January 26, 2016

"Never Give Up" - Mixed Media Canvas

Hello everyone! I wanted to share a special mixed media canvas with you today titled "Never Give Up".

I made this canvas for the Words and Paintery contest for January, 2016. Here is the inspiration board:

The words on the inspiration board reminded me of several poems I wrote almost 15 years ago. After reviewing some old poetry, I ran into the poem (the one on this canvas) titled "Never Give Up", written in April, 2003. At the time, the word art in the poem was actually a metaphor for any of my undertakings – at the time I had no idea actual art would be a part of my life. The main point of the poem comes down to this: positive encouragement from others keeps me going today so that I can have even better tomorrows. Here is a close up of my poem on the canvas:

The steps I took to prepare my canvas with the layers of texture are below:

1)  I began with a 12 x 12 inch canvas and primed it with Liquitex Basics Acrylic Gesso. I already decided on a basic layout for my canvas and poem, so I marked some points for reference.

2)  To adhere the yarn, I used Liquitex Matte Gel medium. Then I let it dry.

3)  Next, I used Tim Holtz Crackle Stencil with homemade modeling paste (see gabriellepollacco.blogspot.ca for the recipe). I used a heat gun to dry it.

4)  I used some Distress Crackle Paint in spots around my textured areas. Unfortunately, I bought the paste in the clearance section and when I applied it to the canvas I noticed it was not nearly as thick as my previous Distress Crackle Paint. I had a feeling that the crackle would not be very sufficient. I applied it anyway to see what it would do. I was not too thrilled with the result for what I wanted. That is when I decided to use my Golden Crackle Paste. Since it has to air dry to get crackles in it, I could not use a heat gun. I do, however, like how it holds nice peaks; so I decided to apply it with a spatula like modeling paste. I only let it air dry for several hours before I became bored and used my heat gun! I was okay with this since I used the crackle stencil earlier.

5)  When it was dry, I applied Golden Glass Bead Gel in random spots. I then used a heat gun to dry it.

6) To prepare the different mediums for paint, I topped it all off with a coat of Liquitex Basics Acrylic Gesso and dried it with a heat gun.

Next came the fun part! I used a ton of different sprays and paints to layer and mix the colors on my canvas. (To see the list of inks I used, see the bottom of this blog entry.) For each different section of color, I would first put the darkest color where I wanted it then I would apply any lighter colors slightly overlapping the darker one.  I always use a heat gun between layers of ink once I got the shades I wanted in each color. 

When all of my inks were applied, I used my acrylic gesso to dry brush over some of the most prominent texture areas (mainly around the yarn), dried it, and added gold over those areas.

I resized my poem to fit on my canvas using my Silhouette Portrait. I used the sketch pen in black to write the poem on 140 pound watercolor paper. I went over the letters with a black sharpie,"Peacock Feathers" Distress Ink Pad to add color to the edges of the papers and attached the papers to the canvas with double sided foam. Finally, I distressed the edges of the entire canvas with "Vintage Photo" Distress Ink Pad.

List of sprays and paints - From the bottom section of color to the top:
1) Prima Color Bloom Spray - "Empress Gold"
Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Color Shot - "Bit o' Bubbly"
2) Prima Color Bloom Spray - "Antique Gold"
Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Spray - "Cattail Copper Brown" 
3) Prima Color Bloom Spray - "Dark Teal"
Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Spray - "Tibetan Poppy Teal"
Prima Color Bloom Spray - "Cobalt"
4) Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Spray - "Red Hot Poker Orange"
Prima Color Bloom Spray - "Empress Gold"
Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Color Shot - "Bit o' Bubbly"
5) Prima Color Bloom Spray - "Cobalt"
Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Color Shot - "Blue Hawaiian Blue"
Prima Color Bloom Spray - "Glistening Waves"
Prima Color Bloom Spray - "Frost"
Tim Holtz Distress Paint - "Picket Fence"

Thank you for visiting my blog today - I hope to see you back soon! :-)


  1. Gorgeous texture, such lovely deep colors! Thank you for joining Words&Paintery this month!

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment! This is only the third canvas I ever did, and it is the first one with these kinds of textures :-) usually, I would use flowers but I tried something different here.

  2. Amazing background work!
    Thank You for joining our challenge at Words & Paintery! :-)