Monday, July 21, 2014


The board I used had enough "tooth" to grab the pastel pigment easily. I chose to create a simplified tree-scape.

P.Guhin, tutorial
Rembrandt brand pastels are the best!
I used harmonious colors to draw in the shapes formed by the negative space (the background). Then I began to fill in the shapes.

Note in the finished work, below, that the brightest colors are balanced out with more neutral ones. Also notice that there is a sense of equilibrium.
TIP: Use a variety of values from dark to light!


P. Guhin

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The name chosen from the hat (actually a bowl!) to win the free art book, Creating Decorative Paper, was Geri deGruy! My thanks to the others who participated, and I encourage them to please try again...I'm planning another giveaway even as we speak.

One section of that book concerns resists of many types. I've discussed them here before, and love to incorporate them into my mixed media work. Clear tar gel on absorbent paper can produce fantastic results if you let it dry, then wash vivid color over the area.
wash, how-to
Can you see the fish shapes?
 Here's the original post.

Wax resist is another simple, easy method: In the butterfly example below, I used waxed paper. The tutorial is here.

tutorial, method
I adore these colors!

I used a fabric resist material here.
See the original post!


Thursday, July 10, 2014


This contest is my way of thanking those
dear hearts who follow this blog.
It's easy to qualify for chance to win a copy of my book, Creating Decorative Paper. It's all about transforming ordinary papers into colorful, creative, and unique art materials!
free+book, free, win, contest
Hundreds of instructions for great art projects!


    • Be a follower of Mixed Media Manic (and I'll love you forever)
    • Leave a comment (just one will do it!) below this post. If you win, I must have a way of contacting you!
    • A name will be selected in a fair and random drawing, and the winner will be notified in my next post right here at Mixed Media Manic.     
Thanks for your loyalty, and best wishes.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


I created this piece awhile back when I was really into using vintage images. It sports some textured paper, acrylic paint, a heart "locket" that's probably not real gold, and yes, I know that hearts have been done to death. (Back then I guess I used it because I had it.)

copyrighted, collage-painting
The text is my message against pedophilia.
I hope your Independence Day holiday is or was a "bang-up" good time!

Monday, June 30, 2014


This found-object sculpture is not really a shadowbox, exactly, but I would call it an altered art assemblage.
found+objects, sculpture, shrine
I dipped fabric flowers in plaster to create the petals.

The top arch (behind the flowers) is a metal soap dish. I applied a 
patina to it.
assemblage, altered
Yes, plaster flowers are quite fragile, but I painted and sealed them.

The housing was a clock at one time. Now it has a crackle finish. The doll hands did not go with the doll head.

The neck "ruffle" was a metal cog of some kind. Below that, 2 brownie or girl scout pins and a
coin, again with patina.

I repeated the arch, sort of, inside the box and behind
the big doll head, with another metal arch (latticed) and a painted porcelain medallion (the small head).
P. Guhin
Thanks for viewing this post!

Monday, June 23, 2014


Multiple layers make for a more complex and interesting mixed media artwork.

Stencil, stamp, transfer, glaze, layer, layer layer! Add a transparency or an inkjet image printed on tissue paper (spray with fixative for permanency.)
In keeping with my "green" policy of re-use as much as possible, I  dug out an old collage that I really wasn't very happy with. See it here, the original piece. It seems ordinary and "blah," doesn't it? Or is that just me?
First, I stenciled a few areas with thick acrylic paint. When that was dry, I found fabric scraps that were lacy openwork. Here's the in-progress work so far:
green, re-use, painting
The unfinished piece.
Next, I used a black sharpie to scribble some drawn lines in a few places, and then watery gesso to create an area for a drawing with graphite. The face is the last thing I did to this artwork. I'm not sure I like it, but the process was fun!
Mixed-media Collage, P. Guhin
Do try to rescue a canvas...don't throw it away!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


 Papermaking can be fast, easy, and (best of all) cheap! You can do it in your own kitchen or studio with very little equipment, most of which you already own.
Dried flowers have been incorporated into the paper sheet!

There are many good papermaking books you could read, & they usually mention immersing a mold and deckle in slurry (watery pulp).

how-to, tutorial
Large, clean sponges and embroidery hoop.
Instead, I use a round embroidery hoop
stretched with organdy!
The hoops come in various sizes 
& in ovals, too. Or you can
make your own screen with, um,
actual window screening. Either stretch the
screen in an embroidery hoop or dispense
with the latter and simply secure the screen
edges with duct tape.

To make the pulp, I've used molded cardboard egg cartons, junk mail, recycled office paper, clean paper towels, used gift wrap, and an old phone book. Other papers that work well include grocery bags, construction paper scraps, paper napkins, newsprint, and tissue paper.

· Recycled papers
· Large pan (like a dishpan)
· A blender
· Embroidery hoop stretched w/organdy or organza, or window screening w/ taped  edges
· Sponges, cloth rags, and towels
· Colander or strainer
· Metal spatula

Two thin layers with plants & holes.
Optional materials:  
· Glass or Plexiglas panes
· Colorants
· Turkey baster
· Cookie cutters
· Plant materials
· Cooking powders, herbs and seasonings
· Ribbons, string, doilies, glitter, cheesecloth, confetti, etc.

Tear papers into small pieces and soak them in water overnight to soften. Make a large batch of about four cups. For a whiter, softer paper, use toilet tissue, facial tissue, or paper towels, none of which require overnight soaking. (Of course, with such acidic papers you won't create a high quality, archival product.)

Note: I have created plant-based pulp in the past, and mixed in a little paper pulp with it for better bonding. I cooked plant materials with firewood ash and rinsed well before blending the pulp. Study up elsewhere on methodology and precautions to take if you plan to make pulp from plant matter.
how-to, tutorial
As sheets dry, you can form wavy edges if desired.
Don't burn out the blender!
Fill the blender about ¾ full of plain water and add ½ cup of pre-soaked, softened paper bits. Begin with short bursts of the blender on a coarse setting. Be careful that you don't overwork the motor. Gradually progress to higher speeds. Blend until the pulp has a soupy consistency. Sometimes you might even wish to deliberately stop blending while you can still see bits of papers, so they will show in the finished product.

Pull a sheet:    
While there are several other methods of pulling a sheet, here's the simple one I use: Fill a large, deep pan halfway with water and then partially submerge the hoop-screen in it. Next, pour thin pulp directly from the blender into the hoop. Wiggle the hoop a bit to swirl the pulp and distribute it evenly, and then lift the hoop from the water.

tutorial, mixed-media
It's fun to incorporate gauze, decorative fishnet, or cheesecloth into paper pulp. With the pink paper shown here, I just picked up wet pulp with my fingers and packed it onto orange fishnet here and there, pressing it firmly into—even under—the netting haphazardly.

tutorial, how-to, art+paper
Halloween gauze + paper pulp in a hoop.

(lifting sheets of handmade
paper onto the surface on which they will be dried) is traditionally done with felts, but a pad of newspaper, a blanket, or a towel works, too. While I do rest the hoop on a dry towel while sponging excess water from the pulp, I do not make a pressed stack in the usual manner.
1. Place the pulpy hoop on a towel. Press the pulp flat with a damp synthetic sponge. One sponging is not enough. Wring out the sponge well and repeat, perhaps with a different, dry towel now underneath. Absorb as much water as possible as you press around the inside of the hoop. This forces the pulp to flatten and bond somewhat to the screen.
2. Instead of using pressing boards to keep my sheets flat, I apply a very easy technique: Invert the hoop (with the flattened pulp still stuck to it) over onto a pane of glass or even directly onto a non-porous countertop!
3. To release the sheet from its "mold" and to form a tight bond with the hard glass or Formica surface, rub all over the back of the organdy "screen" (the underside is now facing up) with a dry sponge or cloth. Pay special attention to the edges to liberate the sheet from the hoop.
4. Then remove the hoop and press the damp sheet very firmly to the glass or the countertop. Thin sheets stick very well and dry flat. In fact, later you may need a metal spatula to free them (carefully) when they are thoroughly dry. If warping does occur, it will appear at the edges first. Place a heavy weight on top to flatten, or cover the sheet with a pressing cloth and iron it flat at a medium heat setting.

handmade, papermaking, weaving
Besides handmade paper, this weaving includes fibers,
fabric, bamboo skewers, art paper, and gold leaf.

Adding color:
Coloring agents can be added either to pulp in the blender or to pulled sheets. Fabric dye is best (in my opinion) but ink, tempera paint, watercolor, food coloring, even liquid acrylic paint can be used for pigment. In addition, some tissues and construction papers bleed their color into the pulp. (Several of the coloring agents mentioned here are not colorfast or lightfast.)
You can combine small batches of different-colored pulps into a single artwork, too. Cookie-cutter shapes are easy to make, and they can be pieced together, mosaic-style, while the pulp is wet.  Or do a web search on "pulp painting" and you'll learn how to create a free-form paper piece with a teaspoon, eyedropper, or turkey baster. Here's a link to another way (NOT free-form), using stencils:

Other additives:
For color, scent, or added interest, the following materials can be thrown into the blender with the pulp, or pressed into a "finished" sheet that needs something extra: curry, turmeric, or chili powder; dried dill, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, or thyme; ground cinnamon or paprika; and saffron. Try tea leaves, instant tea or coffee, or coffee grounds, too.
You can also add confetti, glitter, or small pieces of snipped threads. Throw in a little dryer lint if you wish! TIP: Use lint from a load of denims for blue specks.

Texture techniques:
Emboss (or deboss, depending upon which side of the handmade paper you use) by forcefully couching a wet sheet directly onto a thick stencil, plastic template, cord, hefty crocheted doily, or textured rubber matting. Leave the textured articles in place, with a weight on top, until the paper has dried.
Another idea is to embed dried leaves, flower petals, ribbons, and more between thin layers of wet pulp. Or deliberately wrinkle the couched, wet sheet and allow it to dry that way. Fold, pleat, mold, and sculpt the paper!
TIP: When you are finished, strain the slurry and store leftover pulp covered in the fridge. Never, ever, EVER  pour it down the drain!
Use your dry handmade paper for journal pages, book covers, collage materials, and many other creations. It's wonderfully absorbent, so dye it, paint it, and draw on it. Cut it, pierce it, sew or weave with it.


Too harsh?

Too harsh?