Makers May Bloom 2018_5

Art is an exploration of our very souls. Mixed media art to me is a process in which I explore, mediate, find myself and lose myself all at once. This month has been an exploration of technique and following your heart. I hope you have taken time for art. I pray you have taken time for you. I will leave this page up for the next year. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions. When my piece is done, I will share it with you. Until then, happy creating. Be patient with yourself- it is all a process. 

As a Maker, may you bloom <3

Blessings and great big love, 



Update: So all of this and you would expect that I would be done. I feel like I have only just begun! I have perhaps fifteen hours into this painting. To be fair, some of it is making the videos for you, stopping to take photos AND stopping to reflect and analyze the painting looking for the next step. The painting continues. I hope YOURS will too. I hope you share with me what you have done- I hope you continue to experiment and play 

Here is the updated version of my painting: So the interesting thing about this as it feels nowhere near done. I was frustrated by the piece for most of the week. I took a step back and then decided that along with leaves she needed actual hair. I am not there yet. But progress is being made. Patience is thin at times but, I need to remember that everything happens when it’s ready. 





Take a new path

Sometimes it is scary to take a new step or step out of the box a little. I don’t usually paint leaves, but if I am listening, this seemed important. So. here you ARE!

Video #12

It’s all in the details

Pay attention to the details of your medium, pay attention to the layers that you build, pay attention! JUST PAY ATTENTION!

Video #10

Adding Metallics

Metallic paint can be used to really make a piece pop. I LOVE silver, gold, and copper. The really neat thing is it comes in many forms, watercolor, acrylic, colored pencil and more. That said, you build up your piece and then use these to really embellish your piece. Some artists even use gold leaf in their pieces. I am excited about that as an opportunity. Video #9 

More about Metallics here: Video #11 (I told you I like them!)

Add in more paint: Now it’s time to add in more detail/paint/color. Here is the next video: #8

Colored pencil– I have always enjoyed colored pencil. It allows me to build up color and details on top of the painting. It is exciting to lay in some color, risk some fun and bring some life to the piece. I have a very light touch (that is hard to tell in the video) but it allows me to build up color with visable distinction in the colors. I most often use Derwent Studio pencils, it is a harder pencil and allows me to build. Softer pencils like Prismacolor certainly have their place. They have decent coverage, strong pigment and I enjoy them too. Each has its own gift. 

Video #7

a few more details…

When I begin nearly any piece, I set myself up with a good quality substrate, usually begin with watercolors, move through to colored pencils, perhaps water soluble pencils or crayons, through in some collage, ink, and whatnot. The piece I have been sharing with you seemed to have a mind of its own. I think the strength of painting for most of my life is that I am aware of something is going to work or not. The flip side of that is that rarely do you destroy a piece by choosing something that doesn’t work. Things can be overpainted, collaged over or begun again. There is almost always a way to fix things. 

I do not believe this piece will welcome collage well. Video #13 But I wanted to give you a video that would help you with collage. I typically use matte medium from either Golden Acrylic or Liquitex- both work well and can actually seal a piece of material that is not acid-free to your piece and preserve it. This video will help you understand some of the techniques when collaging. Golden Medium Video

Just like any acrylic paint or medium be sure to wash your brushes out well. This is vital unless you choose to use a disposable brush. 

Here is some progress on my piece. Video #6

Week #4- Makers May Bloom! 


SO excited to share the process with you this week. I began a piece for you to walk with me. I am very visual and it is really helpful for me to see the process. Please forgive that things are a work in progress, the dog is pacing and my nails don’t look pretty- BUT I am really excited that this is the beginning of something beautiful!

Read this entire posting please (there is a surprise for you at the end!)

So first things first! Gather your supplies

  1. Make sure you have enough space to work- clutter never works
  2. Assemble all the pieces that you have worked on for the last few weeks. Also, gather your supplies. This should include:
    1. Collage papers
    2. paint
    3. substrate 
    4. brushes
    5. a bucket of clean water
    6. a rag or paper towels
    7. something to protect your work surface
    8. stencils
  3. Now we begin! You can use your stencils to start to lay in texture and a background or you can just paint it in. I started with stencils. Here is video #1.
  4. Once you allow this layer to dry and you wash off your stencils (Be sure to especially do this if you are using acrylic paint) pick another texture or brush to make a texture or even another stencil and begin to layer your piece up a bit. Here is Video #2
  5. So no your piece should be dry and ready for the next step. My next step is to sketch in the main subject. Remember the rule of thirds     I personally like to left or right justify my work. I think it is too usual to place things in the center. Sometimes it is difficult to do so depending on your subject. Here is my next step: Video #3
  6. So now you are working on the next phase. However, you accomplished this, GO YOU! Keep working steadily on adding color and details. Be patient, it will all come together! Here is video #4
  7. The work continues- one of the things about mixed media is when you use each medium for what it is best at – you create a bit of magic! Video #5

So… guess what ? I have more videos for you, but I think this is probably enough to get you started. I also want to share some techniques that are on other pieces other than this one. SO- My gift to you is another week! I will, however, be likely uploading bonus material throughout the week. 

PLEASE email me any questions you may have. I am happy to share and help!

Keep making beautiful art!

much love and many blessings, 




Week #3- Makers May Bloom

Susan Carmen-Duffy

Thank you to those of you who have reached out! It has been fun to answer your questions and hear about your projects. I am here for you! Please reach out. Part of the charm of doing this online is that you are able to work at your own pace, the other side of that is that you are doing it solo without immediate support. 

PLEASE know I am happy to support you and answer your questions, brainstorm with you, or whatever you might need! To those of you whom I have not heard from, check in from time to time. I’d love to see how you are progressing, I’d be thrilled to see your work in progress. I am happy to help however you might need it!

There is so much to get to this week! By now you should have the elements of your piece beginning to take shape. You have textures, colors, and materials. Most of you seem to be using acrylic paint and canvas, so I will continue instructions this way. The magical thing about acrylics is that you can typically paint over things you do not like. (Please let me know if you have chosen another medium- I will certainly be happy to accommodate your chosen medium!)

I want to discuss some techniques with you. These will help you to create texture and movement in your piece. By now I am hoping you have a plan for your piece. You should generally know the subject matter, general placement on your canvas and an idea of textures you’d like to incorporate. This is your time to play a bit. If you want to work on your final piece, that’s great! If not you can play on nearly anything. I suggest card stock or even cardboard. This will give you a hint of the experience without working on your canvas just yet. 


Yesterday, I spent ten hours in my studio. It was GLORIOUS. All I worked on was backgrounds and some of the textures for the piece I am working on. It was an exercise in fading paints so that they lived in a bit of harmony. It was about layering and experimenting. What I found was that I got lost in the opportunity to paint. It was life, therapy and opportunity all rolled into one. The stress of the day, the week, faded away. 

This is what I wish for you. To take time and just let go and explore. Play with the paint, play with the brushes, see what works for you. Play with color, texture and enjoy the process. You will discover things you never did before each and every time you do it. I did yesterday. 

This is once I added a bit of texture. I did use some templates eventually, but most of that was covered up with my own paint strokes. 

You can see that there are layers and layers of paint here. I played with colors a little out of my norm as well. I have NEVER used yellow ochre before – I thought it looked icky in the bottle. Yesterday I bravely gave it a shot. In the end, I loved it! 

Acrylic blends so nicely. It is completely satisfying to play with. So go for it! Play with texture, color, layers and see where it goes. Reserve your texture papers for next week. We will have a fair bit of fun with those! For now get to know your paintbrush, your paint, your substrate! 

Here is a list of techniques that I LOVE! I hope you do too. Acrylic Techniques

I employed most of the techniques listed on the piece shown in this image. This week is about extensive playing for you. Lean on your inner child to discover what suits you the best. 

Thank you for your commitment to this project. Thank you for taking some time for yourself. Painting, creating for me feels like a miracle each time I do so. I am enthralled with the process and the color and the feeling it gives to me. 

I am inspired. 

I pray you are too. 

Blessings and love, 


P.S. PLEASE make sure you was everything out really well. Anything you use with acrylic paint will ruint whatever it is left on. I am sure you know this, but, I wanted to be clear! Thanks so much!

Week #2!- Makers May Bloom!

I hope your week has been fantastic! 

Do tell! How is your week going? Were you able to 1. pick a direction for your final piece, 2. choose colors that inspire? 3. Find textures you enjoy?
Then you are doing just great! 

I want to break this week up a little Today we will ease into the work of this week, and then I think I will pop in throughout the week with further direction. I hope that is okay with you!

As always if you have any questions, PLEASE feel free to email me, I am happy to answer questions you might have. Remember there are no silly questions! 

This week is about the construction of the actual layers. Eventually, you will join everything together into one fantastic piece of art, but for now, we are assembling the parts. Have you decided if you will work on canvas, board, or heavy watercolor paper?

I suggested last week that you consider working on canvas. It is a great start and fun to work with. Canvas board would be a great choice as well. 

When you think about a background, it should be purposeful. Even in mixed media art, (or perhaps especially in this form of art) I believe every stroke is purposeful. I remember a quote by Michelangelo.

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. ” Michelangelo

I do begin with an intent or an idea. I often begin with colors I want to incorporate and then move in with textures. It is a process to build up layers. 90% of the time the piece is revealed as I begin to work. I can completely appreciate with Michelangelo has to say on this matter. 

So- now it is your turn. I have a couple of beginning ideas for you to accomplish early this week. The first is texture. Last week you found some textures you love. This week I want you to try to create some. 

Exercise one.

Take a crayon (or several) split the paper off the side and find something to “rub”. Use computer paper or even tissue paper (white). Obviously tissue paper is a bit more delicate, but it also transposes to some beautiful effects.  

This could be a gravestone (nope, no kidding), a piece of wicker, a cut-out stencil, tree bark, a colander, the texture on the bottom of your show, or pretty much anything you can imagine. Work on making interesting patterns or just embrace the pattern you are given. Set each piece aside. 

Exercise two. 

Take the colors of paint you wish to use and make a color wheel. I would like you to see what the colors look like next to each other. Say you have eight colors, begin with four on each sheet. Take the paint, dilute it just a bit and use it on the triangle – be sure to label each color particularly if you have colors that are close together. 

THEN mix each color with a bit of white to lighten it and paint that next to the original color, just to the right. Please label this as well. THEN use some sort of combination of color, just to see how they look next to each other. 

These exercises are great for the re-work of your piece. Planning along with a healthy slice of leading with your heart will help you be most successful. The color wheel can be completed on card stock. It does not have to be exact just get started! 

I will see you in a day or two please feel free to ask any questions you wish!

Let the art begin!

Blessings & love, 


The color wheel can be found here: