My First Mixed Media Canvas and a HUGE Thank You!

Here it is!! My first mixed media canvas. I had a lot of fun making this. I did it in several steps, spanning over at least a week. I like to be able to do a layer, step back and take a second look at it, and come back to it with a fresh perspective (plus I needed a lot of drying time in between!). I have to admit that I got a lot of inspiration from a fabulously talented artist/designer/everything else named Mou Saha. Go check out her blog sometime. It's definitely worth linking up to! (and I'll just go ahead and admit now that attending one of her classes in Florida is on my bucket list!!)
This canvas was a Christmas present to a wonderful friend who is taking life by the horns and really proving and shaping themselves right now. I wanted to make something that would be an inspiration during the hard times and somewhat decent to look at during the good times :) Luckily, we exchanged gifts early this year, so I can finally post about this project!!!

I feel like I've crossed over from making projects to actually creating something with this piece. For the first time, I understand what artists feel when they are composing artwork. Each element, from the dress pattern layers to the color underneath, the images to the fibers, mean something to me. Every item added to this canvas has a meaning. And while someone might not 'get it', or even appreciate anything about it, to me, it means a lot (and hopefully to the recipient, too!!)

Babble, babble, babble, right?? Ok. On to the steps.

Step One: Prime canvas with gesso, let dry (overnight-ish). This particular canvas came pre-primed, but I'd rather play it safe.

Step Two: Get crazy with gelatos!! Faber Castell makes these amazing little color sticks called gelatos (more info about them here). They go on like a crayon, and once they're wet, they blend amazingly! I tried several different methods to blend my colors (wet paintbrush, baby wipes, fingers) and ended up liking using my hands the best. It was a lot easier to control how much got blended. Once you're happy with the coloring, let dry (doesn't take very long!)

Step Three: Next I decoupaged old dress patterns onto the entire canvas (they're in the bottom of that picture up there). No real rhyme or reason to this part, just overlapping a bit as a go. Drying time for this was a few days!

Step Four: Play!! Once your canvas background is all ready, you get to create and play! I inked up some Grungeboard letters and used some Grungepaper through the Cricut to cut out the bird house (from the Serenade cartridge). The bird was cut from the Serenade cartridge from cardstock, traced onto a piece of plain muslin, and decoupaged onto the canvas.

added some curled wire for detail
popped this off the canvas slightly

inspirational phrase

I can't wait for inspiration and a few extra days to work on my next one. I think I'm hooked!! (plus my canvas came in a two pack!)

This will definitely be my last post before I'm off on a holiday for a bit. Thanks, everyone, for a GREAT 2011! A huge thank you to Glue Dots and Becky at Friendship's Garden for taking me on as a designer this term. This blog was started because of you all, and it's turning out to be such an amazing journey!! 

I'm looking forward to all 2012 has in store. It's going to be a great year!! Merry Christmas!!


  1. Absolutely GORGEOUS Erin!!!! :) What a beautiful gift for someone! And you are so right - Mou is the BEST! If you ever go to FL let me know so I can hide in your suitcase.

  2. Love it!! Enjoying watching you on your journey!!

  3. Beautiful! I hope your friend finds inspiration and feels loved every time she looks at this.

  4. Erin, this is just gorgeous!!! I think you did a great job, and it is indeed very inspirational! And sweetie, I am the lucky one to have you on the Friendships Garden team ... you are a blessing! Merry Christmas, and I hope all your dreams come true in 2012!!! Becky

  5. Oh Erin, this is stunning! love all you did here, fabulous job!!!

  6. Looks like a huge amount of fun to me :) The overlaps of pattern paper make a lovely feature to the background. I'm sure your recipient will "get it" Cheers :)