“Angel Wings”- Mixed Media Art with Negative Space

Art with Negative Space

Mixed Media Art with Negative Space

It always amazes me how the simplest, quickest of projects are often the most beautiful and meaningful of all.  I created this in just a few hours for a friend of mine. She is going through a terrible loss.  The colors are a perfect reflection of her personality, talents, and the way she always makes the people around her feel special.  The chipboard wings are angel wings. I wanted to convey the idea that the ones we love never truly leave us for long.  We’ll see them again someday.

The negative space is also meaningful. Art with negative space not only catches the eye, but it can draw attention and give deep meaning to symbolic aspects of art that otherwise wouldn’t be as noticeable.  The pop of color against the white in this piece highlights the short amount of things we are really able to do and accomplish while were here on the earth. Yet, how brightly one life can shine!


mixed media art with negative space

My Process

I don’t usually use alcohol inks to color my pieces, but these colors were just what I needed to represent my friend.  The thread was leftover remnants from some muslin I’ve used in other pieces.  I couldn’t bring myself to throw the end threads away, and I was so glad I kept them!  The wings and the thread were the only things I added color to.  The rest I simply glued to the surface with gel medium.

I painted the chipboard pieces with white gesso, then I used a cotton ball soaked with ispropyl alcohol and ink to dab the color onto the surface.  I soaked the threads with alcohol as well to allow the ink to spread and really soak in.

Once I glued everything to the surface, I tipped the flower petals with some messy strokes of gesso and added microbeads for a bit more color and texture.

Such a simple piece, but hopefully a very meaningful one.



canvas art with negative space



Steampunk Tag with tutorial video

Perhaps it was the amazing steampunk Maleficent dragon I saw in Disney World last week, but my mind has been fulls of gears and rust recently.  This steampunk tag was such a quick and fun project to work on, and I found some fun new techniques to try, too!

steampunk tag

I think my favorite new technique was applying modeling paste to the surface through a chunk of tulle.  It added a perfect layer of texture, a look of aged leather that looks spectacular on this steampunk tag.  I love adding new techniques to my arsenal.  🙂

I used black crackle paste under the gears on the top and bottom, but the layer I used was too thin for the crackle to really show up.  I maybe should have put some clear crackle paste over the top in a thicker layer- then I’d have the crackle look without having to overload it with the black paste.  Of course, if it’s too thick, it would warp the paper…  so many things to consider!

And of course I have to mention the faux rust on my chipboard gears.  I love layering various brown colors to achieve that old, vintage look, and how the layers of chipboard really pop off the surface.

steampunk tag with embossed stamping

steampunk tag with chipboard frame and gears steampunk tag with chipboard gears steampunk tag with stamping

I’d like to make more tags in the future.  I see a lot of artists creating collections of tags, and I love the idea of doing that- perhaps even putting each one into a mini book or using them for gifts and cards…  so many possibilities!  How do you use the tags you create?  And is anyone else as enamored of steampunk tags and art as I am?

Mixed Media Splatter Collage- “Organized Chaos”

Happy New Year!  Who’s up for a steampunk splatter collage?  🙂  I had such an amazing Christmas holiday, but I have to say that I’m glad the time has come to refocus and get back to work.  I have so many goals to accomplish this year, and I can’t wait to get started!  One of the biggest goals I have for myself is to create more consistently.  To be more specific, to spend at least an hour in my studio every day, no matter what else I have going on.  This splatter collage was a perfect start to accomplishing that goal. It only took an hour (at the most) to create, and I love everything about it!

splatter collage with chipboard

  • I began with a tiny script Finnibair stamp, and lightly stamped the surface with small parts of the stamp.
  • A clay brush tool was the tool I used to try a new splatter technique- dipping the brush in ink and using my finger to pull back the bristles to flick the ink onto the surface.
  • Creative Embellishments clock and gear chipboard was perfect to create the centerpiece elements.  I painted each piece with white gesso, then splattered them with black ink in the same way I did the surface of the canvas.
  • I adhered the main clock chipboard piece to the center of the canvas, then used 2 more stamps around the clock face.
  • Adding the chipboard gears around the clock was the last step.

That’s it!  So simple, yet stunning.  The splatters really give this piece a vibrant energy that’s hard not to love.

Using that brush to splatter the ink was pretty tricky- you can go in different directions or achieve different coverage depending on how you hold the brush, how you flick it, etc.  The effect, though, is something you can’t achieve any other way.  I’ll have to see how different types of brushes work to achieve different splatter effects.

splatter collage mixed media with ink steampunk splatter collage splatter collage with steampunk elementssplatter collage with stamped images

What do you think?  Should I have added more elements?  Did I add too many?  Is there too much ink?  I’d love to hear your critiques and thoughts!!

DIY Christmas party favors

Christmas!  I’ve been going crazy with decorating this year, so much so that I decided to do even more and throw a Christmas party.  I have to say, since it’s been awhile since I’ve had a party- they are hard work!!  It was so worth it though.  We decorated Gingerbread houses, sang Christmas carols, chatted and ate lots of food.  And when every one left for the night, I handed out these super cute little Christmas party favors I made.

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I found the idea for these in an old Somerset magazine which, despite searching for the past hour, I can’t find.  I’m worried my husband may have thrown it away… sigh… If I find it I’ll update the info., but in the meantime here are the steps I took.

  • The outside of these is paper, the inside muslin.  I cut squares of heat n’ bond lite and muslin to fit the 12*12 squares of Christmas paper I had picked out.
  • The heat n’ bond lite is used to adhere the fabric to the paper.  Iron the squares of paper to the to heat n bond, then iron the fabric to the paper.
  • I drew a basic stocking shape on a piece of cardstock, and used that for my template.  I was able to cut out 3 of these stockings from one piece of the fabric backed paper.
  • Be careful that you cut fronts and backs for the stockings- if you don’t flip the template, you’ll end up with lots of one-sided stockings.
  • Before I sewed the two sides together, I added some washi tape to the top edge.
  • After sewing the stocking, I used my distress tool to rough up the edges.  The fabric inside made the distressing look even better!
  • Now, it just needs a wire handle and some jingle bells.
  • Add some candy and a Christmas poem, and you’re all set!


I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!!  May your parties be awesome, your  Christmas party favors be a hit, and your spirit be bright and happy this wonderful week!

Abstract Mini Canvases with Quilling & Texture Paste

I love it when my experiments work out the way I’m hoping.  Trying new supplies and techniques can be pretty tricky, but these abstract mini canvases turned out beautiful.

Both of these pieces seem to reflect nature in some way, though I will confess I did not have that in mind while I was working on them.  This one reminds me of a sunset- all pinks and oranges, with the first stars of the evening winking in the sky.

abstract mini canvases

Abstract Mini Canvases

abstract mini canvases with texture paste

Instead of using paper clay in these abstract mini canvases as I’ve usually done when I’m planning on using my quilling pieces, I used texture paste.  The kind I used I’ve actually had for a long time, and never really knew what to do with it.  It was originally designed for stenciling onto walls and décor, but I love seeing the texture it adds to my pieces.

The tan texture paste is perfect with the green in this piece, and gives it a very organic, rich look.

abstract mini canvases

Whether using it straight from the bottle, or mixing it with a bit of paint to add some dimension like I did in the first piece, adding texture paste is a super fun and easy way to make your abstract piece pop.  It’s also perfect for adding elements, like my paper pieces.  Once it dries, it’s solid and able to hold lightweight elements with no problem.

So, what combinations will you try?  Go grab a few mini’s and try a few combos!

Paper Clay Experiments on Mini Canvas

A.C. Moore recently had a sale on their canvas, and I went a little nuts.  Well, not too bad… I got enough canvas to keep me busy for the next 6 months, at least.  That’s not too bad… at least, that’s what I have to tell myself after every trip to any kind of craft store.  The justification begins as I enter through the automatic doors, every. single. time.

Anyway, part of my horde of supplies was a pack of tiny little canvases, about  2 1/2 in. by 3 1/2 in.  I opened the pack that night and put on a layer of gesso, getting them ready for whatever ideas entered my head.

Here is my first completed mini canvas piece.  P.S.- they have mini easels at A.C. Moore, too.  *drool*

 Paper Clay Mixed Media Mini Artpaper clay experiments

I’ve been experimenting with different techniques recently, and this one is the perfect example.  Along with all my canvases, I bought some sculptymold paper clay at the store.  It’s a molding medium that dries much lighter than plaster, so I thought I’d give it a try and see how I liked it.

I created a step by step tutorial outlining how you can successfully work with paper clay on canvas, as well, and when you subscribe not only do you get access to this freebie, but all the other freebie tutorials I’ve created!

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I followed the directions to mix a small amount, and then a added a couple dolops of orange and yellow paint.  I slapped that handful of mushy paper clay on my canvas to try a splattered effect (which didn’t really work- I’ll have to try it more watery next time) added my pieces of quilling, and let it dry for a couple of days.  Then, I mixed a half/half combo of red acrylic and water, used a straw to drop beads of paint in certain places, then used the straw to blow the excess paint over the canvas.  It didn’t quite work the way I thought it would- I used too much paint sometimes- but the effect is not unattractive.  I love how the colors play together!

paper clay experiments

I’ts reassuring that even though most of the projects I’ve done in the last month or two don’t quite work in the way I’ve imagined, they still turn out alright, and I learn a lot in the process.

If you still have questions, don’t forget to get my free printable tutorial by subscribing below.

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So I suppose the only question I have now is, which way should I display my finished paper clay piece?  Vertically or horizontally?