Symbolic Mixed Media Collage- “Windows & Doors”

abstract mixed media collage

This mixed media collage is literally a huge mess.  🙂  I wasn’t sure what I was doing when I began, I just started working, hoping for it to take on a life of it’s own.

Do you ever finish a piece that you don’t really like, but you love all the individual elements and parts that make up the whole?  I don’t even know if that statement makes any sense, but that’s how I feel about this piece.  I confess- I am not in love with my finished work here.  And yet, I see so much symbolism shouting at me and there are things about it that I just love.

I love how every layer is peeking through.  I love how the chipboard and texture paste on top of the chipboard look like new layers added over layers of age and decay, as if they’re trying to make up for or cover what has happened in the past.  I love how the text is peeking through the gunky texture paste and colors, as if there are things written or done in the past that someone is trying to hide.

Of course, the chipboard is the namesake element- some are solid squares and some are open and filled with paste and ink while still allowing a bit of the background to show.  Those squares are like focal points, highlighting certain ideas and opinions while ignoring or blocking others.

mixed media collage with chipboard

I know it’s my personal beliefs coming through, but every collage I create represents universal truth.  All these elements- text, texture, chipboard squares, colors- they all represent what is true, what is not, and how human beings try to cover or reinterpret what is true for their own benefit.

mixed media collage with text

So it’s true… I struggle with this piece.  It is not beautiful or neat- in fact, it’s dark, dreary and, well… ugly.  But every time I look at it I see something new that reminds me that understanding what is true and what is not is a struggle.

Wow, what is it about collage that makes me try to be philosophical all the time? Even when I don’t know what form my mixed media collage will take, it always ends up being symbolic in nature.

mixed media collage with muslin

I’d love to know what each of you see when you look at this collage.  Do any of the elements have meaning for you?  Perhaps the way it’s assembled strikes you in a certain way?  I’m always so inspired by your answers, so I hope you’ll share them!

Stitched Paper ATC’s

stitched paper

I have some fun ATC’s for you today!  I had several cards left from my sister’s wedding, and I wanted use them in a project.  I grabbed several of them and got to work.

  • I took 2 or 3 and cut them into strips and squares, and added a layer of white gesso.
  • I used some different script stamps with distress inks to add some text.
  • Some ripped pieces of tissue wrap were mixed in with these stamped pieces and adhered to 6 full cards.
  • With the backgrounds and stamped pieces, these cards already looked pretty cool, but I wanted to work a bit more on the stitched technique I did a few days ago.  I grabbed some coordinating threads and went to town adding stitches to each card.
  • It took a little while to tie a lot of the tails together, but these close ups show you the cool details the threads add.
  • As a final step, I added some sketch lines and dots with my calligraphy pen and some colored india ink.

stitched paper ATC'sStitched paper technique

Beyond the fun stitches and stamps on the surface, the long threads really extend each card and work really well with the splatters in the background.  I love these effects!  And it was really such a simple process- not too many steps, just a few layers of paper and some runs through the sewing machine, and you have your own stitched paper ATC’s, cards, layouts, tags, etc.  You can’t go wrong!

stitched paper ATC's Thank you for reading!  I hope I’ve inspired you in some way today.  Have fun creating!!

Assemblage practice

assemblage canvas practiceHappy Tuesday everyone!  It won’t be Monday for another week.  🙂  Yay!

So in celebration, here is my latest piece.  I wish I had a video to go along with this one, but to tell the truth, it confounded me for a long time.  I’ve actually been working on this one for the past couple months.  It’s a pretty small canvas- only 4*12 inches, but because I didn’t have a clear idea of what it was going to look like when I was finished, I struggled.  I’ve never really done assemblage type works of art before, and so it took awhile before it began to take on a life of it’s own, and there were several moments I had to simply put it aside and work out my frustration on something else.  But in the end, I got there.

My first few layers were tissue wrap covered with modeling paste I had applied over a gear stencil.  I had colored some modeling paste with some gold paint for a different project, and I had a lot leftover that I couldn’t just put back in its’ container.  So I pulled the stencil out, grabbed this canvas, and applied the paste to one of the corners, knowing that I’d come back to it later and figure out what to do with it.  When I did come back to it, I added some tissue wrap and more modeling paste along the other corner, than some black india ink to highlight the gold.  Yes, this project was once very different in color.   I darkened some cheesecloth and began to add metal and chipboard embellishments.  This part was the funnest, actually- taking all the random parts I could find and piling them on the surface.  That was the point where the canvas really  began to develop on its’ own.  Once I added the layers of ink sprays, it was finished and completely different from what I thought it would be.  assemblage canvas close up with ink sprays

assemblage canvas with metal and chipboard pieces There are so many exercises that can increase your skills as an artist.  I think this may be one of the more difficult exercises- working on a piece bit by bit without any idea of what it will turn into or what it means- but it definitely stretches you and your abilities. I’ll have to keep practicing my assemblage techniques and see where they take me.assemblage canvas close up

Supply list-  (this list contains affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase through one of these links I will receive a commission.  It does not change the price or experience for you.)

Tim Holtz tissue wrap

Liquitex modeling paste

crafter’s workshop stencil


UmWow Studio chipboard

metal findings

tattered angels ink sprays

Silent Message- abstract calligraphy collage

abstract calligraphy collage "Silent Message"

What a relaxing week this last one has been!  My husband and I had the last week off from work, and instead of going anywhere, we had a “staycation” and did very little besides staying home and vegging out.  We may have slept in and watched a bit too much tv, but in the midst of all the relaxing, I was able to do some creating.  I just can’t turn it off!

abstract calligraphy collage close up

I don’t think it’s a big secret that I love incorporating text into my artwork, and this calligraphy collage has so much I just love looking at it, especially since much of it is obscured.  The reason I’ve entitled this piece “Silent Message” is because the words are difficult to read, yet we know the meaning is there, because we can see the words peeking from beneath the surface.  The message may be “silent” because it is muted, but it can still be understood through careful examination and study.

calligraphy collage close up- white text

Much of the text I added to the surface with white india ink, which you can see in this shot, but is not readily visible at a glance.  I love the subtle way it enhances this piece.

Don’t forget to check out my video tutorial of this process- and I’d love for you to subscribe to my channel.  I have many more pieces and videos in the works.

Supply list- (this list contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission for any purchases that are made through these links.)

Tim Holtz tissue wrap

patterned paper

white gesso

Liquitex gel medium

Liquitex modeling paste

Tim Holtz bubbles stencil

oil pastels

linseed oil

walnut ink

india ink

Mixed Media Canvas Collage with video- “Home”

mixed media canvas collage with um wow studio chipboard

Happy Friday everyone!  I wanted to share my latest mixed media canvas collage with you today.  I created it for UmWow Studios Creative Team call, and I’m using their chipboard confetti as the basis for the theme of the piece- Home.

I will confess, I love adding symbols to my artwork.  I do it on purpose a lot, but sometimes as I go back over a piece I’ve just finished, I’ll see some new ideas or elements that I didn’t mean to be symbolic, but somehow have taken on new meaning.  The clocks and gears I added with modeling paste and some stencils represent the time and work it takes to create a happy home and build lasting relationships.  The text symbolizes communication, and the blocks of cardstock are our priorities, lined up in a way that they all fit together and help balance and support us and our families.  One more thing to share- I love the microbeads in this piece- when I think of symbols of home and family in this artwork, they stand out above the others, as the many, many ways we can serve each other every day.  I believe it is so important for us to be serving our families, without keeping score or expecting anything in return.

Of course,  I know that many will look at this piece and see different things.  It will not have the same meaning for others that it does for me, and yet even that dynamic is fascinating.  What symbols do you see that I may have missed?  What do these elements represent for you, if anything at all?

Mixed Media Canvas Collage

Thank you for letting me share these thoughts today.  I’ve included a supply list with some affiliate links so you will know what tools and supplies I used.  (Affiliate links mean that if you make a purchase through a link I’ve provided, I will be paid a commission.  Don’t worry, you won’t be charged more.)

Don’t forget to check out my video to see the whole process, and let me know what you think in the comments!

mixed media canvas collage chipboard closeupmixed media canvas collage side view

mixed media canvas collage flower closeup

Supply list and links-

Liquitex Matte Gel Medium

Liquitex Modeling Paste

White Gesso

Tim Holtz Tissue Wrap “Terminology”- retired

Crafter’s Workshop Stencils

Prima’s Archivist paper line

India Ink


Elmer’s foam tape

Black twine

UmWow Studios chipboard confetti

PearlEx powders

glass microbeads

acrylic paint

Petaloo flowers

Deluge- Abstract Calligraphy Art

Ok, I have to trumpet my own horn for a just a second- I just made my first video!!  I cannot begin to describe how stoked I am about this.  Yes, there are some things I need to get better at.  You always have to keep learning.  But I don’t think I did too bad, for my first time.  🙂  What do you think?

There something about words and the way that they’re written that fascinates me.  Words are symbols that we ascribe meaning to, in order to communicate.  By themselves, words are simply combinations of lines and curves.  But given meaning, we are able to make combinations that communicate ideas, build relationships, and form the foundation of civilizations.

In this piece, I used calligraphy to create what I had pictured in my mind- a river of words and meaning. Perhaps that meaning is negative, perhaps positive, but really it is a combination of the two.  Sifting through the mess to find the truth underneath is difficult and takes skill and practice, but it’s essential to try.

mixed media canvas art with calligraphy text