“Mixed-Media Paint Box: Weekly Projects for a Year of Creative Exploration” is a collection of mixed media projects which were submitted by different artists to introduce the reader of a variety of techniques. I came across this book while cruising the isles of my local bookstore and was so excited to locate such a great find. This book, published in 2010 by North Light Books, was published in the early rise of mixed media and features names such as Claudine Hellmuth and Kelly Rae Roberts that are now much more well known.
I love that this book is set up as a weekly journey. I have two jobs and go to school full-time, so I do not have a lot of free time to dedicate to taking craft classes. However, I can find bits of time, once a week, for creative self-expression through a simple project. Sometimes this means I am working on a project in the middle of the night but I haven’t found too many art stores that offer classes around that type of crazy schedule! For me, this book is like taking a weekly class that is tailored to my complicated schedule. I just love it!
The book has great step-by-step photos of the projects. The techniques themselves are varied and are introduced in a way that makes it easy for the reader to follow. Also, each week introduces the reader to some new media, as well using materials that the reader is already familiar with (and has on hand). There are projects using traditional materials like watercolors while at the same time, offering some application technique ideas.
The contributors have done a great job at keeping the projects and interactions simple and easy to manage. It allows for the reader to quickly grasp a technique and yet provides a good starting point for more in-depth future projects. There are also some templates and tips in the book.
The materials used in “Mixed-Media Paint Box” are easily purchased online or at your local art supply store.
One of my favorite techniques in the book is the “Special Occasion Collage” by Corey Moortgat. It is super easy to follow. It combines collage with painting. The project also introduces the reader to the use of glazes, gel pins and other materials. I made the above bead using the technique that I learned from this project.
The crackled owl above is made using the techniques I learned in the “Crackled Background” project by Alama De La Melena Cox. The project in the book uses fabric, canvas, and paints to create a cool piece of wall art. The reader learns how to combine the acrylic paint and crackle medium to create different textures. Then the project introduces using metallic fabrics, glitter, and adhesive to collage on top of the crackled surface. The final results are pretty fun and I recommend checking out page 48 in the book to see it!
I personally found some great ideas in the book that I could use to create jewelry pieces, like the watercolor washed bead above. This book really incorporates a great amount of ideas that will offer the reader a broad introduction into a variety of techniques. It also provides a great starting point to apply the techniques introduced to other creative projects. For those who are interested in trying their hand at digital painting, Susan Tuttle has a digital painting project in the book on page 52. She also includes some basic Photoshop Elements techniques to help you with the project.
If you are interested in a time intensive project, then the “Paper Pendant’ project by Stephanie Lee on page 118 is not to be missed. It has a lot of steps to it but the final piece is well worth the effort. Plus, she teaches some great techniques through her fabulous step-by-step photos.
- Easy to follow instructions and techniques.
- Easy to locate materials.
- Great variety of techniques.
- Includes nice introduction on each contributor, along with web and/or blog links so that you can learn more about them.
- No index is available to quickly refer to a particular technique. You will have to refer to the “Table of Contents” to find anything.
- No product list is available at the end of the book. You will have to do an online search to find the materials or get more information on a particular product.
- You may find yourself spending more time playing the with techniques you learn in this book and less time doing your daily chores or homework.
Mixed-Media Paint Box: Weekly Projects for a Year of Creative Exploration is published by North Light Books and is available in paperback and on Kindle Unlimited from Amazon.com.
Maria Del Pinto
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