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.