Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Choose to Shine

Hi, how was your week?
I have to admit I was a bit overwhelmed with your loving response to my latest paper layout... and words of support and understanding coming my way. I would never expect that, I feel so humbled and so blessed at the same time, thank you!

I take the full advantage of the fact I'm staying home in the last weeks - not only I'm able to do some more "normal everyday" stuff but I'm able to fit some pleasures between the responsibilities too! For the first time in months I was able to watch a movie in the evening for few days in a row... and go through the supplies which were waiting on my desk for far too long.
I know that I will only use the elements I can see on my table, so I get it cluttered completely in a very short time. Quite often I use the same supplies over and over again until I will clean up and "redecorate" my desk. I haven't decided yet is it a bad thing or a good thing. But it is a THING for sure!
What may be a surprise - this project has started as a very different paper layout. During the process though many things transformed, change their places - even the photo changed to the one you can see now! I think the reason is I was trying to follow an "old" idea when, in fact, the new one came and took over! I decided not to fight too much and here is the result...
I remember I've always loved this photo of my Mum.
I think it was taken in the mid-seventies, somewhere in Warsaw I guess. It's one of many she had taken in that time, but this one is a bit cheeky, it has the playful attitude I like (and let's not forget: it jumped on me when I was working on this project!). I followed the light, careless mood of it and played a lot with layers, embellishments and colours - and the effect is really soft, feminine, dynamic and a bit edgy at the same time.
I think you can see everything I had on my table that evening: there is lace, masking tape, chipboards,  metal embellishments, paper flowers, pebbles, some cut-outs... My table is one huge mess so my choice was quite wide! It was the first time I was working on the layout with "Dreamscapes" collection from 7 Dots Studio and choosing my paints and mediums I was trying to follow the beautiful colours of the background paper.
I've used the stencil and my brand new Art Extravagance Paper Texture Paste on the top of layers of tape and paints. I know I shouldn't be using yet (still a secret!) but I couldn't resist - it is so beautiful, with the delicate texture of handmade paper after drying... Anyway - I worked on my colour palette using Art Alchemy Impasto Paints, some Lindy's Sprays and finally - Sparks Paint (amazing, shiny pink tone - Butterfly Spells). To spice it up - I splattered a bit of the Red Rust Paste and sprinkled Silver Microbeads.
Transformation of the elements used on this layout was pretty spectacular - I love how random, not matching elements fit perfectly into composition if you will use a few art mediums and paint on the top of them! What is more - the whole project meant to be something very different... I decided not to stress about it at all, enjoy the ride and see where it is going to take me! I don't regret at all...
I hope you like it too!

Here is the list of the supplies I was using - linked to our Mixed Media Place Store:

One more thing - have your eyes wide open on the 19th and 22nd January - the BIG DAY of the full product reveal at Prima is coming! I can't wait!
Sending love and hugs

Monday, 15 January 2018

Finders Keepers

Happy Monday, Dear Readers!
Get ready for another week filled with wonderful mixed media inspirations and today it's our wonderful Teamie Bipasha's turn!
She is giving the best advice and proves - ever so beautifully - that abstract art doesn't have to be intimidating, quite opposite in fact!
Please, enjoy this fabulous project and feel inspired to create your own canvas. We'd love to hear from you what your favorite "finders keepers" are! :)

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Today, I am going to share a canvas art inspiration with loads of tips and techniques.
Abstract art requires you to have an open, inquiring mind; you must enter the painting and see where it takes you. Abstract art gives you the freedom to explore the artwork and assign your own meaning to the piece - enriching a viewer's experience of your artwork.

I'd also wish to inspire you with one of my addictions, - collecting found objects!
I have a special relation with the phrase "finders keepers" and I intended to use only those collectables from my stash as focal points in my creation, which define my style as an artist.
Collecting can become so addictive, especially for an artist.
My found objects and things are the inspiration and starting point for most of my artwork and ideas. When I see something, it can trigger off an instant idea and give me a vision to work with.

Something else I love about these found objects? They're secret-keepers. :)
Only I know what they represent, and to be honest, not many people will inquire further. Hence, the title for my creation is "Finders Keepers".
I started with a double white gessoed 10x12" canvas, and at the very outset, I divided the canvas in a 1:3 ratio widthwise with a masking tape to obtain a straight separating guideline for applying two contrasting colours.

I created the abstract painting with Art Alchemy Impasto Paints in Jade, Poppy Red, Cobalt blue and Dark Chocolate using a brayer and a palette knife.
I also added some White Gesso with dry brushing technique to add some highlights and brown Impasto Paint to create some shadows on the edges of the canvas, using a wet wipe.

I occasionally added some Patina Effect Pastes in Mint Green to add some grainy vintage textures and interest on the otherwise flat surface of the canvas.
It really is quite interesting to see how all of these mediums of different consistencies react with one another to produce a really beautiful, professional looking abstract painting.

I glued down some tangled black threads, masking tape with old book pages, washi tapes and paper strips (from my stash) with 3D Gel.
I also added some stamped scripts with the 'Read To Me' stamp, some doodling and faux stitching to produce the illusion of stitches with the real & doodled threads. So, no real stitching is involved in this canvas! :)

Note: I coated the paintbrush with Black Gesso to give it a chalky appearance and also to prep the base for the splatters and embellishing.

Finally, I adhered a paint brush and Mechanicals embellishments using 3D Gel medium and added watered down White Gesso splatters to complete the look.
For me, the elements that is relatable to my "finders keepers" stash are : ephemera, stamps, tangled threads, stitched paper/cloth remnants, found embellishments.
I tried to ensemble these to create an abstract symphony that is unique and personal to me and open to various interpretations by the viewers.

When it comes to abstract art, it really can be as easy as taking a paintbrush to canvas and going to town. But if you'd like a little more guidance, I have created a video tutorial on the making of this art piece with easy-to-tackle techniques for creating your own masterpieces.

Creating an abstract composition, just allow yourself to be taken in by the painting.
See what emotions, sensations or memories emerge.
Let your eyes relax and travel around the piece without expectation.
Examine the colors, forms, materials, surface, and how they interact with each other.
Take your time. Let the painting "speak" to you and trust me, you will end up creating a magical abstract art canvas.

I remember a famous quote by Arshile Gorky:

"Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot physically see with his eyes...
Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite.
It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an explosion into the unknown areas".

Happy painting!
Warm hugs,

Products used:

Friday, 12 January 2018

Marshmallowy Inspiration

Hi everyone!
Super talented Olya is here today to inspire you all with her stunning new artwork.
Her canvas will totally melt your hearts - a palette of whites and pastel tones (so elegant and soft...) + a lot of girlie charm - I'm more than certain you'll feel tempted to follow Olya's tutorial!

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Hello Dear Friends!
Today I want to give you some tenderness captured on a mixed media canvas. :)
I was very inspired by the vintage images from Finnabair's Melange Ephemera collection and I chose a sweet little girl for my piece.
I feel there are many emotions in this picture - the little one looks beautiful and tender, but she also seems cute and a little cheeky. :)
I wanted to create a canvas that was very gentle and light, just like a marshmallow. :)
To create an interesting and textured background, I used a super cool Art Extravagance Texture Paste in Black Sand. It creates a truly impressive look. I applied the paste through different stencils but you can also simply use a palette knife for a less precise effect.

Then I added a thin layer of White Crackle Paste here and there and also covered my Texture Paste with it to make it all white. But I only did it gently on top of the paste not wanting to ruin the beautiful patterns.
When everything was well dried, I created a composition of chipboards, mould shapes and flowers.
The chipboard elements were also covered with the White Crackle Paste and a bit more White Gesso.
When I was happy with the composition, it was time for my most beloved stage - to create color!
I felt I needed delicate and sweet shades of pink and purple and I chose several shades of Impasto Acrylic Paints - you will find them all in the product list below.

I started with rich and vivid colors of Impasto Paints in Heather, Crimson and Aubergine. They can be easily diluted with water so you can make them into light and soft tones and create pastel colors.
As you will see in the video below, I only used a little bit of paint, sprayed it with water and used a  water brush to distribute it wherever I wanted.
Then I reached for the Metallique line of Finnabair's acrylic paints. To make some shades more delicate, I mixed them with Metallique in White Pearl and I got a stunning effect of wonderful shine and shimmer!
I added the colors gradually, in some places they blended nicely, in some others they remained pure.
I wanted to highlight the textures and the edges of my canvas. For this I chose lovely Art Alchemy Waxes - White Gold and Vintage Silk. I also added just a touch of the Waxes to all the embellishments to tie the whole composition.

And of course in the end I added my favorites - Art Stones in different sizes. I do not even know how we ever used to make projects without them! ;)
For me, it's the easiest to add the Art Stones to the canvas with the help of 3D Matte Gel. It always adds some nice extra volume.
I created a detailed video tutorial so that you can see the magic of these beautiful colors.
I hope you will fall in love with these products just like I did! :) Enjoy!

It is very difficult to properly photograph all the tones, transitions and the unique shine and shimmer of the paints and waxes on this canvas, but believe me, it looks very beautiful!

I encourage you with all my heart to simply sit down at your table, choose your favorite Finnabair paints and start creating! :)

I hope that I was able to inspire you and convey this charming tenderness of a little child.

Let your day be filled with new ideas and inspirations.
With love, Olya

Products used:

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