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Happy Tuesday! I am absolutely thrilled to be bringing you my first video tutorial as a Donna Downey Studios Artist Gang 2015 member!  You can see my post on Donna’s blog HERE along with all past Artist Gang posts.

I don’t know about you, but I find that firsts are always hard – especially with something like this. Although I have been art journaling and creating mixed media pieces for about 3 years now, Donna’s Artist Gang is the first “design team” I have ever applied for, and having been accepted -YAY! – is the first “design team” I’ve ever been a part of.  By the way, in case you’re wondering, I use the words “design team” in quotes, because Donna absolutely HATES the words “design team” LOL.  So – we are called her Artist Gang:

def: a group of hard core, fearless artists, working together and love getting their hands dirty!

Let me tell you it’s a darn cool Gang to be a part of!

So, back to my first video.  Boy did I spent a loooong time debating what my first project would be. An art journal page…a collage…a canvas?  In the end, my product choice is what led to me creating a canvas. I knew that I wanted to use Donna’s Collage Portrait 8×8 stencil as the foundation for a face, and Donna’s She Chooses 8×8 stencil for the quote. Individually, either one would have fit in my art journal (I use the Large Dylusions journal), but together? Not a chance!  So canvas it was.

Now part of the criteria for our video submission was that we keep the videos to between 5-8 minutes in length – so as not to bore you guys LOL.  Of course as you can imagine, this canvas took a lot more than 8 minutes to create LOL.  From start to finish it took me just over 4 hours, working over 2 days (to allow for drying time).


For my Artist Gang post on Donna’s blog I did my best to piece together clips (in fast forward) of each of the essential steps in the creative process – so it captures everything I did “in a nutshell”.  As with my art journal express videos – I narrated for you what I was doing. You can watch that below:

Now I because I realize that there are probably many of you out there who are just like me and like to know all the details and the whole process, I have prepared a couple of “bonuses” for you.  First off, you can download a PDF handout below which lists the supplies I used and a general step by step process of how I created this canvas.

Download the PDF handout here.

I also put together a three part Bonus video series which shows you the entire creative process from start to finish!  In the same way I create my Art Journal Express videos for you, the video is in fast forward and is narrated for you – that way you can see exactly what I’m doing without having to sit through hours of film. I’ve broken it down into three parts so you can either watch the process in more detail in the part that interests you or watch them all.

Part 1 – Creating the Background

Part 2 – Painting and Shading the Face, neck, hair and sweater

Part 3 – The finishing touches (the sentiment and flower)

There are a last few things I wanted to note for you about the process and things that I would do differently.

First off – even though I purchase pre-primed canvases, I always like to paint at least two layers of Gesso onto the canvas (letting the Gesso dry between each layer). The reason I do this is that I don’t know what the quality of the Gesso is that the manufacturer primes the canvas with, so I like to add my own base coat of Golden Gesso which I know to be a high quality Gesso.

After using my Donna Downey Numbers Repetitive 8×8 stencil with my Liquitex Professional Carbon Black Spray Paint as my first “textural” layer (visual texture – not dimensional texture), in the video you’ll see that I brayered on a combination of heavy bodied and fluid titanium white acrylics.  While the addition of the heavy bodied acrylic created some really cool dimensional texture, the mistake I made was in not planning out where I put the heavy bodied acrylic.  I should have decided ahead of time where I was going to paint the face, and then made sure that there was NO dimensional texture there. It turns out that I ended up with quite a bit of texture right smack dab where her forehead and left eye ended up being placed, which made shading much more difficult.

Another lesson learned?  Gesso is great for covering up mistakes!  In the video you’ll see that I created the colorful background layer using 3 different colors of Bombay India Ink (see supply list below) and a Daler Rowney FW Pearlescent Ink (the Green).  About 2/3 of the way through covering my canvas with color, I decided to introduce a beautiful tangerine orange into the bottom left corner of the canvas.  It totally did not work!  At that point I was looking at my canvas and hating it.  I decided to see if I could cover over the orange with Gesso and start over in that area.  Lo and behold, two coats of Gesso later, the orange was gone and I was able to continue on.

Faber-Castell PITT Big Brush Artist Pens are FABULOUS for shading over acrylic paint.  The ink inside the pens is India Ink which is translucent and waterproof when dry. After applying the marker you have about 20-30 seconds before it dries permanently. So I apply it just like you would use a marker and then use a damp finger (I dampen my finger on a wet baby wipe) to blend out the ink before it has dried. Because the ink is sheer (you can see through it), you can layer it beautifully to add depth to your image. Because it dries permanently, you can keep layering on top (including using other mediums) without having to worry about re-activating the ink.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!


PS.  If you haven’t seen the other Artist Gang posts, I encourage you to check them out.  Last week CeeCee did a video for the gorgeous canvas you see below.  You can watch it HERE.

"Art Is" Canvas by CeeCee

The week before that, Donna herself kicked off the Artist Gang Tuesday posts with this awesome art journal page. You can watch the video HERE.

Artist Gang Tuesday - Donna Downey

Next week’s Artist Gang Tuesday video will be brought to you by Shawn Petite.

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