Artists tell stories—it’s what we do. But sometimes we need fresh inspiration and a new way of looking at things to keep our stories dynamic and compelling. So I’m excited to tell you about a brand new kit called Storytelling Art Collection that’s all about helping you reveal your unique stories through your artwork while adding some really fun techniques to your mixed-media repertoire.
The collection features the work of Cathy Nichols, a mixed-media and encaustic artist whose work is whimsical, dimensional, colorful, and—yes—it tells a story. The bundle includes her new book, Storytelling Art Studio: Visual Expressions of Character, Mood and Theme Using Mixed Media, plus four new videos: Collage & Painting Techniques for Storytelling Art, Encaustic Collage Techniques: Storytelling Art, Encaustic Painting Techniques: Mark Making and Color, and Acrylic Mark Making for Encaustic Effects. Best of all, you have a choice of a physical kit, with a book and DVDs, or an all-digital collection.
Let’s start with the book. I think what I love about it most is Cathy’s approach to creating art. No matter what your style or technique, you have a story to tell, and you need to tell it in your own way. Cathy helps you get there by showing you innovative techniques, new mediums, and by giving you great inspiration and ideas.
In the introduction she writes, “Remember that storytelling is a process. If, at first, you can’t draw a person or a tree, please don’t be discouraged. You’ve simply uncovered a skill you can develop. Keep practicing and concentrate on your strengths. Make mistakes. Make things up.”
Among the ideas you’ll discover is how to use trees as characters in stories. That’s right—trees. This speaks to me, since I have trouble drawing figures. Cathy takes you through every step of creating a background, drawing a tree and imbuing it with personality, incorporating collage, and adding great details like mark making. All of these things are designed to make your piece come alive.
The chapter Mark Making for Mood is one of my favorites; I love adding expressive touches to my artwork, and Cathy shows how to use mark making and paint glazes to take your work from okay to amazing, and it’s all incredibly easy and enjoyable to do. This book has so much to offer: tips for choosing color palettes, inspirational warm-up exercises—you won’t want to put it down, except when you have to grab a paintbrush.
Onto the videos—and remember, there are four. I’ve seen all of them, and I honestly can’t choose a favorite because I learned so much in every. Single. One. Also, they’re paced perfectly. You’ll be able to absorb everything without feeling like you’re racing to catch up.
In Collage & Painting Techniques you’ll work on two pieces at once, which allows you to organically work in a series. You’ll get insights into Cathy’s painting and collage processes, which are thoughtful and intuitive at the same time. She brings calm to what is sometimes chaos (at least it is for me at times) when trying to build a cohesive collage.
In Acrylic Mark Making for Encaustic Effects you’ll create a stunning piece on a wood substrate, incorporating easy mark-making methods that yield amazing results. More painting techniques are also included, such as using color to enhance the mood of your piece, and Cathy shows a great way to get the look of encaustic using special techniques.
Encaustic art is intriguing, and it’s easy to see why; it’s difficult to get that soft, dreamy look any other way. While the technique may seem intimidating, Cathy makes it so easy, explaining the components of a basic encaustic set-up, and how to use encaustic medium and paint. Both Encaustic Painting Techniques and Encaustic Collage Techniques show you, start to finish, how to create with wax, incorporating everything you love, like collage, color, and drama. Following Cathy’s instructions as she builds her pieces is a breeze. Throughout, she always comes back to using art to tell a story—your story—with your distinctive voice.
The nice thing about this collection is that you don’t have to decide which combination of book and videos to get—you get them all! Whether you choose the physical or digital bundle you’ll find, as I did, that a new door has opened—and amazing things are waiting for you.