Mixed Media in therapy: helping children process their lives

My mom and I are working on a little storybook together.

Thinking like a therapist, one goal of the story is to express feeling deeply connected through grief.

Here are some sketches and a piece from the middle of the story. I’ll post more as it unfolds.








Mixed Media: primitive ride


I’m adoring Minday Lacefield’s “Primitive Portraits” class~ The composition of this piece is lop-sided, a little. I’ve always loved watching people’s connection and affection and emotions when it comes to connecting with animals.



Odd animal that appeared out of the papers and paint. Large nostrils. And good for riding.



I like the soft, fantasy effect, despite the clunky shapes of everything.

Mixed Media: Painting Emotions

girl and farm animals
girl and farm animals

I collaged pages from The Farmer’s Hat with other papers and added this farm girl.

IMG_1156 I discovered the shape of her overalls in the random painting I had applied.

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In this piece, I used a Mindy Lacefield style of adding, dabbling, scraping, dotting, and randomly letting go with favorite mediums and colors. Then I found a space for a girl reaching for a bird and painted that in. I like her gentle face.





Painting Raw

This week, I’ve been trying to paint without trying so much. Man its hard not to go back and fuss and get tight and want to fix everything. The trick with this style of painting, ala Mindy Lacefiled, Artur Akopjan, Erin Ashley, Marti Somers, Christina Romeo and scads of other “raw” artists, is to go for an emotion~let go of beauty. At least thats how I’m going after it these days:photo 1 photo 3 photo 5

This next one is inspired by Artur Akopjan. I layered paper and then paint and then drew into the paint with Caran D’Ache Neocolor crayons, yum.



From here, I used blue for the eyes, which gave the figure a haunting quality I really like:

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Mixed Media Balloons

photo 7I had a good time playing with layers of paint and paper, before adding a girl on the top. It was tricky getting her to seem like she was part of the piece. Good practice.photo 1photo 2photo 3photo 4photo 5photo 6photo 7

She Art & Patchwork Collage

photo 3Today I am posting some mixed media pieces, ala Christy Tomlinson, that just keep the fun coming. This first piece is made up of a patchwork of little mementos and doodads. Did you ever see the SAturday Night LIve episode where the newscaster is describing the phenomenon of bits & pieces of cripcrap lying on various surfaces throughout a house? A hunk of wax, a penny, a piece of metal, a domino, lost now from the herd. Nerts. That’s what the newscaster names this stuff. I pulled out some random nerts and a glue gun and some paper and paints.
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It began as a 12×12 canvas, and I modpodged (thats a verb now) newspaper, wrapping paper, and even a deli bag on in sort of square shapes.
From there, I randomly edged out a subtle patchwork effect, adding doodles and some ink stamps.IMG_0623 
At this point, I picked out my favorite herts like the green domino, the guitar pick (Julian made about a ton of these after returning from Japan with a guitar pick-maker), a lense from a pair of glasses, a broken flower bit, and a piece of cardboard.photo 4
I built up little layers of this and that, glue gun at hand.
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Finally, I arranged all the various nert clusters, over neutral or vibrant colors, whichever suited them best. I outlined them with black pen, to help them pop a bit.
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The other sort of piece I was working on a couple months back is from Christy Tomlinson’s “She Art” tutorials. I cut these house-shape pieces of wood, and began modge-podging on papers, added orange paint to sculpturing paste + stencil, and created a “girl”.
I used this ink stamper that leaves a techie globe which I love. I also used a picture of a red cardinal. I scraped orange sculpting paste through a circular stencil.
IMG_0724Coloring her hair and face were all-new to me. Painting faces! Yikes! Christy T. leaves most of her She-Art images “faceless”–which takes the pressure off. I was totally happy with this first attempt, and became obsessed with painting! To be continued…

Experiments with Mixed Media

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A Giving Tree

After trying tiny mixed media projects, ala Christy Tomlinson, I took a leap and did a bigger canvas of this tree. Here is a picture tutorial of the process. First, I chose fairly neutral papers, sheet music, dictionary print, and some textured paper for the bottom and applied with mod lodge. Then I painted the sky with acrylic paint “Sea Green” and the earth with “Limesycle”:



Next, I tore cardstock papers for the trunk, cut branches, and lots of leaves~ with different colors. I also cut out tiny flowers. I applied everything with modge podge, and then began outlining leaves with a pale blue felt marker. This helps the leaves and trunk “blend” to the canvas.


Next, a big leap. I Forgot to take pictures! Doodling is so hard for me. It requires letting go and swirling a black in pen in random little flourishes. Even words. I’m afraid of leaving big blotches that detract. Its so hard! But when they’re good, wow, they add so much relaxed flare. The doodling on this piece is just so-so. I got better 😉

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The final piece has is detailed with black pen, white ink, ink stamps, rub ons, touches of paint here and there, and some words to give it a mood, “cherish genealogy story,” which must have come to me after scanning in about 500 slides of my childhood family.

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I added the hearts and the butterfly later with a glue gun.

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Here’s another piece that weighs in at 2 pounds. What? Lol. This canvas has tried to be good many, many times over the years and styles I’ve put it through, and never made it. Today, its called “Laundry~enjoy your everyday life” and I finally like it.


It began with several kinds of papers and swabs of paint that I applied with fingers for more randomness and depth.


Cutting the dresses at the right angle, was the hardest part. Everything else was about doodling (also hard, but getting slightly easier), shading, rub ons, stamping with ink, and drawing the casual bird.


Its final effect is soft and lets the clothes feel soft too, blowing gently in the Spring breeze. Enjoy your everyday life…