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Top Ten Things About Making Mixed Media Art

1. You don’t have to be able to draw.

2. In fact, you don’t need any artistic talent, although it would probably come in handy.

3. You just keep throwing stuff at the canvas until a happy accident happens, which it inevitably will.

4. You use other stuff to cover up the parts you don’t like, because layering is a huge part of mixed media.

5. You can make art by stealing borrowing elements of other people’s art and combining it in unique and creative ways.

6. You get to play with any number of materials: watercolours, acrylics, oils, blood, markers, magazine cut-outs, sand, eggshells, ink, boxes, books, metal, minerals, rust, wax, or anything else you find intriguing. The world is your great big art supply cabinet.

7. You begin to see artistic potential in everything, so you stop throwing things out. Smarties boxes. Sticks of RAM. Old magazines. Broken glass. You start scavenging other people’s trash too. (Not everybody will see this as a good thing.)

8. You’re not limited to flat, two-dimensional work. You can make towers and boxes and sculptures and assemblages.

9. You get that kindergarten art feeling from doing mixed media. You just put on your smock and dig right in and your teacher comes around and lavishes praise on you and your glitter-encrusted macaroni necklace.

10. The people who take mixed media courses are quirky and eccentric, as are the people who teach mixed media courses. (My teacher, by the way, is Dipna Horra.)

Here are our works in progress after several three-hour classes. As far as I can tell, nothing is finished yet. Click on any of the images for a larger, scarier version.

Work-in-Progress #1 (Ink Maze)

Work-in-Progress Z-1

Transfer on Blue (Work-in-Progress Z#2)

Work-in-Progress Z-2


Work-in-Progress Z-3

Work-in-Progress GC#1

Work-in-Progress GC-1

Work-in-Progress GC#2

Work-in-Progress GC-2

Whadya think? Are you alarmed?

12 comments to Top Ten Things About Making Mixed Media Art

  • Oma

    I’m impressed and envious. What fun!

  • Helen

    These look really really good (and yes, I am a little bit alarmed, but in a good way) – I used to do a sketchbook class at a local art shop/gallery in York (England), and I guess that was a lot about mixed media. As a result I do find it very difficult to throw anything out in case it might come in handy for my sketchbook… and have bags and bags of paper, card, tissue paper, paints, etc in my room…(as well as all the yarn, good grief) but it is much fun and worth the loss of storage space : )

  • deb

    My faves are GC1 and Z2. Do not start saving everything though or you will have rooms and rooms full of stuff. I know what you are like and to call you a “collector” would be an understatement.

  • This entry makes me want to get out the glue and have at it.

  • Em

    These are fantastic. I’ve always been attracted to mixed media stuff. Where are you taking classes? I’m getting a bit antsy since finishing school… I need instruction!

  • Not alarmed! Awed!

    Those are great! I especially like the colours in the first one. Great work!

  • Those are wonderful. I love Z1 and GC-1, in prticular. (Z3 is alarming, but very striking and well-done.)

    I also have this urge to break out the adhesive media and rifle through my recycling bin and junk drawer.

  • Adam

    Your Top Ten is very funny. As a mixed media artist myself I could see me in every one of them! You end up becoming a hoarder of societie’s cast offs but on the good side you see beauty in the most unlikely of places. And it fits in the ‘resuse before recycle’ philosophy (and it’s cheap!)

  • Does this mean that you’ll be graduating to streetart anytime soon?

  • Does this mean that you’ll be graduating to streetart anytime soon?

  • listen here. your art is lovely!!! i laughed reading what you said about mixed media because it’s SO true. before i knew what mixed media was, i always thought that i created art like a child, just splashing stuff around and painting with my hands. anyway, very lovely.