An Introduction to Mixed Media Art

I have been on another workshop! You might recall that a few weeks ago I went along on a Modern Calligraphy workshop, thanks to Craft Courses, well, this time it was Mixed Media Art. And even better, this time I took my daughter along with me to see what it was all about. Now you know that I am not artistically gifted, so I was keen to find out how accessible this really is and share with you something of a beginner’s guide to mixed media art, in this my own introduction to mixed media art…

The Mixed Media Art Workshop Details

We went along to Tania’s Gallery in Stourbridge, to one of her Collage Taster Workshops. The workshops accommodate up to 6 people at a time (there were 4 of us on ours), run for 4 hours and cost £35 per person. There is free parking onsite, and drinks are provided throughout the afternoon (we even had mince pies!).

‘Learn how to transfer a design onto canvas, select your colour palette and apply your materials for the best results. Subject-matter is supplied, but the technique is addictive and if you wish to make a bigger splash with your own designs you are most welcome to return for a second dip.’

What is Mixed Media Art?

Mixed media art is composed from a combination of different media or materials. It can be a collage with papers, magazines, marker pens, watercolours, whatever works best.

In these photos you can see some of the process, as Tania first draws onto canvases, and then below a completed project using a a variety or materials.

I love all of the different textures and colours used, and the way that the picture draws you in to take a closer look at all of the little details.

What We Got Up To

The first stage to creating a masterpiece, is to select a picture and then transfer it onto canvas. This was actually not as daunting as it sounds, as there was a fail safe method to follow to do it.

On the image, we drew a grid of one inch squares. We then did the same on our canvases. Then using a little paper viewfinder, we moved it from square to square and drew in the outline on our corresponding canvas square. You can see Boo doing this below with her rabbit picture.

Once you have your pencil outline, you go over it all with a black marker pen to add definition and give you your guide for your collage.

It’s then time to hit the magazines! Tania had a huge pile of magazines for us to flick through and cut up, so we went for the colours that we wanted for our pictures, with a variety of shades and textures.

I decided to give my cow a purple background, so once I had found plenty of purples to cut out, I moved onto gluing them all in place.

It’s easiest to glue directly onto the canvas, place your paper and then keep it in place with glue on the top. I chose to cut up each piece, Boo preferred to rip each of hers, it’s entirely up to you. You might also favour keeping big pieces together, or you might like to stick down lots of tiny pieces. You might want to keep them all uniform in shape and you might want to consider the direction that you stick them in – all the same or more haphazard-looking. It’s really up to you, and I like the idea that you can over time develop your own style in this way.

Boo was thrilled with her finished design. All her own work, her own design and she really did know what she did and didn’t want as she was going along. She named her Wiggles and managed to find the letters to cut out to include her name on the canvas, too.

And here we have them both, at home, dried, and looking good!

Our Thoughts on Mixed Media Art

I was keen to go along to this one, not only as the concept appealed to me, but also as it was a course that I could take Boo along to. I loved the idea of spending some time together trying something new. Whilst I do try to have one to one time with each of the kids, it’s rarely doing something as creative and memorable as this was, this felt a little special.

As expected, Boo had no trouble with this at all. At 9 years old, she has already developed a passion for art that I love to see, and she was quite capable of keeping up with us adults. Given that it’s a 4 hour workshop, if you do want to take your child along, just consider their concentration spans. Boo was more than happy throughout the whole session, working away and chatting happily, needing no help from me. She thoroughly enjoyed it all and is really proud, rightly so, of her rabbit canvas.

The course itself was just perfect. Tania made us feel very welcome in her studio and we were fortunate to be there alongside two lovely ladies. It felt like a very comfortable afternoon and the time absolutely flew by. Tania was on hand to explain every stage to us and gave us suggestions and tips as we went along. It all felt relaxed and fun, which is just how it should be, I think.

I would say that this is a very accessible art form for everyone. You know that art is not where my talents lie, yet I did manage to create something that I’m fairly happy with. And I enjoyed the process of doing so. I think that if you are artistically talented, you’ll still be at an advantage over those of us who aren’t in doing this, as clearly there are ways to do it better!

I suppose the test is whether we are likely to do it again, and I can say ‘yes’ to that. We now understand what we need to do to create mixed media art, so I can see a few sessions on the cards for us over the next few months. I’m already thinking about what I’d like to try next time!

Craft Courses offer hundreds of courses across the UK, along with gift vouchers, so do check them out and add them to gift wish lists if you’d like to try something new next year.

What do you think? Is this something you’d like to try?

Disclosure: Thanks to Craft Courses  for sending us on this workshop, though all opinions remain our own

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