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Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Scars + Stripes - a collage painting tutorial

Scars+Stripes
Cyndi Lavin, 2017

This piece evolved from an earlier version that didn't quite work out the way I wanted.  Many times that happens, that pieces don't look like what I had envisioned, but this one just plain failed!  But still, pieces were salvageable, and I was really happy with the way it eventually came together.



I started with a piece of brushed steel tape on paper.  After sanding it, I added 2 thin layers of Gold iridescent acrylic paint with 30% gloss medium.  This was sealed in by a layer of pure gloss medium and left to dry.  I then mixed some glazes to shift the gold color: Permanent green light and Quinacridone crimson, both in 1:1 mixtures with glazing liquid.  This is rubbed onto the gold background very thinly with a soft cloth and allowed to dry.

To this background, I added black tar gel designs, and when that was dry (overnight), I flooded it with a muddy mix of Gold interference, Gold iridescent, and Quinacridone magenta in lots of water.  It took several pourings and dryings before I got the colors I was after.


For the central piece, I used a similar technique, but started with a black gessoed background.  Here above, you see it with just the black tar gel added.



As with the other two pieces, I flooded it with the a different muddy mix, probably about four times, allowing it to dry each time.  This mix consisted of Interference violet, Iridescent gold, and Quinacridone violet.  


When the pieces were all the colors that I wanted, I cut them out with a straight edge razor and mounted them to a large piece of heavy watercolor paper that had been prepared with black acrylic.  

Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Eureka - a mixed media painting tutorial

Eureka
Cyndi Lavin, 2017

I wanted to try another brightly colored painting similar to Breaking Free from a few weeks ago.  This time, instead of the batik technique for a background, I decided to use a rubbing alcohol technique.  It only works well on water-diluted acrylics, so save your glazing medium for another time!



1. I used three layers of paint, each one splashed or flicked with alcohol while still wet: Quinacridone magenta, then Hansa yellow light, and finally a muddy mix of Quinacridone magenta, Interference gold, and Iridescent gold.  As a final touch, I spritzed the whole thing with additional Quinacridone magenta.  The entire piece was covered with a coat of gloss medium.  When it was dry, I added the paper and tape masks. 



2. I used a small foam roller with Titan buff mixed with a bit of gloss medium.  




3. When that layer was dry and the masks were removed, I mixed Cobalt turquoise and white gesso with a little water, and used an applicator bottle to draw it on.  I used a razor blade to apply black ink lines, and misted them lightly where needed to encourage some bloom.  



Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Monday, July 03, 2017

The Rift - a mixed media painting tutorial

The Rift
Cyndi Lavin, 2017

I usually am a pretty happy person, content with my life and grateful for my friends, family, and what I've got.  This past half year has been difficult though, for many of us.  I don't care what side of the "aisle" you are on, I have witnessed enough division and nastiness to last me the rest of my life.  So what do I do?  I pray, I serve my community, and I make stuff.  What do you do?

The background for The Rift has 3 layers:
Interference blue with a dot of Ultramarine, plus water
Interference blue with water
Gloss medium

Let each layer dry before adding the next.  I added a thin strip of blue painter's tape across the upper third.


The next layer of paint was slightly diluted Micaceous Iron Oxide.  I removed the tape and quickly wiped a thick streak off with a sponge.  I added waxed paper (crinkled) to the upper third and plastic wrap to the bottom two thirds.  This was heated and then peeled off.

Next I added dilute washes of Interference gold to the top and dilute washes of Iridescent gold to the bottom.  To that strip I added a muddy mix of very dilute paints: Quinacridone magenta, Iridescent gold, and Interference gold.  At first I added it the entire way across the painting, but I ended up wiping it off the streak later.

Once it was all fairly dry, I dropped some splotches of rubbing alcohol on it and rubbed to make some worn spots.

Last, I turned it upside down and liked it much much better!

Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Spring Blows In - a mixed media painting tutorial

Spring Blows In
Cyndi Lavin, 2017
Sometimes (often), the thing you plan is not what ends up happening.  My plan was to try the swipe technique with acrylics mixed with silicone, so that I would end up with beautiful colored cells popping up through white paint.  The swipe turned out to be a complete failure.  I don't know why...others had worked wonderfully, some with even the very same colors.  But the trick is not to let a failure stop you from moving forward!



I poured acrylic paints that had been prepared with pouring medium and silicone oil.  Now that I look at this shot again, I think part of the problem may have been that the paint was just not poured thickly enough.


I swiped in an arch with white paint, but the few cells that formed were ragged.  So I continued swiping until the paint was smeared together and covering the whole piece.  I adjusted the colors and sprayed it with a bit more silicone to allow the colors to slide around a bit.



Just before the piece was fully dry, I misted it with alcohol and dripped black ink from the top.  The ink skittered because of the alcohol and silicone.  Turned upside down, I had some more of my beloved trees, looking like they were partially obscured by the arching colors.

Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wisteria - a mixed media painting tutorial

Wisteria
Cyndi Lavin, 2017


I don't have any step-out photos to show for this piece, but it is so easy, you really don't need any!  It's just a simple, joyful piece that you can make anytime you're between projects and want something fun to fill an hour or two.

1. Use polymer medium to apply wrinkled white tissue paper to a piece of watercolor paper.

2. Sponge on a background color if you like.

3. Lightly mist the paper and use a razor blade to add black ink lines from the top.  Let it dry and spray with fixative before proceeding.

4. Use your gloved fingers to make the blossoms, starting with the largest and moving to the smallest.  Add a bit of white to the larger blossoms to give some shading.

Here are the colors I used:
Hansa yellow light (background)
Phthalo blue, Dioxazine purple, Quinacricone magenta, and Titanium white - all mixed in various combinations

Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Book review: Art Journey - Abstract Painting



North Light Books has a beautiful new volume out that was edited by Jamie Markle.  It's huge, and has the initial appearance of a coffee table book, but I couldn't possibly bring myself to call it that after I started reading and gazing my way through it.  Art Journey - Abstract Painting asks the featured artists to answer many probing questions that all of us probably have: what is the essence of abstract painting?  How much planning do you do?  What is your inspiration?  Let's look at how their answers broke down!

When asked about the essence of abstract painting, some artists explained that their work is totally non-representational.  Some spoke of emotions, experiences, and their own inner world.  Others focused on the elements of design like color, space, line, and texture.  But a large group of artists spoke more about "abstracted reality," with objects seen in a different way, fantasy "landscapes" or "still lifes," unrecognizable (or semi-recognizable) macro views.  These artists are inspired by everything from man-made objects to the natural world, but prefer not to be constrained by realistic representation.  



The answers to the question about planning were quite varied also.  "None at all" was not uncommon from the artists who like to work intuitively.  Others begin with an intuitive start and then work towards balance and unity in their piece.  Some others work out a basic composition and/or color palette, perhaps using an underpainting.  But some prefer to completely plan and work out their ideas with color studies, value studies, compositional sketches, etc.  The take home?  Don't think that you can't be an abstract artist just because you like to plan!

The media used in the artwork in this book included more pastels than I was expecting.  Pastel can be considered a drawing or a painting medium, and it was just a bit curious to me how many painters have adopted (at least in part) pastels.  Acrylic, watercolor, oils, ink, colored pencils, and ephemera appeared regularly.  
As for inspiration, that was a wonderful thing to read about!  There were works about everything from the "view out my kitchen window" to the perspective of an airline pilot!  The subject matter ranged from totally interior or geometry to exterior things like nature or the urban landscape.  This is a beautiful and very inspiring book!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Moon Dance - a mixed media painting tutorial

Moon Dance
Cyndi Lavin, 2017
I was still stuck on the same sort of somber palette when I went to paint Moon Dance, but I did want to make sure that it had enough variety in value since all the colors turned out very low key.  Here's how I checked that:


Isn't Photoshop a wonderful tool???

Moon Dance started out as a double gesso background (black gesso, followed by dilute white gesso, and heated under a layer of plastic wrap).  On top of that, I added a Hansa yellow stripe.  


I pulled some grayed acrylic paints top and bottom using a slightly darker mix of gray gesso.  


No matter what I tried, I just couldn't get excited about it, until it finally occurred to me to flip it.  To this, I added some black ink razor lines and some white ink lines, drying in between so that not everything would be gray!  


Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.
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