Friday, July 21, 2017

{Mixed Media Tutorial} A Canvas Full Of Love - Five Easy Steps to Creating A Mixed Media Canvas

OH Happy, Happy Summer day everyone! It's Lynne Mizera here today to share an extra-special Summer Mixed Media Tutorial. I am going to share with you the five steps I use in one of my very favorite mixed media processes to create these lovely 5x7 canvases.

This is the class I teach for people who have never done any kind of mixed media or arty stuff before. It takes the "scary" out of the mixed media process and gives you a place to start - using supplies and tools that you probably already have on hand from your card-making and scrapbooking supplies.

I will show you how to go from this to THIS in just five steps. So go grab a drink, because this is going to be a long one, but totally worth the read and of course, there will be LOTS of photos! Smile

Step 1. Create A Background

I like to start with a layer of inky paper towels glued to a canvas board using a matte medium. Use matte not glossy, because paint and ink stick better to the matte surface. The medium also acts as a sealer so the ink on the paper towels does not bleed through. Let it dry completely.

Step 2. Stamp An Image

When choosing an image look for one that has a lot of open space and not too much shading detail. I chose the Large Morning Glory stamp. When deciding where to stamp your images, look for places on your canvas that you want to highlight. The more contrast in the area where you stamp your image the better it will look in the end. Do not worry if it doesn't stamp perfectly, we will fix all of that later, just make sure you can see the main outline of your image.

Step 3. Paint Out The Background

Once you have your composition stamped you will now paint all around the stamped images with a thin layer of white gesso. This is when you will really see the beginnings of your canvas. It is okay to leave a small halo around your images and don’t worry too much if you are not perfect because you will be re-defining all the lines later on with a black pen. You can cover up the background completely or you can “fade it back” allowing some of the colors to peek through. Start with one coat of watered down white and let it dry before deciding if you need more layers of paint (hide the background more) or if you want to completely change the color. I always start with white but then may decide to change the background color to enhance the image...

This is also where you can paint out something you don't like. Notice I originally had five morning glory flowers stamped but decided it looked too busy, so I just painted right over the ones I did not want to keep. I decided to change my background colors to a soft yellow with a hint of gold to look more like "morning".

This is also where I like to add some book paper to my images. Usually I pick a petal or a leaf or two just to add some interest. In the case of these morning glories the stems and leaves are very detailed and did not stamp well, so I stamped them onto some book paper, cut out the pieces I wanted to use and glued them in place. I even added more vines and leaves just because I could. You can use this technique to add images to the layout or to replace a stamped image that really didn't stamp onto the canvas very well. You can stamp the replacement image onto book paper, cut it out and glue it over top.

Step 4. Add Background Patterns

Now it's time to break out the stencils! Using a stencil and acrylic paint in complimentary colors you can sponge on a background pattern. Dab the paint off your sponge before applying it to the canvas and use a light touch to build up your color, making some areas darker than others. Add one pattern or many, it is all up to you! Use a mask to protect you main images (a mask is an image you stamped on some scrap paper and cut out to cover up and protect your stamped images when you are adding paints and pastes to the backgrounds). I use painters masking tape to keep my masks in place. You can use the same masks over and over.

Now we are going to clean up the main images. First make sure the background paint is completely dry and then using a black, fine-tipped, waterproof maker (I like my fine-tipped Sharpies) re-define all the black lines. Also this is when you can add color to the book paper you have added and beef up the colors of your stamped images. I like to use my Peerless watercolors because they act like stain allowing the words in my paper to show through. Using very watered down acrylic paint will do the same thing.

Step 5. Add A Sentiment and Some Texture

If you choose to add a sentiment to your piece, add it now. Use my Tissue Paper Technique for this. Go to THIS BLOG POST for that technique. And finally this is where you can decide to add a little bit more texture to your canvas with stencils and pastes. I like to use Stampendous Dreamweaver metallic pastes because they dry quickly and the colors enhance rather than overpower the images. Pastes are used in mixed media to create texture, but since the inky paper towels I started with already creates wonderful texture not every canvas needs pastes… you get to decide.

Canvas #2... It does not all go smoothly every time! Grin

Now I want to share with you this second canvas I created because it truly was a case of "I love it!" "I HATE it!" "Oooh now I love it again!" and I want to share this with you to demonstrate that you can change anything on your canvas at any point in the process, and that it IS A PROCESS! Smile

Christy Riopel, a dear friend of mine and wonderful mixed media artist and teacher, (who was taken from us much too soon) gave me the best a advice I ever received for the mixed media process:
"If you HATE it you are NOT finished yet!"

And her voice saying just that was what kept running through my head as I struggled to make this one work!

I started with this background and right away I ran into problems when my images did not stamp well at ALL! So I did a lot of book-paper cutting out to fix it, and even added complete flowers stamped on bookpaper and eventually I really LOVED my layout... (sorry no picture ).

But then I decided to get a little crazy and added a background pattern in a very stong red paint... Ooops... YUCK! hate this (grin)! Now if you are just new at mixed media this is the point where you just might throw up our hands, say "I QUIT!" But remember what Christy said: "If you Hate it you are not finished yet!" sooooo

I added a very thin layer of white acrylic paint to fade out the background... Better... I can see my flowers now, but I am still not LOVING it...

So then I decided to change the color completely and used a sky blue to compliment the yellows and oranges of the flowers. Notice how even though the background is now blue you can still see the original red pattern faintly peaking through the paint. This is all part of the mixed media process. Now I am liking it even more, but still not LOVING it, too much blue! Soooo.....

I broke up all that blue by pouncing on some white paint through the ARTplorations Overlap stencil and created something that looked like the rays of the sun shining down on all my flowers... NOW I am LOVING IT!

A layer of Peerless watercolor paint to color all that book and music paper and an accent in gold Pebeo Cerne Relief (this product is like Ranger Liquid Pearls but metallic) and it has become one of my favorite pieces this summer!

So that is my Special mixed media tutorial for the month of July. I will be back in August with one more, so do come back again to see what other amazing project I will be sharing!

Lynne Mizera, Mixed Media Artist
For the STAMPLorations Mixed Media Design Team

Remember to use this Code STAMPGIRLLYNNE to get 20% off your entire order at STAMPlorations, even sale items!

STAMPlorations Products Used on this project:
Morning Glory-Large | Happy Sunflower-Large | Helenium-Large

New Beginning | Square City Stencil | Overlap Stencil

Forest of Leaves Stencil

Other products used on this project:

Golden Fluid Acrylic Paint
Liquitex Fluid Matte Medium

Pebeo Cerne Relief
Peerless Watercolor Paints
Ranger Archival Ink
Sharpie Fine-tipped Marker


  1. Absolutely amazing. Loved reading your post and learnt such a lot. You have a wonderful way of explaining the process...thank you. You never gave up and loving the two canvasses. Thank you so much for the post...loved it! x

  2. Fantastic tutorial - I might even be tempted to try this

  3. Love those words of wisdom, Lynne. I love that blue BG too now.

  4. wow! great tutorial. thanks for all the tips and suggestions :)

  5. Fabulous tutorial Lynne, including the advice, which I need to try. So many times have I been there and hated it (the project I was working on) not knowing what to do next!

  6. WOW...those are gorgeous canvases. Beautiful way of using the stamps and stencils. Thank you for the tutorial.


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