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Natural Beauty

Making Art From Nature

Issue 14

Drawing 101 Fresh Faces

Destination Brooklyn Ins and Outs of Artists’ Haven

It’s In The Details

Part 2 of our Tutorial

Golden GAC 200 Review

Ideal Additive




Gold Heart by Anastasiya Kovaleva

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progressing to new platforms available on Look for our upcoming HTML5 version which will play on any device

Questions? Comments? Drop us a line at

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Letter FROM


Dear Readers, This issue has been surrounded by a lot of hectic backroom activity for Mixed Media Art Magazine. We are almost ready to launch a version that will work on any device as well as our first Print version via Amazon. Make sure you sign up for our email newsletter here to catch up on MMAM’s evolution. We are pretty excited about the big step forward we are making and have a dedicated staff working hard to smooth out all the techy tangles. In the meantime, this issue has some great content. Our cover artist, Anaystyacia Kovaleva, is from Belarus, and makes banana peels, onion skins and cardboard into beautiful works of art. We have Part II of Beth Yazhari’s tutorial on how she makes her incredibly detailed pieces,along with an article on the Arts and Crafts Movement that has influenced Yazhari’s work. I especially appreciate Beth’s creative philosophy of melding her own art into previous generations’ craftwork to create a multi-generational piece. I love the idea of blending all those different creative energies into a culminated piece of intense detail and symmetry. Full disclosure, Beth lives down the street from me and I have had the pleasure of viewing her work up close. It is really a sight to see! Susan Walls Beverly shares a three-part tutorial on using PolyShrink- a plastic material that can be shrunk down into a thicker plastic shape. Susan has done some really neat small pieces with PolyShrink. It is a material that deserves a closer look. Brandy Colins shows us how to incorporate collage and acrylics into a painting.

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Bonnie Meltzer plays around with GAC200, a GOLDEN Paint product that gives acrylic paint the ability to pretty much coat any surface. It is a cool product and launches a new section focused on product explorations. Bonnie took offense to the term product review so we have changed the focus to playful explorations. I have to admit, I like this approach better. If you try out GAC200 or already use it in your artwork, drop us a line with high definition images or post to Facebook so we can check it out! Christy Turner shares her ability to intertwine embroidery and obsession with anatomy. Brenda Hoddinott teaches us the ins and outs of learning how to draw faces, it is mathematical! We wrap up Issue 14 with Conrado Melato- an interesting Cubanborn artist who has landed in Brooklyn, NY. His work is raw and quite primal in a way. I find him intriguing and hope you do too! Happy Reading,


You can email the editor for more information

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Conrado Melato

Christy Turner


Luisa Beh Yazhari Portland, Oregon Bonnie Meltzer

Ana Bambic Kostov


Patti Edmon


Brenda Hoddinott


Susan Walls Beverly

Southern California


Brandy Collins

Skopje, Macedonia

Raleigh Nicholas


Nairobi, Kenya

Barnabas Kimani

ONLINE 10x per year

Editorial Assistant Aleksandra Mihajlovska

Published By Artsy Fartsy Publishing, LLC

Editor and Publisher Luisa Nims

Issue Editor Twin Miracles Editorial

Magazine Design Barn Creative Media Ltd in cooperation with Mixed Media Art Magazine (MMAM)

Technical Administrator Chris Anderson Disclaimer

MMAM considers its sources reliable and verifies as much information as possible. However, reporting inaccuracies can occur; consequently, readers using this information do so at their own risk. Artsy Fartsy Publishing cannot be held responsible for the outcome of any action or decision based on the information contained in this publication and/or the website. The publishers or authors do not give any warranty for the completeness or accuracy for this publication's content, explanation or opinion. We add links from our articles to other websites to help you find more information related to certain ideas. However, MMAM cannot be held responsible for the content of any external site linked to from within this document. No part of this publication and/or website may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of the Publisher. Permission is only deemed valid if approval is in writing.

Š Copyright 2014 MIXED MEDIA ART MAGAZINE 619 SW 11th Avenue, Suite 250 Portland, OR 07205 ISSN 2333-4282 (online) E-mail: Web:

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CONTENTS Anaystyacia Kovaleva Making art from nature Different kinds of natural material and their preparation

Beth Yazhari’s its in the details - Part II video tutorial


Makes Complicated shapes possible

Patti Edmon tutorial Brandy Collins - tutorial Love Birds 2 Electric Bugaloo Diana Darden product review Christy Turner - Embroidery Bonnie Meltzer - Product Exploration Drawing 101 Conrado Melato

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Making art from nature

Finding materials in the world around us


ave you ever thought about making art from natural materials? There are a lot of flowers, leaves, and twigs on the ground that you are convinced can create wonderful art. Probably your first thought of floral art is using mostly dried, pressed flowers and something typically associated with nature like stones, sticks, bark. But the natural the world is much wider. For your unique art, you should think more globally. I will try to push your mind’s boundaries to understand this wonderful kind of art. We would like to bring nature into our lives as much as possible. There are so many opportunities to learn and explore with natural materials. Hunting for really unique and special materials is an integral part of the creative process. Most of these items can be found for free right out of your door. Woodland, fields, parks, and your kitchen are the sources of your inspiration. Art starts with searching and preparing materials. The more materials with different colors and textures you have, the more interesting work can be made. Once you have a wide array of treasures, you can put them together in an interesting way for creating a masterpiece.

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Getting started Some natural materials that can be used: • onion skin • banana peel • fish scales • seashells • feathers • eggshells • sepals • seeds and nuts • wood slices • moss • bark • all kind of plants, flowers M IXED M ED IA AR T

These are my favorite kinds of materials that I use intensively in my collages. It allows me to create very delicate art, but requires a lot of time and accuracy. Of course, every artist is looking constantly for his own material. But floral art isn’t only natural colors and smooth lines. You can mix anything you like.

Save and collect materials • lace, ribbon, wool, textile scraps, cord, beads • handmade paper, recycled cardboard • ceramic plates (using broken elements) • glass • acrylic paint and varnishes Natural materials can be used in a wide range of ways to promote wonder, curiosity, and enthusiasm for learning. It Issue 14

can be in the form of collages, sculptures, handmade cards, or the decor of any item. Look carefully around you and start a collection of natural things.

Collecting and drying When you’re exploring nature, being wellprepared for the elements is the key to your hunt for treasures. Take a lot of packages, scissors, and pruners. Every season has its special features, but there is never a time when collecting natural material is altogether impossible. Ideally, you should pick up material in dry weather. But if you collect material in rainy weather, you should dry it as soon as possible. The best way of drying thin material is using old newspapers and books. You should check out material at least once a day. When you bring newfound materials home, leave M IXED M ED IA AR T

them outside for several days. This will get rid of unwanted insects and prevent the material from drying out.

At the kitchen Sometimes it is funny to comment on what I used in collages. I couldn’t bring myself to call my materials, such as onion and garlic skin, banana peels or eggshells by the name ‘food waste’ because they are really cool elements with amazing texture and colors. There is not any special preparation. Just clean and dry. From the banana skin, you can make thin branches of a tree or contours of graphic works. First of all, you need to put the banana skin on a smooth surface and remove all the flesh with a knife. Then put it under the press and make interesting shapes, such as a rose. The best place to store your materials depends on what kind they are. I prefer cardboard boxes and packages.

Beautiful Bug. This work is inspired by nature: organic forms and natural colors. I used sticks, skeleton leaves, eggshells, and flax. Sticks were modified. I made them into thin wood slices.

Garlic skin is a great material for imaging flowers, glare on the water or glass surfaces. Eggshells have a lot of variations. They have different coverage areas, direction of material and color that can give so many interesting ideas. In the kitchen, you can find lots of useful things like tea or different kinds of groats. Floral collage gives you lots of wonderful opportunities. You can constantly look for new materials and technologies. Art from nature unites natural elements with artistic vision for creating artwork that pushes the boundaries of what art is and how we perceive ourselves in the natural world.

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Black Garden. My natural picture consists of paper, recycled cardboard transformed into roses and other shapes, onion skin, eggshell, acacia. For some materials, I used acrylic paint. My mixed media recycled artwork can broaden intellectual understanding and help engender an intuitive appreciation of the environment. M IXED M ED IA AR T

Paradise Garden. I used cord, feathers, beads, different kinds of flowers and leaves, fish scales, and melon skin. It is the garden which always will be Paradise, and it is not the bone of contention but an image of serene happiness.

The Last Flowers of Autumn. This work is a huge mix of natural elements. You can see here only natural colors. I haven’t used acrylic paints. Coffee, raffia, different kinds of leaves, pressed flowers, garlic skin, beads, melon seeds and melon skin. Issue 14


Gold Heart. This collage was made in a simpler technique. All elements have volume which allows me to glue elements quickly. I used seashells, dried flowers, textile roses, raffia, skeleton leaves, paper, and feathers.

Anaystyacia Kovaleva I have been learning about natural art for seven years since I was a kid, when I spent my days making simple artworks in a studio of floral design. There is nothing more natural to me than to work with organic material, using it to give new life. In 2011, I graduated from Belarusian-Russian University with a degree in commerce. After that, I worked as an analyst for three years, then decided to make art for myself just to see if I could do it. Now, I’m a full-time artist. In 2009, I took first place in the 6th International and 6th International Competition of Contemporary Art in Moscow during Russian Art Week. In 2013, I became a winner of the 10th Competition of Pressed Flower Pictures “Exhibition of Creation” in Japan and winner of the International Competition of Pressed Flower Art in South Korea.

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It’s in the details Beth Yazhari Part II tutorial

tap here To Watch Video

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Beth’s Materials • Saran wrap • Acrylic paints—I prefer Golden for paints and medium • A few brushes—inexpensive ones for creating paint washes and for adhering fabrics to canvas with medium or glue • A variety of vintage textiles, doilies, trims, beads, brooches, etc. • Acrylic matte medium—to adhere thin textiles to the canvas • Mod Podge or Golden molding paste— these stronger adhesives are useful for adhering heavier textiles to the canvas • Canvas—think of your stretched canvas as an embroidery hoop! I often like to work on square canvases, which lend themselves well to round doilies. • Jacquard fabric sheets (optional)— these are great for transferring your own photos or other images onto fabric so they can be collaged onto the canvas and sewn into. • Beading needles—a variety of sharps and other sewing needles can be used, but it is nice to have some needles specifically designed for beading for the occasional beads with tiny holes (Pony size 12 beading needles are good) • Beadalon Dandyline—super-strong bead weaving and stringing thread or Beadalon Wildfire beading thread.

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Beth Yazhari Bio: I make art that celebrates reflection, craftsmanship and time-consuming labor in the pursuit of beauty. I strive to make spiritually uplifting art, to create oases of beauty and wonder in a frenetic society that is increasingly in need of both. Discarded doilies and remnants of embroidered fabrics are a source of inspiration to me; by rescuing them and recycling them into my beaded paintings, I hope to honor and collaborate with the creative spirit of generations of women who have gone before me, whose handiwork has often been ignored because it was not created to be displayed in a gallery. Making my art is truly a sacred act for me; I feel that creating artwork in a spirit of service to humanity is a form of worship.

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The Arts and Crafts Movement Its Influence Can Still Be Felt Today With Artists Like Beth Yazhari Taking The Remnants And Refashioning These Pieces Into New Forms

By Ana Bambic Kostov


he turn of the 19th century brought the Arts and Crafts Movement from England to America. The ideas and ideals of British intellectuals John Ruskin and William Morris dispersed throughout the United States by the means of journal and newspaper writing. Important factors in the Movement were societies that promoted various lectures and programs. There was no single center of the Arts and Crafts Movement; first it was strong in Boston, then in Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York.

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Rose Valley Community, a social and artistic experiment, was founded in 1901 in Pennsylvania, with a shop offering handmade furnishings, pottery, metalwork and hand-bound books. The second community of this sort was Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony, based outside of Woodstock, New York. In the cities, activities were limited to local communities and often focused on the education of young women,who were taught to make pottery, and work with textiles, or metal and jewelery. The Arts and Crafts Movement in America was not centered around one philosophical idea, rather it represented a large group of creative individuals. Traits of the movement differed depending on geography and social status, especially as the movement spread from the East Coast, through the Midwest to California.The result was many new pottery workshops or furniture factories, followed by a thriving revival of handiwork as the most natural way of production with beautiful results. Although the American Arts and Crafts Movement waned after World War I, the influence of this socially engaging action stayed. M IXED M ED IA AR T

Throughout the 20th century, a myriad of women engaged themselves in, often necessary, sewing, knitting, embroidery, and stitching. They were grandmothers and mothers, women who gave their best to making beautiful and functional items for their families. Their names were largely forgotten, but their impact can still be felt and seen. Artist Beth Yazhari is greatly inspired by the handicraft of the women of the past, finding her own expression in collecting and recycling items made across the planet. Embroidery or crochet from different cultures can be found in her studio, right next to precious family heirlooms, or old beads and buttons. Beth is a schooled artist, and painting remains the base of her work, while her style is built through recycled materials made of vintage craft. By using old handiwork as the key element in her elaborate artwork, Beth honors endeavor, dedication and creativity of women everywherewho felt the need to design beauty, but were never able to realize recognized artistic careers.

Internet. Beth usually conducts her searches on eBay or Etsy, where she will bid on anything that catches her eye, from Dutch needlework to Native American medallions. The materials she works with most are cross-stitched and hand stitched handkerchiefs, crochet, doilies, sari fabric, old brooches, and appliqués. Contemporary materials are not exempted from Beth’s creative process, as she combines the old with the new including ribbons and fabrics.

The Painting Technique

Beth uses a piece of Saran wrap a little bigger than the size of canvas to cover the paint.

Creative Process of Beth Yazhari The hunt for ostentatious art material is where Beth Yazhari’s creative process begins. Art supplies she collects are beautiful fabrics, stitching, doilies, old beads or brooches. Vintage items she finds at estate sales, coupled with the Issue 14

Yazhari’s underpainting technique is the foundation of her process. Beth uses Saran wrap to create a rich base for her detailed work. By layering colors, the final result is full and velvet-like, which serves as a chromatic inspiration to the artist.

First, she takes a blank stretched canvas, which can be found at any art supply shop. Beth wets the canvas with a very light layer of water, wetting a brush and applying it over the area intended. She drips several drops of acrylic paint directly onto the canvas, without exaggerating. If the paint is very liquid, she uses matte medium to stabilize it. In the layering process, she combines two or three colors to achieve the desired result. Using water alone to dilute acrylic paint M IXED M ED IA AR T

may result in chipping when the color dries. If the paint is thicker, matte medium may not be necessary. It’s important to know that too much of the matte medium can create tangible texture on the canvas, which is not advised if adhering fabric or beads is planned as the next step. Once she adds the color and medium, she spreads it around the canvas evenly with a brush. Beth uses a piece of Saran wrap a little bigger than the size of canvas to cover the paint. Pressing the wrap onto the painted area, playing with it, she makes creases and wrinkles, which will create an interesting pattern when dry. She allows for the paint to dry for about an hour or two. Drying can be sped up with a hair dryer or heater. When the paint is completely dry, the artist peels the Saran wrap off and the first layer of the underpainting is done! This process can be repeated several times, sometimes up to 20 layers, to add to intensity of color. The final effect is canvas with a surface similar to fabric. When the paint is completely dry, the real creation can start. Beth applies fabric cut-outs on the canvas, stitching with a strong thread, while using adhesive occasionally. Her composing process is very similar to collage, with less overlapping. If the applied material lacks color, but has complex stitching, she emphasizes the embroidery by painting around it in contrasting nuance. For example, Issue 14

when she applies a handkerchief handembroidered elements that are all white, she would paint around these elements in dark color to create a more dramatic effect. When the fabric is cut and applied onto the canvas, the most intricate elements are added. Beth emphasizes the details with beadwork and sews small beads around the edges of decorative patterns to tie the piece together. The central piece of her works is often reserved for the crowning jewel - a vintage brooch or a particularly beautiful decorative ornament, always being mindful of color coordination. Beth Yazhari’s creative process allows a lot of freedom for the artist, in choosing from an endless pool of colors, materials and patterns, while also allowing her to be engaging and playful. The Arts and Crafts Movement emerged during the late Victorian period in England, the most industrialized country in the world at that time. Anxieties about industrial life fueled a positive revaluation of handcraftsmanship and precapitalist forms of culture and society. Arts and crafts designers sought to improve standards of decorative design, believed to have been debased by mechanization, and to create environments in which beautiful and fine workmanship governed. The Arts and Crafts Movement did not promote a particular style, but it did advocate reform as part of its philosophy and instigated a critique of industrial labor; as modern machines replaced workers, Arts and Crafts proponents called for an end to the division of labor and advanced the designer as craftsman. Click here for more information


Susan Beverly Walls tutorial on shrink paper

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tutorial on

shrink paper & mixed media

tap here To Watch Video

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Susan Beverly Walls tutorial on shrink STAMPING

tap here To Watch Video

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Susan Walls Beverly A dozen or more years ago, I ended my 20-year era of restaurant management and searched for a way to work from home. Loving all kinds of paint, I began murals for my kids that blossomed into a word-of-mouth business. As my kids grew up, I knew I wanted to be more creative and branch out into other artsy things. In 2001, I started doing art and craft shows around Southern California and haven’t looked back since. My current obsession is designing, making, and traveling with my line of thematic, crazy jewelry, Charming Trinkets. My designs incorporate a myriad of materials from shrink plastic to resin to a mix of metals. It is infused with my belief that life is too short to be too serious and you need to make some loud laughter while you’re here! If I can make you smile or touch you emotionally I know I’ve done my job! Each day my house is infused with family, laughter, and thoughts of the creative. I’m pleased as punch to be able to spread it around!

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Artist Diana Darden made these figures from Lucky Squirrels PolyShrink. She found with a small learning curve that the material was versatile enough to recreate versions of her masonite dolls.

Find these products at Lucky Squirrel Here Issue 14



Altered Attic and Process

launched my blog, Altered Attic, in 2008. It is named for the third floor of our old brick four-square, which had been finished with plenty of light, electricity and enough space to accommodate two working artists and storage for the shelving, bags, bins and boxes of stuff and art supplies.

Though my style continues to evolve, mixed media collage is my medium of choice. If my hands are covered in glue and paint it has been a good day. The backgrounds I texture and paint on canvas or board (mostly smaller than 12”x12”), light switch plates, puzzle pieces and tins are the inspirational beginnings and, often, my favorite part of the process.

The Journey My passion for mixed media art stems from my love for (acrylic) painting and used, vintage or just old stuff that has already had one life. Part trash, part treasure, I find it a creative and meaningful way to repurpose items that others might discard or overlook. Discovering that realistic drawing wasn’t a requirement for making art was another significant positive! While I appreciate most all forms of art, I believe that the notion of landscapes and portraits has derailed many a blossoming artist.

My most recent work is a series of seven 12”x12” cradled canvases. Find her work here. I used the backside to create a shadow-box effect and after completing each textured and painted background, I incorporated Frozen Charlottes, vintage papers and book covers, bits of jewelry, twine, lettering and other repurposed objects. I used pieces from a child’s floor-puzzle book to create a Cloud Poem book. Click here to view. I altered five puzzle pieces and incorporated a poem I had written after spending an afternoon floating on my back in our favorite lake spot.

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Painted background with digital photo – vase in front of a mirror – embellished with wire flowers, mesh, vintage Swarovski crystals, board and small faces peering through the ‘windows’ in the textured paper background. M IXED M ED IA AR T

PATTI’S PROCESS Typically, I start with a background and no clue or vision of the finished piece. I don’t sketch beforehand and rely totally on the intuitive nature of process. Once a canvas or other substrate is prepped and painted, I sort through images, papers, and rummage through my stash for found objects that seem to relate because of texture, color, or its prior use. Based on the materials I’ve pulled I may modify the color palette and I usually have a mess to clean up when I’m finished because the broken earring, brooch, fork, key, bottle, scrap of wood or rusted wire didn’t lend anything to the design. I always know when I am finished but truthfully, it is a feeling of overdoing or rearranging, which helps me put it aside for a day or so, then go back, tweak and glue.

Tip My biggest hurdle, aside from getting enough time in the studio, has always been over-thinking. The part of the brain that reminds us about unfinished dishes, obligations, errands, and other means of procrastination needs to be shut off. Completely. I’ve researched the artistic process and its hindrances extensively. Most of the advice boils down to the same core idea. We create because of a need or longing, not because it’s fun, convenient or easy. The daily challenge is to eliminate the ways we find to sabotage, delay, and otherwise prevent ourselves from doing what we love.

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Painted, textured background with 1980s photo layered over vintage tobacco paper, fabric and mesh, finished with rusted wire and sticks. My art has been sold, exhibited (infrequently), appeared in e-zines and I participate in swaps and challenges; however, the love of process is my primary reason for making mixed media art. This notion is counterintuitive to most everything we learn growing up, particularly those of us raised in a non-creative, business-dominated environment where product and profit make more sense than curiosity for the sake of experimentation. The limitations of a chronic illness and raising a family may reduce my art-making time, but creativity is a thread woven throughout the fabric of very being.


Background painted and tinted with Pan Pastels, photograph from the 1980s framed on vintage book covers embellished with mesh and lace trim.

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Artist Profile


Patti Edmon

reativity has been woven through my life since childhood. In my preteen years, I did pencil sketches and wrote poetry, which evolved over the years to include essays, narrative nonfiction and fiction. In the mid 1980s, photography became another passion and for several years before my children were born I shot medium-format film and spent many happy hours in the darkroom. Chemicals and pregnancy are not a good match, however, so after my (now teenaged) children were born, I switched to digital photography. In 2006, after being diagnosed with a chronic illness that launched me into early retirement, art became my new career. I have worked in various forms of collage, altered objects such as small tins, books, cigar boxes, puzzle pieces and made books from tissue boxes and other scraps, along with painting and mixed media art. Last summer, I had the idea to create pieces using my history of creative disciplines. I chose several photos, each the starting point for these mixed media pieces. My plan was to use paint, found objects and as many art supplies as possible. The process – which took several months for each piece – began with a heavily textured, painted background on an 8x10 canvas, using colors to accentuate and complement the chosen photo. Finding the rest of the materials was no problem, as I’ve acquired significant stashes of fabric, broken jewelry, buttons, lace trim, scrap wood and sticks, art paper, vintage papers, found metal objects, mica, eyelets, brads, fibers and on one piece, moss that I sprayed with various colors of glitter mist.

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Process: background painted using stencils and acrylics, a black and white photograph from the 1980s – tinted with watercolor pencils and layered on an 8x10 canvas with fabric scraps, trim, buttons and flocked wallpaper. M IXED M ED IA AR T

Once I had decided on a rough composition, I layered and added elements, allowing the piece to come to life complete with a theme and message. One of the most fulfilling aspects of this project was the problem-solving process, common to any artist who creates intuitively, used to make each layout work. Like most artists, I have a tool box, with the usual hammers, knives, snips, pliers, an assortment of wire, texturing tools and screwdrivers, an eyelet setter and block, punches, a Dremel heat gun, beeswax melting pot, all of which were used while working on this series. My husband and I share a dedicated studio in the attic of our house, built in 1900. We hired a contractor to finish the space with drywall, flooring, ample electrical outlets, ceiling fans, a storage closet, lighting and a comfy window seat with cushions and pillows. I don’t spend much time sitting there but from my table I can look out at the tops of trees through a 3’ x 6’ original window fitted with Plexiglas for insulation. I work in a sketchbook but don’t use it as an art journal. When I write, it’s usually several pages. This series is very symbolic, a personal integration of my life’s creative journey.

Background painted over layers of paper, digital photo with fabric wings, tinted silver stars, pearls, fabric, flowers and tinted moss.

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Textured, painted background with recycled Sari ribbon and art paper, digital photo and an excerpt from my essay on friendship on a vintage book cover. A grunged cardboard frame is attached with looped brads and wire over old screen. Eyelets with wire wrapped around sticks over three layers of mica to frame the text.

Patti Edmon I am a lifelong creative and professional writer and ran a marketing/advertising/design business until 2006, when I retired (very!) early due to an autoimmune illness. My husband and I are raising two teenagers in an old house in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, with two dogs and a cat. As any artist knows, a well-stocked studio is vital to fulfilling creative ideas. Working in mixed media explains why I’ve always collected certain things, from small boxes, tins and bottles, every kind of paper, jewelry and books to old puzzles, scrap metal and rusty bits.

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Love Birds 2 Electric Bugaloo bRANDY COLLINS Step 1

Gather supplies. (See supply list) Remember in mixed media, nothing is trash! Any old papers stamps, magazines, old book pages, scrap book pages, painted papers, textured paper, old drawings I’ve done, and other media remixed.

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Step 2

Sketch a rough design

Step 3

Using watered down acrylics, create the base painting with a color scheme of your choice.

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Step 4 I tear pages and start assembling shapes and colors that fit in various places, either by conundrum, shape, color, or texture. I seal them with the matte medium. I use matte medium because it’s easier to paint and draw on for the detail work. I had some French Toile Tissue Paper and tore various scenes out of it to place in the background and using a fine paint brush; I carried the scenes into the background, and painted shadowing around it. In the autumn version of this piece, I kept the background, mainly torn pages of various greens, and drew leaf vein patterns on the diamond-shaped pieces. This one I used a blue painted background, blue painted torn book and music pages, and blotted different shades of paint for clouds and texture.

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Step 5

Detail work. Using a fine paintbrush, black Micron pen, or photo pen, I add the detail work, I often go back and forth from collaging to detail work. My canvas goes from easel to table many times throughout the process. My goal is to make things look surreal in my illustrations.

Hint: Tweaking sometimes means I pull out pieces that I’ve added, but decided they deter from the main design. For example, in this piece I removed a stamp that took away from the focal point. I love “busy” when every piece I add is working as a team … but not one great stamp stealing the show, which sometimes happens, and in that case things can be steamed off with a hot rag or scraped off.

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Step 6

Keep collaging and painting, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy the process.

before stamp is removed

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final signed image

BRANDY COLLINS Brandy Collins is a self-taught artist who works in mixed media, primarily, watercolors, acrylics and ink. She draws her inspiration from nature, art, music, folk art, and anything vintage or Gothic. Her abstract/realism paintings and illustrations have been featured in galleries such as the Janette Kennedy Gallery and Kettle in Dallas, Texas, as well as art festivals and charity auctions in Dallas, Austin, and Hawaii. She is a native of Hampton, Virginia, but currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can reach her here

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BookReview Bridget Benton

T H E C R E AT I V E C O N V E R S AT I O N ArtMaking as Playful Prayer Bridget Benton

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ArtMaking as Playful Prayer 1 Bridget Benton

Chapter 1: Making This Book Your Own



The Creative Conversation Rediscover the Joy of ArtMaking Approaching creativity as a form of spiritual practice, artist and creativity guide Bridget Benton breaks the creative process down into its most basic components and offers a fresh perspective on developing your creative skills. Whether you are creatively blocked, burned out, or just want to further explore the world of making, you can make art and have fun doing it.  With 24 hands-on Artful Explorations – interesting and varied enough to suit both beginners and professionals – this “workshop in a book” helps you: •  Make art that reflects your authentic inner voice • Practice the 12 Actions and Attitudes of artmaking that support creative flow • Develop a more consistent practice with your artmaking     • Engage with your art in a meaningful and mindful way • Move more easily through resistance, judgment and other blocks • Create a more connected, intuitive and playful relationship with your artmaking

ArtMaking as Playful Prayer

Photo by Michael Burton

Author Bridget Benton has worked as a professional artist, facilitator and workshop leader for over 20 years, helping hundreds of adults rekindle their creative spark. She holds a Master of Science in Creative Studies from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at the State University of New York and has taught intuitive creative process at events across the country. She currently lives and paints in Portland, OR.

“…A breakthrough book. It will serve as a beacon for a new generation of creative people, as well as deepen the conversation for those already interested in bringing the metaphor of art-as-a-way-of-being more fully into their lives.” –Stewart Cubley, co-author of Life, Paint & Passion and director of The Painting Experience “Bridget Benton’s directness and honesty are refreshing…This book is a MUST READ for anyone interested in growing both artistically and spiritually.” –Bee Shay, author of Collage Lab


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The Creative Conversation: Chapter 1: Making Artmaking Thisas Book Playful YourPrayer Own



Bridget Benton

“If the idea of creativity as a spiritual practice excites you, then you’ll love this book. If that idea scares you, this book will take you gently by the hand and help you past those fears. Either way, you’ll soon be making yourself a more vibrant life.” –Diane Gilleland, former editor of CRAFT online and author of Kanzashi in Bloom

Author Interview

Bridget Benton

Creative Conversations is from a new breed of art technique books that are shifting the focus from finished works to the process of exploration and meaning in our creative play. What did you discover during the process of writing this book? In writing “The Creative Conversation: ArtMaking as Playful Prayer,” I clarified my thinking about creativity. I’d always had this idea that creativity and spirituality were connected, and I’d always believed that anyone could be creative. I’d done a lot of reading and studying, Table of but writing this book was what helped Contents me to really flesh out those ideas. Table of Contents Along the way, “The 12 Attitudes and Actions of ArtMaking” emerged – I feel like they were my greatest discovery because they are such simple principles. Practicing the 12 Attitudes and Actions really builds up your creativity skills! Week One

9 Introduction: Where This Book Came from: My Story 13 Chapter 1: Making This Book Your Own 15 A Note to Members of Organized Faith Traditions 15 A Note to Professional Creatives and Caregivers Artful Explorations: Explore 16 Cardboard Camera 18 Discard Collage

What surprised you? I was surprised by how long it took me to write the book – I did the first rough draft over the course of a weekend, but it took me five more years to flesh that out! I really thought I’d have it done in a year. It took a lot of patience, persistence, editing, revising and support from my amazing writing group – and I think the final book is better for the extra time spent. Issue 14


80 83

Week Three 35 Chapter 3: Studio: Making Sacred Space for ArtMaking Artful Explorations: Defer Judgment 41 Glue Doodle 44 Layer It Up 49 A Conversation with Judgment and Process

Week Four 51 Chapter 4: Materials: What Do I Really Need? 53 A Note about Copyrighted Materials 58 A Note to the Packrat Artful Explorations: Be Like a Novice 60 Materials Play Date 62 Make Your Own Coloring Book

Be Curious Week Twoand Adversaries 119 Allies 21 Chapter 2: What Is 122 Critic Collage ArtMaking as Playful Prayer? 26 A Note to Those Who Week Six Week Ten Say They Can’t Draw Chapter 6: 127 Chapter 10: 28 A Note to the Trained Artist Getting Clear: Intention Staying in Touch: Intuition 28 A Note to Everyone on A Conversation with 130 A Conversation with Process vs. Product Your Intentions Your Values Artful Explorations: Artful Explorations: 133 A Conversation with Your Focus on Process, Be Mindful Intuition Not Product Deep Observation Drawing Artful Explorations: 30 Blind Drawing Dancing with Matisse: Color Tune Up Your Inner Ears 32 Visual Definitions Cuts 134 Value Collage 137 Matchbox Week Three Assemblage

Be in Conversation 70 Talk with the Book 71 Talk with Your Space


Week Two

21 Chapter 2: What Is ArtMaking as Playful Prayer? 26 A Note to Those Who Say They Can’t Draw 28 A Note to the Trained Artist 28 A Note to Everyone on Process vs. Product Artful Explorations: Focus on Process, Not Product 30 Blind Drawing 32 Visual Definitions

Week One

9 Introduction: Where This Book Came from: My Story 13 Chapter 1: Making This Book Your Own 15 A Note toWeek MembersNine of Week Five Organized Faith Traditions 67 Chapter 5: Flow Factors: 113 Chapter 9: Resistance, Professional Creativity and the Process of15 A Note toJudgment, and Completion Creatives Caregivers with Your Critic 114 Aand Conversation ArtMaking Artful Explorations: 116 A Conversation with Resistance 69 A Note about Following Explore 117 A Conversation with Processes You Read about in 16 Cardboard Camera Completion Books Artful Explorations: Artful Explorations: 18 Discard Collage

Week Seven 35 Chapter 3: Studio: Making 87 Chapter 7: Week Eleven Sacred Space for ArtMaking 141 Chapter 11: Getting Inspired: Energy Artful Explorations: Giving Back: Community 91 A Conversation with AvoidanceDefer Judgment A Conversation with and Your Inner Goof-Off 41 Glue143 Doodle Appreciation 93 A Conversation with an 44 Layer It Up Artful Explorations: Overload of Ideas 49 A Conversation with Judgment Cultivate Appreciation and Artful Explorations: and Process Gratitude Follow the Energy 146 Thank 94 Just Paint, Just Draw Week FourYou Notes 148 Paper Prayer Beads 97 Get to Work and Get Inspired51 Chapter 4: Materials: What Do I Really Need? Week Eight Week Twelve 53 A Note about Copyrighted 99 Chapter 8: 153 Chapter 12: Maintaining Materials the Packratas a Getting Engaged: Action 58 A Note toArtmaking Explorations: 102 A Conversation with Decision- Artful Spiritual Practice Be Like Novice Making in Art 154a A Conversation with a 60 MaterialsCommitment Play Date 103 A Conversation with to Action 62 Make Your Own Coloring Book Letting Go of the Story Artful Explorations: 104 A Note about Curiosity Hold Clear Intentions and What We Risk 157 Mandala Artful Explorations: 160 Prayer Candle Let Go of the Outcome 105 The What’s Next? Art Jar 109 Internal Journey Map


165 Bibliogr resource 167 Appendix Theory and 168 Appendix A Note on Groups 169 Index

What are 5 ideas/techniques you would like any reader to take away after reading this book? First, I want people to come away from the book feeling like they CAN make art. Second, I’m hoping a reader accepts that they don’t need fancy materials or the perfect studio – the whole book is really about breaking down those barriers to making that we all put up while giving you a few tools to make the creative process a little easier! In that spirit, I’ll share a few of the Actions and Attitudes of ArtMaking – the ones that I remind myself of all the time! When I make art with these things in mind, I have more fun, feel more connected and produce more interesting, authentic work.

1. Focus on Process, Not Product (be in the moment and enjoy the making!)

Artful Explorations: Let Go of the Outcome Internal Journey Map

Materials • Junk mail or old magazines • Blank paper or sketchbook (larger and heavier is better; bristol board, watercolor board or scrap cardboard is ideal) • Old maps • Permanent marker (at least one, like a Sharpie) • Mod Podge or gel medium • Acrylic paints • Brushes and water container • Scissors optional • Rub-on or press-on letters • Gesso • Rags or paper towels • Wax paper or palette

1. Choose at least 24 of the follow-

2. Fold up each slip of paper and drop all 24 into your container. Mix them up. Get your art supplies ready and pull out a sheet of sketch paper.

ing phrases or art prompts. Write each phrase on its own slip of paper so that you can pull them one at a time out of the jar. You can handwrite each prompt or type the prompts into a word processing program and print them out. Either way, cut them up so that you have only one prompt per slip of paper.

• Fill an area with a solid color • Add a dotted line • Add star shapes • Collage three items onto the surface • Add text • Add a circle • Put eyes on something • Fill an area with a pattern • Add red, orange or yellow • Add blue, green or purple • Add shading • Add at least one collage element • Add at least three straight lines • Draw or scribble a shape, person or object • Outline something • Highlight something • Add a rectangle


• Add a flowing line • Add a reference to nature • Add a reference to people • Add blue or orange • Add dots • Add green or purple • Use collage to add a pattern • Do something to unify the space • Rotate the piece 90° or 180° and choose a new prompt • Find an element in the piece and repeat it • Add egg shapes • Add color • Add one collage element • Use a wash of gesso over at least 1/3 of the surface • Use a wash of color over at least 1/3 of the surface

3. Now, draw a slip of paper from the container and do what it says. Then fold the slip back up, put it back in the container, mix things up again, and draw another slip of paper. Again, follow the instructions. Repeat this at least 12 times. After the 12th prompt, do whatever you need to do to feel complete with the piece. Chapter 8: getting engaged: action

The Creative Conversation: Artmaking as Playful Prayer

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“By using the term artmaking, I’m emphasizing art-asverb. I’m focusing on the actions and attitudes that support artmaking as playful prayer. These actions and attitudes are also what I think of as the work of artmaking.”


2. Let Go of the Outcome (so often we have a picture in our head of what it “should” look like – let go of it and work with what’s there!) 3. Be in Conversation (pay attention to what the piece wants and what your intuition is telling you) 4. Defer Judgment (and practice discernment instead – while you’re making, let go of the temptation to label what your doing as “good” or “bad” – just discern the next best thing to do) 5. Be Curious (this is the antidote to judgment!)

Who did you write this book for? I wrote this book for every adult who wants to be creative, but feels like they can’t be. I wrote this book for everyone who had a bad art experience as a kid and stopped even trying to M IXED M ED IA AR T

“Acknowledging that they didn’t have to be in control was liberating for some of the students. Instead, they could respond to what was happening within the artwork itself.

make art as a result. I wrote this book for every professional creative who feels dried up and washed out after years of producing art for product. I wrote this book for every person who wakes up in middle age and says to themselves, “When am I finally going to give myself permission to make things?”

And in so many ways, I wrote this book for myself. It’s the book I most needed in my 20s, when I was blocked and stuck and terrified of making “bad art.” It’s my way of sharing everything I learned in my 30s – all the things that got me making art again.

What 2 people or things influence your work right now? For the past six years or so, I’ve been working primarily in encaustic. The material itself has had a big influence – I’ve been able to take layers and depth further than ever before! Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about remnants - about the things we leave behind, about the ways that experiences mark us, and the objects that serve as evidence of those experiences. That sounds pretty esoteric, but it means I’m playing a lot with X-rays, images of people, and things like tea bags, food wrappers, bottle caps, and receipts. There’s a parallel there to evidence at a crime scene, piecing together what happened from what’s left behind. Maybe I’ve been watching too many police procedurals! What are your 4 favorite sources of creative inspiration? Working is my favorite source of inspiration – when I get my hands moving and start playing with the materials, ideas just start coming and it becomes clear what needs to happen next! I try to leave the studio each day knowing what I want to do next so that it’s easy to just dive in and get back to work. The materials themselves play a big part – I’ll ask myself, “What does this mean? What can I do with this? How does this “I began to work?” Like most mixed media artists, I ADORE learning new techniques and experimenting understand that with new media! I teach at Collage - an art could be an art store in Portland, Oregon, - and I love action and a designing classes around new materials. I also love giving myself challenges – what can I do using only the scrap images in this magazine or what can I do with small squares of paper? Issue 14

process, not just a product.” M IXED M ED IA AR T

The limits can actually be really freeing. My students are another huge source of inspiration for me – it’s as though I absorb a bit of their excitement and sense of experimentation while I teach. Sure, I’m tired at the end of the day, but it’s as though the students renew my own enthusiasm for whatever I’ve been teaching! I think it’s about reaccessing that sense of being a novice. What are 5 tools or supplies you can’t be without? • • • • •

Scissors Glue stick Sketchbook Pencil Black Sharpie

Art, Verb: To make something with meaningful, mindful intent (adapted from The Everyday Work of Art). Noun: An action or process we are all capable of that serves as evidence of our own Divine spark; the tangible record of meaningful, mindful creative process.

This is the bare minimum that I travel with – potential collage papers present themselves for free everywhere, and if I can cut, paste, and sketch out ideas, that’ll hold me for at least a week! After that, I start wanting gesso and some way to add color – either gouache or acrylics. Gouache is easier to travel with!

Artist, Noun: Someone who, with their own level of skill and passion, intentionally makes things in a meaningful and mindful way; a person whose primary work is to find meaning and express it in concrete or tangible ways; an identity available to all of us as our birthright. Issue 14

What’s next? Right now, I’m enjoying being in my studio and making art and designing workshops and online classes. And . . . the next book is lurking in there, but it feels too soon to talk about it!

Editor’s Note: Benson has really cool projects, cerebral exercises and techniques to explore. Especially the ‘Whats Next Art Jar’ p.108 and Internal Map Journey p.111. I could easily spend a year working through Benton’s book playing, exploring, reflecting on my creative process. This is a book worth your time and money. M IXED M ED IA AR T

Christy Turner’s EMBROIDERY


first learned how to embroider when I was about six or seven. With superhuman patience, my mother taught me how to divide the cotton floss, thread the blunt wide-eyed needle, and follow the pink line of the iron-on pattern she’d applied for me. I wasn’t great at it _ my stitches were big and uneven at first, and I spent more time trying to pull out misplaced stitches than I did making them. But these lessons, lovingly given in the living room of my childhood home, turned out to be a pivotal influence on my artistic future.

pattern, but really there’s just as much opportunity for creative control as there is in any other medium. Just as a painter carefully places each brushstroke, an embroiderer has to place each stitch ̶ the difference is that I can rip out and move a misplaced stitch a lot easier than a painter can move a stroke of paint. I can blend colors, alter line weight and quality, and improvise a pattern just as I could if I were drawing in a sketchbook, but when I’m finished with a sewn drawing, it’s soft and textured and tactile in a way that most drawings can never be.

Embroidery has a long and beautiful history. Even though it’s become a fairly uncommon pastime in recent decades, it’s a craft undeniably rich with tradition. Part of the reason I’m so drawn to it is that tradition, knowing that my mother’s mother taught her just as she taught me. Women (and occasionally men) have been passing on this knowledge for centuries, using it for ritual, for homemaking, for social status and pleasure. There’s something powerful in that kind of custom, and I can’t help but be drawn to the craft as a result.

That tactile quality is a huge draw for me as an artist _ the feel of the stitching itself as well as whatever I happen to be sewing

The process itself is meditative, more pleasure than work. It may seem like there’s not much room for creativity, since most embroidery is just stitching a Issue 14

Anatomia Detail M IXED M ED IA AR T

on, be it fabric or paper. Which one I use is generally determined by the nature of the project in question, but the main thing I care about is the tactile quality of whatever surface I’m working on. I really want the viewer to reach out and touch my artwork, to pick it up and hold it, to feel the fibers and stitches and structure. We have this notion as a society that art is to be looked at from a safe distance, never touched or handled, and I like my work to be different in that regard. The magic of embroidery (and of the book form, which I often use in my art) is that it’s meant to be touched and used. That traditional utilitarian quality is just one more reason why I’m inexorably drawn to embroidery _ it’s art, but it’s the kind of art that’s meant to be held between your fingers and rubbed against your cheek.

THEMES IN MY WORK: My artwork uses a variety of different mediums, but often references recurring themes of anatomy and interpersonal relationships. While these concepts may not seem like they have much in common, Issue 14

Anatomia Spread the underlying factor that interests me is structure. My anatomical work focuses on physical structure _ primarily skeletal composition, a topic that has fascinated me since I was a kid. The architecture of the human body _ striking in both its intricacy and simplicity - is something I feel compelled to study and replicate. Much of the imagery in my skeletal work is derived from either antique anatomical diagrams (Anatomia & Ribcage) or firsthand from human cadavers (Cadaver Hand Study & Cadaver Foot Study). Though the resulting artwork could be portrayed as something gruesome or macabre, I prefer to think of it in an architectural sense, looking at bones and tendons as structural components of a larger whole. On the opposite side of the spectrum is my work relating to human relationships. These pieces, in particular one sewn book called Maps, seek to illustrate social structure by exploring the emotional bonds we create throughout our lives. This area of my work tends be far more conceptual in nature than my anatomical studies but the basic focus on some form of structure remains the same. M IXED M ED IA AR T


Family Photos

The imagery in this carousel book is derived from antique anatomy diagrams. The top (black) layer illustrates skeletal anatomy; the next layer has the corresponding muscle systems embroidered in red on a fibrous handmade paper.

Using silhouettes derived from antique family photographs, I embroidered these incomplete portraits in an attempt to illustrate the fluid quality of familial relationships. The portraits themselves are sewn on 100% cotton rag paper (Rives BFK) and coptic bound, with a letterpress introduction and colophon.

Cadaver Studies These embroidered studies are the result of several hours spent sketching dissected cadavers in the Oregon State University cadaver lab. I sketched directly onto the muslin, then embroidered the drawings, trying to preserve their hasty line quality.

Family Photos Detail

Fish Skeleton This skeletal study was initially drawn in a sketchbook, then transferred onto muslin and stitched. As with many of my embroidered studies, I tried to keep the sketchy quality of my line work as similar as I could to the original drawing by using long, dense stitching.

Cadaver Foot Study

Fish Skeleton Issue 14


Maps One of my more conceptual books, “Maps� uses simple embroidered diagrams to literally map out complex social hierarchies. The author is represented in each map by a red French knot; family, friends, and other social connections are represented by blue French knots, connected by family tree style stitched linework. Maps

Phrenology Studies This book was made using intaglio printing, embroidery, letterpress printing, and an accordion binding with butterfly cut walnut covers. The heads and faces are drypoint intaglio prints on tea-stained cotton rag paper. These prints are backed with red lotka paper and stitched with red cotton thread to emphasize the phrenology map design.

Phrenology Studies Issue 14


Cadaver Hand Study

Christy Turner Christy Turner was born in Walla Walla, Washington, where she was instilled from a young age with a love for the Pacific Northwest and traditional handicrafts. After learning to sew and embroider as a child, Turner went on to earn her BFA from Oregon State University in 2012. Though her degree is primarily rooted in relief printmaking, Turner also independently studied artist books and embroidery, experimenting with various combinations of the three separate mediums. In 2013, she was awarded a scholarship to attend the Focus on Book Arts Conference in Forest Grove, Oregon. She has exhibited photography, embroidery, artist books, and relief prints in juried shows across the country, and is currently preparing for a two-person embroidery exhibit to be held in her hometown of Corvallis, Oregon.




Product Exploration of GAC 200

Questions the artist must ask themselves: WHICH ONE? ON WHAT? GAC 200

Bonnie Meltzer


he problem and the joy of making mixed-media artworks is that there are so many kinds of materials to be painted. GOLDEN Acrylics offers help in getting paint to stick to a wide variety of surfaces with the aid of the GAC series of polymers. I am not going to talk about painting canvas, just the weird things we mixed-media artists use. All nine GACs are formulated based on 100% acrylic dispersion polymers with only a minimum amount of thickeners, freeze/thaw stabilizers, defoamers and preservatives. The GACs are fluid and thin, and are typically used in conjunction with something else. GACs are blended with paints to extend the paint, regulate transparency, create glazes, increase gloss, reduce viscosity or improve adhesion and film integrity. They are thin and reduce the thickness of most paints. Each one has a specialized use. The two products that help the most in my studio for painting on found objects are GAC 100 and GAC 200. Both stretch the color, making them an economical consideration, but they each have specific jobs. Which one do I use and when? To determine which product to use I ask: Issue 14

• What is the object made of? • Is it flexible or rigid? • Is it porous or non-porous? If the answer is rigid and non-porous, the solution is GAC 200. In this issue, I will share my series of experiments with GAC 200 on a variety of rigid and non-porous objects. I used mixtures of GAC 200 with either Fluid or Heavy Body Acrylics. It is the hardest and least flexible of all the GOLDEN Acrylics and reduces tack. These last attributes that make it so good for rigid substrates make it not very good for flexible surfaces. GAC 100 is wonderful additive for painting on flexible and porous objects, but you will have to wait until next issue to learn about it.

Items to paint M IXED M ED IA AR T

There are more questions to answer once the decision is made to use GAC 200. 1. What proportion of GAC 200 should I use? 2. How little can I use so the paint makes a good bond? What percentage is too much? 3. How shiny do I want it? (GAC 200 is very shiny). 4. How transparent? (the more GAC 200 the more transparent). 5. How will it flow from my brush? Will the brush marks show? The pictures and captions will give you insight to these questions, but as a general rule I have found that if you want full coverage, heavy body with 25% GAC 200 works best if you have something to hide. The more GAC 200 in the mix, the more transparent and shiny it becomes. A 50% mix worked well when I wanted the substrate to show through. I tried it up to 75% which Golden suggests is the maximum. That application could make wonderful texture of opaque ridges next to transparent swirls especially on smooth surfaces. I mixed small batches of GAC 200 with heavy body paint and fluid acrylics using 1/4 tsp and 1 tsp measuring spoons. Some objects were merely painted to test coverage. Other times, I experimented with brush stokes Copper sheet with gray stripes made with heavy body paint and 25% and layers. Post your and 50% GAC 200 just brushed on normally. Upper left dabbed. experiments with GAC 200 to Facebook.

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Surfaces to Paint with GAC 200

I have had good results with metal of all types, acrylic and other rigid plastics, and heavily varnished wood.

The blue hair was made with a mixture of 75% GAC 200 and fluid acrylic. Notice the ridges. I need to use that more.

Various dilutions of paint on textured, factory primed aluminum. In progress. The texture reacted differently to the various mixtures of GAC 200. The white is the unpainted material.

Tips Clean.

No matter how good the paint is, you have to prepare the substrate. You want the paint to stick to the material, not a layer of dust or grime. Wipe with a damp cloth or wash with soap and water if it is really dirty. Dry well. I always wipe an object with alcohol, even alcohol from the drug store. Sand shiny and slick surfaces to help the paint stick. Don’t forget to wipe the sanding dust off with a damp cloth. GAC 200 makes paint stick to your palette as well as your painting. I use disposable soft plastic yogurt tops instead of my regular rigid plastic palette with little wells. A side benefit of the yogurt top is that by bending it, you can peel off the paint and use the sheet in a project.

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Don’t shake the paint.

There are minimal antifoaming agents in GACs; so don’t shake them. You will get tiny bubbles in the paint. A foam brush also will encourage tiny bubbles. All but one of the photos are not finished pieces but experiments and samples made for this article. Usually a piece is made up of many found objects: not all of them are rigid and/or non-porous. Some of the samples from this article could grow into a finished artwork utilizing GAC 100. GAC 100 has many uses and is indispensable in my studio for preparing substrates, extending paint, and for painting on flexible and porous surfaces. So stay tuned and come back for Part 2, with an examination of GAC 100 in the next issue.

Editor’s Notes: Bonnie and I love this product for multiple reasons; the main one being that the GAC series gets paint to stick on just about anything. Other attributes: Great hard edge when using tape to mask off an area. Tried on glass, metal and natural material (seed pods from my aunt’s tree) - worked great. Painted on an old pair of my daughter’s clogs, left brushstrokes, but used a coarse bristle brush. Paint pigment did not dilute; however, it does make the paint more transparent. Works great on plastic.

A finished and installed exterior artwork on smooth aluminum, painted with GOLDEN Acrylics, heavy body and fluid acrylics, and GAC 200. Sprayed with clear spraypaint. Hose nozzle is also painted. Mixed with crocheted wire and found objects. The paint had to have a good bond not only on the base, but also so it would not get scratched from the crochet. Issue 14


Drawing 101



efore you attempt to draw adult faces, it helps to know how to plan a place for everything, sort of like a blueprint. Even though the heads and faces of adults come in many shapes and sizes, the same basic guidelines for proportions apply to almost everyone. In this lesson, set up simple, easy to remember guidelines for drawing horizontal adult facial proportions, and then draw proportionally correct ears, eyes, and a nose and mouth within your outline. Suggested drawing supplies include white drawing paper, a ruler, graphite pencils, and erasers.

the bottom. ADD HORIZONTAL LINES TO THE OUTLINE: Divide the length of the head into two halves, and the lower half into three equal distances. DRAWING EARS AND FACIAL FEATURES: Beginners to drawing portraits tend to draw eyes too high on the head. Now add ears, eyes, and a nose and mouth to your head shape using the three distances in the lower half of your drawing. It’s not important that you draw the ears and features well. The goal is to draw everything in its proper place.

You also need basic math skills (or a calculator) for measuring and dividing various distances.

This project is divided into three parts: DRAW THE OUTLINE OF THE HEAD: Draw a circular shape to represent an adult human head, with the top half wider than Issue 14


EXAMINING ADULT HEADS AND FACES The most common mistake, is to draw the eyes too high on the head. However, if you look closely at an adult head, you can see two halves, with the eyes positioned on the halfway point where the two halves meet. Below are four simple variations of the top and bottom halves of a human head. Any of the skull shapes can be matched with any one of the facial shapes, thereby providing many possibilities for the shapes of human heads.

The shapes of human heads, and the sizes and placements of people’s facial features are very different. Sketch them joined together to make an outline of a complete head. It’s perfectly OK to draw your skull shape (or facial shape) slightly different than in the illustrations, such as wider, narrower, shorter or even longer. However, don’t wander too far away from the basic shape, or your drawing may be too far outside the parameters of what is considered normal human anatomy.

Turn your outline of a head-shape into an original person by adding some facial features and hair. Have fun creating different people by mixing and matching other skulls and faces, and then adding facial features.

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DRAW THE OUTLINE OF THE HEAD Use a ruler to draw a rectangular drawing format on your drawing paper. Drawing format (sometimes called a drawing space) refers to the area of a drawing surface within a specific perimeter, outlined by a shape of any size, such as a square, rectangle or circle. Suggested sizes include 5”x7”, 6”x8” or 7”x9”. Draw a very light line of symmetry down the center of the rectangle. Measure and mark a small dot at the halfway point of the top and bottom sides of your rectangle. Use a ruler to connect the two dots. This line helps keep your head shape symmetrical and is a guide for measuring the placement of facial features. Symmetry in drawing is a balanced arrangement of lines and shapes, on opposite sides of an often-imaginary centerline. In the scans of my drawing throughout this project, the line of symmetry is too light to see. Draw a circular shape to represent an adult human head, with the top half wider than the bottom. The basic outline of an adult head is similar in shape to an egg. The line of symmetry you drew down the center of your rectangle is helpful for measuring distances on either side, to make sure the head in your drawing is symmetrical.

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ADD HORIZONTAL LINES TO THE OUTLINE In this section, you divide the length of the head into two halves. Then the lower half will be divided into three equal distances. TIP: In time you will be able to judge all proportions visually, but for now please use a ruler. Draw a horizontal line that touches the edge of the very top of the head. This line is parallel to the top and bottom of the rectangular drawing surface (and vertical to its sides). Mark this line IJ. Draw a second horizontal line touching the lower edge of the chin. Mark this line GH.

Measure the total vertical distance along the center vertical line (too light to see in my drawing), from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin. Divide this total measurement in half and mark it with a small dot. Feel free to use a calculator! Draw a horizontal line (AB) through this dot, dividing the head into two halves (as in Illustration 01-08). Most people’s eyes and the top sections of their ears are somewhere along this line, halfway between the top of the skull (not the top of the hair) and the bottom edge of the chin. Issue 14


Measure the vertical distance between lines AB and GH. Divide this distance by three and lightly mark the two points with dots on the center vertical line (too light to see in my drawing). Add a fourth horizontal line through the upper point (closer to AB). This line is parallel to each of the other three lines, IJ, AB, and GH. Mark this line CD. The lower part of the nose and the lower sections of the ears touch this line.

Add a fifth horizontal line through the lower point (closer to GH). This line is parallel to each of the other four lines. Mark this line EF. The lower edge of the bottom lip will be close to or touch this line. Now the vertical distance between lines AB and GH is divided into three equal sections.

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DRAWING EARS AND FACIAL FEATURES Your blueprint is complete and it’s time to add a face. In this section, you draw ears, eyes, and a nose and mouth on your head shape using the three distances in the lower half of your drawing. It is not important that you draw the ears and features well. The goal is to simply place everything in its proper place. You may even choose to draw completely different features. Remember, it’s more important to draw the ears and facial features in their correct places, rather than fuss about the intricate details. Draw the outlines of the ears with the tops above AB and the bottoms below CD. Erase the vertical lines (indicating the outline of the head) between lines AB and CD (on both sides of your drawing).

Re-draw the outline on each side (between lines AB and CD) leaving an opening for the tops of the ears to extend inward. Extend the outlines of the tops of the ears inward, toward the center of the face. Draw short curved lines on the upper section of each ear (touching AB) to indicate the outer rims of the ears.

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- 9 to - represent its various parts. Add more detailed lines to each ear

Even though fine details are not important in this lesson, try your best and 27) Add detailed lines tosurprised! each ear to represent its various parts. you more may be pleasantly

Even though fine details are not important in this lesson, try your best and you may be The only surprised! important factor to achieve a realistic human face is to put every pleasantly

thing in its correct place according to the facial guidelines. ILLUSTRATION 01-14

Each individual face is physically unique, due to inherent variations in the sizes and shapes of heads, faces, and features. You can complete the facial features on your drawing however you wish. The only important factor, to achieve a realistic human face, is to put everything in its correct place according to the facial guidelines. M IXED M ED IA AR T Issue 14

¾ The distance between the eyes is equal to the width of one eye. ILLUSTRATION 01-15

Draw the eyes along AB. To help you decide how wide to draw each eye, refer to Illustration 01-15 and observe the following: • The widest section of the head is “five-eyes wide”. • The width of an eye is equal to one of these distances. • The distance between the eyes is - 11 equal to the width of one eye. 29) Draw some eyebrows above AB. You can draw eyebrows: ¾ Light or dark ¾ Thick or thin ¾ Very curved, slightly curved, or fairly straight ¾ Very close to the eyes or a little higher on the forehead. ILLUSTRATION 01-16

Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail Web sites and

Draw some eyebrows above AB. You can draw eyebrows: • Light or dark • Thick or thin • Very curved, slightly curved, or fairly straight • Very close to the eyes or a little higher on the forehead.

Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail Web sites and

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¾ The nose is approximately the width of the distance between the eyes. ¾ The base of each cheekbone usually aligns with the bottom section of the nose. ¾ The lower parts of the ears horizontally align with the bottom section of the nose. ILLUSTRATION 01-17

Draw the nose. The following guidelines apply to most adult faces: • The lower section of the nose touches the horizontal line CD. • The very bottom edges of the nostrils are often below CD. • The nose is approximately the width of the distance between the eyes. • The base of each cheekbone usually aligns with the bottom section of the - 13 nose.

31) Draw the mouth.

• The lower parts of the ears horizontally ¾ The lower lip is usually touching or slightly above line EF. align with the bottom section of the ¾ The mouth is generally wider than the nose. nose. ¾ The lower lip is approximately halfway between the lower section of the nose and the The following guidelines generally apply to adult faces:

bottom of the chin.

¾ The outer corners of the mouth are usually directly under the irises of theCopyright eyes. to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and ILLUSTRATION 01-18

not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail Web sites and

Draw the mouth. The following guidelines generally apply to adult faces: • The lower lip is usually touching or slightly above line EF. • The mouth is generally wider than the nose. • The lower lip is approximately halfway between the lower section of the nose and the bottom of the chin. • The outer corners of the mouth are usually directly under the irises of the eyes. Use your kneaded eraser to lighten the outline of the top of the head until it’s almost invisible, and then add hair.

Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail Web sites and

Issue 14




yelashes are fine hairs that grow from the outer edges of the upper and lower eyelids. The upper eyelid is the larger, movable fold of skin above the eyeball that opens and closes to protect the upper and center sections of the eye. The lower eyelid is a smaller, less movable fold of skin protecting the lower eyeball. Many artists have difficulty drawing natural looking eyelashes. Even if every other aspect of your drawing of a face is perfect, incorrectly drawn eyelashes can ruin it. Eyelashes, though tiny, are the most challenging parts of human anatomy to draw realistically! In Illustration 1, you see unnatural looking individual eyelashes that are the same value and thickness from root to tip. Eyelashes drawn with this type of line can’t possibly look correct. Illustration 2 shows the correct way to draw individual eyelashes. Each eyelash is thick at the bottom, and gradually becomes lighter and thinner closer to the tip.

Illustration 1

Illustration 2

In this illustration of three eyes, have a peek at some common mistakes made when drawing eyelashes, such as making them too thick, too straight or too long.

Illustration 3 Issue 14


The following criteria provide insights into various aspects of drawing realistic eyelashes. Refer to the previous two illustrations, and the next. Take note that correctly drawn eyelashes: • Grow in many different directions, mostly outward from the eyelids. • Are rendered with thin lines of different lengths. • Are curved and unevenly spaced. • Appear thicker closer to the eyelids. • Grow from the outer edges of the upper and lower eyelids and not the white of the eye. • Are drawn in groups rather than single lines. • Gradually become longer and thicker toward the outer corners of the eye.

Illustration 4 Correctly drawn eyelashes look natural and lifelike. A simple little drawing technique provides a realistic looking eyelash every time in simple terms, never draw eyelashes from the tip down toward the eyelid. Always draw them in the direction in which they grow, from the eyelid (or root) outward. Grab some paper and a 2B pencil. Refer to the next close-up drawing, and try your hand at drawing realistic looking individual lashes. 1. Begin at the base of the eyelash and press firmly with your pencil. Remember, always draw eyelashes in the direction they grow, from the eyelid outward. 2. Slowly release the pressure you apply as your curved line extends toward the tip. Realistic eyelashes look like inverted commas – thick at the bottom and thin at the top. 3. Gently lift your pencil from the paper when the tip of the line is very thin and light in value. Issue 14

Illustration 5 M IXED M ED IA AR T

Warm up your drawing hand and draw an eyeful of eyelashes. 1) Lightly sketch the almond shape of an eye, with a double line at the top and bottom, to represent the thickness of the flesh of the eyelids.

Illustration 6 2) Use 2H and HB pencils to draw an average quantity of eyelashes on the outer edges of the upper and lower eyelids.

Illustration 7

Issue 14


Don’t expect to master drawing eyelashes right away. Take lots of time to practice before you try adding them to your drawings of people. With lots of practice, you can draw natural eyelashes that are thick and bold close to the base, and thin and light at the tip.

Illustration 8

Illustration 9

BRENDA HODDINOTT As a self-educated teacher, visual artist, portraitist, forensic artist (retired), and illustrator, Brenda Hoddinott utilizes diverse art media including her favorites: graphite and paint. Brenda is the author of Drawing for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, Inc., New York, NY) and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Drawing People (Winner of the Alpha-Penguin Book of the Year Award 2004, Alpha - Pearson Education – Macmillan, Indianapolis, IN). She is currently writing two books on classical drawing.

Issue 14


Artist Profile

Conrado Melato


n order to understand the body of works created by the Cuban artist Conrado Maleta, it is necessary to move a few steps back to his childhood in Cuba. With the end of Soviet Union, the island was in a long process of economic and social degradation called

Work-01: Fancy pedestal for the allegory of Beauty. 2013 Coins, silicon, glue, glass balls, pearls, a plastic rose, some acrylic paint and glossy varnish. Box made with American coins and objects I found in the streets of New York City. I did it thinking in the concept of beauty. I also think it has something to do with the salty foam of the sea. Issue 14

Periodo Especial (special time). In that time, the teenager who is today the artist, helped family members in the production of popular jewelry and decoration artifacts. Almost all the work was done with recycled materials or morphologies coming directly from nature such as shells and stones. He also sold the products door to door, earning just a little but absolutely happy about it. In those times, he learned how to do crafts and how to re-use things in his own environment. Many years later, the artist started to work in what today is his most beloved group of art pieces: NeoByzantine Madness and Boxes of Beauty. Neo-Byzantine Madness. The concepts behind these works are deeply anchored with the human historic background. The first group of works is developed from personal experiences and learning in the Middle East and hours of walking and listening to religious services in orthodox churches and Catholic monasteries of Israel. It is all about a mistake.


The artist’s mistake and misunderstanding of how others see and trust in their beliefs. It is also about reinterpretation of aesthetics that have millennia of development but suddenly in the eyes of a Western post-postmodern man, they appear to be antiques.

Work-02: Goat who has broken a drum, with its skin pays! 2013 Coins, silicon, glue, thread, plastic goat, sleighbells, acrylic paint, glossy varnish. All the objects I found in the streets of New York City. The title is from a traditional Cuban song. It is an irony for me because finding a goat in Manhattan was the last thing I ever expected. OK, it was plastic, but that’s just an irrelevant detail.

In the works of this set, there is a special intention for creating a contemporary version of Middle East religious imagery: Christian, Jewish, Islamic or even Baha’i. Sometimes the lecture is clear at first glimpse, but for others it is necessary to go inside

the concept in order to understand the meaning. Every work has a powerful sense of humor by itself without being frivolous. are a must because they are the verbal key used by the artist to lead the public into a correct road. Boxes of Beauty After moving to New York City, one of the first things I noticed was the presence of hundreds of pennies in the streets. The idea of having as material something that others don’t want or need and also keeping clear that there is a possibility for these coins, which the government is thinking about not printing anymore, to be in the near future a rare collectible had been the starting point for the project. Issue 14

Work-03: Shut on the TV: Sex, language for adults and violence. 2013 Coins, silicon, glue, plastic toy, glass balls, acrylic paint, glossy varnish, steel nails. A TV set in Cuba is of the old style, with long skinny legs. And at beginning of each film, you have a text with the category. This is an adult series of films. The violence is represented by the red color and drops, the sex is just the cavities, the dark inner spaces and the adult language are represented by a dinosaur. M IXED M ED IA AR T

The presence of the TV is also a conceptual idea in this new work. The TV is the new Pandora’s Box. The good and bad inside the TV - the aggressive behavior, especially verbally from some New Yorkers is expressed through the use of the dinosaur, like something big, bigger than life. Colorful dinosaurs appear as vulgar slang the artist has heard in the street.

Work-04: Open this box of wisdom and you will learn about a human sin. Open this heart and blue clouds will come out of my body. 2012 A Tefillin box that I found in a Genizah - a sacred storage area - in the streets of Tel Aviv (it is a big sin, but I couldn’t resist) cotton, thread, a plastic butterfly, silicon, glue, acrylic paint, steel wires inside, two cut-off illustrations from old books of art. It is about hope and beauty. Holy actions, desire and sin.

The use of boxes as containers is also a product of a direct influence from the artist’s present life. The need of a home, the search for a homey building or space. The house as a warm and protective uterine refuge. New York as a cave. New York as a home. The act of material recycling has two basic meanings: adding information in an anthropological way and supporting the artist’s eco-conscious way of life.

Work-05: Double game with sensibility. 2012 Wood, iron plate, thread, plastic net, Italian silver wire, pearl, steel nails, used matches, two cut-off illustrations from a very old book of art, silicon, glue, acrylic paint and glossy varnish. Man vs. woman. Power vs. spirituality. Red vs. blue. It is a piece talking about dichotomy as a game. It is also created for being used as jewelry, avant-garde jewelry work. Issue 14


About my studio. My studio is located in Crown Heights South, Brooklyn. It is open only by previously scheduled appointments. You can email Conrad for more information

Work-06: Dialectical exchange of two unborn kids that happens in the intrauterine space. 2012 Metal plate, silicon, glue, thread, acrylic paint and glossy varnish. This very small piece was done in a hard moment. My wife and i were struggling to get pregnant and it wasn’t easy. I had weird feelings and one night I had a dream in which I was talking to a my twin (I don’t have in real life). I did this work and still think it is so full of energy.

Work-07: Muhammad and Jesus Christ doing scatological questions to Yahveh, the God of the Jews. 2012 Metal plate, silicon, glue, wire, acrylic paint and glossy varnish. This little work was done in Jerusalem. I was traveling there and it is about what I saw, listened to and enjoyed there. It is easy to imagine all the different interpretations of God talking and making noise and fighting to keep their own relevant considerations.

Issue 14


Maleta’s Studio Space

Conrado R. Maleta Conrado R. Maleta is a Cuban artist who was born in Santiago de Cuba, 1979. He has traveled for a long time around the world: Europe, the Middle East and America. Today, he is based in Brooklyn. He is has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and URBAN PLANNING, his career has mainly been as an artist studying with private professors and taking on internships. He has been a painter, sculptor and photographer. His whole work is dedicated to the analysis of the human expressions in religiosity and spirituality. It is correct to consider his body of works as a visual road opened by a naive anthropologist. He can be found: here or Click here for more information

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Issue 14


MMAM issue14 2014  

Meet an artist that uses natural materials to create beautiful works of art- you will never look at a banana peel the same. Beth Yazhari...

MMAM issue14 2014  

Meet an artist that uses natural materials to create beautiful works of art- you will never look at a banana peel the same. Beth Yazhari...