Saturday, April 19, 2014


Last week's contest for the art book giveaway was won by Becky!
My thanks to those whose names were not selected. Becky, please contact me via email or Facebook to give me your mailing address for your prize!

Painting on the Back of Transparencies
Select a black and white photograph with high contrast, since the white areas will be clear on the transparency. (Here I used one of my own photos.) The clear areas are where the paint will show. If you inkjet-print the transparency, let dry and spray lightly with fixative so the ink won't smear. If your transparency was laser-printed, no worries about smearing!
I use acrylics on the back, rough side (where the ink is)
for two reasons: I can paint without being overly cautious,
even into the black areas a bit, and my "goofs" won't show
when I flip it over. Too, the other side is smooth and
glossy,which enhances the work.

art blog, P.Guhin
The back side looks messy!
mixed-media, painting
Flip it over when the acrylics are dry.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


art blog, tutorial
I used charcoal directly on canvas.
You wouldn't even need to make the letters appear dimensional, as above, if you chose to simply break up the space with a variety of shapes and sizes. Use some overlapping or, at the least, make some edges touch.
Of course you can erase some lines and add others to improve the composition as you wish. Then paint and/or collage to your heart's desire. (Wish I had the finished work to show you, but alas.)

Now for the giveaway! This freebie will go to one of my followers, selected in a fair and random drawing. Simply leave a comment below this post, with the understanding that I must be able to reach you if you win the art book shown.
When the contest is over, I will announce it here and the winner's name will appear in my next post. Good luck!

P.Guhin, art book
Brand new copy!

Friday, April 4, 2014


I began this artwork on a canvas panel. I had chosen a color scheme of reds, yellows, and browns, so I painted the background in acrylics with several of those colors.

P.Guhin, tute
Step 1
Next, I gathered decorative paper, printed napkins, and more.

I auditioned the various elements here and there, and when
the composition was determined, I adhered the first layers
of materials, as shown below. Note the wrinkles for texture!

tutorial, how-to   
Step 2

Then I added more papers, patterns, and paint.

mixed-media, collage, painting
Step 3
When the paint was dry, I checked for good contrast, as well as a range of sizes, shapes, and values. But the piece above was still not finished!
Paula Guhin, painting, tutorial
Photos courtesy Stackpole Books,
Painting with Mixed Media

To complete the work (shown above), I added the butterfly and a little more shading to tie everything together.

TIP: Never wash acrylic paints down the drain! Wipe brushes thoroughly with a rag before you wash them with soap and water.
PS: Watch this blog for a book giveaway coming soon!  
Paula Guhin

Monday, March 31, 2014

How Do You Feel About Putting a Bird on It?


They are symbolic of freedom and a sign of eternal life. Many stories and folklore suggest that birds were taken as signs of renewed life, often as a transition between life and death. Many even consider them to be an idea or proposal for the future. Certain birds connote magic, or omens, or harbingers. To me, they represent beauty, grace, and cheerfulness.

Here’s a very thorough site that details the “meanings” of many, many kinds of birds:

Paula Guhin
painting, acrylics
Before  all the craftsy hoopla about "putting a bird on it," I used them in my work.

found objects, assemblage
Paula Guhin

acrylics, painting
collage, put a bird on it
Paula Guhin

Do I love all of my works  shown above? Of course not, because some of them were done quite awhile ago. Will I use bird imagery in the future? Probably. But right now not so much...because many so-called artists on Etsy are putting them on everything, and some of the prices for even the simplest works seem high to me.  The distinction between fine art and purely decorative junk should be clear, I think.

(I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings, and more power to them, truly, but here's an example, below, that was priced at $110.00 on Etsy! And someone may actually buy it for that much!) 
This is NOT my work!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

PhotoMontage Rainbow!

So colorful! So graphic! So easy that kids can do it!

High-key photograph, black and white.

First, you need a high-contrast black and white photo image.
      Load a photocopier with three or four colors of copier paper. Lighter colors work better, but brights are outstanding! 
    tutorial, art book, art lesson
    My beloved Arab stallion, missed greatly.
    • Sandwich the copies together and cut strips either vertically or horizontally (but not both). TIP: Vary the widths of the strips for added interest.  
    • Another TIP: Lay the pieces down in the correct order!
    • Alternate colors as you glue the strips  to a sturdy substrate. (Yes, you'll have enough leftover strips to do this project two or three more times!)      
    art book, P.Guhin
    Do the strips detract from the photo? Maybe, but it's fun!
    Find many more exciting photo-art activities in this new book, pictured below!
    Paula Guhin
    Available Here!
    Paula Guhin


    Sunday, March 23, 2014

    Sculptural Art on a Hippie Van!

    The Ultimate in Upcycling!
      I took these photos over a decade ago in Colorado. The artist is unknown, but his (or her) vehicle was fantastic!
    found objects
    What a great way to use discarded mannikins!

    Those artists who create assemblages use found objects, and this work of art qualifies for that title, I believe. I only wish I had some longer shots to show you, too.

    altered art, assemblage

    Sculpture on a vehicle! Photo copyright Paula Guhin.

    Thanks for viewing this post!
    It's not my usual mixed-media subject, but hope you like it.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    Between Fine Art and Pop Culture: A Visual Arts Educator's Rants and Ravings

    Call me a curmudgeon, criticize this post if you will, but I'm driven to speak my mind. And by doing so, I'm wide open to attacks, I know. Yet, art is extremely subjective and everyone has an opinion, to which they are entitled.

    As an art teacher, I know that some (or many) people may dislike my creations. I'm aware that much art is made to stir controversy and discussion. That's not what this post is about.  

    I am sick and tired of "whimsy" and cute little fairy wings, dunce hats, and big eyes on poorly drawn faces. I'm also disgusted with so-called "art" that relies on words and sentences to fill the page.

    The latter is fine with me if you call it journaling or call it a's writing, not art! It's either personal or commercial, but fine art? No.

    My plea is that so-called art magazines (for grownups)  stop publishing artworks with faces and figures so lacking in proportion that they seem malformed. (And yes, I'm aware of primitive art and all the other art movements that promote such malformation. Again, that's not what this is.) If an artist is just learning, more power to him or her, and I wish them luck in their pursuits. But there are standards that should be met, dammit!

    To continue to promote clich├ęs is equally offensive to me.

    I believe most of us would agree that honing our skills, and then moving on, trying new things, experimenting, exploring, attempting to better ourselves is the right thing to do.

    Thanks for hearing me out. I feel better now.