Secret Garden with Mixed Media Collage | Jennifer Keller | Skillshare

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Background Papers


    • 4.

      Background Paint


    • 5.

      Small Flowers and Leaves


    • 6.

      Large Flowers


    • 7.

      Finishing Touches


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About This Class

In this crazy world, it can be challenging to allow yourself to stop and smell the roses. But in the garden, surrounded by beautiful flowers, we're compelled to slow down and appreciate the beauty around us. 

My name is Jennifer Laurel Keller. I'm an artist and instructor, but what I really do is help people gain creative confidence. In over 20 years working as an artist, I've taught many students how to paint flowers, but sometimes it's nice to use paper collage to take some of the pressure off and simply play with pre-made imagery.

In this class, Secret Garden, you can play with flowers, beautiful papers, and acrylic paint while letting go and enjoying a fun and easy project with big results. By using a welcoming, organic composition, we'll create the perspective of being low to the ground as if we're a small secret garden visitor like a bunny or a little bird nesting in the undergrowth.

We'll glean all of the flower imagery from decorative papers, so you won't have to paint them from scratch, and we'll use acrylic paint to create colorful embellishments.

In the lessons, you'll learn how to

  • Prepare a unique assortment of paper flowers
  • Create a rich mixed media background
  • Arrange your composition to create depth within your garden.
  • Use scale to achieve a sense of perspective.
  • Go further with your final touches for a more professional look. 

I'll also demonstrate easy color mixing, contrast, texture, brushwork, and layering techniques so you can have fun and get in the flow.

This class is right for you if you want to deepen your experience by creating a floral landscape that's beautiful, colorful, and has excellent results without a lot of technical painting skills.  

So if you love playing with gorgeous papers or tearing pages out of magazines, now is your chance! So get ready to go on a treasure hunt. You can use your stash of papers from home or go out in the world and find new imagery at the art supply store, thrift shops, or even by trading with your friends. Let's put those papers to good use! Be bold and remember, if you show up and practice with an open mind, you'll learn something new every time. I hope to see you in class.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jennifer Keller

Express Yourself with Creative Confidence!


I believe that art is magic. By creating, we mix our inner souls with the outer world to make beauty.

My name is Jennifer Laurel Keller. I'm an artist and an instructor, but what I really do is help people release their blocks and express themselves with creative confidence.

I've worked in the arts for over 20 years as a frame designer, art gallery manager, vintage furniture and home decor dealer, art supply sales associate, and finally as an art instructor.

I love teaching so much. Seeing students light up when they begin to gain confidence in their abilities is so incredibly rewarding and I'm so lucky to be a part of that process. I'm really happy to be able to connect with people all over the world who love being artsy, as well.

I invite you to vis... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: In this crazy world, it can be difficult to allow yourself to stop and smell the roses. But in the garden surrounded by beautiful flowers, were compelled to slow down and appreciate the beauty around us. My name is Jennifer Laurel Keller. I'm an artist and instructor, but what I really do is help people gain creative confidence in over 20 years of working in the arts. I've taught many students how to paint flowers, but sometimes it's nicer to use paper collage to take off some of the pressure and simply play with premade imagery in this class secret garden, you can play with flowers, beautiful papers, and acrylic paint. My letting go, enjoying a fun and easy project was big results. By using a welcoming organic composition will create the perspective of being low to the ground as if we're a small Secret Garden Visitor, like a bunny or a little bird nesting in the undergrowth will glean all of the flower imagery from decorative papers. So you won't have to paint them from scratch. And we'll use acrylic paint to create colorful embellishments. In the lessons, you'll learn how to prepare a unique assortment of paper flowers. Create a rich mixed media background, arrange your composition, create depth within your garden. You scale to achieve a sense of perspective and go further with your final touches for a more professional look. I'll also demonstrate easy color mixing, contrast, texture, brushwork, and layering techniques so that you can have fun and get in the flow. This class is right for you if you want to deepen your floral experience by creating floral landscapes that are beautiful, colorful, and have excellent results without a lot of technical painting skills. So if you love playing with gorgeous papers or tearing pages out of magazines, now is your chance. So get ready to go on a treasure hunt. Let's put those papers to good use. The bold. And remember, if you show up in practice with an open mind, you'll learn something new every time. I hope to see you in class. 2. Materials: Hello and welcome to the materials lesson. So let's have a look at what we're going to use. I use a 12 by 12 Canvas for this class, but I also made two other classes in the same few days that I was working. So I have three here. So you can use one for this class or you might want to buy three and take the other two floral mixed media classes as well. I also have synthetic bristle brushes. I use a variety of bright brushes, which are also very similar to flat brushes, and I use a small round brush. Alright, so just a variety is fine. Okay, Next I have acrylic paint. I am using the golden fluid acrylics, and I always use titanium white. It's a must for me because that's what, how we lighten our colors. I also use teal. I have a few warm tones out just in case, but I ended up just using teal, chromium oxide green, and Payne's gray for my colors. So you could get other colors out. And maybe if the mood strikes, you can use some warm colors, but I just used the cool colors plus white. Also, you want to have one to two pints of water ready to wash your brush, and we'll use that for drips and splatters as well. I have a glass palette. You can use any palette you like. A hairdryers handy if you want to speed up the drying process, but that's optional. A paint rag is always a good thing to have on hand to clean up, drips and dry out your brush. And I use acrylic matte medium. I use the gel more than the fluid acrylic medium. The gel is more of a peanut butter consistency and it has a really strong hold. I love it a lot. But if you have matte medium, that's fine. Go ahead and use that. You don't have to go out to the store if you have this. And I like to put it in a squeeze jar for easy pallet management. You want some sharp scissors and a pencil for some loose composition sketching. You might also want to take some notes in this class. All right, for the background papers, I used patterned and textured papers in my background, but I have more out. Then I just wanted to show you you could use anything you want in the background because we will be doing a semi-transparent acrylic layer over the top. So even if something is a dark color, you can lighten it up by going over it. But neutral papers are really nice because they're not going to compete too much with the acrylic paint. You're going to be able to see more of the details of the neutral papers coming through the paint. If that makes sense, I hope it does. But I go and look around at thrift stores, antique stores, art stores. I reuse packaging, sometimes M gifted papers because I do this enough that my friends know that if they have extra papers that I might be interested in them if they are going to give them away, you can use old maps. There are interesting textured papers and printed papers all over the place. So keep your eyes open. Go on a little treasure hunt. You don't need a lot. We're only covering about half of the canvas with background papers. You can use old book papers, greeting cards, advertisements, magazine cutouts, Doyle ease lays. You can even go thick with this. Sometimes I use corrugated cardboard. I do use an embossed paper That's really thick in this class. Just collect enough to cover about half of your canvas. Then we will move into more of the floral papers that we're gonna use for the focal points. I really recommend magazine cutouts and I do use some bushes, some rose bushes in part of my Canvas. So you want a variety of small, teeny tiny flowers and larger flowers because those are going to be in the foreground. The closer something is to us in the plane of space in your piece, the bigger the flower is going to be. And you want some little flowers for the mid ground. So I recommend looking for lots of different types of ornate floral papers. They don't always have to be realistic flowers. You can use more of a designed paper. I use a lot of scrapbooking papers for this project. So you'll see a lot of these pages come out of scrapbooking booklets. But I have lots of wrapping papers. You can use photos as well. And you just want to cut out your individual flowers with your scissors and get them prepared for the lesson where we talk about arranging the composition. Sometimes you get things with flowers, mail to you, they're all over the place. Very, very common thing to find on papers. So I'm just kind of going through my stash. Again. You don't need ton you don't need as many as I have here. I don't use this many in the class, but I just wanted to show you examples of all of these papers. And remember, not to forget the leaves you want to find greenery as well. So don't just have the flower, the heads of the flowers ready to go, but you also want to find some leaves and have those prepared as well. So I recommend just spending an evening going through your papers, dash and snipping out all of your flowers. I use about somewhere between 30 and 40 flowers for this class. And just go ahead and cut them out. You want a variety if any of them are cropped because they're on the edge of the paper. Don't worry about that. You can use those along the edge of the canvas, okay, and then I recommend putting all of your flowers in little piles by size so that when you want a big flower, you can find it really quickly. If you're working on an area where you're using small flowers, you can find those easily as well. So up next is the background paper collage lesson. I can't wait to see you there. 3. Background Papers: Hi there and welcome to the background papers lesson. In this lesson, you can see that I fill in about half of the canvas, kind of in a bowl shape. So I'm just using some neutral papers in this. So let's have a look at this process. All right, I have my canvas ready to go. And I'm gonna take my pencil and I'm going to sketch in a U shape to indicate where the garden is going to be. So everything above this U-shape is going to be the sky. And everything below it will be the flowers. And the flowers might branch up from this bottom foreground area, but it's just a guideline. Next, I'm going to look for things to fill in the sky with. These are going to go under an acrylic layer, which will be in the next lesson. And I'm starting by and looking at this lace and it would totally work. I actually almost used it. I started cutting it out. But knowing me, I had to keep looking a little bit more. I can't just go with the first thing, right? But I totally could have. Now this is a scrapbooking paper. It comes 12 by 12, which is handy because this is a 12 by 12 Canvas. So I'm going to rip out a piece for the top. And when you're ripping the piece that you rip towards yourself doesn't have the white core of the paper showing. So that's just a little handy tip. So that's going to work great up there and I actually do like that quite a bit. So I'm going to use that at the top and that pattern will show through the acrylic layer. Now I've got some sheet music and I'm just going to tear into that. I try and tear as close to the print as possible because I want it to be filled with good music notes. I'm just going to work my way down the canvas. Here I have a book, it's written in Korean, which is nice to have some different type of language in my background. So I've used a lot of this book and you'll see this, these pages in a lot of my pieces. I really, really like it. Okay, just tearing off the margin, getting that plain paper removed. And then I'll wrap up a few pieces to use throughout. And here I have a map. I'm going to tear into some of the areas that are more neutral, but maybe even have a little bit of the blue showing. Next I have a ledger. This has some old writing in it from the fifties. Somebody was tracking some payments and I also like the grid on it. Here is an embossed, handmade paper. It's really fluffy and a little bit tough to rip through, but it works and the torn edges on it are beautiful. And you can find stuff like this at art supply stores. This was just a sample that I came across. So I'll use some of those as well. Here is a page of scrolling handwriting. It's not old, but it's made to look old. So that's plenty of paper. I'm going to scoot that off to the side and grab my gel medium. But it's starting to separate a little bit. So I'm just going to stir that up and get it nicely incorporated. So I'll just wipe the excess onto the canvas. And that will be for my first piece of paper, this long strips so the top. And I can hold it up to measure or just eyeball how far I need to apply my gel medium on the canvas so I'm getting it applied. It is a nice slick surface now. You want to add not too much, not too little either. You want just enough so that it's grabbing nicely, but it's not pushing out of the sides. And you do have a moment where you can slide it around a little bit before you push it down. And I use the brush which still has some gel medium on it to get a nice finish on the top. So I use it as a clear coat and as the adhesive. And now I'm just going to work my way down applying these papers using my brush. It's smeared some of that writing, but I don't mind at all. It just gives it more texture. Right? And I like the lines, even if the paper is ripped at a diagonal, I do like the lines of the paper to be somewhat horizontal, although I'm not perfect about that. And sometimes I break my own rules. Okay, The embossed paper, I will warn you if you're using textured paper, I would not wait to, until you're down far into the canvas to apply it. I made a small mistake here. It didn't ruin the piece by any means, but it would've been nice if I'd use the embossed paper a little bit higher up in the Canvas. Because eventually when I did the garden, I had to work around it because it's so such a thick raised paper. So I would recommend having that texture a little bit higher up on the canvas. And this right here would probably be as low as I would recommend going. I that was the first one I did, so that's the highest it goes on my piece. So just something I would recommend for your own work, but I work with it and I manage it just fine and really ended up loving the piece in the end anyway. So I've got my map and I'll work in some more textured embossed paper here. And I just use a little bit more gel medium with those because I do want to seal a man there. Very, very porous. So the thicker the paper sometimes the more you have to work with it. And that's normal, that's no big deal. It just takes a little bit more medium. Alright, filling in as I go along, I'm not going for perfection here. There will be an acrylic layer that will go over the top and fill in any gaps with colors so you don't have to have everything perfect. And I always say when it comes to these backgrounds that you find things you love, but not things you're gonna hate to cover up because a lot of this will be covered up and we're only going to see a small portion of it. It's just a base to get us going and to give us lots of texture and pattern peeking through and are really rich background. It's not a waste of time. A lot of people are like, well, if we're going to paint over it anyway, why go through all this trouble? But I, I promise it works out really well. After the acrylic layer. It is a lot of fun and it adds a little bit of mystery and an added layer of elements for your audience to look at when they're up close to it. Here I'm getting a little nit-picky with putting in little patches of paper where there are gaps. But again, you don't have to be worried about filling in the entire area of this canvas. You just want to get a nice balance, a nice amount of texture. And then we're going to tone it down later with our acrylic paint. It's starting to look really good. A little bit more of that beige paper with the handwriting on it. And let's do a little bit more of the graph paper just to balance out the other graph paper I have here. Okay? And you don't have to have your papers meet the line that you drew perfectly. You just don't have to worry about going below that line. But we're going to layer and it doesn't matter that much. Okay? So that is it for that. Up next we're going to work on the background paint. So I will see you in the next lesson. 4. Background Paint: Hello and welcome to the background paint lesson. This is going to be a fun one. We're going to work with pain and color and transparency and drips. So let's have a look at how we do this. Okay, so I have my canvas, I have my collage for the background, ready to go. And I have a jar of water. I have my palette out, and I'm going to put down some teal, some chromium oxide green. I have some titanium white, of course. And I always use more titanium white than any other color, especially in the sky because it is very light. And then I have Payne's gray and I'm going to work with a bright brush that is about one inch wide, but you can use anything you have that's close. I'm going to use a little bit of the teal, little bit of the Payne's gray and then mix in a good amount of titanium white. Get that nicely incorporated on my brush. But it's not overloaded. I don't have a ton of paint here. And I'm gonna go in really softly just with the end of the brush very feathery and work my pain over the top in what's called a dry brush technique. I use this a lot in many of my classes. You might have seen me do this before. And here is another mix. I tend to mix as I go. I don't try and over mix too much paint at once because then it's, you end up with a huge pile of paint on your palette. And we don't have to make everything the same exact color. By the time I have enough paint on my brush, I end up just adding paint straight onto the canvas little by little, and feather it on in this way. Now, I left a little bit of a margin, a little bit of a hazy margin around the corners because I really like that pattern and I thought it would be cubed as a design element to have that a little bit more obvious up on the top corners. And as I worked my way down, I'm just adding more white and a little bit more blue to my brush as I move down. But what we're gonna do is introduce a little bit of green here. So now you can see a lot of those. The writing, the sheet music, the map. It's all showing through even where I applied a little bit more paint, but you don't wanna go too crazy and make it too opaque. I thought I would add just a little bit more weight to the center. And you just want to make sure you fluff it out really well, so it's not too streaky. Lot of times our brushstrokes will just follow the arch of our arm. And it's important that you change directions every now and then to keep it going in different directions instead of that one arch of your arm. And then if you have any texture or you can use the brush really lightly over that and pick up the ridges on any of those designs, which is really fun. Okay, I'm holding the brush really horizontally and it's picking up the ridges and the papers and then crinkles, they're really well. So I haven't reached the end of the bowl yet. That U-shaped area with my my collage for the background. Because I'm going to work in some, some more darker colors down there. But while I'm up here, I'm mainly concentrating honest guy colors. So I thought it would be fun to do some drips up here. I'm just adding water to the paint. What I do is fill my brush with paint first and then dip the brush in the water and then run it across the edge of the canvas. So I pick up paint here, I'm doing it again. Picking up paint on my brush and then dipping it into my water. And then scraping that across the edge of the canvas. And you can do it with light colors are dark colors. But I'm mainly sticking to my blue tones at this point. And they do dry a little bit lighter here because they're very watered down. And even when they seem dark, when I first do the drips, they tend to dry a little bit lighter. Okay. Now, I'm adding a little bit of water to any areas where I want to increase the flow or help my drips along. You can just kinda guide it down if it gets stuck on something that has a lot of texture, you can add more water up at the top. If a drip doesn't go as far down as you'd like it to. You can go back over it with more water or another mix of paint and water. So that's looking good for now. So I'm just going to lift the rag out from underneath. I'm going to put a little bit more white on my palette because I used it all up. And this guy, and I am going to add green to the weight, get a nice mix. Maybe just a pop of the Payne's gray and the teal here. But I'm going for a darker color. It doesn't need to be really dark, but it needs to be a little bit darker because now we're getting into the mid ground. So what I'm going for here is a hint of some out-of-focus bushes or shrubs from the garden. In the further part of the midground, I would call the sky to be our background. And then the midground is where our garden starts and we see it off in the distance a little bit. And I'm blurring the edges here, trying to get as smooth transition kind of feathering amount. You can use a rag to help you out while the paint is still wet and it will lift off some of the paint. So you'll still have some of the textured collage showing through. But here it's nice because I'm just going for a really faint hint. I'm looking at this magazine page and I'm looking at this area here where you can see maybe some trees, but it's kind of Misty. And that's creating atmosphere, a sense of space. That there's something peeking through from the back. And that's the trick to acrylic paint is that you always work from the background to the mid ground and then to the foreground because of layering, acrylic paint is made to be layered. Okay, so I added more Payne's gray, more chromium oxide green, there's still some white on my brush. I just picked up a tiny, tiny little bit. I didn't even really need that. But I want there to be a gradual change down to the bottom. Now we're getting into the foreground. And this is going to be where the bulk of the flowers are. So we're going to be covering most of this up. I'm using this dark green mixed with the Payne's gray to indicate shadow. I want it to be dark and green because it's going to peek through the collage that we're going to do over this acrylic layer. So as I collaged down all of my flowers and leaves over the top of this, there are going to be points where the canvas shows through. And I don't want the canvas to be a bright white showing through. I want it to be the shadow under the flowers. Okay? So you don't have to worry too much about your brushstrokes down there. It's simply to put down a base coat of acrylic paint. And then you can use a rinsed brush to smooth out any last bit of wet paint. So then it's a nice transition. And that's how it looks at this point, up-close. So it doesn't have to be perfect, but we are starting to get some really interesting textures and elements going on with the drips and the printed paper and the change of color. Okay, so you'll notice here that there is a tiny, tiny little white area around the corners because that paper was just about an eighth of an inch shy of the size of the canvas. So I'm going to mix a sky color up again. And I just wanted to show you this because you might run into some areas that got overlooked with acrylic paint right around the edge of the canvas. We want all of the front-facing canvas to have color on it so that if somebody wants to frame this in a float frame or you want to paint the sides, eventually, you'll have the right colors on the front of the canvas. I'm just coming through really, really lightly around the very outermost portion of the sky. Just to make sure that there's no white of the canvas showing there. And I can smooth it out with my finger to get a nice transition. Okay, That's looking a lot better. And while we're at it, I'm just gonna do one more pass with some drips. I want a lighter color in the sky still. So I put my rag under the bottom of the canvas to catch the drips. I put white in my brush and I'm just going to dip my brush once in the water to start. And let's see how that goes. Right? Beautiful. All right, let's just do a few of those just for a little contrast to have something light in the sky. Contrast is a good thing. You want to stretch it all the way to the lightest lights and the darkest darks. So we have everything in this first pass of acrylic paint. And you know, it's up to you how you want to do it. But I just kinda felt like adding that and they dried so faintly they're not as light as they look now, they're going to just dry a little bit more faint once the water evaporates out that out of them. Very good. And you can always add more paint to a drip if it is looking to water down. Wonderful. So I'm just going to take my rag and wipe away the white drips from the bottom so that none of those white areas show through. So I'm going to let that dry. And up next we're going to work on the small flowers and the leaves in the next lesson. 5. Small Flowers and Leaves: Hello and welcome to the lesson where we apply the small flowers and the leaves. So here you can see I just added some smaller elements around the U-shape, the transition on that U-shape. So let's have a look. Okay, so I'm going to test and make sure that my canvas is dry. There was just a drip or two that was still wet. So I'm going to take my rag and blot that off. And now I'm going to add this rosebush to the sides because it's from far away and it's going to be our mid ground. So those guys are background. And this area that we're going to work on in this lesson is the mid ground. So I'm going to cut this rosebush in half vertically and then switch places with them so that they seem to be facing each other as two different rosebushes. So I took the right-hand side of what was in the picture and I put it on the left. I don't need the bottom of that. What I'm going to do is just trim off an outline of the bush. I'm making it up a little bit, but making sure to get some of the best flowers in there. And so I'm just kinda going around, wiggling around and defining the edge of the paper that's going to face inwards on the canvas and then the other side will line up with the edge of the canvas. So I'm just working my way around. It doesn't have to be perfect. If some of the margin is showing that it's going to be okay. You can always go over this with a tiny amount of acrylic paint to blur any harsh cuts on your paper. But you'll see what I'm talking about in just a moment. You just have to pick a part of the page, the upper part of the bush and cut it out so that it looks like it's the outside of the rose bush. So there you see edges went around. And that will be the side of our garden. And you can imagine a little trellis under there, or maybe a garden wall. So I'm just going to bring it out a little bit, but before I cut it, because I don't want quite as much of it covering the canvas. And I could even put it on an angle if I wanted. But before I cut it, I think I will cut out this side, the other side. And that way I have a symmetrical composition. And I have a visual reference for how far out I want to go on both sides, because it is going to be symmetrical. It's the type of composition that we're doing, a symmetrical composition for the most part now it's not going to be a mirror image. That's not necessarily what symmetry means. It just means there's a balance and a similar composition from one side of the canvas to the other. Okay, So I'm just going to go along and do the same thing, trimming out my rosebush. And this is really, really special. I love this. You can find rosebush and other types of pictures of rosebushes in lifestyle magazines, Better Homes and Gardens, that kind of thing. Or in calendars or catalogs, that cell plants. Those are great as well. Okay, So I want to trim these back. I want to crop them. So what I'm going to do is just cut about a half an inch off of the sides. I didn't need that much because I do want it to be nice and open in the middle and give it kind of an area. Luck. So this is just going to frame my composition. And I'm gonna do the same thing on this side. And I'm kind of sad to see all those roses Go that I trimmed off, but it will give it a nice open feeling in the middle. Okay, That looks fabulous. If you don't have a rosebush picture, you can use lots of other tiny flowers. Here's another rosebush from the same company or from the same magazine layout. And I could have kept going. So you can see you can layer your way down if you need to. I don't think I need to in this, but and if you don't have anything with this type of height to it, you can use two different plans and just layer them up the sides, starting high up with the background, the most furthest away is going to be higher up on the canvas and then work your way down. So okay, I'm just kind of visually memorize where my acrylic gel medium needs to be. And if you're working with a magazine paper, they do tend to ripple a little bit more than thicker papers. So I am being extra cautious here to start from the center of the paper and work my way out. Nice and patient. And if it ripples a little bit, who cares? It's a collage deal with it. You know, it's fine. Okay, So we're going to put gel medium on the other side and repeat. Just wanna make sure you put enough down over the area that you want your paper to go smooth and out nice and easily if you need to tuck in some other gel medium under any portion of the canvas where you missed it, that's fine. You just want a nice seal and then seal it over the top with the excess. Okay, I have my flowers and it's time to start bringing in some smaller flowers because when things are further away from you, they're going to be smaller. And then as we work down the canvas into the foreground, I'm going to use my larger flowers because those are closer to us, they're going to appear bigger. And I want you to notice how well these flowers blend in with my rosebushes. Now that was not planned. It was just a happy accident. If you have other types of flowers that are small, if they're daisies or lilies, whatever, they don't have to be this seamless into the bush on the side. Okay. So that was, that was not planned. And I started getting into my small flowers and then I realized, hey, I might want to add some leaves. I'm thinking ahead to the foreground a little bit because leaves tend to pop up from these bushes as well as flour. So I just want them to reach out from behind the foreground a little bit so I don't want to cover up my midground with these leaves, so I'm going to include them along with my small flowers in the midground. Just a bit of pre-planning there because I like how they reach out. And notice how I'm going over the line of the dark shadow area. I'm reaching up and over into that sky color so that the sky seems to come through the top of the garden. Okay. And with these leaves, I'm not just putting them all straight up. I like them to have some horizontal orientation here. So that seems to be some movement and some reaching. They're not all going to stick up like blades of grass. Okay. So I'm just I do have time to move them slightly if I act quickly and I'm just going to glue all of those down. See here, that thick paper from the background is a little bit in my way. And so that's why I was saying when we were putting down our background papers to put anything was thickness up at the top a little bit more than I did. You can learn from my mistake here, you know, and I work around. It wasn't a big deal, but it was a little bit in my way and I had to mind that. So there I have my leaves down. And now I'm ready for some small flowers. And I'm going to come in around and shape out the bottom of this U-shape so that the garden seems to be sweeping the bottom third of the canvas like an opening and a clearing. Okay, so just filling in my small flowers at this point, you know, they don't have to be perfect. We're going to come through and make some final touches on these. So if you, if you have some margin showing on some of these, it's not that big of a deal and these are really small. Nobody's going to be using a magnifying glass to come through and let the bees. And then this piece has a little bird and i, which is really cute. I thought I would include an animal in my garden. And you can too. You can add butterflies, you can add birds. You could put a little mouse peeking through subtly or have it be a focal point. Whenever you wanna do is fine. So we're just going to layer our way down from this area where the dark green transitions into the sky color. And I want you to be a little bit cautious about having things too tight and in a row. You want things to go in and out and break apart. But follow this gentle curve or else it's going to look well a little too manicured for my taste. I like a nice wild garden. But if you want to make it more like a palace garden where everything's really nicely trimmed up and straight. You could do whatever you want. This is just how I prefer my garden until up. Here's a rose bud reaching up. So even though we did this row of leaves that is going to be reaching AMP, even come through and put something else, kind of has a flower on it reaching out from the garden. If it seems like it's called four, you can do whatever you want. It's your piece of art. Okay? All right, so that's gonna do it for this lesson. Up. Next we're going to work on our larger flowers and fill in the foreground. So I will see you there. 6. Large Flowers: Hi there and welcome to the large flowers lesson. In this lesson, we're going to be rounding out the garden by adding the foreground with some bigger flowers. And I can't wait to show you. So let's have a look. So I grabbed some larger flowers. And again, you'll see how that thicker paper kinda got in my way. So I'm using these tulips to work around that thicker paper. I like these tools because they have a long neck to them, long stem. And so I'm not covering up too much of the smaller flowers that I already put down. But your composition is going to be different. You're going to have different papers. So I would just want you to know that it's 0 KDE to cover things up, there is going to be a lot of overlapping in this lesson. So don't sweat it too much. And you can always paint in some stems later. So if you want to float something way above where the garden starts and then have a big stem reaching out from the foreground. That would be totally fine. And here I just went for it. I didn't let that thicker paper stop me. I just went right over it and I think I even gave my tulip a little bit of depth, so I'm not mad about it. Sometimes you just have to work things out and paper is really a lot stronger than you might give it credit for. So if you ever rip something, you can always glue it backwards Shogun. So, you know, just go for it, Just layer, layer and have a good time. So here's my last Tulip out of these three that are really reaching out from the garden. And I decided to be bold and made it really high up so that it seemed like it was kind of a rebel reaching out really tall. Okay, I have this rows and has a cropped edge because it was on the edge of its paper. So I'm going to use that along the edge of the canvas. And then I have this hydrangea, which I like a lot because it's so dark. And so I thought because it's dark, it would be a good flower to layer underneath my rows. So I'm just going to use the edge of the canvas as a guide. Bend the paper, and then trim it up by using the line of the fold. And I'm going to apply it down right there. So I'll grab my gel medium kind of mark how far I need to go up. And I am overlapping the layer from above so that it seems that we have that depth. That's one big indicator of creating depth in a piece is that things will overlap if they're next to each other in the garden. So I have my hydrangea down. It's a lovely background flower for that rose. And before I put the rows down, I want to plot out my composition a little bit more and fill in a few more things. Because I want this area to be able to be overlapped by the row in front of it, if that makes sense. So I want to go row by row, work my way down. I got a little bit ahead of myself because I found that rows that had the straight edge on it. And I also want to balance my colors here. So I have my purple hydrangea that I'm repeating in this area and I think I'll just use that again down on the other corner. So let's just balance that out. And you can always come back and overlap any gaps with smaller flowers again, which we will do a bit in the last lesson. So I have my hydrangea down and I'm going to smooth that out. All right, So let's start thinking about that top area just a little bit more. I like that, Lily as well. Sometimes you just have to do the dance, right? You're bringing over a flower. You hold it in place. You try it over here, you try it over there. You get a sense of the space that you have and the shape of your flower. And eventually you just have to commit. So I'm putting that down. Okay, here's a huge, huge Daisy which I love. And I think I'm going to bring the hydrangeas all the way over in the front. And then I'll have another arose over here because that has a straight line as well. You can always create a straight line or use straight lines from where you cut things out from the paper. And you want to balance things out as well. So if you have white flowers, you might want to put something in between them. I try and space out my pink flowers a little bit because giving things a little bit of breathing room that are the same color are going to be good for you. All right, There we go. That's going to reach up a little bit very cute. And so that's pretty much everything I need to cover. My foreground. I'm going to scoot them up to remember the order that I want them to be in. So I just brought those up and then I'll start my hydrangea there because that's going to be behind. Smooth it out. And let's do this rose. Ok? And because I'm working with such big flowers in the foreground, they really do cover a lot of canvas. And also we have the green acrylic paint underneath That's going to fill in any gaps so that the white of the canvas didn't show through. And these pieces together just like a puzzle. It's just a fun way to fill in this Canvas. There's no right or wrong way to do it, but I would really recommend keeping in mind how you want things to be overlapped. And to know that when you overlap something in front of something else, it will create the sense of depth. And the perspective that we're looking across this garden. And things will be peeking out behind other flowers. Okay, so now let's do this, bill Daisy, this seems to be the focal point, the star of my garden. And a lot of that is because of the size, but also because of the contrast. It's really light. So it's going to stand out next to all of these other flowers that are dark like the hydrangea is, and midtones like my roses. Okay, so I cut the edge off, then a line it up with my Canvas, and then smooth that out from the center. And that looks really nice. And then cover the rest up with acrylic gel medium. So then it's sealed in. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Up next we're going to put some finishing touches on the piece and I will see you there. 7. Finishing Touches: Hi there and welcome to the finishing touches lesson. In this lesson, we add some small details to make the piece pop with both paper and acrylic paint. So let's have a look. Okay, so I have my garden and I'm going to find some small white flowers. And the reason I want them to be white is because I want to add some contrast. And I'm going to pair these with some darker areas of the canvas and some lighter ones for that matter. But pops up weight are a great way to finish a piece. At the end of every piece, I always add my lightest lights and my darkest darks and it makes the piece pop. So here I'm floating some flowers up in the sky, which I love doing because it defies gravity and makes it just a little bit more fun in art. See, here I have a rose bud and I think I'd like that to peek out as well. So I want to make sure that the piece is balanced and that it just seems fun, bouncy, and floaty. But that's just my own personal touch to these and you're welcome to use it. It's a fun trick. The white flowers against the lighter sky also are subtle. So if you want more of a pop, you can use more contrast on those that are floating in the sky. Dark blue, whatever you want. But I like how up here we don't have quite as much contrast in the sky. But then down here the white flowers add a punch because there's a lot of contrast though they do both. Okay, so I'm just going to go around with my acrylic gel medium. We're just going in deeper with our details here. We're just finding areas where there could be a little something extra. Okay, now I have my small bright brush and I have some titanium white on the brush. And I'm going to pop all of my highlights. So I'm going over the areas of my flowers that could be lighter. And this is where you imagine the light, the sunlight is hitting your flowers. So it makes it a lot of sense and Daisy, but even on these more colorful roses, you can add a pop of white along the edge of their petals and it will make them stand out a little bit more. So here I'm doing it again on this rows. And these are just nice soft crescent shapes. I'm not smashing my brush down onto the flower. I'm doing this really lightly so that it tapers off and creates a soft brush strokes. So don't jab your brush into the Canvas at this point, you're going to squeeze out way too much paint. If you use too much pressure on your brush, a light touch. And I don't want you to overload your brush. You want to load your brush, maybe 50 percent. And if you put too much paint on your brush for this, you can always wipe it back on your palate. Okay. And now I'm just taking that titanium white and tapping it up higher onto the canvas, deciding where else it could be. And then I can bring some into my rosebush. And I can bridge the gap on the cut of that paper to make it seem like it's melting into the background a little bit. This will give it a more seamless look and make it look less like a cutout and more like part of the painting. Okay, so just a soft application, bringing that white paint out a little bit. It's kind of transparent right now. But it's also going to give some contrast around those bushes as well. And then I can take a really dry brush and bring out that paint a little bit more. Okay. Can pop some onto these areas as well. I don't have that much paint on my brush, but I can bring some into the small flowers. There are a couple of daisies here that we're getting really lost. So I brought out some highlights in those. And lots of little dots are fine as well. They can indicate a little cluster of white flowers. Okay, so I didn't really wash my brush. There's not a lot of paint on it, but I brought over some Payne's gray and chromium oxide green. I refresh the green on my palette and work it into some Payne's gray. And what I'm doing is mixing up a shadow color. So now I can use this dark green similar to the shadow color that we did in the the underpainting of the garden. And I'm going to tuck it in and bring out some branches that are reaching out. So I'm just starting at the edge of my papers and working my way up. And I put a little bends and and make it seem a little bit narrow, old like a branch. I'm not just doing perfect V's coming out or why shapes. I can twist the brush a little bit to give it more of a woody branch, eat lunch. And I'm using my brush the narrow way and instead of the Broadway so that I can get a thinner line. And then I can bring some of that shadow, shadow color into the rose bushes. I can bring it behind some of my flowers to give more shadow to the foreground here I'm popping it in between the petals on my roses. And you don't want to do too much. You have to keep it really light. Light, light little dashes and crescent shapes. And you don't have to outline every individual petal. It's more just like a hint of shadow here and there. So don't get carried away with this dark paint. It's just a like peppering our garden so that overall the viewer gets more contrast. But they're not going to be falling along and be like, Oh, that should have been there. And this should have been there. It's more about just a little consistent peppering. Ok. And now I have my little round brush. I put some water on my brush and I'm mixing up a Payne's gray and white, getting it nicely incorporated. And then I use my finger as a brace and I'm going to assign the piece. I also put my pinky down on the table to brace my hands. And because there's a little bit of water in the paint, it will give me a nice inky flow on this round brush. And I don't want to push too hard. And I'm just going to sign my name. And there we go. Just really subtle, small amount of contrast. It's nice to have it be a color sometimes. And then final, final, I brought some water over to my palette with a larger brush. And I'm going to do some splatter, which is just a nice, fun little kind of like confetti over the piece. You don't have to do this, but I think it's a lot of fun. So I just load up the brush with a lot of watery paint. You could do a color, you could do white. And you want to bring in more, a little bit more texture with that. And if you go too far and you get a big drip, just blotted out or wipe it and it's fine. That's why it's so good to have a rag out. You can use your finger for help. And that is that this is the piece. I love it so much. I love this composition. I had so much fun. Thank you so much for joining me for this class. That was so much fun. I had an absolute blast making this mixed media garden with you. I would love to see your pieces and to hear about your experience. So if you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask. I checked the discussion section often and it might just help other students learn as well. I'd love to see you in another class if you enjoyed this, please be sure to follow me. I'll be coming out with new classes, very sins, so you won't want to miss out on those. And I also have dozens of other acrylic and mixed media classes ready to take now so you can find them on my teacher profile or my website. So that's a wrap. Once again, thank you so much and remember, if you show up and practice with an open mind, you'll learn something new every time. Happy creating much love. Hello.