Mixed Media in Painting

By: Courtney McCreary

One of the most beneficial aspects of painting is the versatility of paints themselves. Different paints can be incorporated into mixed media pieces to create some really cool effects. Since there are a plethora of mixed media combinations, this week I thought I’d share a few that I’ve worked with before. These are just a handful, so remember you can always experiment with different media to find your niche. You might end up with some interesting results!

Ink and Watercolor– This one is pretty popular because of how well the two mediums complement each other. It produces an illustrative quality, and it’s an excellent method for achieving extremely fine details. Ink can be applied with ball point pens, liquid ink, felt tip pens, brushes, etc. Also an interesting note: sea salt sprinkled onto wet watercolors or ink will create a unique texture. It could be something to experiment for a more abstract piece.

Collage and Acrylics/Oils– Pretty much anything can be combined with collage, but oils and acrylics can add even more texture when applied thickly. Impasto is a great technique to use mixed media. Just remember, anytime you use oils in mixed media they have to be applied last, because no other media can be applied over oil paint.

Watercolor and Pastels– Dry pastels can be applied over watercolors (once dried) to amplify color. They can help brighten up dull spots, lightening lights and darkening darks. Make sure to use fixative spray once you apply any pastels as to keep them from smudging.

Gel Mediums and Acrylics– At any art supply store you’ll find a wide selection of gel mediums to combine with acrylic paints to create textures. Golden Acrylics is an excellent brand with many mediums to choose from. Because they’re water based, they work well with acrylic paints, but you can use them in any type of mixed media to add a desired texture. They can be a bit expensive though, so do some research before you buy.

Like I said, these methods I’ve mentioned only just scrape the surface of mixed media combinations. The best way to find out what you like best is to experiment with as many options as you can. Think outside the box!

Have an awesome week!


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