I had been anxiously awaiting the start of Session 1 for Artful Gathering and was so happy when class finally started on June 6.
This is my 3rd year taking online classes at Artful Gathering and I have to say I have loved each and every class I've taken. The instructors are fantastic and I've had a blast in each class learning something new and, best of all, making wonderful new friends.
There were so many fabulous classes to choose from this year it was hard to decide. I really only had time for two and decided to take Julie Haymaker Thompson's Let's Go For A Ride class in Session 1 and Mary Jane Chadbourne's The Imaginarium: Anthologies of an Art Doll class in Session 2. Both classes dealt with mixed media, which I've been anxious to try.
So, for the last two weeks I have been taking my 4th online class and working on my project. The project called for making an adorable little mixed media shadow box scene with 3 pets sticking their heads out the window of a car that was driving over a hill. The class looked like it would be a lot of fun to take.
A kit was available for purchase from Julie's Etsy shop so I ordered one as it's a lot easier to do that than run around to get supplies. The kit came with everything you needed to create the project including thread and needle. It was fabulous.
For my online classes I like to view all the video's first and then go back to watching them as I follow along with the instructions. Here's where my Ipad comes in really, really handy. It's great for this as I can zoom in and out of the video pictures, advance and reverse them as needed, etc.
I tend to be a bit of a rebel when it comes to my classes. For the most part I follow the instructions, but sometimes I just have to be me and do it my way. Such was the case with my "Let's Go For A Ride" project.
The project called for using two twigs for trees in the front of the shadowbox but I decided to go with silk floral instead. Now I know my using silk floral will come as no surprise to any of you as I love silk floral, but this time I had a really good reason for using it. You see I'm allergic to poison ivy so there was no way I was going to get anywhere near the woods let alone touch twigs. Improvising with silk floral was the perfect solution. Worked for me anyway.
Plus, the kit that I purchased came with a box that was deeper than the one Julie was working with in the video's so adding some silk floral to the front of my shadow box versus using the two twigs for trees was a perfect solution for filling up the depth difference.
To do this I cut a rectangle of 1/2" tall florist's green foam about 5/8" deep and wide enough to fit in front of my hill and then glued it in. Once it was dry I painted it with several shades of green acrylic paint to match my hill. Then I inserted the small sprigs of silk floral (mainly grasses) I had cut to fit the height of my scene into the foam. Voila! Filled the area and best of all, no poison ivy!
Instead of creating two dog heads and a cat head sticking out of the car window I decided to go with three doggies. I had to change my doggie heads once the clay was dry as they were too big to fit into the area for the open car window. So I sanded them down quite a bit so they would fit.
I decided to paint one of my dogs gray, one black and white, and one dark brown and black. I should have painted the dark brown and black one a lighter brown color as Julie had done as the three heads I painted are quite dark and a lighter brown would have been better.
The dogs were supposed to be more whimsical looking then mine turned out to be. I had to sand the whimsical noses down as they were just too big for my doggie heads once they were sanded down to fit in the car window.
Painting the doggie heads was a bit of a challenge as they were really small and I couldn't keep my hand, paint brush and/or pencil from shaking when trying to paint their little eyes. So, instead of painting the eyes with a paint brush and/or pencil I used a toothpick. Painting faces is not my forte but they came out good enough for this project.
I didn't realize when I decided to take this class just how involved the project would be and how many different techniques I would learn. It was fabulous and Julie was so easy to follow along with. For me the fun is in the learning and I learned a lot in this class. If you'd like to see a picture of Julie's finished class piece you can find it here.
I had so much fun with this project that I decided to order a few unfinished mixed media items from Julie's BisBeeBliss Etsy shop so I could experiment some more with mixed media and collage. What I'll make and how they'll come out remains to be seem. The fun part is experimenting with some of the techniques I learned in Julie's class and seeing where this takes me.
Thanks for the ride, Julie. It was a blast.