft supplies, and can be a wee bit impulsive when discovering new materials that I don’t have yet.  I get excited being surrounded by all of these choices, however it can overwhelm others, and by no means do you need to have a lot of supplies to create magnificent work.  As you can see around this site, I am still a beginner – it’s all about practice, not your materials!  You can do amazing things with just graphite and paper, for example.  Use what you have! 🙂

And finally – dollar stores and Goodwill are awesome for sourcing organization and storage solutions.

Art & Craft Studio Tour

Let’s start with the first thing you’ll see when you walk downstairs.  🙂  I set up several workstations – to the right is my sewing and quilting table, and in the center is a polymer clay table, but it can be used for jewelry making or whatever other miscellaneous craft I want to do at the time.  On the far left you can see some of my molds and stickers for the glittery resin charms I do on occasion.  I covered the dirty cinder block walls with fabric from Jo-Ann.

Extra Notes:

  • The tables are 6 ft and 4 ft folding tables from Menards.
  • Shop lights are from Lowes and are the plug-in kind, so no hardwiring required.
  • The chair and the rectangular lamp are old furniture I repurposed from storage.
  • All black shelves you will see in the space are from Menards or Lowes, but that little white shelf on the bottom left is a Goodwill find for a couple bucks.
  • Some thread racks were also Goodwill finds, as were the big fruits hanging up on the wall and the little two drawer storage on the sewing table.  I spend most money on supplies, not organization!

Art & Craft Studio Tour

Art & Craft Studio Tour

This is the opposite side of the space and my main work area.  More glitter and resin making supplies to the left, with the rest of the area devoted to painting and mixed media art supplies. In this photo you can see my Liquitex heavy body acrylics, Neocolor II crayons (stored flat on a Dollar Tree aluminum baking sheet for easy visibility), alcohol inks, and some embossing/stamping supplies.

I have a Macbook with a damaged screen, so it has become a permanent fixture in the space with an external monitor ($10 at Goodwill!)

Let’s take a closer peek…

Art & Craft Studio Tour

Here is my main painting table. Lots of brushes, mediums, markers, pens and pencils are within easy reach. I created my own “divided” water bucket with a 3-for-$1 set of buckets from Dollar Tree housed inside a disposable food storage container I had sitting around (probably also from Dollar Tree). Above this folding table sits a separate glass top that I purchased from Menards.  I stuck some scrapbooking papers under it to look pretty. 🙂

To the right side you see a glimpse of something I created that really excited me: a DIY display for all of my papercrafting supplies.  This is easy to make!  Get some binder clips, cable ties, and some sturdy thick yarn that has some lattice to it.  Stick a cable tie through one loop of the binder clip, through the lattice of the yarn, and close it up.   Repeat every few inches.  Hang it from anything – I have mine hanging off a pole near the ceiling.  Clip packages to it (or make your own “packages” with zip lock bags) and you have a great way to keep your supplies in view!

This is where I do my filming, too – you can see setup in the photo below (top left.)  I screwed a piece of scrap wood to the ceiling joist, and then added a couple screws near the bottom of the wood (jutting out).  I use a rubber band around these screws and my Sony Handycam, pointing down to the work surface.

Art & Craft Studio Tour

Extra notes:

  • See that pink 3-drawer bin behind the chair?  $2.99 at Goodwill!  The black drawer bin next to it was probably about $5.  The chair itself was also a Goodwill find.  And the desk lamp. Do you see a trend here? 🙂
  • Both shelves on the table against the wall were purchased at Menards.


Here is the other side of my “main painting table.”  You will find artist, student, and craft paints here (all are useful!) and various other pigments and tools.  I used wire as a DIY towel holder.   I believe I purchased the left rack new, but yes, the other cart was a cheap Goodwill find!

Behind is a large cutting table from Jo-Ann, and deep in the dark recesses of the rest of the basement you can get a glimpse of my fabric shelves and my jewelry supply shelf… no tour of those, though, they are still a mess!

And yes, I yarn-bombed our support poles. 😀  (no knitting required – just wrap!)

Finally, let me take you towards the back corner of the studio, where lesser-used supplies are kept.

Art & Craft Studio Tour

Art & Craft Studio Tour

Art & Craft Studio Tour

What you will find in this section:

  • Yarn (not only was the rack found at Goodwill, but so was most of the yarn!)
  • Artist papers, pads, canvas
  • Stencils in portfolios
  • Various paper craft products – cards, punches and embossing folders, stamps
  • Spools of ribbon (strung up with yarn)
  • Cross stitch materials
  • 3D embellishments
  • Old books for collage (though keeping with the “have materials close at hand” rule, I ripped out several pages from all books and have them in a drawer for easy pulling)
  • Dolls, boxes, statues, and all kinds of similar things found at Goodwill that make cool bases for altered art
  • Tools
  • Duplicates and excess storage

Whew!  That concludes the tour!  I hope there are some ideas here you can utilize for your own space – perhaps a new way you can arrange your paints and inks, or motivation to check out your local thrift shops and dollar stores.  Be creative with storage ideas.  Something as simple as a zip tie made a perfect brayer holster, and was just one of 3 simple components needed in my packaging display. Do you have some sturdy small cardboard boxes?  Stack them into cubicle shelves!   Learn how you like to make art, and take a moment to improve your space to make your art time that much more productive and fun for you! 🙂

Thank you all, I will see you soon!

DIY Easy Primitive Craft Foam Stamps

DIY Craft Foam Stamp Tutorial

Hello friends!  Today I am sharing a super simple tutorial on making your own primitive foam stamps for ink or acrylic paint.  If you would like to carve detailed stamps for more realistic imagery, you can purchase stamp making rubber and tools.  However, if you like the look of larger organic or geometric shapes that are great for filling in background layers and don’t want to spend a lot of money, this is for you!

This requires only a few supplies, most of which I’m sure you already have.

Stamp-Making Material List:

  • Scissors
  • Cardboard – sturdy is easier to handle, such as an old shipping box, but anything to adhere the foam to is fine
  • Kid’s craft foam – to make this extra easy, get the self adhesive kind!  A while ago I purchased a bundle of small sheets and used a 40% off coupon, so a pack that will last forever only cost about $5. You can also find larger single adhesive sheets for $1-2.
  • Optional: A tool to draw simple texture and patterns into the craft foam.  I used clay sculpting ball tools because I have them handy, though a pen or end of a thin paintbrush would probably work just fine!

And to use your stamps, you will need ink or paint, and a brayer or paint brush.

DIY Craft Foam Stamp Tutorial

Step 1 – Cut your foam into shapes

DIY Craft Foam Stamp Tutorial

Use your scissors to cut out shapes and designs.  You don’t need to get this perfect – these are primitive mark making stamps, so it is allowed to be asymmetrical or random here.  Don’t forget, you can also use the “negative” space, the leftover from the bits you cut out!


Step 2 – Peel back the adhesive and arrange your shapes on the cardboard

DIY Craft Foam Stamp Tutorial

You can also use glue if you do not have the adhesive type of foam.  Just like with the cutting, don’t fret too much about this!  It will look better if it is less perfect.  Remember that your image will stamp in reverse.


Step 3 – Optional – Draw designs into the foam


Use your tool of choice to draw lines in the foam. These designs will not catch as much paint when you stamp, leaving those areas blank.  This is not going to be exact, though you can press deeper for a better chance at the line showing in your image.

And that’s all you need to do to make your stamp!   The next steps show you how you can make an impression with acrylic paint.


Step 4 – Load up a brayer with acrylic paint and roll onto stamp

DIY Craft Foam Stamp Tutorial

DIY Craft Foam Stamp Tutorial

I am using DecoArt Media fluid acrylic here with a small touch of glazing medium.  You can use a paint brush and paint directly over your stamp – this will use less paint, but the paint may get in the lines you drew in step 3.  If you did not draw lines, then there will be no problem!


Step 5 – Press the stamp to your surface with even pressure


I like using a clean brayer for this step to help with even coverage.  Try not to move the stamp once you press it down, or your image will be blurred.

Carefully peel up the stamp, and admire your work!   Go ahead and press the image again – you may still have enough paint on the stamp to get another impression, though each subsequent image will be lighter and more distressed looking until you load up with paint again.


If you wish, you can clean up your stamp with a baby wipe, though be careful to not get the cardboard wet or it will deteriorate.  You can let the paint dry on the stamp, but know that eventually this will wind up filling in the lines you drew.

Below are some very quick (and very basic!) stamps I made for this tutorial that will come in handy filling in background layers on future art pieces.  I hope this lesson has inspired you to make your own stamps!  Have fun and I will see you all soon! 🙂

DIY Craft Foam Stamp Tutorial

DIY Craft Foam Stamp Tutorial

DIY Craft Foam Stamp Tutorial