Welcome (back) to Mixed Media Artist!

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...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Beading Arts
Cyndi is finishing up Mixed Media Jewelry month with lists and lists of tutorials! 

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi is giving away ONE free spot in Claudine Hellmuth's next Big Picture online class "Composition for Collage."

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a recipe for roasted red pepper pasta, tutorials on how to draw and paint clouds with a watercolor mixing tip and a fun idea for using sewing hook and eyes in a mixed media collage.  

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy shares her latest yarn aquistions from Knit Picks and some future project ideas.  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Sneak a peek into Eileen's Creativity at Sea journal.  

Evergreen Glass Sculptures
Cherie makes a glass sculpture out of darker green glass.  

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Check out my latest creation: a recycled wood and furniture cabinet.  

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Livres Animés

Claire Hannicq

Some delightful artist-made French books that you simply must see!  Visit PixelCreation

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lava quilt - part two

Still in progress

I can't even tell you how many times I thought about quitting while making this quilt!  First, there was the great tiger fiasco, and then there were the difficulties in painting some background fabrics to satisfaction.  I thought it was going to be a cakewalk once I got the printout problem solved!

I painted and repainted and overpainted and layered until I thought I was going to scream, and I finally ended up with one piece of fabric that I thought would make a good background for the lava printouts.  I liked this because lava turns a rusty red as it oxidizes.  All the rest of the fabrics are on a pile waiting for another project...

Only three of the printouts would fit, not all four, so I finally decided that three was a good number ;-)  Rather than going back to the drawing board.

I still wanted to try to salvage my idea to use the Kimura fabrics in the quilt, but it just wasn't doing it for me.  So I decided to go ahead and finish up the upper two layers without worrying what it would be mounted on, at least for now.

Mindful of the fact that I'd already screwed up an entire set of printouts by painting them, I decided to...wait for it...paint them!  But this time, I used the complementary accent color that you see on the painted fabric layer.  And I used a small brush, a very dilute mix, a highly grayed version of the color, and I only added the color to the lines, creating a sort of shadowed look.

I was very pleased with how the painting came out this time.  Next week, we'll finish this up.  It's time!

Part one
Part two
Part three

Copyright 2012 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.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Aileen's Musings
Aileen shows you yet another background technique from her Junque Journal. Learn how to create a far off textured galaxy background this week. 

Beading Arts
Brass wire, lace fabric, beads, and buttons all combine in one fabulous mixed media necklace! 

Carmi's Art/Life World
Is it too early to say Christmas? Carmi has a huge Christmas themed Jewelry post!

Cherie Burbach
Cherie's art reflects her busy schedule this week.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there are tutorials on the embroidered turkey stitch and using the parts of type as a prompt for hand lettering a quote along with knitted balloons and sugar substitute info.  

Crafty Princess Diaries
The Crafty Princess talks about some jewelry designing she has in the works.  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Do you craft for profit? If yes, be sure you track your costs and your customers to assure profitability and good customer relations.  

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yay for Melody!

Congratulations to lucky number 2, Melody!  She's won a copy of the new Mod Podge Rocks! book!

Book review: The Collage Workbook

Randel Plowman, the maker of daily collages that are posted on ACollageADay.com, has made sure that collage will be accessible to everyone in his new book, The Collage Workbook, published by Lark Books.  Beginners will love this book, since Randel explains clearly and simply the art of collecting, arranging, and attaching images to create collages.  In straightforward fashion, he covers the basic tools needed (very few), places to find great images (lots!), and how to store your materials.

Then the fun starts.  Randel turns his attention to composition and layering.  Without getting bogged down, he explains some of his favorite ways of working and techniques that he finds particularly useful, including a simple way to mat your work.

The bulk of this book will appeal not only to beginners, but also to experienced practitioners.  Randel outlines 50 creativity exercises; that is, 50 prompts, methods, themes, and techniques to get you started in creating your own terrific personal work.

Oh, and there's an image library too, with copyright free images you can use to get started while you build your own collection! 

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Lava quilt - part one

A few weeks ago, I showed you some digital line experiments that I was doing.  Well, here is the inspiration behind those experiments!  We visited Hawai'i in February (no, I haven't shared the photos yet...you didn't miss it, although I did tell you about Kimura Fabrics!) and I got obsessed with lava while we were there.  Actually, I think I was obsessed with it before we even went, but my obsession strengthened and spread.

There are two types of lava: pahoehoe (pa-hoy-hoy) and a'a (ah ah).  Pahoehoe is the flowy type and a'a is broken up and granular.  I took lots of shots of lava textures while I was there (getting some strange looks from people as you can imagine), and I chose 4 close ups of pahoehoe to use as the centerpieces for a new quilt.  My plan was to use some of the fabrics from Kimura for the background.

I've often said here that even my "best" plans don't usually go according to.  So I thought I'd prove it to you by sharing most of my missteps as I show you how this quilt was constructed.

The first step in creating this quilt was to turn photos like the one at the top of the post into cotton fabric sheet printouts like these.  Here is the method that I used:

Lava texture on cotton fabric sheets

1. Size to 5 1/4 x 8 1/4 at 300 dpi.  Two can fit on each sheet.
2. Filter > Stylize > Find edges
3. Desaturate
4. Invert
5. Levels adjustment layer - blow it out.
6. Flatten image, redo levels if needed.
7. Print out

The printouts turned out exactly as I had envisioned them, but then the trouble started.  No matter how I arranged them, I just couldn't get excited about the way they looked with the fabrics that I planned to use:

So I painted the printouts to pick up some of the colors that I wanted to emphasize.  Disaster!  I hated the way they turned out.  If I had been inspired by tigers, maybe...

And of course, I painted all FOUR of them!  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Two cotton inkjet sheets wasted (well, set aside for possibly something in the future that has to do with tigers...).

Next week, things begin to go better, but still not perfect!   

Part one
Part two
Part three

Copyright 2012 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.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Yay! We have our first Card Party submissions. Come see and join the fun.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Using numbers as a collage topic in an altered book.  

About Family Crafts
Not only can you check out an assortment of shrink plastic crafts, you can also participate in a new craft challenge all about the beach!  

Aileen's Musings
Aileen continues her Junque Journal Journey showing you how she creates 2 more backgrounds in her journal.  

Carmi's Art/Life World
A "Frida in felt" purchase renews Carmi's faith in Etsy!  

Cherie Burbach
Cherie has new paintings that use lines of her poetry.  

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy has a new and dangerous love - baby alpaca yarn.  

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

A way too funny time suck

Mixed media...probably not.  Mixed up media?  Oh yeah!  Visit Bad Lip Reading for humor that's musical, political (both sides of the so-called aisle), and just plain hysterical.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book review and giveaway: Mod Podge Rocks!

Do you love to decoupage everything in your life that stands still long enough?  Or are you looking for a totally accessible art form to add to your repertoire?  Or maybe you're looking for kid-friendly materials and projects to do this summer!  If any of these apply to you, you should take a look at Mod Podge Rocks!, by Amy Anderson.  Amy started a blog by the same name because of her personal obsession with Mod Podge, the glue, sealer, and finisher that so many people are nuts over.

There are now quite a few formulas available, and Amy explains them all and what they are each best for.  It's interesting that the line has expanded into outdoor applications, a dimensional and a sparkle formula, and into a new finish as well.  Besides the traditional gloss and matte finishes, Mod Podge now has a satin finish too.

The book is packed with more than 40 projects, designed not only by Amy but also by some of her crafty friends, whose names you will know.  Candie Cooper, Jenny Doh, and Cathie Filian are among the contributors.  Lark Books is the publisher, so you know the pictures are going to be great and the instructions are going to be clear.  I have to admit to you here that my very favorite project of all is a glowing mummy hand that is reaching up out of a candy bowl.  This project was designed by Cathie Filian.  Here's a version of it (not the picture from the book) shown below:

***Free Stuff Alert!!!*** 

Would you like a copy of  Mod Podge Rocks!?  Just leave me a comment below and you'll automatically be entered to win.  If you tweet or post on Facebook or other social spots about the contest, you can leave a second comment and be entered twice!

Please make sure that your link will lead me to an email address, or else I won't be able to contact you.  No contact, no win, and I simply have to go on to the next person.  Deadline: June 20, 2012 

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

More on being a mixed media artist

A few weeks ago, I posted my reply to a reader question from Cara about tackling a new career in the arts.  One of the comment replies was so thoughtful and full of great advice that I felt I needed to print it here as a full-length post so that no one would miss it.  This post is from Caroline, who writes Spinning Down Under

I would add to this that if you read through the blogs of the well-known published mixed media artists you will find that they have alternate sources of income. Teaching is very common, and that is hard work and you need to be at the top of your game. You also seem to have to be innovative and be able to create a new gimmick regularly. Again that is hard work! Some are sponsored by art supplies companies and tour the craft shows, demonstrate and create projects for the company they work for.

There are very few artists of any sort who can make a living at what they do without many long hours of studying and practicing to hone their skills, and most of them these days complain they are spending far too much time on their computers making themselves visible. Being creative is not quite enough; most people are naturally creative although modern society tries to knock that out of our systems at an early age. It requires perseverance, practice, learning, more practice and more learning, and somehow finding the time to also get yourself out there in the public's eye. This can take years, not weeks to get your name known as the competition is fierce. Experience in other media is a bonus and will give you a head start and enable you to experiment independently, but the person who said that it was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration was not too far off the mark.

You do not have to sell your work to be successful as a mixed media artist; blogs, e-zines, self-published books, Youtube, Facebook, etc, are all very useful tools to get you visible and can lead to other opportunities in the art world if you widen your horizons. Determination will get you there.

Give it a go, but don't rely on it. Fashions in the craft world change very fast and if you want to be a stayer, you need other skills to back you up. All the best!

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Friday, June 08, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a chance to win a copy of the new book Cultivating Your Creative Life by Alena Hennessy, a tutorial on how to make a die cut window card, and a recipe for Frito Pie.

Crafty Princess Diaries
The princess takes a look at Peter Pan, that is Peter Pan yarns.  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
We're having a card party at The Artful Crafter! All are welcome. Link up and share your creations at Card Party Central.  

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
How to transform a plain tank top for 4th of July with Simply Spray fabric paint.

Aileen's Musings
Aileen shows you how to create a junque journal from a Trader Joe Flyer.

Beading Arts
Cyndi shares a tutorial for "My Heart's Chatelaine" to help celebrate mixed media month on Beading Arts!  

Cherie Burbach
Cherie creates a glass garden sculpture with solar lights.


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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Rome...the best restaurant of all

As I said on Tuesday, we didn’t have a single bad food experience the entire time we were in Italy, but this beautiful little restaurant that we found near the Colosseum was by far the best! Found at 195 Via Cavour, L’Archetto is charming, and the food is amazing. Look for it if you’re ever in Rome…you will not be sorry!

Our server, Marco, suggested that we try the bruschetta, and we were not hard to convince. I’m so glad we did, too…it was absolutely delicious, everything that bruschetta should be, topped with fresh fresh fresh tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and just enough salt.

Here’s a selection of the amazing dishes that we had over the course of our long relaxing mid-day dinner:

Roasted potatoes




The decor and ambiance were as enchanting as the food. Our server had a great sense of humor, and patiently waited while we struggled along with our very poor Italian, helping us out when we got stuck. He introduced us to his wife, who was working there that day as well:

To the left was the shelf with the really fine wines. I regret that it was so hot that day that we passed on the wine…we all knew that it would put us to sleep immediately since we are just not used to drinking it during the mid-day heat. Still, the selection was impressive!

The meal was so delicious and so satisfying, that I have to admit we ended up sleepy afterwards anyway! Maybe we should have just gone ahead and had the wine :-)

Thank you for a lovely meal, Marco!

Mike, full and happy

Copyright 2012 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.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Calls for entries and submissions

Felted Wonders
Deadline: 07/09/12  
Art Quilting Studio

Deadline: 07/15/12  
500 Handmade Books (Lark Books)

Deadline: 08/02/12 

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Rome...the food

Cheese plate

I have to start by saying that we didn’t have a single bad experience with food in Rome, but several dishes stood out in my mind as exceptional!  Some of the appetizer and dessert dishes we had were so pretty.

Fruit plate

Many of the main dishes were items that we’ve had at restaurants here in the States, but somehow they just seemed so much better there. Was it because of the atmosphere? The fresh handmade pasta? The fresher ingredients? The wine? ;-) Probably all of the above!

Sedanini alla Norcina

Cannelloni di Ricotta e Spinici

Gnocchi al Ragu di Carne

I know I already told you about going to the Hard Rock Cafe. Sorry! We just had to do it. It’s traditional for us. After four months of fabulous pasta and fresh produce, Dani wanted a hamburger so badly that she was ready to cry!

Thursday, I’m going to tell you about my very favorite place of all…a restaurant that I totally suggest you visit if you’re ever in Rome!

Copyright 2012 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.

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Monday, June 04, 2012

Kimura Fabrics

Kimura's Fabrics, Kainaliu Village, 79-7408 Mamalahoa Hwy (Highway 11), Kealakekua, HI 96750
808 322-3771

You'd never know from the outside of this building that a Hawaiian fabric institution lurked within.  We went off looking for it, but would have driven right by except that a chocolate shop we were also looking for was right across the street, with a much more prominent sign.  When we stopped to "look at" the chocolate, I happened to glance across the street, and there it was.  Don't you see it?  Kimura's is right in the middle of the block.

Although this family-run business has scads of all types of fabric, Hawai'ian prints are a specialty and of course that was what I was after.  The cotton prints were so inexpensive too, I just couldn't get over it.  I bought four different pieces, and to state that I wished I'd bought more would be an understatement.  Ah well, limited room in the suitcase!  

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Friday, June 01, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Cherie Burbach
Cherie makes homemade coasters out of cheap tiles.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Over at Craftside there is a fun idea for serving individual salads at a party, an inside peek into the new book 1000 Artists' Books and a tutorial on how to incorporate sea shells in stained glass.  

Crafty Princess Diaries
The Crafty Princess takes a look at spinning, which for whatever reasons is super hot right now in the fiber world.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Design gift boxes to match your card or gift.  

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi has been dreaming of hedgehogs!  

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
How to make a 4th of July decoupaged wreath.

Aileen's Musings
Aileen shows you how she revamped an outdoor decoration!   

Carmi's Art/Life World
Making fiber flowers has never been easier if you have a Martha Stewart Loom!  

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