My Mixed Media Maps- Representing History

Mixed Media Maps- “City of Oaks”

mixed media maps Raleigh

We use maps pretty much every day.  Whether they’re printed on paper or interactive on our smart phones, they help us understand the direction were traveling.  Try as we might, it’s pretty much impossible to keep track of our direction by ourselves.

More than that, though- an up to date map is a culmination of years of history, and represents the stories of thousands of families and individuals who, through their struggles with the topography and use of resources, their industry, politics and beliefs, have all influenced the shape, size, and surroundings of each block.

What a symbol a map is!mixed media maps, Raleigh NC

I wanted to capture some of this symbolism in these mixed media maps.  I focus on the big picture, but the variations in the layers of paint and ink, the outline of the streets, and the feathered ink and paint splatters bring to mind all the individuals who, recognized or not, have made each city what it is.  Each layer is like a generation, which stacked together makes the city richer, fuller, and fascinating.

Mixed Media Maps- “The Bull City”

mixed media maps DurhamI began with the cities where I live.  It’s so interesting to me that after living here for a few short years, and meeting a tiny percentage of the people who live here, that I can feel so connected to these cities.  There is good and bad here, dark history and history to be proud of, but it all makes these cities what they are.  They aren’t perfect, but they are beautiful, and the maps of these cities (and of every place around the globe) represents that truth.

mixed media maps, Durham NCMaps, and the meaning behind them, are works of art that are functional, but also emotional.  They evoke memories of people as well as places, and those places and the history behind them influence us in ways we can’t begin to understand.  And I love them for that.

What city should I paint next?!

Here’s a link to my project video Master Plan– this will give you an idea of the process behind these pieces.

Mixed Media Jewelry- Emerald Quilling Pendant

I am so excited to show you this mixed media jewelry piece I’ve finished!  I’ve been inspired by, and hoping to create, some jewelry pieces for quite a long time.  Though I do have a lot of ideas for pieces in the future, I love that I have been able to start with some necklaces inspired by my signature quilling style.

Mixed Media Jewelry- Emerald Green Quilling Pendant

Each of these pendants will have a paper background, then my quilled paper pieces will be added.  I noticed in my earlier trials that once i add the resin, the background become fairly translucent, so I started adding a layer of white gesso to the metal pendant before adding any of the paper, and it helps to keep the paper from appearing too clear.

One of the biggest issues (I say issue for lack of a better term- it’s not really an issue per se) is that my quilled paper pieces are higher than the depth of the pendant, and so I add resin to the top of each paper piece first, allowing it to cover the paper from top to bottom, before I add resin to the entire piece.  Gravity works against me a little bit, but the resin takes a while to set, and so I’m able to work for a while to make sure every bit of paper is sealed.

What do you think?  I love how abstract and unique it is, and all of the pendants I’ve been working on.  I know they will lead to the creation of new and awesome ideas in the future, as well.

This piece is available to purchase- if you’re interested, head over to my online store.

mixed media jewelry- pendant with quilled paper strips

mixed media jewelry- quilling necklace

Have you created any mixed media jewelry?  Do you have any suggestions for me as I continue to work on this series?  I would love to hear your ideas and see your creations!

Mixed Media Jewelry with Quilled Paper Pieces

Neutral Color Scrapbook Canvas

I’ve always been more of a neutral color fan.  I feel like it’s only been in the past year or two that I’ve really branched out and worked in lots of different colors.  I love off-whites and brown backgrounds.  I love black text on beige paper.  I love kraft paper and chipboard, and I love the timeless, sophisticated quality to all of the above.

So, every once in a while, I go back to those first loves and just go crazy.  This canvas blends so many of my favorite things- neutral color paper with text, white and brown accents, text washi-tape, ink-stained muslin, etc.  It’s pretty awesome, in my opinion.  🙂

Neutral Color Scrapbook Canvas

neutral color scrapbook canvas with washi tape and pencil embellishments

What I love most about this layout, is the negative space that’s actually full of text and other images.  I whitewashed the whole thing with Distress Crackle Paint, but you can still see everything underneath.  Yet now, with the whitewash, it’s almost as if everything else is on top of a fresh, clean canvas.  I love that this piece has that look and feel.

  • The first step was to cover the surface with various papers.  Everything piece I chose was covered with text.
  • I darkened it with some walnut ink, and then paint the surface with Tim Holtz’ Distress Crackle Paste, for a crackly, whitewash effect.  Awesome.  🙂
    • Quick Tip- if you use crackle paste, I would recommend sealing it with some gel medium.  It can tend to flake a bit, especially the larger cracks where you used more paint.
  • The sides were a bit rough, with some paper still sticking over, so I took some time and sanded all the edges down.
  • Washi-tape was added to the left side; different lengths in all different neutral colors and patterns.
  • My map stamp and one of my script stamps were perfect to add a few more interesting details.
  • I stained some strips of muslin just a bit with more walnut ink, and added them over the washi-tape.
  • Next it’s time for the background paper, and the picture.
  • A piece of flair goes pretty well with everything else, huh?  And how about those IKEA pencils?!  I knew the handfull I grabbed would come in handy.
  • This piece wouldn’t be complete without a few ink splatters!!

neutral color scrapbook page neutral color flair IMG_3165-compressor

Anyone else out there a huge fan of neutral colors?  I’d love to hear what you think, and see your projects.

Thanks so much for visiting!  I hope I inspired you a little today.  🙂

Design Team Projects for Scrapiniec

Hi!  I’ve missed you!  Now that our show is over, I have all this free time again and I thought I’d share some of my latest projects with you, these ones all done for Scrapiniec.  They are a Polish chipboard company, and they have some of the most unique designs I’ve seen in chipboard.  There are some amazing artists on our team, and I am so lucky to be able to count myself among them.  Are you on any design teams?  I would love to check out your projects!!  Drop a link below.

Design Team Projects

I have 3 design team projects to share with you.  The first is an altered box that I created as a thank you gift for a friend.  The chipboard and flowers really dress it up and make it look super classy.

design team projects for Scrapiniec

I created this layout with various types of chipboard from their collection.  My favorite part, though, are the frames over the photos.  The chipboard comes packaged securely, laser cut but still clinging to frames and sheets that allow them to travel without getting bent or ripped apart.  Once I had taken the chipboard out of its’ frame, I was left with quite a few extra pieces of square shaped frames.  So, I decided to use them!  And what a great effect it turned out to be.

design team projects with Scrapiniec chipboard design team projects- layouts side view design team projects layout

The last of my recent design team projects I’ll share with you is my scrapbook canvas from this week.  I made this, along with several others (stay tuned for those!) as thank you gifts for the directors of and producers of the show we just finished.  I love being able to give meaningful gifts that will last forever.  If they love them half as much as I had fun making them, then they will be cherished for years to come.  🙂

design team projects on canvas design team projects canvas design team projects canvas with lots of elements

Thanks for visiting!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas- what inspires you the most?  What is your favorite type of mixed media art?  Let me know!

“Forces of Nature”- using a make-up dauber to create abstract pieces

I’ve been experimenting with different tools and mediums lately because I’m setting up some workshops and I want to find the best tools to create easily understood and mimicked techniques.  This is one of the best canvases from these experiments, using a make-up dauber with acrylic paint and india ink to create awesome layered, cloudy backgrounds.

using a make-up dauber to create- "Forces of Nature"

At first I didn’t like the using a make-up dauber.  It’s has a tapered end, but the bottom, where it’s the widest, is rectangular and when I would use it to add paint to the surface, I would get a rectangular, or corner imprint.  It wasn’t a huge deal because I would just spritz it with some water or smear it with my finger to blend it into the background.  Despite this, I’ve come to really like them and now I use them all the time.

They’re cheap, first of all- you can get a whole pack of them for just a dollar or two. The material is good for either daubing or brushing, they’re absorbent so they will hold a lot of water to help dilute the paint if you need it.  They’re still not perfect, but it’s fun to get messy!  I can spread the paint super fast with these babies, and then load them up with water and wring them out in certain spots that need it.

They are also great for layering- once your main background is dry, you add a small amount of paint to the end and daub straight up and down.  Especially if the paint your using is a bit lighter, but the same shade as the background, it will blend wonderfully and add more texture and depth to the colors.

Using a Make-up Dauber

One more thing about using a make-up dauber to paint – if you mess up and use too much ink or paint, the dauber is great at soaking it up (if you using a lot of water, like I do), and then you have it to use somewhere else.

using a make-up dauber to create using a make-up dauber to create abstract pieces using a make-up dauber to create mixed media backgrounds using a make-up dauber to paint

I hope this has been helpful!  I’d love to hear your feedback- what are your favorite painting tools?  I’ve always on the lookout for some awesome new techniques.  🙂

Abstract painting- “Master Plan”

Ok, confession time- this had been a rough week.  I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that the past few days have not been pleasant.  So, I headed to my studio and started painting.  I had no idea what I was doing, I just started working and let this abstract painting take shape on it’s own.

IMG_2961-compressorAbstract Painting Tutorial

I love this style of abstract painting because the way the paint and ink blend is so soft and spontaneous.  I can control the way it looks, and yet at the same time, I can’t control it.  Learning the way the paint and ink behave and allowing them to work the way they’re designed to work is so essential and powerful, and really easy.  When you let things go, the result can be fantastic!

In fact, since I just worked on this abstract painting without any really thought as to the finished result, I find it a little ironic that I named it “Master Plan”.  Perhaps it’s the gridded lines and squares and the map feel of the piece that makes me think of designed streets and a master planned neighborhood.  I guess not all good things have to be planned to the hilt.

And I have to say something about the purple- it was definitely therapeutic, working with my favorite color.  The different shades and brands of paint worked beautifully together.  I find it fun to use different brands of paint when I work, because they each have different qualities that are fun to watch and work with.

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Creating abstractly, especially when you’re not sure what you’re trying to create, can be a bit terrifying.  Don’t worry- even if you end up painting over what you’ve done, you still learn something in the process, and it’s exhilarating and so satisfying when you see where the piece has led you.  So throw aside your fears and give it a shot!!