Friday, April 4, 2014


I began this artwork on a canvas panel. I had chosen a color scheme of reds, yellows, and browns, so I painted the background in acrylics with several of those colors.

P.Guhin, tute
Step 1
Next, I gathered decorative paper, printed napkins, and more.

I auditioned the various elements here and there, and when
the composition was determined, I adhered the first layers
of materials, as shown below. Note the wrinkles for texture!

tutorial, how-to   
Step 2

Then I added more papers, patterns, and paint.

mixed-media, collage, painting
Step 3
When the paint was dry, I checked for good contrast, as well as a range of sizes, shapes, and values. But the piece above was still not finished!
Paula Guhin, painting, tutorial
Photos courtesy Stackpole Books,
Painting with Mixed Media

To complete the work (shown above), I added the butterfly and a little more shading to tie everything together.

TIP: Never wash acrylic paints down the drain! Wipe brushes thoroughly with a rag before you wash them with soap and water.
PS: Watch this blog for a book giveaway coming soon!  
Paula Guhin


  1. Another great collage. The butterfly's subtlety is an interesting discovery as you explore the picture; it doesn't jump out at you and say, "Butterfly Picture." I like the contrast of shapes, textures, patterns. Actually, I like the first photo of just color blocks. I started to comment on your post last week and pushed a button by mistake somewhere and, poof, my insightful comment disappeared. Ping. Another week gone by and I didn't get back to retyping it. What I meant to say was I saw the Portlandia show and chuckled over it and the whole "put a bird on it" theme. I see it as poking fun at the way an idea goes viral in craft blogging and suddenly it's morphed into ad nauseam status because everybody is copying it. The bird picture you showed does not appeal to me at all, certainly not at that price. I find it unattractive, uncreative and formulaic. But, if the artist can sell it, more power to her. It's a free market economy. There is much I find unappealing on the innerwebs, but I keep surfing, looking for good stuff. I landed here a while ago and have loved it ever since, particularly your instructional blogs. I think the bird thing is meant to poke fun at our innate need to follow the crowd and mimic others. We really need to be searching for our own style and inner voice. That's harder, and scarier, than following a formula.

    1. Thanks, Anon...I very much give thanks that you follow this blog! You are insightful and smart and all those good things. I wish we could meet in person over tea! So glad you found the butterfly to be subtle enough. I did this piece several years ago, and butterflies are ubiquitous in certain circles, but at the time I thought it a good idea. Yes, what you said about inner voice!


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