Wednesday, July 23, 2014

mixed media resources
On days that you are feeling need to create but are lost for direction, try the following:

Set your smart phone alarm - three to five minutes.

Spend that time gathering mixed media resources, buttons, incomplete art or sketches, interesting images and anything else that grabs your attention.

Once the alarm goes off, stop.

Arrange the items you have gather and take several photos of them. Review the photos, see what is working together - do certain items or images compliment each other? Is there a common thread emerging? Shapes, color, lines or concept?

Let this exercise prompt your imagination and enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Handwriting in mixed media

Detail from Nancy Telford Art
This is a detail from a commission piece. The full composition of the art is a wedding photo. The background was created with a combination of acrylic paint, pastels (the handwriting) and matte medium. Once the piece was completed, I sealed it with matte varnish. 

Try a background with acrylic paint and matte medium, sand it down to distress it a bit. Once you are satisfied, use a graphite pencil and handwrite a phrase or words. To embellish further, use a white pastel pencil and write more over the other words. Remember to work in a direction that does not drag your hand over the area that you have worked on. If you are left-handed work left to right and right to left if you are right handed. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sweet Sorrow

Sweet Sorrow - Vintage postcard, cutout image on hard board. This piece was painted with acrylic paints and matte medium (see the blue and green on the paper plate). I embellished further with sandpaper and graphite pencil. This is a good example of how a minimum of materials combined can create mixed media.

Grab two to three collage resources, some paint and go!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gathering From Your Garden

Copies of pressed flowers and slide frames. 
Slide Art Mounted on Vintage Book Pages
Summertime is a splendid time to gather organic resources for your mixed media art. I like to use this season to collect flowers.

I have a couple of flower presses and fill them quickly. Of course I sometimes revert to the standard of placing them in between pages of books (which is always a lovely find when I later flip through the book).

If you have read my first book Collage Playground F + W Media, North Light Books (2010) you might remember how I store collage resources (like pressed flowers). A three ring binder, page protectors, a sharpie and labels - easy enough.

The purple flowers are phlox, pressed and printed on mixed media paper. The red flowers are pressed and printed on vellum - aren't they vivid?

Slides are numerous and easy to find. To use them as frames, slide a craft knife between the front and back of the plastic frame, twist a bit and pop open. Place your art in and pop back together. If you are interested in learning more about slide art - my next book Mixed Media Handbook F + W Media, North Light Books (Fall 2014) will also showcase some ideas.  In the meantime, gather some flowers and begin pressing!

Slide art, mounted on plat. 
Pressed flowers printed on vellum with slide frames.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Table of Contents

I always say that we travel through different windows in our life, often passing through the opening so quickly that we don't realize how the time has evaporated. My husband and I went through a few windows during out "downsize" period. It's the time when you find yourselves wondering through a large cavernous home with more rooms and furniture than you need. So you sit back and identify the next step, hmmm - this is a different experience because you don't have to be concerned with school zones, work commutes or who gets which bedroom. Just focus on your needs and wants.

The first "downsize" came fairly soon after our youngest started college. We thought we had found the perfect home. It was a lovely home, less rooms then we currently owned, open floor plan and a beautiful setting. It was a contemporary farmhouse on a large lot overlooking the river and rolling meadows. Lots of natural light and custom features, everything and more (this being the key word) that you could ask for in an empty nester's home. Needless to say, after a few years in this beautiful home, we realized that we really had not "downsized".

Second time around for the "downsize". Ok, let's be realistic about the needs and wants. Less is definitely more... we begin to think about what we wanted in the next home and most importantly how we wanted to live. One of the things that was important to us was to still be able to seat up to eight people for a meal. Yes, this is an odd expectation for empty nesters. We had a few challenges; our home had sold in such a timely manner (thank you Sandy and Angela) that we were not really prepared to custom build, unless we did the two move thing and this was not an option for me. Therefore, we were frantically searching for smaller and roomy. Oxymoron, I know but that is what we wanted.

We overcame the dining room and seating issue by choosing a home with a large open plan. This enable us to use the family room space as our dining area. Remember it is your home, use the space that works for you. Next came the furniture, selecting a long table was essential for the space. What I did after that was to create a concept, more so than a space.

I decided it would be fun and interesting to let each family member choose their own chair. I also offered my guidance with some "up cycling" if needed. To my pleasure, everyone embraced this assignment with much thought and determination. Each person selected their chair and pre-approved any changes to be made with paint or fabric. The results of this project have been endlessly rewarding for everyone.The concept works so well that other dinner guest try to identify which chair goes with which family member. My remnant of joy is that I live in a home in which the furniture is more than function and decorum, it is family.

Here are a few tips when looking for a dining table and chairs. Please note I sometimes reference a table and chairs as a dining set, however a table and chairs can be purchased independent of one another. Do not get concerned with matching a table and chairs. What you should want mostly is for the table and chair to compliment each other. Remember, furniture can be up cycled, painted or re-upholstered to suit your desires and needs.

Identify - Find the shape and size table that best fits your room and needs. Do you want a table that has leafs? What type of leaf would work with your room? Butterfly leaf is nice because it is stored in the table, drop leafs are a great way to drastically increase or decrease a table size. Do you want a standard table height or a bar height?  What type of legs, pedestal or base do you want on the table? Remember these decisions will influence the type of chairs you will need.

Create -  A dining set represents more than functionally. They are a part of the meal and the people involved. Create a concept of who you are when selecting dining room furniture. Look at your daily life, your closet - yes your closet. The clothes in your closet are a prime example of you. If you are relaxed and casual, you will be very uncomfortable with a formal dining set. You will need to create a way to make the dining set less formal and more you.

Invite - Invite ideas and thoughts of those in your life. They are most likely the ones sitting at the table with you. Jot down their comments and make notes of how to visually interpret. Take a deep breath and let the creativity flow.

Enjoy - The most important factor for any dining experience is to enjoy. This is achieved through comfort, energy and visually pleasing aesthetics,

and of course your friends and family.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Postcard Wall

As the electronic world speeds up and takes over communication, we lose the tangible beauty of snail mail. I remember the days of excess junk and an overstuffed mailbox. This is a rare occurrence these days; however when mail does arrive I hold on to the invitations, cards and postcards. Being a mixed media artist allows me this indulgence, because I might "need" something for a project...

Postcards have long be one of my favorites, they are small, precise and to the point. I like this brief interlude with the sender. We can communicate on a format as small as 4" x 6". Most postcards have beautiful visuals, photos, graphics or prints. My favorite postcards are the ones with handwritten messages - this completes the package. Let's look at this little piece of real estate, you've got a visual, message or invitation, sender and receiver's information, a postage stamp (or meter stamp) date and bar code - all on a single two sided card. Who or what can do better than that?

Ok to the point of this post, are you also collecting postcards, cards or notes? If so, consider this form of wall display; place your cards in an interesting arrangement on the wall, hanging them with putty. You may purchase a pack of putty in most stores (usually in the picture frame area). Simply roll up a small bit of putty and adhere to back of the card and press into position on the wall. The nice thing about the putty is it doesn't mark up the wall or leave residue. As you begin to collect more cards, add them to your wall space.

You can enjoy your card wall everyday, the beauty of the cards and the memories of events. And if you have some extra time, drop me a postcard - would love to hear from you!

Kimberly Santiago
Creative Corner @ Hodgepodge
125 Franklin Street
Clarksville, TN 37040

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mixed Media Collage Bangles

Mixed Media Collage Bangles
Looking a fun project for you and your friends? Check out Creative Corner in Hodgepodge, Downtown Clarksville for some great ideas, including this Mixed Media Collage Bangle. The kits are a mere $4.95 and they include a wooden bangle, beautiful collage paper, sandpaper, instructions and helpful hints. Read on and see how easy and fun this project can be. 

 Once you purchase your kit, you may use the paper included or select your own. Perhaps add a copy of a personal photo. You have several options, you may paint the entire bangle, paint the inside of the bangle or chose not to paint at all.

 If you chose to paint the inside of the bangle, like I did here. You will need a paint brush and some acrylic paint (also available at Creative Corner).

 After the paint has dried, select your background paper and cut or tear in manageable sizes, about 1" by 1 1/2". Apply the adhesive with a brush to the back of the paper. You may use white glue, Mode Podge or matte medium as your adhesive.

 Use your fingers to smooth down the paper onto the bangle. Remember there will be wrinkles and overlap. Continue to cover the paper on the inside of the bangle if desired or allow it to overlap and remove it. Once the bangle is dry you may tear or cut away excess paper.  

 Once the bangle is dry, you may add embellishments like the cut outs shown. Keep in mind different options; you may want to photo copy a personal photo and add it, or use vintage letters, postage stamps or maps.
 Add adhesion to the embellishment in the same matter as before. Smooth down and let dry.
Once dry, you may sand the edges and wrinkles to get a smooth and finished look. Optional - coat the entire bangle with a matte or gloss sealer (mode podge works). Have fun! Be creative!