First Light of Winter


What were  you doing on October 18, 2017? I was celebrating the first day of 'Book Nerd Holiday'. Actually, that's my name for the annual 2-week long AAUW Book Sale that I have attended almost every year since I was a wee nerd...I mean, child.  My bosses even let me leave work early to go treasure hunting among the shelves and shelves and stacks and stacks of books!  I pay my early bird admission fee and shop the first night to acquire certain sought after titles and collectibles for my library.  Then I go back on Half Price Day for more literary gems.  And finally, I brave the frenzied hoards of fellow book nerds on Sack Sale Day, aka 'Book Rescue Day' - again my name for it.  But, rightly so as any left over books are tragically taken to the dump! I escaped being trampled again this year and arrived home with three huge bags of orphaned books including (just to name a few) a Thai dictionary, a ragged book of poetry missing its cover, an electricians' handbook, a shorthand manual and an algebra book.  Many of their tattered pages will be introduced to each other - not in my library, but in my art studio where they will begin a new life on canvas.

November 1: Winter came way before it was invited this year, arriving with a blustery wind, dropping temperatures, snow and ice.  I accepted it stoically.  I just lied with that statement. Could you tell?  Truthfully, it made me the definition of cranky.  A cozy chair by the fireplace, snuggly dogs, a fuzzy blanket, hot coffee and a new book to read was just what I needed to warm my frosty mood.  

And then the sun came out!  The snow laced Autumn leaves, still on their branches, were bathed in a golden light.  That visual became the inspiration for my latest canvas, First Light of Winter.

After gessoing my canvas, I began adding torn book pages with matte gel medium. The terrific mood board at Mixed Media World had inspiration elements that are among my favorites: old paper, writing and rust! 


I love the look of encaustic and look forward to taking a class called Layers of Light by Laly Mille.  In the meantime, I decided to make my background 'look' like it was encased in wax as I had with an earlier piece called She is of Nature. I set out some of my favorite DecoArt Media mediums and began to apply layers, alternating with more pages, pattern pieces, stamping, stenciling, pen writing and doodling.  I also added some clear ink and UTEE after seeing MixedMediaJenn demonstrate her technique on YouTube (check out her video here).  I took down the shine factor by applying DecoArt's Ultra Matte Varnish.  I applied muted tones of color using Lindy's Stamp Gang sprays.


I decided to build my assemblage on a piece of cardboard that I treated with more DecoArt products including Crackle Paste and Texture Sand Paste.  I love how it has a look of old, weather tree bark.


When my background layers were finished and dried, it was time for a play with my found object stash.  I have recently had the pure joy of meeting a most wonderful retired couple.  I feel like I've known them forever and would like to begin adoption paperwork immediately :)  Bill and Bonnie have been bringing me rusted and random old treasures from a cleanup at their rural property. For this piece I selected several of their offerings for my canvas' focal assemblage including a star, a bulb and a chain.  Using an X-acto knife, I remove the negatives from a 35mm film strip and painted it with matte brown acrylic. Color was next.  I knew I wanted to incorporate yellow-gold tones into my assemblage but couldn't decide on the rest of my color palette. When I came across Lindy's Stamp Gang's color board for November, I knew I had to use each and every color on it!  I sprayed, brush painted, dripped and splattered.  And I was so happy with the result; I never would have thought to use purple on this piece, but it worked perfectly.


I finished my canvas with some die cut pieces, cheesecloth, excelsior and art stones.  

Considering where my palette inspiration came from, I would like to enter this project into the November Challenge at Lindy's Stamp Gang. 

Considering where my palette inspiration came from, I would like to enter this project into the November Challenge at Lindy's Stamp Gang. 

And more inspiration from this mood board challenge at Mixed Media Warriors.

And more inspiration from this mood board challenge at Mixed Media Warriors.

Product List

DecoArt Media Mediums:  Gesso, Modeling Paste, Texture Sand Paste, White Crackle Paste, Ultra Matte Varnish and Matte Medium

DecoArt Fluid Acrylics:  'Yellow Oxide'

Lindy's Stamp Gang Sprays:  Flat Fabio - 'Sandra Dee Sepia', 'Danny Zuko's Denim', 'Sidewalk Chalk', 'Greased Lightnin' Green'; Starburst - 'Rusty Lantern Lime', 'California Poppy Gold', 'Steampunk Sepia' and 'Urban Amethyst'

Prima:  Elementals Harlequin stencil, Art Stones, 'Guave Peony Brahms' and 'Coventry Rose Printery' flowers

Penny Black:  'Spread Cheer' stamp

Sizzix:  'Decorative Flourish' die cut

Liquitex:  Clear Gesso

Ranger:  UTEE and Clear Embossing ink

Signo:  White Uni-Ball Pen

11 x 14 canvas, cardboard, book pages, sheet music, pattern paper, silk leaves, natural wood pencils, excelsior, old film strip, wood plugs, cheesecloth and miscellaneous found objects.