Our Art Lessons are awesome, and I say that as a completely objective spectator. Insert winky emoji. Seriously, these digital downloads that are packed with step-by-step photos are a great way to get up close and personal with incredible techniques and projects that will up your mixed-media game. Lessons with companion videos let you see some of the techniques in real time, which enhances the experience even more and insures great results.
Asking which Art Lessons are my favorites is like asking which mixed-media supplies I like best (answer: ALL of them), but some lessons have made me glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something different and challenging, because the rewards were so great. I highly recommend you check out the following:
1. Tiny Textured Treasures by Deborah Boschert: I’ve done a few fabric collages in my time, but Deborah helped me see how much color, texture, and interesting design you can pack into a piece just a few inches tall.
When I started working with the materials to produce the little fabric collages below, I saw my fabric scraps as more than scraps; I saw them as ways to convey dimension and add interest to a piece, along with stitching. These are kind of addictive—in a good way, of course! I created three fabric collages in tag shapes; any shape will work. What shapes appeal to you?
2. Nature’s Stamps by Rae Missigman: I’ve long been a fan of Rae’s work, and was thrilled to have her be a part of The Extra Touch series of Art Lessons. This lesson is loaded with extra touches, like showing how to use bits of nature as stamps in your artwork, including the cut end of a branch and a feather. But there’s much more to discover: mark making with alcohol ink, masking fluid resists, and adding vivid color with oil pastels.
Try just one of her techniques or all of them, but keep them in your arsenal to use for any number of mixed-media projects. You can see below that in Rae’s art, everything works together seamlessly in a vibrant palette of happy colors.
3. Layering with Photo Transfers by Katie Blaine: Katie is a California-based artist whose mixed-media artwork is influenced by urban environments, and she expertly captures the energy and excitement of city life in her dynamic, dimensional artwork.
I was thrilled to discover that she likes using image transfers in her work, but I also wondered how her techniques would be different from what I’d already tried. I was more than pleasantly surprised—I was blown away by the results. Using light molding paste, doing photo transfers two ways, and adding color with mixed media resulted in a piece, below, that has tons of layers and visual texture. I’m always on the lookout now for interesting architecture and scenes to photograph, so I can create more of these. You don’t have to only apply these techniques to urban scenes—I used photos of two buildings in a small town, plus images of a tree and flower.
4. Venetian Plaster Party by Sandra Duran Wilson: I’ll be honest—Venetian plaster wasn’t on my radar as a mixed-media supply, until I read this lesson. One of the things I love about Sandra’s tutorials is that she’s always got something really fun and interesting to share, and this Art Lesson is no exception.
Who knew that Venetian plaster could turn out to be such an incredible way to achieve physical and visual texture? Dive into this one with everything you’ve got, because you will love her stencil technique, and how she incorporates stamping, painting, and collage. I still have this piece, below, hanging in my office, and I love looking at it.
5. The Serenity of Green, by Gina Lee Kim: This beauty of this mixed-media watercolor project is that it’s perfect for those who have never tried to paint with watercolor before, and those who are really comfortable with watercolors. First of all, it’s a gorgeous piece: lush green birch trees with dappled sunlight on the leaves, and a colorful banner made out of washi tape.
Gina takes you through each step so expertly that your confidence will continue to build. You’ll also come away with a great understanding and appreciation for all shades of green, and how analogous colors work with them. Here, Gina adds blue watercolor pencil to create bark on the tree—such a great technique.
At only $3.99 a pop, Art Lessons are a great bargain. When you start collecting them and trying the techniques, you’ll find, like I have, that your artwork gets bumped up to a new level. And that’s a great feeling.
See how I incorporated image transfers with mixed media using techniques from Art Lessons Volume 5: Layering With Photo Transfers by Katie Blaine.