Hello friends! I return from art and blog hibernation (i.e. spending all of my time on spring gardening, costuming, and painting fails!) with the start of a new acrylic & mixed media canvas series. This is directly inspired by Donna Downey’s 10 10×10 Canvases in 10 Days online workshop. If I had to pick an artist whose talent, technique and style I most want to strive towards, I think Donna would be it (though Tamara from willowingarts is right up there!) Such beautiful use of color and combination of abstract and representational subjects in her work, and THE TEXTURE! Oh my, I love it. Donna has a fun, energetic and informative teaching style, making her workshops a joy. I watched the 10×10 workshop through twice now, and likely will again to really let all of the nuances sink in.
This first canvas in my own series is, well, not actually the first one. The actual first one was painted, gessoed over, painted again, and… well, it’s still not posted here, so guess how that one is going 😉 This is technically the second, and while I still struggle with all of my art, it did come through easier.
The theme for this series is numbers, and a limited palette throughout the series. Donna opted for Payne’s Grey, Teal, and Yellow Ochre for her workshop. I swapped the ochre out with Green Gold, and find that going from a warm to a cooler color does change the feeling quite a bit, and this is leaning more towards an analogous color scheme. Raw Umber is also used for some grunge glazing techniques. White, black or gray may also be used.
Watch the process video below:
Donna’s obsession with numbers ignited the same in me, and I found myself scouring stores. New obsessions are hard on an impulse buyer! 😀
If you are looking for number components, here are some ideas:
Home improvement stores: Check the mailbox aisle. Lots of cheap number stickers here, and bigger/heavier numbers as well if you are looking for some focal points. I also found some stencils in many sizes in this section.
Dollar store: I found sheets of vinyl numbers (and letters) with some “garage sale” signs. Three sheets for a buck, black numbers about 2 inches (example: the “3” on this canvas). I bought them out! They also sometimes have alphabet stickers in the stationary aisle. Other ideas include flash cards, playing cards, sudoku and other puzzle books, and the teaching/kids section had some “number puzzles” – foam sheets with letter and number pop-outs. They are awful colors, but I figured they can be adhered to a canvas and painted for a super dimensional look.
Craft stores/Amazon: The sticker aisle will have oodles of letter and number stickers, though check the two above first. Chipboard characters. Stencils. Also check stamp sets with numbers. The “002” tag on this canvas was created with stamps from a Michaels “Recollections” set. I have a few number sets, and grabbed some blank tags from Staples and Amazon (Amazon being cheaper, of course) and stamped a bunch up at once. If you have a die cutting machine such as a Cuttlebug or Sizzix, consider getting some alphanumeric die sets. The punched out numbers can be adhered with matte medium and left as-is or painted over, which would give you a cool number background texture.
Target: Try the $1-3 section. I found some large alphanumeric cutouts here.
Silhouette Cameo Owners: Cut your own number stencils in various sizes! I use clear plastic projector transparencies to cut my own stencils. While not super durable (they can tear if handled wrong) they are easy to cut and cheap. Stencils are great for either paint or modeling paste.
More Amazon: If the above isn’t enough, check out coat check tags and bingo sheets!
As you can see from the process video, I started out arranging a few number components on the blank white background, and the acrylic paint came after, adding several layers and glazes. Golden Fluid acrylic paint was the main supply, though I threw in some Dye-Na-Flow ink sprays, gesso, and a little bit of charcoal pencil at the end.
Stay tuned for more from this series! 🙂 Thanks all!
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:
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.
Step 1 – Cut your foam into shapes
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
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
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! 🙂
Hello friends! This is a super fun and easy mixed media piece that celebrates my mantra for the year (and beyond!)…
Relax. Breathe. Enjoy!
So often, we get caught up in the end results rather than enjoy the process and the journey. We worry that we aren’t good enough, or that it is taking too long, or that people (or worst of all, ourselves) won’t like what we make. The inner critic rears its head too often, and it twists what we enjoy into something stressful or hurtful. We get frustrated, and we walk away.
I spent years in this mindset, and as a result, I created very little. I would enjoy others’ art. I would research the heck out of different techniques and buy all of the materials… but then I froze when I sat down to actually DO it. The few times I did start, I was immediately flustered and unhappy with the result. Of course I was – I expected to create a masterpiece right off the bat, and I wasn’t appreciating the pure fun of playing with paints and pens and brushes! I was focused on what I thought the result should be.
Does this sound familiar to you?
I’m going to sound like an infomercial for a second here when I say… I will share the secret with you! 😉 Psst… come closer… okay. Here it is.
RELAX! You are good enough. You are worthy. You can create. We all can create!
BREATHE! Art is a process, not a destination. Every time you pick up your materials, you are learning and evolving. Allow yourself the freedom to play, to learn, to experiment, to make crazy works of art without trying to beat them into “perfection.” They are all stepping stones in your journey, and every single one is necessary and beautiful in its own right.
ENJOY! Art is fun! Play with your paints and your stamps and your stencils. Get your hands dirty! Laugh at happy accidents. Look at all the pretty colors! And when you’ve gone as far as you can with a piece… grab another sheet of paper and do it again! And again! And never stop. Why on earth would you stop? Look at all the fun you’re having! 😀 If your inner critic taps you on the shoulder… reply with “Yeah, yeah. I’ll work on that bit next time. Now let me get back to it! *throws paint around*”
This was created on 11 x 14 hot press 140lb. watercolor paper. Layers of collage papers (scrapbook paper, dictionary pages, sheet music) were adhered with matte medium. Caran d’Ache Neocolor II crayons, acrylic paints, stencils added color and some letter stamps filled in the sentiment. Hearts were also cut out of paper to use as DIY stencils with some spray inks. Gesso was used on the background and in the hearts to mute the bright colors.