Courageous Heart

I love fairy tales because of their haunting beauty and magical strangeness. They are set in worlds where anything can happen. Frogs can be kings, a thicket of brambles can hide a castle...and a girl can break a curse with nothing but her courage and steadfastness.
— Kate Forsyth

Today I'd like to share with you my mixed media canvas using my wonderful DecoArt supplies and Tyvek. Recently, I had to talk myself into something that I found very daunting. Let's face it, if the Wizard of Oz were being recasted, I'd be a lead contender for the Cowardly Lion role. This creation was my therapy.  Let the strength in your heart and soul give you courage.



I love being a part of the DecoArt Outreach program and creating with products I would not want to be without in my art studio.  This piece is almost exclusively DecoArt products built from ground up, gesso to varnish with lovely mediums and paint layers in between.  

Speaking of layers, I love them!  As of late almost every canvas I've created has a base layer of paper scraps.  I love knowing that there are so many hidden secrets below the paint, like poetry, music sheets and maps.  And that is why it is fabulous to create with fluid acrylics because they allow you to get a glimpse of what is underneath.  



Here is a quick tutorial on my process. With matte medium, I adhered torn pieces of paper to the top and sides of a chunky 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch canvas.  Using chalky finish acrylic and spritzing with water, I finger-painted lightly over the paper-patched background to make it look more cohesive. Stencils followed with modeling paste on the word courage and crackle paste for the harlequin design.  Upon drying, my canvas was ready for the first coat of fluid acrylics.


My first wash of fluid acrylics consisted of Raw Sienna, Cerulean Blue and Quinacridone Burnt Orange.  I dried this layer with a heat gun and highlighted areas with Quinacridone Red.  The lovely cracks that had formed on the harlequin diamonds were intensified with the addition of applying Carbon Black with its mister wand and spraying with water.  Hansa yellow fluid acrylic accented the stenciled areas. For a focal point, I chose a Tyvek heart* that I had made. I outlined the edges of the heart with a mix of heavy gel medium and micro beads.  When this mix was firmly set, I dripped Carbon Black from the mister wand and let it settle among the beads.


Highlights were added by dry brushing Dazzling Metallic acrylic paint. To complete the canvas I included a couple more embellishments: a cardboard sword, an upcycled silk rose made more beautiful with Dazzling Metallics and a 'string' of thorns.

*Tyvek Heart

The heart was cut from a square piece of Tyvek that I had prepared by painting with fluid acrylics and dazzling metallics.  The square with heated with a heat gun to produce the bubbles and ripples.  I drew a heart onto the unpainted side and cut it out using sharp scissors.


Product List:

DecoArt Media:  White Gesso, Matte Medium, Modeling Paste, Sand Paste, White Crackle Paste, Heavy Gel Medium, Ultra Matte Varnish, Mister in 'Carbon Black', Fluid Acrylics in 'Quinacridone Burnt Orange', 'Quinacridone Red', 'Cerulean Blue', 'Raw Sienna', and 'Hansa Yellow Medium'.

DecoArt:  Dazzling Metallic Acrylic Paint in 'Festive Red', 'Festive Green', 'Rich Espresso' and 'Champagne Gold'; Personally Yours Stencil 'Urban Ink'

DecoArt Americana:  'Distressed Harlequin' stencil; Chalky Finish Acrylic Paint in 'Primitive'

7 1/2" x 7 1/2" canvas, tyvek, micro beads, paper scraps, string, silk flowers, cardboard, cocktail fork