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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...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Paper towel transfers…more background papers

You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many background papers lying around waiting for inspiration! Here’s another fun and easy technique…but again, be forewarned that it can be addictive.

1. Put down a piece of freezer paper to protect your work surface…this is a very juicy technique!

2. Dip thick paper towels into several bright colors of thinned acrylic paints. Lay the towel out on the freezer paper.


3. Arrange stencils, both negative and positive, around the towel.

4. Sandwich the towel with stencils between 2 pieces of paper. You can use cardstock, watercolor paper, or even heavier textured papers like wallpaper.


5. Brayer over the entire sandwich. You’ll end up with 2 gorgeous different papers.


6. Use glazes to fill in empty areas if desired, or top with a glaze color of your choice to pull the whole piece together. I’ve used Quinacridone Gold.

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Frottage background papers


I used this method of making multi-textured background papers in last week’s Make Art Monday project. Although the background paper is flat, it seems so dimensional. Here’s how to achieve this effect!


1. Using very thin paper, make rubbings of interestingly textured objects. Try rubbing with wax candles (white) to make reverse rubbings, using the wax as a resist.

2. Add thin glazes of acrylics in an analogous color range.

3. Rip and arrange the papers on a cardstock or watercolor paper base.

4. Use matte medium to glue them down.

5. Wash any dull areas with more color to make the piece blend. Cover with matte medium.


6. Cut out straight edges with an exacto knife if desired.

7. Press flat.

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.



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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Making a small art quilt…with fish!


I shared a set of four small quilts last week that I had made after a trip to the Smithsonian, specifically the museum of natural history. I always loved that one as a kid!

This week for Technique Tuesday, I thought you might be interested in some of the techniques used to construct these. They use small pieces of fabric, so they’re fun to do in between other projects. Mine are about 9 x 10 inches, and I often make up a bunch of patchwork tops at one time, as long as I’ve already got my machine out :-)

They’re also really fast to make, so you could possibly still find time to make a few for holiday gifts this year. Make them unique, with pictures that will be especially meaningful to your giftee!

1. Sew a small fabric quilt top, with a center panel large enough to accommodate the image you wish to use.

2. Print out your image on vellum. Spray with acrylic coating to stop smudges. Cover the image with contact paper, and spray the contact paper with 2 coats of matte varnish if it’s shiny. Set an eyelet in each corner.

3. Add a layer of batting and sew on buttons and beads with the appropriate weight floss or thread.

4. Add the backing fabric, pillowcase style, leaving one end open for turning. Turn the quilt.

5. Stitch on the vellum images, adding decorative stitches or buttons to each corner.

6. Add a row of stitching all the way around the quilt, creating a border and finishing off the turned-under open end.


Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Freezer paper background papers

Freezer paper painting is fun and easy, but really unpredictable. You will rarely end up with papers that you won’t be able to use, but you also might not end up with many (or any) that thrill you completely. I find that these are usually papers that I end up tearing up for other projects rather than using whole.


1. Thin some acrylic paints, each in its own small plastic cup. Fill a spray bottle with water and have your brayer handy.

2. Place some freezer paper, shiny side up, on your work surface and float the thinned paints on top. Let them mix at the edges. Add pearl ex or other sparkling inclusions if desired.

3. Spray with water to disperse more.

4. Lay down dampened stock paper or watercolor paper to pick up the paints. Brayer down to soak thoroughly.



5. Remove them to a place they can dry undisturbed.


Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Stamping and overstamping techniques


Here’s a really easy way to make a rather complex-looking layered background. I made a couple of simple texture and pattern stamps, and used a set of Jacquard acrylic paints in rich autumn colors. Round, shown above, is the piece that I shared last week on Make Art Monday.

String block stamp:
Wrap hemp or regular household string around a sturdy piece of cardboard. Use double stick tape to arrange the string into wavy patterns if desired.




Heat-carved foam stamp:
I used a flat piece of foam and melted a pattern into it with my soldering iron. Do this outside…it stinks!




Stamping a background:

1. Paint the background a solid medium color (I used metallic rust).

2. Stamp with the string block in a highlight color (burnt orange).

3. Stamp with the etched foam stamp (super copper and burgundy).

4. Stamp again with the string block (grape).


5. Repeat any of the above steps desired, varying the colors used.

6. Write a quote using a Faber-Castell Pitt pen (brush style).

7. Stamp with permanent black ink in a crackle pattern. If you don’t have a crackle stamp, try crinkled plastic wrap.

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another background paper

This background paper is extremely easy to make…once you start on these, your only problem will be to know when enough is enough!



1. Paint your paper with a solid strong colored base. Let it dry


2. Sponge on three accent colors, moving from dark to light. Let each dry before applying the next.

3. Sponge on a slightly lighter version of the base, mixed as a glaze. This is what pulls it all together.

I used this technique to paint my shoes. The mottled surface is so much more interesting than a solid flat color would be!


Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Multi-stamped background papers

When I’ve got a few hours and no particular agenda, I like to create a whole bunch of background papers. After all, if I’m going to drag out the paints and other materials to make one, I might as well make more than one…a lot more than one.

I used this paper in last week’s Make Art Monday project:


It has a lot of layers, but it’s really simple to build them up. Here’s how I did it, but feel free to vary the order and colors, to repeat whatever layer you like, etc.

1. Paint the background a solid light color (I used citrine). Let it dry.

2. Use a foam stamp with two dark colors and stamp all over the sheet (I used burgundy and indigo, with a stamp that I previously cut from foam). Stamp multiple times each time you load up with paint, so that some impressions are dark and some are light. Let it dry.

3. Use another foam stamp to add a few bigger shapes in the original light color. Let it dry.


4. Use a crackle shaped stamp or crumpled plastic wrap to add crackling in black solvent or pigment ink.

5. Brush on a thin layer of Quinocridone Gold acrylic with a foam brush. This makes the colors deeper and richer, and unifies the piece.

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gaussian blur in Photoshop



Creating a luminous looking gaussian blur layer on a photo takes a certain amount of experimentation for each shot that you want to apply it to. There is no one formula that is going to work well for all pictures, and some pictures just do not benefit from the layer at all. Still, when it works well, you achieve a wonderfully soft and luminous quality in your picture. Besides the photograph above, I also used this technique on Journey, which was shared on a Make Art Monday.


Here are the basic steps:

1. Load your picture and duplicate it in the layers palette.

2. Using a levels adjustment layer, lighten the duplicate layer a lot. You will be able to keep adjusting this amount if you don’t like the results.

3. Apply the gaussian blur filter. I usually start with 20 pixels or so and adjust as needed.

4. Select the multiply blending mode for the duplicate layer.

5. You can now adjust the lightness on the adjustment layer, the amount of blur, and /or the opacity of the layer until you achieve the look you want.

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Paper clay collages

I shared a collage last week called Delicious Autumn. One of the major materials used in this piece, and in several others like it, is paper clay. Here are the steps I follow to make these:

1. Roll the paper clay out thin on parchment paper.

2. Cover the clay with a fringed piece of muslin and soak it with a mixure of half PPA glue/half water.

3. Flip it over and add shredded cheesecloth. Soak again with the glue mixture, this time from the front.

4. Place it in the oven on parchment paper, and dry it at 200 degrees for a couple of hours.

5. Paint around the edges of a masonite board.

6. Paint the fiber and clay piece.

7. Dry it in the oven again. It will not take as long this time.

8. Flatten the fiber and clay piece under a heavy book.

9. Attach it to the masonite board with PPA glue.

10. Flatten again as needed.

11. Add images and other flat embellishments.

12. Add beads and any dimensional embellishments.

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Collage embellished with embroidery


Last week, on Make Art Monday, I shared this piece that I made in response to the question, "What are your favorite things to use in your work?" Today, I thought I’d share the general steps that I follow to make a collage of this type. It’s not the same as a paper quilt, but it does have sewing embellishments.

1. Lightly trace a grid design with a pencil on a piece of watercolor paper.

2. Color and pattern the squares with any pigments you choose.

3. Adhere papers, foils, and fabrics to the squares. You don’t have to look for a perfect fit, but do erase the lines as needed.

4. Poke holes with a larger needle and sew embellishment stitches as desired using cotton or silk floss.

5. Glue on 3D embellishments and “sew” them in place.

6. Glue the whole piece to watercolor paper or matt board backing.

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Paper quilting


I often use a mixture of paper and fabrics in my quilted pieces. Look-See, however, is entirely paper, including some dress-pattern tissue.

1. Make two copies of the template that you wish to use on plain white paper. One is to cut up and the other is for reference.



2. Cut up your papers into the correct shapes. You can paint, stamp, ink, or do any other pigment embellishment either before or after cutting them up…your choice. You can see that I painted over my papers with some diluted raw sienna to soften and dull the colors. At this point they are not attached to the paper below them; I want them to still be loose to make it easier to embellish them with stitching.


3. Prepare any delicate embellishments like leaves or fragile papers and glue them onto the appropriate block if they will only be covering a single block. Otherwise, wait until step 5 after you’ve attached the blocks to the cardstock “batting”. Use an adhesive with as little water as possible, maybe even spray adhesive if the item is crumbly. Here you can see how I cut out one of the templates to use as a guide in finding the best spot to cut from the dress-pattern tissue. This tissue is very delicate and needs careful handling. It will not be attached until after step 5 since it will cover several blocks.

4. Sew decorative stitching onto the individual blocks as desired. I use embroidery floss, both cotton and silk.

5. Using your reference template, tack the pieces down to appropriate colored cardstock. I usually use black, unless the piece is very light colored. You can use a simple swipe of a gluestick for this. Add any delicate pieces reserved from step 3. Cut around the outside of the whole piece with an exacto knife, trimming the cardstock even with the quilt edges.

6. Using a larger needle, poke holes through all layers, and then embellish the seams and the outside edges as desired, and add any additional stitching that your eye now tells you is needed.

7. Glue on large or heavy embellishments and "sew" into place, just for looks.

8. Glue the whole piece to watercolor paper or matt board. Weight it carefully until dry.

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.



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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A photographic collage


While there are still beautiful leaves available for the plucking or gathering, here’s another way to store them away for later. Last week, we dealt with the individual leaves, but this week we’re creating backgrounds to use…both now and later!


Start by arranging your leaves all over a large piece of paper. Cover the paper thoroughly, overlapping the leaves. I used white here so it would show up better, but a dark color is better to use for the real thing. Somehow, there is always a white spot that ends up showing through otherwise!


Take lots of photos of the leaves, some close up, some at a distance. Just shoot away at anything that looks good. Store all these files for later use in making digital collages.


While your leaves are still strewn about, add some 3D objects to the mix and snap photos of these too. Wow, two for the price of one…a collage now and more later!


Add any background papers you please behind the shots you decide to keep. I scanned these background papers a long time ago, and now I use them digitally all the time, modifying the size and color to suit.
Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Transparent digital backgrounds


This is a great time of year to collect leaves to use in future projects. Some people like to dry them in either the microwave or by pressing in a book. But I prefer to use them digitally. You never have to worry about the colors fading or the leaf crumbling with time, and as a bonus, you can use the same perfect leaf over and over!

My favorite technique with leaves is to scan them on a very bright white background. If you want to do a traditional collage with them, just print them out and cut away! You can even change the colors in your photo-editing software. If you’ve got Photoshop or another really good tool, you can also remove the background easily so that they can be dropped digitally into your work.

Photoshop’s what I use, so I’ll explain the basic steps that will allow you to remove the background quickly for digital collages.

1. Open the scanned image in Photoshop. Resize and tweak as you want.

2. Double click on the background layer in your layers palette. A box will open up called “New Layer”. Make sure that the layer is named “Layer 0″ and that “none” is checked under “Color”. Hit “OK”.

3. Select “Color Range”, and select the white background. Hit “OK”.

4. Hit the delete key, deselect, and you can now move your images into a digital collage. If the selection doesn’t come out clean enough, go back and feather your selection by a couple of pixels before deleting the background.

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Hi again!


Mixed Media Artist, which I have enjoyed writing since 2005 (!!!) is going to be the new home for my tutorials.

If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come travel with me through a mixed media art wonderland, where no materials are considered too strange to use in making something!

My constant cry as a young child was, “Please Mommy! Don’t throw that out. I can make something out of that!” No surprise that years later, it became the cry of my daughter as well (pictured above). It’s wonderful having a kindred spirit to share with. I hope that you each have someone in your life to share your passions with, and I hope that you’ll come and share them with me as well.

If you enjoy Mixed Media Artist, please feel free to also visit my other websites and blogs:

Mazel Tov! Jewelry Treasures
Wildest Dreams Designs
Why Not Art
Beading Arts
Real Food Fast





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Monday, October 16, 2006

A new direction!







I have been blessed to be hired by b5media, the wonderful blogging network, to write their mixed media and jewelry arts blogs! Layers Upon Layers just launched last week, so please join me there for daily posts on all aspects of mixed media lunacy!

Jewelry & Beading will be charting my adventures in jewelry making, where no material is safe from having a hole drilled in it!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

For the last few months

I've been really focused on jewelry lately rather than on my mixed media flat art. I'm thinking that rather than do a half-baked job on this blog, I really ought to just go ahead and post everything on the other blog. This blog has always been a bit more personal than the jewelry one, with stories about my family interspersed with the art photography, quilts, collages, and assorted nonsense. But I don't see that there's really any problem with adding that lighter note to the other blog :-)

So please visit me at the Mazel Tov! Jewelry Treasures blog. It will be about more than just jewelry from now on, but if I feel that it's just not working, I can always come back to this one!


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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Monday, May 08, 2006

Another shot from my favorite spot


It was a glorious weekend in New England. The red maples are all covered with seeds right now. I took this shot with one of the local ponds in the background.


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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Open call for digital art and photography

Los Angeles Center For Digital Art ( LACDA) announces a juried competion for digital art and photography. Entrants submit three JPEG files of original work. All styles of 2D artwork and photography where digital processes of any kind were integral to the creation of the images are acceptable.



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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Construction


Construction

Just an interesting pile that I found on my daughter's college campus. I probably should have been taking pictures of the pretty lake, but I've always been drawn to rust. Don't know why...



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Monday, May 01, 2006

The ladies



I haven't yet decided whether to use these in a necklace or on some other flat art project. I got a large bottle of Diamond Glaze last week and have been having fun seeing what it can do. It seems to be a good substitute for 2 part resin in some projects. Anything that is going to receive wear, though, it's not nearly as hard a surface.



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Friday, April 28, 2006

One of my favorite spots


Quiet Waters

A few miles from my house...as soon as the leaves come out just a bit more...



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Monday, April 24, 2006

Birdfeeder series



From the grounds of Natural Bridge, Virginia.



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Robots in art

Some of the very best I've seen at Worth1000

I keep thinking that I'd like to do a piece for one of these contests, but then I get intimidated by the work of people like these!



Friday, April 21, 2006

They're both good

but make sure you watch "The Train"



Saturday, April 15, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why is this night different...

from all other nights?

Have a blessed time with your families and friends tonight at seder, those of you who participate! This is the first year that neither of our kids will be there with us.

Next year, in Jerusalem :-)


Friday, April 07, 2006

Carnival of the Creators #7

Derek Andrews is hosting the next edition of the blog carnival for the arts here!


Today's the day!

And here's the wonderful crew who came to my house last year:


Here's a link to the info on the show.
I get to re-live the fantasy one more time :-)







Thursday, April 06, 2006

Squidoo Lenses

These are different from the optical lenses that I often use in my work! These are sites that are part of a community put together by Seth Godin (of Purple Cow fame). I've been busy making lenses for several months now, and I finally have a page where you can see them all listed in one place!

Cyndi's Lenses

They're really fun. I'd recommend making some of your own :-)



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Monday, April 03, 2006

When should you turn down an opportunity?

Alyson Stanfield, in her wonderful Art Biz Blog shares her opinion on this topic. I agree with her!



Count down begins again!


Optical pendants

This Friday, my segments on HGTV will be repeated. I'll be demonstrating how to make the optical lens pendants and how to do a bead-embroidered heritage necklace.



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Friday, March 31, 2006

I love these prints



Another piece of Victorian memorial art in the Lynchburg cemetary.



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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Another selenium print


Angel

On my recent trip to Virginia, I spent a fair amount of time shooting pictures in the graveyards there. Call me morbid if you will, the statues in the Civil War era and Victorian era cemetaries are just beautiful.



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Come on, all you fashionable geeks!

Check it out :-)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Fossil fish quilts


Fossil fish quilts

Curly, Moe, Larry, and Shad came from the Smithsonian Institute, the natural history museum to be exact! When we were visiting earlier this month, I took quite a few shots of different fossils. These guys got finished up over the weekend.



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