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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, February 29, 2016

Raw edge patchwork quilt block

30-Second Hot Flashes
Cyndi Lavin, 2015

Towards the end of last year, I put together this little quilt block to, ahem, "celebrate" the next stage of my life.  The name of it probably tells you all you need to know :-)

I wrote up a tutorial, which is posted on Beading Arts.
Part one
Part two

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book review: Piecing the Piece O' Cake Way


Is one of your goals for this year to learn how to do quilt top piecing?  This might be your ticket: Piecing the Piece O' Cake Way by Linda Jenkins and Becky Goldsmith is due out in April, published by C&T Publishing.  The focus of this book is technique, proper technique that will lead to successful quilts.

Starting with choosing fabrics and the design elements of color, contrast, and pattern, the authors take you step by step through increasingly challenging designs, allowing you to master each basic skill in a fun project, and compiling your mastery skill upon skill.  The chapters cover strips, squares, half-square triangles, curves, diamonds, and improvisational piecing.  This is a really good beginner's book, with no techniques taken for granted, clear instructions, plenty of pictures, and exact dimensions and shopping lists provided.  

Monday, February 22, 2016

Trees - underpainting and adding visual texture


My most recent acrylic and collage experiment was with underpainting and with adding a large area of visual texture.  I like how adding these first layers can unify all the colors that follow.

Is it a masterpiece?  No.  Did I learn something and do I like it?  Yes :-)


1. Choose a color to do your underpainting.  I used ochre, and I let it dry almost completely before adding more colors.  Even though I wanted the ochre to influence the other colors, I didn't want them to become too muddy.



2. Use walnut ink spray through a large stencil or mask.  I used a plastic mesh bag.



3. Add thinned acrylics or glazes over the piece.



4. Draw your design.  I used a dark brown Faber-Castell Pitt pen in the brush style.



5. Add details.



6. Add more color and collaged layers.  I colored each leaf in first and allowed them to dry, using a stronger application of the same color used in the top third of step 3.  Then I cut and adhered single-layered white tissue ovals over the tree branches.  Finally, I added a very thin glaze of the same color around the ovals, allowing it to pool at the edges somewhat.

Copyright 2016 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book review: Scrap Quilt Secrets


Scrap quilts are an excellent choice for mixed media artists, since we so often have little bits and pieces of materials left over from other projects.  Scrap Quilt Secrets by Diane D. Knott, published by C&T Publishing will be released in April, and in it, Diane explains how she moves from traditional quilts as inspiration to creating her own original designs.  The main premise is that if you learn to pay close attention to what it is you like about one quilt, you will be able to create your own version of it that is successful rather than disappointing.

Each chapter discusses a design element that you may find appealing as the central focus of your quilt: style, contrast, repetition, accent, palette, and selvages.  Each chapter also has quilt designs and instructions, including an templates needed, which will help you explore these concepts.  Throughout is Diane's advice and tips on how to customize the patterns and plans for yourself.  The instructions are very clear and complete, and in the back are line drawings of each design for you to copy and color to make your own plans!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Stars in My Garden



I enjoyed last week's experiment so much that I decided to have at it again, but with a little more restriction.  I often find myself in a color rut, so instead of just reaching for my usual favorites, I did a bit of research on Marc Chagall's color palette.  The results were not perfect, because he worked in oils while I'm using acrylics.  However, I was quite happy with the experiment and feel that with a little bit of work, I could probably permanently bust myself out of my color rut :-)

Here's what I used, in this order:
140 lb cold press watercolor paper substrate
Polymer medium, liquid
Printed tissue paper
Wrapping paper
Sheer white tissue paper
Acrylics
White gesso
Brush style black Faber-Castell Pitt pen

Adhere tissue paper to substrate.

Wrapping paper - cut out shapes and adhere
them where desired. Cover with sheer tissue paper.

Add diluted acrylics and allow to dry before next step

Loosely paint flowers

Add diluted coat of gesso mixed with
medium, and draw in details



Copyright 2016 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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.

Monday, February 08, 2016

"Intentional" - a mixed media collage


Last week I told you about the book Intuitive Painting Workshop and how I planned to do the monthly exercises, even though I was a little late getting started.  Well, I'm proud of myself because I did it.  No procrastinating, no judging, no criticizing...just DID IT!

I have such a hard time with second guessing that I deliberately set up distractions for myself so that I literally could not think.  I had NPR radio on, full blast, and once I picked out the papers and colors I wanted to use, I didn't allow myself a break until the layers of paper and paint were all done.

Here's what I used, in this order:
140 lb cold press watercolor paper substrate
Polymer medium, liquid
Previously painted paper towels (clean up towels)
Magazine pictures
Sheer white tissue paper
Acrylics: Quinacridone violet, green gold, cobalt turquoise, interference violet
Brush style black Faber-Castell Pitt pen

What am I gonna do with it?  Who knows :-)

Painted towels

Magazine images

Sheer white tissue paper

Acrylics

Interference violet, dripped

Re-oriented and Pitt Pen added

Image copyright 2016 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Book review: Intuitive Painting Workshop


Do you wish you had more time to paint, to learn new techniques, and to just GROW?  Alena Hennessy feels your frustration, and she has provided the means.  Alena is the teacher of a popular online course called A Year of Painting, and now she has made it possible for you to keep up your motivation through her fabulous new book, Intuitive Painting Workshop, published by North Light Books.

The book is jam-packed with beautiful and inspiring pieces painted by both Alena and by her many many students, so you will be exposed to different styles and color palettes just as you would be in a classroom.  Each month features a lesson, with enough step-by-step instructions that you won't ever feel lost, but with enough freedom that you also won't ever feel constrained.  And even the instructional photos are beautiful!  It's such a treat to browse through this book and be struck on every page by how gorgeous the world of color, light, and line can be.

Even though I'm a little late in starting, I think I'm going to work through Alena's book this year.  The piece for January is supposed to include a word or phrase for an intention for the new year.  I think my word for the year needs to literally be the word "intentional."  With the nerve and muscular problems that I've been having that have slowed down my rate of production, I really need to make every piece I create count, at least for me.  Not expecting masterpieces here, just pieces that I enjoy making and hopefully enjoy looking at!

[Here's a link to my piece called Intentional!]


Monday, February 01, 2016

Book review: Acrylic Color Explorations


Yeah, yeah...I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but really!!  Have you ever seen anything more cheerful than the cover of Chris Cozen's Acrylic Color Explorations?  Published by North Light Books, Chris's book is completely captivating and full of color information that is presented in an easy-to-apply way.  

Sure, you already know the color wheel, but did you know that you can create color wheels and charts that evoke different moods?  These are based upon shade, tints, or tones of alternative "primary" colors.  By following along with Chris's demonstrations and exercises, you will learn how to  guarantee that the colors you pick will work together.  I'm extremely excited by this book and her concepts, because I work almost exclusively with acrylics in my fabric and paper pieces, and I know from sad personal experience that not every blue and yellow is going to give you a beautiful green!

An exuberant piece by Chris Cozen

You'll probably want to work through this book several times  Not only are the exercises helpful, but there are just so many variations you can try with each one.  In addition, informative profiles with painters are included which you will want to read through and absorb.   
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