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March into Mixed Media

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web.” - Pablo Picasso

This was our course for March 2020. See our Facebook group for our latest course, our exercises are also posted to our Instagram page.

Mixed media opens doors to new ideas. We have found our art has become much more exciting by playing with other materials. It can seem restrictive but actually gives you an opportunity to find something surprising. Paint will get caught in bits of the paper creating unintentional lines, roughly splattered on paint makes its own composition.

You'll find all our exercises for March into Mixed Media here. We hope you will enjoy them. 

Join our Facebook group to take part and share your work with our current course. Our group is open to all skill levels and is very friendly and encouraging.

If you enjoy our content and would like to show your support you can donate here.

No expensive supplies needed. Use what you have at home or buy kids craft supplies. These are experimental exercises 👉 pencils, acrylic paints, charcoal, paper, pen and glue.



Paint with texture
I used cheap cooking salt for this which is quite chunky rather than a fine salt.
🎨Use Henri Matisse’s Matisse’s Blue Nude (II) as a reference image.
🎨Mix up your colour in acrylic paint.
🎨I used a palette knife to create a quick copy of the image.
🎨Next I mixed salt into the paint to create texture and added this to my painting.
👉 Watch the video for a demonstration 🎬



Stick highlights over an abstract drawing
👉 I took inspiration from a drawing of a cathedral by Giovanni Battista Peranesi.
👉 I scribbled with charcoal, some arch like shapes, as well as vertical and horizontal lines.
👉 I then traced some highlights of the drawing I took inspiration from onto baking paper and standard drawing paper.
👉 I stuck the highlights I'd cut out on-top of my charcoal drawing.



Create tone using collage as a basis for a painting.
🎨Working on small pieces let’s you be experimental without investing too much in each piece. Half a piece of paper is big enough.
🎨Select an image to work from. A photo or a piece of work. Something with fairly obvious shapes and colours will work best. I used my pastel still-life.
✂️Use an old book or newspaper and rip it cut some into the basic shape of some darker areas of your picture.
✂️Stick these down once you’ve played around a bit with the layout.
🎨Mix some acrylic paint with water to create a wash. This allows the text to show through.
Apply colour to your work.
🎨You could then add thicker paint to parts. There are no rules!
Doing more than one is a great idea— hopefully you’ll create one you like.



This exercise is more mixed technique.
👉 I found a high contrast image to use for basic shapes.
👉 I watered down acrylic paint and used a cloth to rub over my canvas paper
👉 I used a dark acrylic paint to put the shadows in , not worrying about accuracy
👉 I then picked 2 other colours to flick and drizzle over the image. I watered down the paint to make this process easier.
👉 I was so pleased with the result, the flicked on paint added details I didn't expect!


Line drawing over acrylic painting on paper 🎨
🔅I used an picture I’d taken of wild flowers as inspiration for this one and copied the basic composition onto canvas paper.
🔅I used acrylic paint watered down as I wanted my pen to show up easily over the top.
🔅I chose a pine cone as my object to draw (immediately regretted this choice when I started drawing 😅).
🔅For my lines I used a black sharpie— I hear gel pens are better though. I didn’t take my pen off the paper but kept going with a continuous line. I tried to learn something from each drawing.


Acrylic over charcoal
👉 I chose to do a quick charcoal sketch with lots of smudges and not worrying about accuracy.
👉 As I drew, I thought about what image would work over the top of it. I looked at the shapes.
👉 At first I was going to draw a plant but then could see a hand shape around the side of the face so opted for that.
👉 Using black acrylic paint, I did a contour drawing over the top, I also used the black paint for parts of the drawing underneath.


Wool drawing and acrylic paint.
🤔 This exercise helps you start with some bold lines. String is restrictive which is great for taking away control and overthinking.
🎨Use an image or painting as a reference.
🎨Something with clear shapes and colours works well.
🧶 Use wool or string to create your lines. Glue these down.
🎨Once totally dry apply areas of paint.
🎨If you want to draw more attention to the lines you created you can scrape black paint across the wool at the end. A palette knife or piece of card can work well for this.




Stitching over acrylic paint. My materials were, acrylic paint, blue and yellow, green thread, thick sewing needle to puncture the canvas paper.

* Find an image to use as inspiration. I chose one of a scultpture.

* Paint roughly on your surface, I chose canvas paper. Allow it to dry.

* Tie a knot in the end of your thread and stitch onto your painting. I chose to use the stitching more as line. I only tied off the end once I'd finished all the stitching.

👉 Watch the video for a demonstration 🎬



There are some interesting effects using oil pastels over acrylic paint. The surface I’ve used is primed cardboard— there is a bit of texture with this which is really nice for the oil pastels rather than a smooth surface.
🎨Select a subject for your exercise.
🎨Keep in mind you’re going to work into this in oil pastels.
🎨Put down the basics of the colours with acrylic paint. Let it dry.
🎨Use oil pastels to work into this.

👉 Watch the video for a demonstration 🎬



Leaves for texture
This exercise is pretty experimental and I ended up with an abstract painting.
🍃 I used some painted cardboard for this one. And spread some glue over the surface.
🍃I took some small leaves from a tree outside and sprinkle them over the glue. I left it to dry
🍃 The next step was painting over the top. I did two coats using ceiling paint but any paint is fine.
🍃 I then put acrylic paint on with a plastic palette knife using a photo of the leaves on the tree as my reference.
💡 You could do so many variations of this. I used a palette knife because I wanted to scrape the paint across the surface and make the most of the texture.
🧐 The leaves are definitely not that obvious in the final work but you notice them when you’re applying the paint.



Draw over a photo
👉 I used a newspaper clipping from the sports section. I found interesting shapes and angles in the image.
👉 Using oil pastel, I drew over the top, sometimes following the lines and angles, sometimes creating my own



Fabric cut out. This helps you to focus on simplifying a shape and to play around with colours and patterns.
🎨I had done a simple painting of a plant in blue paint with a palette knife and used this as my inspiration. You might want to do this step first.
✂️ find a patterned fabric to cut a shape out of. Or cut one from a newspaper or magazine.
✂️ copy the shape from a painting or from life.
🎨 you might want to paint your paper first— I used watercolour paper and painted it with watered down acrylic paint.
🎨 I went with a green paint similar to the one in my fabric.


Our final exercise for mixed media. Find a painting to paint onto an object.
👉 I used this painting by Nicolas de Staël, Agrigente, as inspiration. I thought it's flat colours would work well on a round object.
👉 I painted a passata bottle with ceiling paint, let it dry, then painted over it.
👉 Use this painting or one of your own.