Do you like to work fast? Then this project is for you. I am glad you are taking interest in how to create your own mixed media painting featuring trees (or whatever else you wish to substitute).

NOTE: Inspiration for these tips are care of the following artists, artists whom I admire: Kellie Day (Visual Artist, Colorado, USA), Laly Mille (Visual Artist, France) and Sandrine Pelissier (Visual Artist, N. Vancouver, BC, Canada).

This image is the one that appeared in the April 1, 2018 newsletter just issued to subscribers’ mailboxes. It is titled: Four Aspens and is a mixed media (acrylic and collage) painting. This original work is available for $100- (CAD).

Wonder how I did it?

I used a 12 x 12 inch stretched canvas available in any discount or dollar store. You can also use paper (thicker is best, like good quality watercolour paper). Using two colours plus black, I used a sponge to stamp acrylic paint on stencil images over the canvas. There was no plan. I just stamped intuitively knowing I would be doing more to the canvas later. As I painted, I allowed each colour to dry to the touch.

HINT: I also dragged the edge of a Pringles potato chip lid through damp paint to create swirls. Notice, too, how I took the stencil images to the edge of the canvas.

When the canvas was dry, I tore strips of MY OLD manuscripts to make trunks and branches. You could use magazine stories or pages from an old book. I also had some other print material with wingding symbols lying around so I tore them up, too. For collaging, I used ACRYLIC MEDIUM (an acrylic retarding agent) but you can also use something like Modge Podge or even thinned white glue to adhere the strips where you want them. See how the branches appear to overlap or are behind the trunks of nearby trees. See how branches and trunks go off the canvas. These techniques make the painting look more natural.

HINT: I use the edge of an old credit card to smooth out whatever I am adhering to a canvas. This helps release the bubbles.

Now it gets exciting. Below you can see that I added green (some green mixed with yellow, some mixed with blue or teal) and dabbed here and there to create a background. See how some of the collage elements seem to breathe from behind the trees. Looks so amazing, doesn’t it?

HINT: Remember that old plastic credit card? I cut one on the diagonal and used the tip of it to create (scratch) smaller branches into the canvas when the paint is still slightly damp. I also swirled the tip to create a few leaves, here and there (in the branches and background and near the bottom of canvas).

Last minute details: I used a bit of diluted yellow alcohol ink but you can use diluted yellow acrylic paint to create some other leaves. I dabbed my finger to create some lighter leaves.

I also chose to outline the right side of many of the trees and branches with a white POSCO pen. This is optional. I also used charcoal on the left side of the trees and smeared it to create shadow. Some of the smearing is on the trunk. Looks kind of abstractly natural. I added some beige paint here and there on the trunks, too. All optional. After, I painted over the entire painting with acrylic medium (glossy) to give it a sheen and protect the painting. Also optional.

I think it is finished. What about you?

HINT: In these last stages, I often paint with my finger tips. Try it! Acrylic washes off your hands with soap and warm water. You may also use disposable gloves, too, if you must.

Next steps: You don’t have to use my colours or my exact techniques. These are here to spark some interest in your creativity. Have fun. Take risks. Play.

Why not even take a photo of your painting, crop the edges so it is square, and upload it to my Facebook page. Get to my page via this link.

Four Aspens, 12×12 Mixed Media, $100- (CAD) for original art of this size.


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