Mixed media is a form of assemblage art; the taking of various materials, colors and textures to create a unique piece. It’s fun and the best part about it is you don’t even need to know how to draw.
A full body vintage style laser copy or copy machine picture of a Victorian child.
A full body black & white laser copy or copy machine image of a farm animal.
A small canvas (or board)
Scotch Tape (or blue painter’s tape)
Sandpaper-fine grit or Sanding Block (optional)
Gesso (white & gray)
Acrylic Paint Set
Brushes (or sponge), Palette (or paper plates), Medium (or water), Paper towels
Decoupage Glue (or any clear-dry glue) and Squeegee (or spatula)
Optional: Top Coat, Frame, Sharpie
Step 1: DESIGN & LAYOUT
Find pictures online or in books and magazines. Imagine how you want to lay them out, side by side, one slightly lower, etc… Also determine how the canvas will lay vertical or horizontal. Determine the size needed and shrink or enlarge (by laser printer or photocopy) to fit canvas.
Copy and print pictures in size desired on a laser printer (not an inkjet printer; the ink will run). If you do not have a laser printer, photocopy the originals on an industrial copy machine. Most office supply and shipping companies have copy machines available to the public for a small fee. When you’re satisfied with the size and image quality, cut the pictures with scissors. Try to cut as close to the image as possible.
Clean brushes: 1 mason jar, 1/2 full of water and 1 tbl Murphys Oil Soap Concentrated Formula (looks like syrup/marketed as wood-cleaner). Condition brushes: Art Supply brush cleaner jar w/wire bottom, 1/3 full (or just enough to cover wire) with baby oil. Wipe with disposable paper towels.
Measure the canvas and place tape at 2/3 line across either horizontal or vertical as you determined in Step 1.
On the upper 2/3 portion of canvas, brush several (3 or 4) coats of gray gesso one-coat-at-a-time; allowing each coat to dry between (or use a blow dryer to speed things up). Once dry and before next gesso layer, you can sand the layers as you go or at the end, whichever, it’s optional but do check to make sure there isn’t fibers from the brush in the gesso…on the canvas…baked in.
Remove tape, discard and use a new strip of tape to cover the gray gesso and apply the white to the lower portion of canvas in same manner.
Step 3: PAINT BACKGROUND
Since the white is already taped off, apply white acrylic paint to the bottom for full coverage, then add a little gray or a tiny dab of brown to the batch and apply at random intervals to break up the white-white. Like snow, it should be dingy in places; yet overall it should look white. Remove tape, wait for the white area to dry.
Without tape, and a 4 tone light blue-white, gray and pink or orange, paint or sponge (using paper towel) the sky. Use dry paper towels to remove paint while it’s still wet to create tones and depth. Once the sky is finished, clean the mid-section with a gray or black line or clean up with paint using a fine lining brush.
Allow background to dry.
Step 4: DECOUPAGE
Dampen images in a shallow pan of water. They’re easier to work with if wet. Brush glue over entire area where you want the image to be and place image. Brush glue over entire image to position and flatten out. Once it’s in place, use squeegee or spatula to smooth and flatten, removing air pockets/bubbles. Repeat for each image.
As it’s drying, brush a little more to make sure air pockets haven’t formed.
Clean up any area with additional paint or use paint to darken part of the image. Example: I went over the shoes in black and filled in the paint brush the boy is holding, added some drips of paint and spots on the pig.
Allow to dry, then brush decoupage glue all over for evenness.
Frame the image. Tip: If you select flat canvases or boards, it’s easy to find picture frames at affordable prices to frame artwork.
Sign your work. Tip: Sign after it’s framed. If you’re not used to signing with a brush, use a Sharpie.