Mixed Media for Beginners: Backgrounds | Erin O'Barr | Skillshare

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Mixed Media for Beginners: Backgrounds

teacher avatar Erin O'Barr

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Lesson 1 Thatch Pattern and Water Drops

    • 3. Lesson 2 Collage, Stencils, and Spray Inks

    • 4. Lesson 3 Acrylics & Gesso

    • 5. Outro

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About This Class

Learn how to start a page or canvas with different techniques that you can mix and match.  Experiment with acrylics, matte medium, gesso, stencils, stamps, molding paste, and collage.  And most importantly, learn how mistakes can make your artwork beautiful!


Meet Your Teacher

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Erin O'Barr


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1. Intro: Hi, I'm Erin O VAR. Welcome to mix the media for beginners backgrounds in this class, we're gonna create three different backgrounds, and we're gonna learn some different techniques that you can kind of mix and match as you're starting your art. I occasionally hear people complain that they have a hard time knowing where to start a piece of art. And so I made this class to address that was actually starting artist something I love. I tend to struggle more with finishing art, have a lot of started pieces that I'm kind of not sure where to get with. Um, So along with techniques that you can kind of mix and match and experiment with, I also want you, Teoh really grow in your freedom to make mistakes when you're creating mixed media. And layered art is just a great way to experiment with techniques. Haven't tried yet with colors or mediums that you're not familiar with. It's just an awesome place to make mistakes because you're just gonna keep covering it up. But those layers, even the ones that don't work still add interest and depth to your art. I wanted to show you this canvas this is about a stage where I'm ready to finish it and I have some ideas, but yes, I am struggling a little bit to figure out exactly what it's gonna be. But on this team bus, there are about maybe six or eight layers that I hate. Um, I started off us playing around some art with an eight year old friend of mine, and I didn't like what I did. And so over, like, a few months, I would just occasionally return to this and add things to it. I just didn't like any of it wasn't going anywhere. I eventually got it to state. It was OK. It had a lot of the lavender in the aqua, but it looked really Easter Egg E. And I didn't really like that. And I looked online for inspiration and found an artist that I follow, and she uses a lot of black in her art. Have we thought about that? So I threw some black on there and I loved it, and one of the reasons I loved it is because there were so many layers and so much texture that the black brought out everything. There's so much going on here. There's lots of paper and Jess oh, molding, paste, stencils. And so there's there's tons of texture. It just brought all that out, and it made the colors look even better. And so this I wouldn't be, is happy with this piece of art if it didn't already have those layers in there where I really struggled. So I wanted to really be encouraged to really jump off and try things, even if they don't work, because in the end they end up making your art better. So it's gonna be a lot of fun. So it rolled out and we'll start our first background. 2. Lesson 1 Thatch Pattern and Water Drops: Hi. Welcome to lesson one of mixed media backgrounds. We're gonna work with batch patterns and acrylics and water droplets. I've got delusions. Large art journal. Really love it. This stamp is has some coordinating backgrounds. Different one on each side. It's good for Get your hands nice and dirty. Um, I'm using my archival ink in black and this needs to be waterproof. This is the first layer you're going to do, and it will sneer if it's not a waterproof geek, so make sure you get waterproof, so I start laying out my stamps, and I like to do very planned out patterns, but you'll see here in a minute that, um I don't exactly do it just right. So But the main thing is to get something interesting on your page that can show later on, you can see here, this is where I realized I didn't do it right, and I can't figure out what to put in this last spot we get. So that's dry. Someone smear. I'm going to use a little text, heavy body, cadmium, yellow light, and Matt Medium. We're gonna use a lot of Matt medium this project and then also this liquid text. Heavy body, Brilliant yellow green. Uh, this is one of my favorite colors because I like a lot of purple, purple's and turquoise and things. And this, uh, yellow green really talks with those other colors. Now I'm mixing the paints with the mat medium as I put them on the page. And what you can see is that you can clearly make out the stamp pattern behind the paint thing paint. Both of them are heavy body, so they're pretty opaque. But when you mix them with the map medium, they become very translation. But you don't really lose any of the vibrant sea of the paint color, so it becomes more like a wash, and it's really a nice little I decided to pay just a little too yellow for my taste. So I'm animal. All right, I get that just the way I want it. I did not let it dry. In hindsight. Maybe I should have. I'm gonna put a coat of tope on here, so I'm using a burnt number and I'm gonna mix it with basics. Titanium white. This mixture makes a nice pretty little tope color. And then again, lots of Matt mediums. It's a really lovely color of hope. I really like it, but you can see it's not. It's not covering the way it should. And I think part of that is simply because I didn't let the yellow green layer dry. So I let that total your dry. And that's where I really realized. No, there's too much yellow showing through. So I'm gonna do a second layer of pope. Now, here you can see my brush is a little bit drier. You can really see the thatch pattern that I'm using here. What I mean is, I'm doing a little crisscross pattern with very short strokes. Um, and it really shows off how the paints mixed together. It makes the pattern very soft to me. It's It's almost Saudi and dreamlike, and I just love the way the little Chris Carl statue pattern shows off the acrylics. Okay, that looks much better. Secondly, approach is dry. So now we're gonna do kind of a purple layer. First, I pull out some medium magenta, which I end up not using and kind of experimenting here. So way end up not using that paint and then also a deep magenta again. This is This is another color I love. It's just a really intense magenta is really beautiful. And then dioxins in purple, which to me is kind of a true purple. What I would call it true purple just to kind of pull things a little bit more toward the blue polar side of color field. It makes all of those with titanium white, and again there's the mat medium by a big bottle of Matt Medium. For this project, you will use it all right. So again, you can see that I'm kind of doing the little crisscross pattern here with very short strokes. Again, my brush is pretty dry. That really helps this method. If your brushes pretty dry on, it's just starting Pretty started off with the purple here and 11 some white, so it's not too lavender. It's more of a light color. And here's the magenta with a lot of white, because the region is such the deep magenta color I love how dreamy and soft that is. Love the colors mixed together. I'm gonna play with that until it just looks right to me. Now we're gonna handsome water droplets just dropping along with my thing. You're Oops. I get this big blue down there at the bottom. I don't want a big spot like that. You know, for the quick, because this works very quickly that the pain is still wet and leave it on there for, like, 15 30 seconds if that long, and then start dabbing it off with a paper towel and you could see all those other layers. Even the stamps start to come through, and it creates such a depth in that in your background, it's just so beautiful. I decided this one. Little yellow spots just a little too yellow. Some of them you that just a little bit and there's your background. I'll meet you the next listen. 3. Lesson 2 Collage, Stencils, and Spray Inks: Hi. Welcome to lessen two of mixed media backgrounds. In this lesson, we're gonna use collage, stencil and spray inks. Got my delusions art journal. And there's the background. We didn't listen. One. It's a nice, sturdy notebook. You can hold up under a lot of stuff that you put on it. We're going to start by using the brilliant yellow green acrylic from lesson one and the map medium and putting Ah, wash just to start off the page. When I started doing this, I actually kind of just did this just out of habit. I really didn't think any of this green was gonna show through in the finished product, but it does kind of peaks room places and very nice look. So what's lovely about this technique is that you could just put just a little bit of paint on the page and then keep dipping your brush in the mat medium and it will just spread and spread and spread that pain. It's a really nice in a way to do a color wash. I'm not even gonna let that dry gonna go straight on to collage. I've got this thrift store book that I use a lot for a client. Just find some pages that I like and pull him out there. Now, I'm just gonna start ripping them up and put him on the page. The way I think they look best. I'm using the map medium to lose and down. That's that's my goatee. Forgiving collage is Matt medium. I like it a lot better than the montage you can see right here. I'm starting out there mostly going in a vertical patterns. And as I go through this collage, I may vary it a little bit. But for the most part, everything that I'm laying down is going to be either vertically before. You could totally use diagonal occasionally, but it can get very chaotic when things were going in just any direction at all. So I kind of keep being with the, uh, horizontal and vertical kind of keeps everything from just getting too messy, especially when you're doing a lot of layers like business. Like I said, there are always exceptions. We kind of depends on what you're doing, what your project is. But, um, for this project, we're gonna keep it pretty simple. - One more little piece here and then we're gonna let this layer dry. All right, the collages all dry. So now we're gonna use our molding paste on stencil Teoh, create even more texture. We've already got a little bit of texture on the air with paper. Um, molding pace and stencils is just a favorite technique I like to use molding paste does seem to dry a little bit translucent, which is always kind of surprising to me and sometimes a little bit Great. So I usually add just a tiny bit of white paint to it. You can actually add any color you want. Mix it up. I, you know, I would experiment. Your project is to see if you want your you're moving paste, just mixing it up with talent night here. All right, here's my stencil. It's pretty simple background, which is probably what you want when you're doing it over a collage layer, and incidentally, it also reflects the horizontal and vertical pattern. I actually get to do that on purpose, but it works out greatness just using my shuttle past card. They're usually use old credit cards, old driver's license, that for this you're picking out your background. You want to think about in the next layer that we're gonna do, how spray eggs are gonna run through the moving taste, how they're gonna pick up that you're gonna let that dries. Well, okay, the molding paces mostly drive a little spongy, but it'll work. We're gonna go the spray inks. I've got my delusions crust, great, vibrant turquoise, white linen. Then I've got my trusty old water spray bottle. So I'm gonna get begin by just spraying a few ah spurts at the top of the page. I'm sorry, this is kind of cut up out of frame a little bit, but you'll be able to see it when I do it at the bottom, Just kind of spraying the inks near each other, Letting their colors mix the colors. Mixing organically is part of the secret to this. And then I just take my my water and I really spray it down so that they'll mix and run and just pick up all that lovely texture on the page. You see, it's not running quite as much as I like to add a little bit more and I would start slow with the water, although, honestly, I end up using a lot of it. Now you can see the bottom kind of how I space things out. Keep in mind with the delusions spray ink that they're hard to get up services. It's hard to get off your skin. Um, so just kind of work in an area where you, you know, it doesn't matter if you get stuff on it, because it does flatter a bit. Look, it's picking up all that great texture and mixing together with beautiful colors. Another thing to consider what the spray ink is that they will believe through the layers that you put on top of them. So what I recommend is letting this layer dry completely and then putting at least two layers of Matt medium on top, working very quickly so you don't pick up the and letting the layers dry in between. Look how fun it is with those colors mixing together. It's really beautiful. All right. There is our second background, really beautiful. I'll meet you in the next lesson 4. Lesson 3 Acrylics & Gesso: Hi. Welcome to listen. Three of backgrounds for mixed media, where we will play with acrylics and Jess. Oh, I've got our delusions Art journal here. There's a little bit of lead three from the spray inks and listen to which can happen. Sometimes I'm going to use a small round brush and this craft acrylic paint in black. Now, I started off thinking that I was going to try to draw some flowers, which is very sad that you see how very terrible they are. So as I realized, it's just not gonna work for me. I just start experimenting with geometric shapes and just begins drawing circles. And that's kind of the fun of doing these layered works. If something doesn't work, you can cover it up and move on to something else. So I just start playing around All right. Now into the delusions paint. I've got the bubble gum pink here, and, like I've used this line before, they have very bright colors here, vibrant turquoise. And that is the goal for this layer is the very first layer needs to be very bright. Colors got squeezed orange here and the last delusions paint. I'm gonna use is in fresh line. Here's that heavy green. So I'm just gonna begin experimenting here. I am starting to fill in. Looks like grab a little orange there on my turkeys brush. It was not, but again, it doesn't matter that you could have freedom to make steaks. You're gonna cover it up and even your mistakes some of that texture and layers color is gonna pull through and get depth and interest in your work. Um, that's one of the fun things about doing These is you can you can experiment with techniques and things that you've never done before. I'm probably gonna revisit those flowers again to see if I can actually learn how to do it . And that will be another background. Um, another layer that I can cover up. Um, but I can get practiced that way. You can go through your pages and campuses and just kind of keep adding things on and play around and go. Oh, I like that. I don't like that. Um and it just it adds lots of depth to your work, and you get practice as well. So and you get to play 1/2 the fun of art. One of the things I love about it is there's there's an element of discovery where you put colors or mediums together that you've never put together before, and it does something that you didn't expect. And that is half the fun is that discovery of what will happen when I play with it. Even if it's horrible again, you can use it and make something beautiful out of what is. Even though this layer was not what I expected it to be, I actually ended up really, really loving it. And that's another element of art. And doing a lot of layers is that sometimes you actually cover up things that you love to that that is, sometimes it could be a little hard sometimes when you create something that you really, really like. But you realize you're not quite there yet, and you have to cover it up. Um, but again, it just it adds a bit of yourself to the art. So I grabbed a couple more colors here. I've got the craft smart, a great taffy and the craft smart and bright yellow. - The lavenders is a little still too grey for me for this uh, palette, but still kind of works. And again Doesn't matter, because I'm about to cover it up. All right, so that is a dry now. Very fun. I'm gonna come back to that another piece. Now, I'm gonna go with the next layer. We're gonna start with White, Jess. Oh, I use my black. That's also left over there from the first layer and a small craft paint in bright blue. Now, I'm gonna mix this together with a card. I'm going to use the car to scrape this on. So I dip in the jet so the blue and the black actually get a little bit of black on there. But I ended up just mostly going with Blue and Jess. Oh, the white gesso. I black actually works very well for this layer for this type of technique. But this I just decided here. Now what you'll see is the critic hurt gives you very interesting pattern. Uh, it's just such a interesting A texture that it creates, decide to add just a little bit more. Just soaks. It wasn't covering as well as I liked. And then I decided, maybe still covering up a little bit too much. So I wipe off my card and I try to scrape it off. But all that really doesn't blend it. So I go with my trusty paper towel and start blotting off. Just a little bit of doesn't want to make sure those colors there. We'll see how that dries. Look how blue that came out now that it's dry. But you can still very much see the peace and the grains and the yellows. Its really a lovely layer, and I could actually stop right here, but I decided to do one more experiment. Now all I had was a flare pin. Felt it pin. I think probably an oil pastel, and black would probably be the best way to go with this. But I do some fake handwriting, and I was really freed up that you don't have to make really nice handwriting. You can just kind of makes scribbles. And it still looks really cool. So that that's a great Those scribbles are fun to put under layers like this as well. So, uh, this is our last bag room that we're doing. I hope you had a lot of fun. I've got one more little video 5. Outro: Hey, I hope you enjoyed the class. I hope you learned some new techniques that you can play around with on. I hope you're ready to get in there and just try things that sometimes don't work and then learn how to use them and make something beautiful. Eso for your project. Take some of these techniques and you can do 123 backgrounds You can mix and match. And I would love to see if you kind of experiment with some of the things we did here and put them together in a different way And show me your projects below. And thank you so much for taking my class. I hope to see you soon.