Mixed Media in under 20 minutes

I really enjoy playing with a variety of media and mixing them to create fun layers. And I want to encourage all of you who are scared to dive in, to give it a try. It is really easy!

Creating complex-looking mixed media pieces doesn’t have to be complicated

This evening, I dropped a couple of drops of red, blue and yellow acrylic inks on watercolor paper and spritzed them with some water. The results were immediately breathtaking.

Red, blue and yellow acrylic ink spritzed with water and making patterns

I may have gotten over-zealous when spraying water on to the inks and I didn’t just want to wipe it all with a paper napkin or rag…so I picked another loose sheet of watercolor paper and pressed it on top of this wet sheet. And then another.

Three completely different painted papers from one “mother sheet”

While the inks were still wet, I also used my Gelli Arts mini tool to drag through and make a pattern, more in some areas and less in others.

You can see how distinctly different and grungy each of these papers look and this was literally done in 7 minutes!

I decided to tackle the brightest of the lot, which I am calling the “mother sheet,” first.

Draw a shape and mute out the background with a neutral color

I used white pan pastel at first to “sketch” out a leaf but realized I wanted something stronger to bring out the shape. Water-soluble Stabilo pencils were within reach so I used a white one to “carve” the leaf out. I also scribbled with it around the leaf to give the “background” a rough, waxy finish. Then I used some water to spread some of the pigment around while leaving some areas untouched.

It’s amazing to get a watercolor effect with acrylic inks but have the ability to layer on top of it with various other media.

Write something or carve out Art Marks while the paint is still wet

At this stage of the painting, I grab a dotting tool, a graphite or charcoal pencil or even a pen and write out what I am feeling in the moment. It doesn’t have to be legible or even make sense to anyone…but I like to imbue the painting with those feelings.

You can see in these images, how, without the use of any texture pastes or “complicated” mediums, this piece already has so much movement, drama and layering to it.

My next step was reaching for a grey water soluble Derwent Inktense pencil to add some shadows around the leaf. It helped add some more dimension to this piece. And lastly, I grabbed a couple of Caran D’ache NeoColor 2 crayons to add some color and marks throughout.

All in all, this piece took under 20 minutes to create in a very stream-of-consciousness-grab-what’s-within-arm’s-reach kind of way. I hope it inspires you to try something like this as well.

Some drops of color, a simple shape and whatever tools you have in hand…that’s all it takes

Grab a couple of watercolors or alcohol inks if you don’t have any acrylic inks. Play with them. Sketch out a shape that speaks to you. Blend everything out around it. And see what emerges.

I’m leading a 7-week mixed media workshop starting next week (June 22) where I will share a lot more techniques on how to create your own unique paintings. At the end, you will have 10 complete projects with as many layers. Want to join me? The ticket sales have ended but if you REALLY want in, let me know.

Whether or not you join the workshop, I want you to know that mixed media is easy…just give yourself the permission to play and, most important, have fun!

Published by mansimakes

Hi there, I am Mansi, a self-taught artist based in Silicon Valley. I was a full-time communications professional for two decades, with a desk job and a six-figure salary until I decided to become a mom. Motherhood, as many will attest, can be extremely exhausting, especially in those first years. Art became my quiet place. It restored my sense of self. It gave me renewed energy. It helped me become a better mom. I was led down the path of creation by instinct and “discovered“ in early 2019 by a fellow kindred spirit at one of my art pop-ups who asked me to join her entrepreneurial venture. While I immersed myself full time in the role of CFO and co-founder of this women-led venture supporting local women makers, I missed experimenting with mixed-media. So, in 2021, I've decided to focus my energies full time in finessing my craft, producing more online tutorials and offering in-person art workshops for both adults and children. Thank you for joining me on this adventure as I experiment, learn and continue creating custom pieces of joy.

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Henriëtte
3 months ago

Wow Mansi, this piece has an incredible depth in it especially when I read that you only used “flat” mediums. You made a awesome piece of art in a short time!
Thank you so much for sharing, stay safe and have a wonderful day.

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