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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, May 29, 2017

Sample birch trees - an experiment with masks and painting


I wanted to spend a little time trying several different masking methods, just for my own amusement, and also so that I'd have some samples on hand to help me make decisions on future projects.  I decided on a design, some simple birch trees, and three methods I wanted to test.


From left to right, these are the methods:
1. Wet paper, add paint and salt, add foam-core shapes, weigh them down and allow to dry.
2. Wet paper, add painter's tape shapes, add paint and salt, allow to dry.
3. Leave paper dry, add painter's tape shapes, add paint and salt, allow to dry.

Method 3, shown above, leaves you with the crispest lines.  I added the shadow and bark markings.  But I actually liked Method 1, shown below, best overall for it's unpredictability.  Method 2, not shown, was ok, but the trees turned out very dark as the tape on top of wet paper drew in and held the color.
All three methods are useful, depending upon your desires.  I would suggest doing some little experiments like this yourself when you're between larger pieces and want a little fun!
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, May 24, 2017

New books available in June from C&T Publishing


I am really really excited about one of the new books coming out in June from C&T Publishing!  I have been planning to make a t-shirt quilt, like, for-Ev-ah.  I know...it would probably be easy enough to just simply wing it, but I'm very happy to get some expert advice from Carla Hegeman Crim and Lindsay Conner in The T-Shirt Quilt Book before I start!

Info on the book says,
Capture the memories of a special time, starting with a quick pillow project or a baby quilt made from onesies, and work your way up to bed quilts in multiple sizes. Learn the secrets to choosing shirts, centering and cutting out around a logo, working with shirts that are too small, and interfacing knit fabrics with finesse. You'll practice your skills with 8 projects ranging from simple squares to pieced stars and triangles, plus easy machine-appliqu├ęd motifs. With beginner-friendly designs and truly unique layouts to entice experienced quilters, this essential guide to T-shirt quilts covers all the bases.

 

Another book that I'm very excited to read is Jean Wells's updated one called Intuitive Color & Design.  Be careful...you might already own the original, which has a different cover.
Jean Wells gives you the assignment of your life: put away your ruler and use your inner vision to design and piece spectacular, free-form quilts you'd never have guessed you could create. In this updated edition of best-selling Intuitive Color & Design, Jean’s workshop assignments get your creative juices flowing, giving you challenges to expand your quilting horizons. Start by learning to see line and color; study the nuts and bolts of design; develop your color work and composition; and when you get stuck, there’s expert advice on problem solving. You will never see quiltmaking in the same way again.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Joy Bursts Forth - a mixed media painting tutorial

Joy Bursts Forth
Cyndi Lavin, 2017

I love experimenting with the palette's of painters I admire.  Even if I'm working in different media, I've found that I can at least get close by paying attention to color temperature, transparency, and proportions.  For this piece, I was inspired by the palette that Marc Chagall used for his stained glass windows!

I added a tar gel design to a piece of heavy watercolor paper.  See my notes on Rainbow Gravity for some tips on handling tar gel.  Let the tar gel dry completely before continuing.


I used a small foam roller to cover it with black gesso mixed with a bit of Phthalo turquoise.  Again, allow it to dry.  I brushed on white gesso diluted with water and added a piece of plastic wrap over top while it was still wet.  Using a heat gun as I went, I peeled the plastic off slowly.



For the next step, I mixed the following colors with glazing medium and filled in the shapes produced by the tar gel: Primary cyan, Hansa yellow light, Pyrrole red, Permanent green light, and Quinacridone magenta.  If needed, I added a drop of white gesso to a patch to keep the colors strong.  When the piece is mostly dry, mist it and add black India ink lines with a razor blade.



Make a mask from card stock and painter's tape.  Tape it loosely to the piece and use a foam roller to paint the outside with a mixture of white gesso, black ink, and primary cyan.  Remove the mask and gently roll over the sharp outer edges with the gesso mixture to blur them slightly.



Add more black ink lines, adjust the colors as needed, and paint the tar lines with gesso and primary cyan.


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, May 15, 2017

Rainbow Gravity - a mixed media painting tutorial

Rainbow Gravity
Cyndi Lavin, 2017

Cropping can be soooo important that it can even save a painting you're about ready to trash!  I had a composition idea vaguely in mind when I started this piece, but at some point it just seemed to totally go wrong.

On a piece of heavy watercolor paper, I sponged Micaceous iron oxide, and then added patches of Phthalo turquoise, Dioxazine purple, and Quinacridone violet with a small foam roller.

When it was dry, I added strings of tar gel.  Can you see the scrap paper underneath the piece?  Tar gel keeps its shape and dries to a hard finish...you don't want this stuff on your regular painting surface.  If you use a piece of scrap paper, you can run the lines off your piece, and afterwards you can spoon up the overage before it dries and pour it back into the container!  Thrifty!

Work on something else while the tar gel dries...using a heat gun or hair dryer can make it bubble.  It will be ready tomorrow!


Dilute some white gesso with water and brush it over the whole piece.  I used an old plastic card to scrape over the piece, removing the gesso from the high places and from some of the flatter places too.



When the piece is mostly dry, spritz lightly with water and add lines of lighter colors.  I used Magenta medium, Hansa yellow light, Cobalt teal, Quinacridone magenta, and Dioxazine purple mixed with white gesso.

After the acrylics dried, I added some black India ink with a razor blade, and some extra white ink.


  

Look at your piece from all four angles.  My original idea changed.  Plus, I ended up cropping it on two sides.  As a final step, adjust the colors and lines as needed.


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.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Windows to Spring - a mixed media collage and painting tutorial

Windows to Spring
Cyndi Lavin, 2017
Sometimes pieces don't go the way you plan!  In this case, I was hoping to be able to paint a randomly designed background and to come up with something that I could further refine by blacking out certain sections.  But it was not to be.  Instead of continuing down that path until I had ruined the entire thing, I decided on plan b...cut it up!


The background is heavy watercolor paper that was rolled with Cobalt teal acrylic paint.  I added tar gel swirls over top of that and waited for it to dry completely.  Then I covered it with diluted white gesso and scraped that back off so that the lines and some parts of the background were revealed again.




I used Hansa yellow, Pyrrole orange, Quinacridone magenta, and Light green to augment the Cobalt teal background.  Eventually, after failing to come up with an overall design that I liked (several days worth of fooling around with it), I cut it into squares and rectangles.  Several more hours were spent figuring out how to put them together!  The new background is another piece of watercolor paper, rolled with Carbon black and Phthalo turquoise acrylics.


Copyright 2017 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.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Breaking Free - a mixed media painting tutorial

Breaking Free
Cyndi Lavin, 2017

The batik texture in the background of this painting was achieved by the use of a humble kitchen product...waxed paper!



I crumbled the paper to give it cracks, painted it with black ink, and then wiped off most of it before it had a chance to dry.  I found that non-waterproof ink works best for this because the hard core India ink won't wipe off properly.  Let it dry thoroughly and iron it flat before attaching it to your substrate.


I used very diluted acrylic paints to create a watercolor-like background.  Here is a closeup of a small section, showing the ink lines that I added on top as well.


I used both paper and resist to mask off areas that would remain bright.  I used slightly tinted white gesso with a small foam roller, but left it translucent enough to allow the colors below to barely show through.


After I removed the mask and the resist, I added a few more ink lines to integrate the background and the subject.

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