But, I'm here today to tell you that this excuse is no longer viable. You don't have to be able to draw a straight line in order to create. You don't have to be able to paint a realistic portrait or outline shapes or master perspective or have good handwriting to be able to make something pretty--you just have to be willing to experiment and try something new.
Thus, enter the mixed media painting. I've been a bit obsessed with creating whimsical, colorful, collage-like mixed media pieces lately--ever since experimenting at an art retreat (Squam) in 2011. So today, I thought it would be fun to break down the process in a "how-to" for you, using images from three small, Valentines Day-inspired paintings I made last week (if you couldn't already tell, I had hearts on the brain last Thursday)...
How to Create Small, Mixed Media Paintings
-A surface to paint on. This can be anything, really. Just make sure it's "gessoed" (or that you gesso it yourself before painting on it). I recommend a small canvas panel or piece of hardboard, which you can pick up at your local arts & crafts store. Gessoed = covered in a surface of white acrylic paint, or more specifically, "gesso"
-Paintbrushes, pencil, and acrylic paint
-Cup of water
-Gel Medium (what you use to affix collage materials)
-Found pieces of paper or scraps that you'd like to use in the painting
Paint the entire panel one color, and start laying down the foundation/composition (I decided I wanted to go with a heart theme for these three little pieces, so started playing with it on the pink canvas first...).
Plan out your composition for each piece (it can just start with a very basic shape, like a heart or a circle--it doesn't have to be perfect, as we're going to be doing lots of layering!). Cut out strips of paper that inspire you, and begin to lay them out on the panel. Once you like where you've situated them, use gel medium to affix them (use like glue--paint on back of paper, place on panel, paint over and press down).
Just keep layering. Add paint (never be afraid to add something new--you can always paint over it!), add more paper, use a ruler to add lines of paint and borders. Use your pencil to add small details.
Cut out words from a book and add them to the piece. Dip rubber stamps in the paint and spell out words. Add more colors, more lines, more paper. Get creative and just do whatever you want to! Don't worry about being perfectionistic, part of the joy of mixed media is watching the piece transform over time (and painting over the weird parts after you realize they aren't working!).
Let your the paint dry, and then add any final details with a pencil (this is where I like to add flourishes...).
Enjoy your finished products!
(Do you hate how happy I sound right now? And can you tell I adore painting?)
Oh, and if your finished product looks a whole lot like a greeting card (which mine did!), you can make it into one ;)
Here are the cards I just got printed from these pieces:
Or, follow the directions above and make your own! Even better.