top of page
Abstract Paint

From Art Class Demo to Masterpiece: Tips for Finishing Your Artwork

mixed media painting

When I teach a mixed media art class I usually do demo's to show painting techniques, design ideas, color harmonies and marks within all the layers that go into my mixed media pieces. Often times these canvases never go any further than a demo...though every now and again something sparks an idea and I take it back to the studio to explore further. Down The Rabbit Hole is a perfect example.

Below started out as a demo for composition and laying down collage papers.  I was teaching the rule of thirds in composition, dividing the surface into thirds to find the sweet spots where the eye likes to land.  Again I took a blank board and sectioned off the thirds and circled the sweet spots to show were our focal subject should land.

rule of thirds layout

I then used negative painting to find my design, to let the story emerge and reveal itself to me.  Flowers and nature show up quite often if I don't lead the way...although I do like that subject matter and it worked well here.  I painted around decorative papers that were originally laid down in the demo, to get a sense of where this painting will take me, along with more layers, scratching and making was starting to take shape. Although I wasn't liking the crispy contrast of the original papers I laid down, so I started adding more papers to cover them up, along with a few more layers of paint and a raw umber wash to neutralize it a bit.  

I went into my YouDoodle app and played around with covering more up with Titan Buff,  just to get an idea of what to get rid of before committing to seemed to quiet down all the elements in the piece. I have to say...the addition of the figure is what brought it to life for me.

painting in progress

using YouDoodle app

I got out my hand sander and sanded through the layers to rough it up and reveal what would be the finished piece "Down The Rabbit Hole". One of my students pointed out the rabbit and the mushroom in the center left paper I had added in, though I hadn't noticed or made the connection. I imagined the figure to be Alice, which gave this piece a name. Sometimes the title of a painting comes to me naturally while in the process of painting.

mixed media collage

Down The Rabbit Hole

This is one of my favorite mixed media pieces...I enjoyed the back and forth that went into it. It's been in just about every show I've entered it into...including one this weekend at the Bonita Museum where it was selected to participate in the museum show...

Contemporary Art: Folklore, Fakelore, Personal Myths Narratives

When: Saturday, November 11, 4:30 pm - 6:30 p.m.

Where: Bonita Museum and Cultural Center, 4355 Bonita Road, Bonita, CA. 91902,

Museum Visiting hours: Wed.-Sat. 10 am - 4pm.

Do you have pieces sitting around to better time than now! Take them out and let them breath...before you know it you'll be inspired to continue on and have a finished piece of art. Leave a comment below and let me know if you need words of encouragement to continue on!

artist signature


bottom of page