ART Smart: Mixed Media Art

No one is born understanding all the different types of paintings and art that artists are creating. In this series we will be taking a look at the basics of each type of art so that you can feel confident and art smart! Wondering how I got to be ART Smart ? I apprenticed in an art shop for three years and while I was there it was my job to play with everything and teach people how each medium works.

IMG_8506Rain DancerThe Aerialist

 What is Mixed Media Art?

First I should untangle two terms that I still mix up on occasion.

Mixed Media Art is the kind of art that you create when you combine paints and pastels, or drawings with clippings of cool things or vintage items.  Whenever you are combining two or more different art mediums, you are creating mixed media art. It can be two dimensional (on canvas or paper) or three dimensional when you create it with statues, and/or found objects.

Multi-Media Art refers to film, digital and audio art forms.

mixed media art, assemblage and painting, Laura Tetrault Artist
Days 80-90 Construct I

Not Just Strange Art With Randomly Placed Doll Parts …

There is a huge spectrum of mixed media art, from art that you would barely recognize as mixed media, like my Peacock painting. Art created for dia de los muertos where families create elaborate altars honoring their family members with photos, candles, beads and other things are considered mixed media. Altered books are another avenue to explore, where artists cut out shapes and grooves and niches in books. Quelle horreur! At least to those of us who were taught that books are almost holy and should never be introduced to a pair of scissors ;). Mixed media is great for expressing ideas that are complex and personal – because anything goes. Instead of being confined within the boundaries of a single medium, the artist has access to anything and everything he or she can lay hands on.  Some mediums you might find in a mixed media piece are watercolor, pastel, oil paint, acrylic paints, collage, charcoal, conte crayons, graphite powder, pencil and colored pencil – really anything is fair game. If it can be glued, tacked, pressed, folded, stapled or painted over you will find it in someone’s art.

If you’re thinking about playing with art yourself, mixed media may be a really great place to start. By nature mixed media is experimental. It doesn’t have perfect lines, or even perfect results all the time. You don’t need to be able to draw a perfect circle or paint the Mona Lisa. It is perfectly ok, and even expected that you put random things together to see how it works.

Peacock mixed media art piece
Mediums: Watercolor, Pastel, Oil paint sticks

How Should I Care for Mixed Media Art?

Since each mixed media piece is different, I recommend following the artist’s instructions for care – but just in case you aren’t sure here are some general good practices for caring for art.

Your mixed media piece may include some mediums that don’t like to get wet, like watercolors, pastels and differnt types of glue or adhesive. If  your art is on paper I’d recommend framing it with a mat. By now you probably remember that although a mat is decorative its’ main job is to keep the glass from sticking to and damaging your art.

If your art has been created on a three dimensional form like a sculpture or found object, there is a really good chance that the artist has put a protective seal on it, so wiping it with a damp cloth should help it stay dust free. Also, sculptures, ceramics, and wooden objects aren’t usually very friendly to the more delicate mediums of watercolor and pastel so there is less chance that you will damage them.


7 responses to “ART Smart: Mixed Media Art”

  1. i did a copy of the peacock feather is there another link about this work or do you any information about the artist ? thanks

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