Rise Above the Chaos

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Technology, News Media, Social Media and the insanity of our world can be so overwhelming. My personal means of escape are heading to the mountains or, more often, heading to my art room. This is how I rise above the chaos. When I saw the Relics & Artifacts ‘Rising Spirit’ set I knew it would perfectly represent that we all need to take a break from time to time and soar above the madness.

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Please join me in my classroom at Mixed Up so I may show you how to create this mixed media assemblage/collage featuring the wonderful Rising Spirit winged heart from Relics & Artifacts.

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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









Junk Junk Boat

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Nǐ hǎo!
According to my Google search, that is ‘Hello’ in Chinese.  So, what does that have to do with my post?  Let me give you a bit of background info. 

I am so super stoked about this month’s theme at Mixed Up: Recycle/Upcycle!!  (Excuse me my dear former English/Journalism professors, I know a writer is never, ever supposed to use multiple exclamation points...but come on...we are talking UPCYCLE!!!  See, I can’t help myself because recycling junk IS MY THING!!!!) 

And then, someone in the art world that I very much admire, both personally and professionally, paid me the utmost compliment with the label #queenofjunk!!!!! (Okay, I promise, I’ll cool it on the punctuation mark frenzy).

Now the pressure was on.  What would the so-called #queenofjunk create?  It came to me right away:  a Chinese Junk boat made from junk.  I have since found out from family and close friends this is another random example of trivia my brain has stored, rather than useful, possibly life-saving information.  A Chinese Junk, from the Javanese 'djong' meaning ship or large vessel, was used for transporting goods on rivers and seas beginning in the Han Dynasty and is still in use today.  

My Junk boat started as an unusual serving dish that I had picked up at a thrift store quite some time ago.  Pop over to the online classroom at Mixed Up to see how I transformed this junk store find into a Junk using junk!

See you there, 


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Poseidon's Pearl


I recently was asked to be a Guest Ambassador for Sandra Evertson's Relics & Artifacts!  Of course I said 'absolutely'!  I love Sandra's product line and was thrilled and honored to be creating among so many incredible artists who are a part of the Relics & Artifacts Tribe!



I was inspired by the Mythos Collection of Resin Blanks and knew I had to create something with them and the ornate wood ostensorium.  The result was Poseidon's Pearl, a mixed media assemblage.  I hope you enjoy this piece and I would love it if you stop by my muse at Relics & Artifacts.


BeetleBot - An Artful Days Creation

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Today I have a whimsical little steampunk piece to share with you featuring treasures from Artful Days.  When the Mixed Up Online Classroom asked me if I'd like to play with products from the Artful Days Shop, I leapt at the chance. Not only does this shop carry some of my favorite products like Lindy's and Prima, but they have a section called 'Treasure Trove' which has a fabulous variety of goodies, including the star of my mini canvas: a detailed little robot beetle! 

Head over to Mixed Up for my full tutorial.  And while your at it, grab my Artful Days shopping list and treat yourself to a wonderful collection of artsy goodies!