Simple Ways to Start a Mixed Media Canvas | Cherie Burbach | Skillshare

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Simple Ways to Start a Mixed Media Canvas

teacher avatar Cherie Burbach, Artist, Writer, Poet

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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.

      Start With Paper


    • 4.

      Making a Yes Choice With Color


    • 5.

      Finger painting


    • 6.

      Non Dominant Hand


    • 7.

      Use Words


    • 8.

      Use a Brayer


    • 9.

      Multiple Canvases at Once


    • 10.

      Using Up Leftover Paint


    • 11.

      Keep an Art Journal


    • 12.



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About This Class

Join Cherie Burbach as she shows you her favorite ways to start a mixed media painting. These are techniques that get you going quickly on the layers of texture and color that mixed media paintings are known for. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Cherie Burbach

Artist, Writer, Poet


Cherie Burbach spent a decade as a freelance writer, penning articles for places like NYT, NBC, Family Circle, Christianity Today, and more. While she still writes, she now works full time as an artist. Art and writing have always been a part of her life, ever since she was a little girl. Creativity was a safe place for her and a way to work through a turbulent childhood.

A desire to offer hope and encouragement is the intention behind her art. She is self-taught, painting almost every day. She also writes poetry and other works, and feels words and images are closely tied in telling a story of faith and confidence about the future. She's published many books, including poetry, kid's book, and a novel.

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1. Intro: Hey guys, I am mixed media artist Sherry Burbach and I'm hanging out in my studio, and I want to tell you about the different ways I used to start a mixed media painting. Mixed media is a really freeing process, and it's fun to do. But part of the problem in working with it is sometimes just wondering how to get started and how to develop those layers that add all the depth and texture to mixed media paintings . So I'm gonna show you how I typically start a canvass. There's a lot of different ways you can do it, and once you build on those first couple steps, it helps you move forward so that you could not just start a canvass but get to the finish line in completing a mixed media painting. 2. Supplies: part of the fun of mixed media is using a lot of different types of supplies, and that could mean anything from different types of pigments, oil sticks, inks, acrylics, two different types of papers and the types of items that you're going to use to create texture. But in doing mixed media doesn't mean you need Teoh get a lot of different things or buy a lot of different things. I'm a firm believer that aren't supplies should be inexpensive. I like using more expensive supplies. Sometimes they're worth it. But for certain things, I like using things from the dollar store or around the house. And so, for someone who's new to mix media, I would encourage you to maybe watch the class through and see the different types of things that I'm using. And really just look around your house or popping over the dollar store to see what you confined to create this kind of depth and texture. Uh, that will help your mixed media paintings, and as far as getting started, you can work on anything from a canvas to aboard to a piece of cardboard, so really experiment with a lot of different services when you're covering them and really getting started with a lot of different layers very often it doesn't really matter what the base layer is. A lot of times I work on canvas or canvass board, but there's been times I work on, Ah, lot of different other surfaces, too. So, um, any type of scrap wood would work Well, you know, that helps helps hold up to all the layers that we're gonna put on, um, and any type of canvas, especially when you want to redo. That's usually perfect for working on a mixed media painting. I also use a regular job loss to help it here. Layers of paper and a phone brush and paper towels and water is always a good thing to keep on hand to. 3. Start With Paper: One of my favorite ways to start a canvass is with layers of paper. I like to choose a variety of papers, and this could be anything from scrap of paper notebook paper maps. Um, really. Any type of papal paper will work, and you don't have to worry about the surface thickness. You know very often you might have something that's a little bit thicker, like a card stock type thickness or than something that's very, very thin, like a book page. All of these will go over when you're using a gel medium in a phone brush. Teoh adhere to your canvas, and it doesn't matter if the layers are a little bit uneven. That actually adds a little bit of texture and interest to your canvas. One good tip is to maybe use some gloves when you're working with Joel medium. It's not a bad idea because it is a glue and can get stuck to your hands. Um, also let each layer dry, especially when you're using paper. Let the first layer dry completely before you add any pigment or additional paper layers. Ah, and then continue that going forward because with any mixed media painting the way that those layers stayed crisp and interesting without getting muddied and schmear is to have it completely dry. So make sure it drives and as you're looking for paper and you're building the steps one by one by wine on your canvas, ah, use the colors and the design elements, the lines and the feel that the paper gives you to help inform the rest of the picture and help inspire whatever it is you create. So putting these first layers on can be something simple and something that you do kind of mindlessly just to play for, played, have some fun and not think too much about the end product. But as you're developing the layers, those early paper layers might also inspire you in terms of the final picture. So keep that in the back your mind when you're working 4. Making a Yes Choice With Color: I often say that creating a mixed media painting is really just a series of yes choices. You're gonna choose yes to something and then build on it from there. And what I mean is let the first choice dictate that Siri's. So if you're starting a canvas, choose a color just any color that you like in any pigment type. Acrylic soil. Six inks. Whatever happens to be, choose that color and don't think about it too much. Just choose it because you love it and it's appealing to you for some reason. And use that as the first layer, and it doesn't have to be a layer that you cover the entire canvas. It could be spots, uh, that build up. And so now that you'd shows the first color, you made that yes choice. Use that to go forward and shoes other colors, and this is really important when you're choosing the next color. It might not be one that goes with the first color, and don't worry about it. If it appeals to you in any for any reason, choose it and put it on that canvas. I really encourage you, Teoh. Let all these layers dry, then put different paint layers and different types of maybe pigment in different colors that appeal to you each time just choosing colors that stand out to you for whatever reason , and allow that to dictate the process of your art and see what you come up with the first time. You know when you're creating a painting and you might put together colors that you would not have done if you were planning it out and trying to determine what color went with what or what kind of tones went with what with what. You're just choosing colors that you like, but somehow they'll go together because you're creating an image that only you can create and these colors are appealing to you. And so use that toe. Help build the the texture layers the steps one by one by one. And when you make the first couple choices, the rest of them are easy. From there 5. Finger painting: remember when we were kids and we played with finger painting? Ah, back then, we didn't really worry about getting started on a picture, did we? We just kind of dover it in. And I think one reason we do that is because when your finger painting it's a really different experience than holding a paintbrush. You know, you were holding up a brush. You might think about what you're painting a little bit differently. And now, of course, you're gonna give your paintings thought when you're developing them. But we're talking about the first layers here, and those can be all about fun and play in finger painting. Yes, even as adults is a really great way to get started on a canvas. I especially like using a couple different colors on my hands and going forth and really creating textures and lines and putting my fingerprints on there. I might, you know, dot the paint on. I might schmear it on. And as I'm doing this, I'm not thinking about the end product. I'm not worrying about what the next step is. I'm kind of just playing and getting in that space. It's a really good space to be in when you're creating art. The experience of finger painting is different because you're touching the paint. You're feeling it with your fingers in a way brings you closer to the pains than when you're holding a paint brush and painting from a distance. So it's very different in terms of the experience, and it also really allows you to play and have fun, which is a great way to approach it when you're starting a canvas. 6. Non Dominant Hand: try starting a canvas some time, especially if you're at a point where you're stuck and don't really know where to go forward. Try starting a campus with your non dominant hand, and when you do this, you know the focus with your mind is on holding that paintbrush or finger painting. Ah, holding that brush, holding the phone brush whatever you're using to administer the pigment to the canvas, you're using the hand you don't usually paint with, and it lets you think about things in a different way. So it directs your mind to a different type of activity. And rather than worrying about where the painting is going, you're worrying about how you're getting started. You're just worrying about getting that paint on the canvas, and it's a really great way to get started. Like I said, especially if you're kind of stuck or you're in your studio and you don't really know where to go forward. What it doesn't just allow you to get in a different head space. It allows you to choose colors, and it allows you to think about things differently. When you're doing this, your mind does kind of go to a different place. And that's always a good start when you're creating art because you really do need to you when you get out of the business of the day and get in that place where you can finally do some art, you really do need to get in a different mindset, and this is one way that's a great way to do it. So try practicing with your non dominant hand sometime. 7. Use Words: my entire life. I've been an artist and writer, and so words are very important to me in terms of creativity and words are very often used in my art. And one way I like to start a canvass is my placing positive words, you know, words that have some meaning to me. Ah, and words that I feel are considered positive. Ah, and hopeful and offer inspiration those types of words. I place them on a canvas, and I do it a variety of ways. Sometimes I paid them on with a paintbrush. Sometimes I put them in ink. You could also cut outwards from magazines or books and adhere them with gentle medium and put him on. As a start. You could print off some words from the computer and adhere them to your canvas. And this is the way to give it a start. And you know, even if you cover every single one of these words with layers than of paint and paper and, um, and nobody could see the words at the final version of this painting, you'll know that these positive words are underneath this layers of paint, and I feel like that is a way to give somebody a blessing. You will feel good knowing all that positivity is what started your canvas and it's at the base of your picture. And I think it's a great way Teoh create a picture that has some meaning and one that you'll always know has a positive message at the base of it. 8. Use a Brayer: another way. I like to start paintings, especially really large canvases, is with a Breyer Ah Prayer allows you to really put Cain paint and pigment on your canvas without having brushstrokes, and it allows you to cover a really big area in a small amount of time. Prayers are also really good if you have some layers of paint already down layers of texture in any way. Putting a Breyer in through paint and then dragging and over your canvas would allow the paint to pick up all the different layers that are underneath. So it's really great for creating texture not just at the base of you're painting, but in the layers that follow. Embraer's allow you just another way to create a look on canvas. And what I like doing is using a Breyer putting down a few swipes with one paint color, letting that dry completely, using another paint color and doing it get doing it again. And it's a great way to kind of build different layers of paint and texture with one tool alone 9. Multiple Canvases at Once: mixed media paintings are known for needing a lot of drying time. We've got a lot of layers. They all need to dry. So instead of starting one painting, letting that draw and putting it aside work on several paintings at once. This is especially good for the beginning layers, because what you're doing, then, is dragging your Breyer through all three campuses. You might have in front of you using your paint or finger painting on all the campuses at once rather than just one. And you're not creating identical paintings. Necessarily. You're just starting them, and it gives you starting points for each individual picture. Now this is great for working in a Siri's if you want the backgrounds to look similar. But it doesn't have to be that way. You can start this way and have similar backgrounds that you then build on and change the painting as you go forward. Remember, these steps are all about getting started, so it isn't about the final picture. It's more just the beginning stages. Working on multiple pictures gives you, ah, way to kind of use up a lot of different things at once. It's also very freeing because you're not just thinking what one picture. You just kind of your expanding that in your using a lot of different paintings at once. And it's also also allows you to work very efficiently, because then you've got two or three or five or six canvases started. So when then you sit down to create more Maura depth and texture and finalize that picture . You've got more choices because you've got a few campuses that are already started. 10. Using Up Leftover Paint: One way to start a canvass is just to take whatever paint you have left over on your palate from the current picture that you're painting and use that leftover paint to put all of it on a new canvas and not worry about what is going on that new canvas. Don't worry about the colors or the textures. Don't even worry about how you get it on there very often. I'll just take the same brush amusing on my current picture, and I'll use it to swipe the leftover paint that I have on my palette on a new blank canvas . Now, this doesn't mean that the new canvas then will wreck will resemble whatever I'm putting on the beginning layers, but it gives me a starting point, and I don't feel like I'm coming to that white to blank canvas when I pick up that canvas. Then when I'm finished with the current picture and I pick up the new one, it gives me kind of starting point. Like I think, OK, it's not blank and I begin to go forward from there. So it's a good way to first of all, not waste paint and then also give you a starting point going forward 11. Keep an Art Journal: Here's a bonus tip. Keep an art journal. This is a really great way to help you work through design ideas. Help you sketch out some ideas you might have for paintings. I keep our journals that I sketch in and I draw in, and I use leftover paint and it really helps me. Then when I do sit down in the studio in front of campuses, it really gives me a starting point because instead of thinking about what I might want to paint, I've already got some ideas worked out, and then I kind of flipped through my art journal, and it helps me then move forward with the painting. This is especially great if, you know I've already started a few campuses and I have maybe a one or two layers. Now I'm looking at my art journal and deciding what I want to create. Going forward. It's another way to be more efficient in the studio, and you can also use a pure leftover paint on your art journal. A swell 12. Conclusion: I hope you enjoy these tips. And remember, starting a canvas is really just about getting going. It isn't about the final picture, doesn't have to be perfect or even pretty. Those initial layers just have to give you a starting point in some fashion. And I'm curious now that I've talked about the ways that I started painting, how you usually do it and what ways you've experimented with. If you've tried some of the ones that I have suggested, give me a picture and post it in our classroom. And let's share the ideas that we have and how we get started using mixed media techniques to build layers and start a canvass.