Mixed-Media Painting Supplies: Expand the Possibilities

Paint has always been part of the mixed-media repertoire, but right now, painting is hot, hot, hot. Everyone seems to be painting, learning about painting, or has painting on their creative agenda.

mixed media painting by christina minasian
‘Freedom to Be,’ 26″ x 40″ mixed-media painting by
Christina Miniasian. Christina used water, paint,
paint pens, water-soluble pencil, paper, and a
little sparkle glue. The piece was inspired by
art journals and graffiti.

I’m not sure why this is (not that I’m complaining). Maybe art journaling has taken allowed people to play and relax around painting, which is usually considered a fine art. Maybe it’s the proliferation of art supplies that you can paint with-some of which don’t even require a brush.

Here are just some of the supplies on the market now that make mixed-media painting more exciting than ever.

Fluid Acrylics. Yes, fluid acrylics, like those from Golden® have been around for a while. But have you explored all the possibilities? Fluid, or liquid, acrylics are light-bodied yet so intensely pigmented that they can be watered down and used with watercolor painting techniques without losing their impact. You can add glazes to fluid acrylics to create sheer texture that works so well with mixed-media painting, especially when painting over found papers. And, you can mix fluid acrylics with gel mediums to extend them and change their viscosity. Lots of possibilities for play here.

Water-soluble Graphite. Innovative products like Derivan® Liquid Pencil, let you create authentic graphite pencil effects and pencil-like sketches with a brush and some water. Liquid Pencil comes in permanent and rewettable formulas that can be used like watercolor, and even erased when dry.

Watercolor Pencils, Sticks, Blocks and Crayons. I’m particularly drawn to these “just add water” varieties because they travel well and are so versatile. Derwent Inktense Pencils, for example, combine intense color with a translucent, watercolor effect. They can be used on a variety of projects from traditional watercolor to silk painting. The Inktense Blocks have the same capabilities as the Inktense Pencils, but with even more versatility. You can use the blocks on their sides to spread color, or you can use a paintbrush to pull color right off the block.


mixed media journal page by pam carriker
In this piece, Pam Carriker uses liquid graphite for shading.

Metallic paints.

If a paint name begins with “Lumi” it grabs my attention. Jacquard’s Lumiere paint line works beautifully on fabrics and other soft surfaces and the colors are yummy. Luminarte Twinkling H20sTM by Creative Imaginations,  are a unique acrylic/watercolor hybrid that come in the form of a little cake inside a pot. Add a little water with a spritz bottle and make an intense, shimmery, opaque paint. Add more water and you get a translucent glimmery wash. These paints can be mixed and applied just like watercolors.

Graffiti sprays and markers. The graffiti influence has been felt on mixed-media art for a while now, and graffiti-style supplies have proliferated. A favorite go-to product is the line of Liquitex Professional Spray Paints. They combine artist grade pigments with water-based technology that makes them perfect for mixing with acrylic painting or using with stencils.

Wow. No wonder more mixed-media artisting are painting! This list has me wanting some serious studio playtime.

Pam Carriker is one of the artists I know who combines many mixed-media painting techniques and supplies creatively. Liquid graphite is one of her favorites. You can learn many of her techniques in her book, Art at the Speed of Life: Motivation and Inspiration for Making Mixed-Media Art Every Day.

P.S. What is your favorite painting method or supply? Leave your answer below.


Blog, Mixed-Media Supplies


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