Paint for Your Self

I’ll start by saying that I am not an acrylic artist, I don’t paint on canvases (usually) and I don’t know much about layering over wet paint. But I know that I love playing with colors, I enjoy experimenting and I am intrigued by mixing colors and mediums willy-nilly!

So, last morning when my kiddo suggested we do something new together, I asked if she’d like to paint on a canvas outside. We set up a table in our backyard with back-to-back easels, our paint supplies within arm’s reach and listened to the birds chirp as we got busy.

In under an hour, my canvas had gone from being plain white to a symphony of colors, textures and movement.

You can see in the video how organic my process is and how “random” my strokes are. The only thing I really decided before we set up was my color palette: transparent red, phthalo blue and cadmium yellow acrylic paints. Halfway through, I decided to use green and red acrylic ink drips which then got incorporated into the painting.

I didn’t have a vision when I started this painting. In fact, I had no idea it would end up becoming what it did. There is a lot of “in the moment” choices I make when painting…rarely giving them the luxury of thought. It’s more of what “feels” right — and I know many of you wonder how I determine that, especially since I don’t rely on color theory or refer to the color wheel. I just “know.”

But how? Well, here’s my simple answer. I think of what makes me happy, without judgment. I no longer have to silence that critic in my head that tells me I’m no artist…because I have decided that I am. I am an artist just as much as my seven-year-old is. I have given myself the permission to evaluate my art through the lens of an unencumbered child.

There is no rule of thirds to follow or tangential lines to avoid….I don’t ascribe to the dictat of never using paints straight out of the tube nor do I follow the rule of not poking the canvas with my brush. It’s just me, my brushes and my colors…and the freedom to use my tools wantonly.

My secret is: being in the moment, savoring the journey and having fun!

I hope that this painting gives you the freedom to paint for yourself, to feel the joy that comes from “random” selections and to relish the story as it unfolds. That blank canvas is your invitation to play — what are you waiting for?

List of supplies used:

See you next time,

Mixed Media Inspiration

I keep getting a lot of questions around what mixed media is and how scary it feels, so I thought I’ll share this video with you showing just how easily something can come together and be called “mixed media.”

Inspiration for Lost Creative Mojo

Mixed media is essentially mixing two or more different mediums. When you work on the gel plate, for example, and use alcohol inks and acrylic paint, the print you pull will already be a mixed media piece. Similarly, if you’re a cardmaker and have used stamping inks and dies over a watercolor painting, you’ve created a mixed media piece. When you start adding collage fodder (die cut pieces, art marks, doodles, stenciled scraps, washi tape, fabric, ribbon etc.), the mixed media pieces become more complex.

Folio created with colored paper and simple stenciling

You don’t need to make it too complicated. In fact, layering washi tape over printed paper and adding some cohesive stamp/stencil marks throughout is sometimes just enough. And that’s where the beauty of mixed media lies. You can really use things in your stash and create something that is so unique and so personal to you.

Opening the folio reveals a little bit of the inside

Simple doodles, stuck die cuts and simple script stamps can instantly make something ordinary come alive. What I love about mixed media is that it allows you to explore unchartered territories and follow your heart. There are no rules. I’m, honestly, making stuff up as I go along. And therein lies a freedom that I don’t find in any other kind of “arting.”

Mixed media is the pure form of play

I hope this video and these words will help you feel inspired and encouraged. While we aren’t accepting any new explorers into the Let Loose with Mixed Media workshop, I do hope that posts like these will nudge you to try out something new and do it afraid.

10 minutes is all you need

Sometimes we get caught in the “what will I do with this?” or get too worried about things not being perfect for social media consumption. The making of this journal will advise you against overthinking.

You just need to look around, pick things out from your stash that you haven’t used in a while and commit 10 minutes to doing one page. Pour your heart out in it and walk away. It’s like instant therapy, trust me.

Impromptu live video with insights into my creative process

I recorded the above process video at 8 a.m., quickly stitched these patterned papers on my sewing machine, added the prints and the writings, hand-bound the pages together, recorded the show-and-tell video, took photos and post-processed them and shared the results at 10:30 a.m. across my social media channels. The actually creation time was less than an hour. But that’s for an ENTIRE journal. If you make just 10 minutes for your self, today, you could have a journal by the end of the week! How amazing is that?

These videos were created in March 2021, but I’m just getting around to sharing this evergreen bit of advice with you now. And do you know what is the best part about investing these 10 minutes in yourself every day? The zen it brings into your day spills over into other parts of your life. I find I’m happier or less grouchy, however my family wants to perceive it, and feel the spirit of giving more deeply throughout the day when I’ve had some time to myself to simply create.

Making time for art doesn’t have to take up your whole day…and you don’t have to do ALL of this in one sitting either. You do what brings YOU joy but I am here to help you keep it real and enjoy the process 🙂

A Summer Birthday Wish

Colorado Craft Company has another beautiful release and I am excited to share a card I made for my best friend’s birthday!

She’s a summer baby and loves splashing around the pool, so imagine my delight when I saw this stamp—couldn’t be more perfect!

Mixed media card

Initially my idea was to make this a shaker card but as I started coloring the image, it seemed better to just have the ball be sparkly.

I have been watercoloring a lot so I decided to take a break and use Faber Castell Polychromos pencils for the main image. I used Altenew’s Patchwork Kite stencil in combination with Speckled Egg distress ink to create a quick backdrop and tore up a gel plate print in various shades of blue to create the pool. I also enjoyed adding Glossy Accents to the ball and the girl’s body to create the splashy effect.

The original stamp has a flamingo float in the pool. I modified that since I wanted another smaller ball in there creating a splash to go with the sentiment. For the big ball, I colored it first with pencils, then added Grafix Double Tack Mounting Film on top so I could adhere the glitter. I also fussy cut through the sections in the ball to create a frame.

Watch the video to see how this simple frame on the big ball gives it so much dimension. It’s interesting to see an idea come to fruition in this way especially since it didn’t start out being a mixed media piece. Gel plate prints, distress inks, colored pencils, collaging, glitter and sparkle…this card has it all!

Video so you can appreciate all the sparkly details

This is only one of the many gorgeous stamps that are part of this new release. I hope you’ll give the others a look, too.

And if you’re here from the blog hop, you’ve arrived from Caly’s blog and you’re visiting Kassi next. Colorado Craft Company is hosting another giveaway! All you need to do, is leave a comment on each blog for a chance to win. The giveaway ends on July 2 at midnight Mountain Daylight Time. The winners will be announced on the Colorado Craft Company blog and email blast on Monday, July 5.

Blog Hop Participants

Instagrammers:

Hope you have fun hopping along and feel inspired to create something amazing of your own.

Rainbow Votives with a Gel Plate

It’s no secret that I love rainbows. And you know how much I adore my gel plate. Functional art has always been close to my heart, so I figured I’d use my gel plate to create rainbow votives! It’s fun to bring my crazy ideas to fruition and especially cool when the process isn’t too involved.

Votives made with a gel plate, acrylics and some stencils

I have been lighting candles in these every day and it’s really given the ambience in our living room a huge lift. I can also see these being used in our backyard in the summer. Have you ever tried making something like this with your gel plate? It works with frosted jars as well! And if you seal the paints with two coats of spray varnish, the colors will stay just as vibrant as the day you pulled the prints.

Many moons ago, I had done a more involved votive-painting project with alcohol inks. They used to be my best-selling home-decor item at craft fairs.

Alcohol ink painting on votives

I hope this inspires you to make your own unique home decor project in summer. Let me know in the comments which look you prefer.

Let Loose With Mixed Media

Let Loose with Mixed Media is live! I led my first of seven sessions this evening and I am still smiling. When the workshop started I had asked for a show of hands in response to “How many of you are afraid to let go and play?” More than half the attendees raised their hands.

After the hour-long session I asked the same question and the responses I got were: “Not anymore!” “I love playing!” “This was therapeutic!” “I can’t believe I made this!”

Photo courtesy Tammy P.

It fills my heart with so much joy and gratitude and humility to know I could inspire courage.

Because really that’s what this seven-week workshop is about: the courage to embrace imperfections; the courage to enjoy the journey without worrying about the destination; the courage to stare ugliness in its face and not care; the courage to create something we’ve never created before; the courage to believe that we are ALL artists.

A small sampling of creative backgrounds from session 1

I share this here as an invitation to anyone who has been on the fence about this workshop.

It’s so much more than learning how to create mixed media projects. It’s about discovering your inner artist and unleashing the curious child inside you. It’s about trusting your instincts and leaning into your intuition. It’s about silencing that inner critic.

It’s about self-care.

All sessions are recorded and available for replay

I hope you’ll consider this as your personal invitation to partake in the joy that comes from playing with absolute freedom.

A Quick Mixed Media Demo

I did a quick YouTube live this afternoon to demonstrate how you can create a complex-looking piece with just a few supplies.

And because I had an extra 20 minutes of playtime this evening (yay for the love of reading my little one is cultivating!), I created another leaf in magenta. Playing with simple shapes allows you to hone your techniques. Pick something that speaks to you and try variations of it…you’ll notice that the dynamics of each piece will be different even when using the same motifs.

I did end up splashing some more red inside the leaves at the end. Something about that bright color was calling to me today. Both paintings also have some yummy textures by way of texture pastes and stencils but I didn’t go overboard because I really wanted the eye to rest on the one big detail first before finding all the hidden treasures . Also a tiny bit of gold pen detailing adds a little extra oomph to the pieces.

Of course, when we do the 7-week Let Loose With Mixed Media workshop, we will do a lot more collaging, layering, texturing and editing. But I wanted to showcase, through these examples, just how easy and fast mixed media can be.

I hope you’re staying well and continuing to do something every day that fills your heart and soul with joy. Even if you are able to steal away 10 minutes for yourself, know that you are worth every second of it!

Supplies used:

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!

Happily Ever After

I have a soft spot for critters but as you know, if you follow me, I’ve not really had the confidence to paint them without any clothes on. Fur intimidates me. So, I was thrilled when I saw the new “Happily Ever After” stamp and die set from Colorado Craft Company’s June Release. These characters already came with clothes!

As I stamped them on to my Fabriano Watercolor Paper, I knew I needed to turn this into a story. A friend had recently surprised me with these Daniel Smith watercolor sample cards and I was itching to try out all the 238 colors, so making a mini book seemed a perfect fit!

As I started imagining the love story between two girls and their dream to spend a lifetime together, I started borrowing images from previous stamp sets in the Anita Jeram Collection.

Specifically, I used stamps from the following sets:

Given that it is Pride Month it seemed appropriate to introduce some rainbows into the mix. To be honest, I just need an excuse to paint rainbows at all times. Lol.

I got to test out most of the watercolor shades! I now know which ones I absolutely will purchase! I watercolored each page of this mini-book except the wedding page since I wanted that one to stand out…almost like a moment frozen in time.

It wasn’t the original plan, so you can see how I traced over the archival ink stamping with a metallic gold pen throughout. As I was finishing up the mini-book with some stitching details, I decided to make the couple stand out with a black glaze pen outline. I hand-wrote some words and stamped others as needed to bring the story together.

I hope you enjoy this interpretation.

I am no longer on Instagram or Facebook, so please know that the comments you leave here are my only way of connecting with you and I so deeply appreciate your taking the time!

If you’re participating in the blog hop, you arrived here from my coloring idol Sandy Allnock’s blog and your next stop is the extremely talented Kassi Hulet.

Colorado Craft Company is doing a generous giveaway again to accompany the June release. If you’d like to be included in the drawing for one set of the new stamps, you’ll need to leave a comment on each blog in the blog hop. You can enter your comments up until midnight Eastern Time on the 16th and winners will be announced on the Colorado Craft Company blog on June 17. 

Blog Hop Order

  1. Colorado Craft Company- Adrienne Kennedy
  2. Jenn Gross
  3. Bibi Cameron
  4. Jennifer Kotas
  5. Kelly Griglione
  6. Angelica Conrad
  7. Daniel West
  8. Caly Person
  9. Sandy Allnock
  10. Mansi Bhatia <– you are here
  11. Kassi Hulet
  12. Erin Thompson
  13. Melissa Andrew
  14. Donna Hitz
  15. Nichol Spohr
  16. Emily Midgett
  17. Amy Tsuruta

Instagrammers

  1. Joe Syvath
  2. Traci Jenkins
  3. Marci Snee

Thank you so much for being here and I hope to see you again, soon.

Related Colorado Craft Company Releases

Sharing the Joy

As I wrote in my morning pages, there was suddenly so much clarity, such a definite sense of purpose and such a strong urgency to lean hard into my intuition.

I create because I need to. I share because I love to. Why does it have to be any more complicated than that?

I don’t create because I must share something multiple times on a social media feed every day. I do it for myself, regardless of social media.

I paint because I love losing myself in the moment. I do mixed media because of the tactile nature of the pastes and the textures. I sew because I never have before and it’s fun!

And the fact that I get to share how I do what I do…it brings me joy! I’m not doing it for “likes” or money…I’m doing it because I truly want to demystify the process and help others enjoy it.

My motivation is to make art accessible. My intent is to encourage and help. My goal is for more people to enjoy the creative process and not be overwhelmed by it.

Not being on social media, many said, will hurt my goal … yes, my reach may suddenly have become very small but even if I help one person experience the joy of creating freely — that, for me, is enough.

I will have made a difference in that one life.