Sunday, October 13, 2019


This could also be called an abstract painting, I suppose, if I had used a landscape as my inspiration. Do YOU see it as a simplified scene?
I often use a grid system to keep my composition pleasing. Check out the horizontals and verticals in the artwork below.
The finished painting.
Detail. I repeated drips elsewhere on the canvas, too.
Another technique I used was to apply very thick paint with a painting knife in a few swoops to lead the eye. You can see them in the top picture.
Here's a close-up of scratching that's not too visible in the large photo.

Thanks for viewing this! I appreciate you.

Saturday, October 12, 2019


Gesso has enough body and tooth to use as a barrier to hold in wet media, once it's dry. 
gesso, painting
I made my own black and gray gessos.
You can buy colored gesso or add acrylic color to white gesso. A clean squeeze bottle served me well for "drawing" the shapes. I also filled in some areas. Then I let the design dry overnight, before painting. See the first step above.
Then, the next day, I used diluted paint to complete the forms and shade parts of the background. 
painting, Guhin
This study was finished with fluid black acrylic and water.

The water and paint stayed within the confines of the slightly raised gesso lines. This exercise might be good for middle schoolers or beginners at the high school level. Art teachers could substitute watercolors at the painting stage if desired. Even pastels would be great! Students could create their own designs rather than relying on this "Pebble" motif, of course.

I'm Back & Painting, Playing with Mixed Media, Creating Assemblages & More!

 Holbein inks and Sennelier shellac-based inks are fun to work with. I wanted to create some cool collage papers with them.
The 13 Holbein drawing inks are waterproof and come with droppers in the screw-on tops. Some are transparent, some opaque.
Sennelier shellac-based inks have a transparent, satin finish and thin with water, if you can believe that!

For the first example shown below, I worked on acrylic paper from a pad, spraying a little purple fluid acrylic from a spray bottle. Then I used the applicator tip of the Carmine color of Holbein ink. It's a powerful pigment! Then I let that dry.

tute, tutorial, how-to
I actually liked this first step better than the result later.
Next, I created a few puddles of rubbing alcohol and added alcohol ink. The effect, shown below:
Guhin, blog
I do like the colors together.

Thanks for viewing Mixed Media Manic!
(Full disclosure: This post is derived from a much earlier one. And new stuff is coming, I promise.)

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Many Art I students or absolute beginners at the high school level require a great deal of practice when learning how to shade forms. That said, I’ve assigned to eighth graders the two exercises described here. And nearly every one of them enjoyed triumph with both! Performing the tasks required of them, my students, um, drew on their knowledge of essential art concepts.
It was fun to go loopy and bundle up, too!   
how-to, art+element
This might be too challenging for fifth or sixth graders.
GETTING STARTED   Before class, I had cut white drawing paper into 4.5” x 12” strips, one for everybody. Using transparent tape, I affixed one end of a paper strip to a drawing board to show the students how to start. Then I twisted or curved the strip toward the center and fastened that portion down, too. A final bump or curl, taped down at the paper’s end, makes the form even more interesting. I asked the class to create their own unique, "unboring" forms directly on their desks, but to leave work space on their desks for themselves!  

Before my demonstration on the board, we held a discussion on the element of form, with emphasis on its three-dimensionality and the use of light and dark to depict that. Then I drew an enlarged sketch (outlines only) of my bendy, taped-down example for everyone to see.

I passed around several finished works to exemplify our objective. My own shading on a whiteboard didn’t have the quality I wanted, so I used a piece of 18” x 24” white drawing paper and charcoal instead. Nattering away about values, gradations, and hills and valleys, I smeared charcoal from dark to light to transform my outline drawing into a form with mass. Then the kids began their own works with soft pencils, and I was able to walk the aisles to assist. I directed the artists to include the cast shadow on their desks, to ground their subject.
Guhin, art+blog
A form that takes up space!
I reminded the students to try to use their blackest blacks and their lightest grays—a full range of values. The class members were reminded of several fundamentals with the “wavy strip” lesson. ART TIP: Imaginative kids might poke a hole in their paper forms. I had one who even left a pencil in!

A BUNDLE OF FUN The second, related activity is best for another day, especially if class time is only 40 minutes or so. I had been given scraps of flexible foam rubber padding, so I shared a piece with each student. I instructed them to squeeze and squash their foam any way they wanted, and then tie a piece of string tightly around the bunched-up form.
tute, how-to, draw, form
Charcoal and white chalk on blue paper.
They could roll it, pinch it, and fold it any which way before tying it into an interesting form, but they should keep in mind that they would be drawing the bundle! If it was terribly complex, they could be quite challenged.

WE BEGAN very lightly with charcoal pencils on light blue construction paper.  But you could use any toned paper (not too dark), even brown wrapping paper! Following the contours of their bundles with their eyes, class members completed line drawings first.

Then we modeled the sketches with shading, just as we had done in pencil shading the drawings of the wavy paper strips. Again, including in their drawing the shadow cast on their desks was part of my message. “It helps to anchor the drawn form to the page.”
Guhin, MixedMediaManic
Ask a carpet-layer or re-upholsterer for foam scraps!
Lastly, here’s the reason for the toned paper: We added highlights anywhere the light would strike, especially the rounded tops of bulges. That finishing touch helped to illustrate the volume of the forms very well.
  • White and toned drawing paper
  • Soft drawing pencils
  • Transparent tape
  •  Charcoal pencils
  • Upholstery foam scraps or carpet foam padding
  • String or rubber bands
  • White chalk or white pastels
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: to earn the importance of drawing what they see by using the elements of form and value, & to create a realistic work of art presenting the illusion of mass.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

BOOK ART: Anyone Can Do It!

I'm not one to fold book pages into fabulous, complicated designs, but I admire those who do.

Guhin, mixed-media This is a terrific way to create beauty from unloved, unwanted books.

I'm the free-form type, decidedly not methodical, so the project detailed below was just my style.

I filled a large pan with a little acrylic medium and a lot of water.  White glue would be a good substitute for the medium. I also collected thin pencils, thicker ones, and fat rolls of waxed paper. These would serve as armatures. Remove hard covers from the book unless you want a straight "stem."
mixed-media, art+blog
Oh, but wait, there's more!
Dipping pages--still attached--into the pan (sometimes just one or two, sometimes more!), I wetted them, removed from pan, and rolled. I varied the directions and amount of curve, as you can see in the photo above. And yes, this takes awhile, since I only recommend doing a few sections at a time. I left the supports inside until dry, but the diluted mixture dries fast. 
art+blog, mixed-media
Took a couple of days, but so fun and simple to do!

I used spray paint and a touch of brushed-on acrylic paint on  mine. Then I photographed it from above. I suggest either white, gray, or black as a background.

Here's another idea to try, if you're more precise and meticulous than I: a butterfly!

                (Art teachers might find discarded books and try this with fast-working kids who always seem to need more to do. If not photographed with a digital camera, try scanning.)

Thursday, January 19, 2017


This simple non-objective painting (done with acrylics) needed a finishing element or two, so I
painted a piece of sewing thread and dropped
it onto the surface in a couple of places.
painting, P.Guhin
Pretty much primary colors!
Originally intended as a background for collage, and who knows?
Maybe I'll still use it that way!   Here's a link to a more interesting mixed-media work I did with the same thread method:

Sunday, December 25, 2016


Duplicate prints and downright bad shots
 can be put to good use...I've said it before.
In this first example, a large print served as the support (or background, if you will). Then I found other, smaller prints to cut up and arrange to make the work more interesting. Do try this, but only glue the pieces down when you're happy with the composition. I like the complementary colors together.

collage, montage
Good method for hiding the worst parts!
This next idea is the "more" mentioned in this post's title. My so-called example below is a straight photograph, with no manipulation or mixed-media. But it gave me an idea! Make your own "trellis" with thin chart tape, fine-line tape, or other colored tape! So easy, and yet you can be as creative as you wish.
how-to, tutorial
Copyright Paula Guhin
Our third photograph has been manipulated a great deal!
It's a weaving, of course, with yarns, wallpaper strips, and more.
I worked around the figure...she's not simply pasted on top!

I've featured other fun photo projects on this blog. Check out this photocopy fun page and this painted collage post. Also another painted collage page here. AND 3 photomontages, fun and cool.
Happy New Year, everyone!