Many of you know Dorlene’s mixed media creations. I love how well all of her elements blend in her art journal pages. I particularly like that she makes it all sound so easy… as if you couldn’t possibly ruin the piece once you get going.

Dorlene has graciously agreed to share her work with us monthly and tell us a bit about how each of these creations came to life. We hope you love this series! if you do, please sign up to receive updates!


1.      Background

I always start with three main colors.  I love yellow and always want to incorporate it in my work somehow.  I thought I wanted to work with bolder colors so I selected the dark purple & orange to complement the yellow.  I then gathered various painting supplies in those colors.  In this case, yellow, purple and orange acrylic paint, yellow re-inker, purple distress ink spray, purple inkpad, purple & yellow watercolor markers. 

These are the basic steps to create the background:

  1. Apply gesso to the journal page.
  2. Completely cover the page by applying purple, yellow and orange acrylic paint in sections.
  3. Sponge white acrylic paint over a doily stencil in the lower & upper right corners and on the middle left side. Set aside to dry or use heat gun to accelerate the process.
  4. Drip yellow re-inker across the top of the page, spritz water to let it run down and cover the entire page (keep adding ink & water to get full coverage)
  5. While still wet, pull the nozzle off the purple distress spray ink bottle and splatter ink drops all over the page.  Spritz more water over these drops to expand them. Set aside to dry or use your heat gun. Don’t put the nozzle too close since we don’t want the drops to run.
  6. Print a daisy digi stamp to desired size.  Once printed, fussy cut the flowers and adhere to the lower right side of the journal page using Modge Podge.
  7. Color the flowers by using a white Gelato marker for the petals and watered down orange acrylic paint for the centers.  Use a green watercolor marker for the stems.   Use a little water and your fingers to rub/smear the colors to soften the look and to add a shadow around the flower image.
  8. Add marks around the page with stamps (Doodles I, Elements #1 and #3 sets) and white acrylic paint, purple & black inkpads.
  9. Once dry, completely cover the piece with white gesso.  Before the gesso dries, use the stick side of a paint brush to “draw” squiggles in the gesso.  This will remove some of the gesso and add texture to the page.  Let dry.
  10. Apply clear texture paste with a spatula & stencil to the lower right and upper left corners of the page.  Watch the colors of the bottom layer come out – all that beautiful yellow!
  11. Once the texture paste is dry, stamp a script stamp around the page with a black archival ink.

2.      Focus Element

I wanted to stick to the color scheme for the main image but a softer look so I used watercolor markers to color the images.  I chose a darker purple/gray for the pedestal and added shimmer to the cupkake with a Wink of Stella marker and added additional white dots in the frosting!

Steps to add the main focus element to the page:

  1. Stamp the pedestal in the lower third & center of the page.  Don’t worry if it does not come out clear, it’s only to mark the location.
  2. Stamp the pedestal and cupcake on white cardstock.  Stamp both images once more on scrap paper (you’ll use this as a mask).
  3. Color the images on the cardstock with watercolor markers by swiping the markers on a clear acrylic block & using a water brush for a water-colored look.  Add sparkle & details with clear Wink of Stella marker and a white gel pen.  Fussy cut.
  4. Before adding the images to the journal page, apply a strip of Washi tape at the bottom of the stamped pedestal on the page.  This creates a base for the pedestal to stand on.
  5. Use a gray watercolor marker to scribble an area big enough to create a shadow around your cupcake/pedestal images.  (You can use your mask to get the right location for the shadow.)  Add a little water and your finger to smear the shadow so it’s not so intense.
  6. Once everything is dried, adhere the pedestal directly on top of the stamped pedestal and then place the cupcake on the pedestal. 

3.      Words

The quote I used is a stamp that I have that was gifted to me from a friend.  I love the quote as well as the variety of fonts.  The stamp did all the work for me!  I chose to emboss the letters since I wanted them to be a very dark black.

Steps to add a message to the page:

  1. Stamp the sentiment on a separate piece of white cardstock with Versamark ink.
  2. Emboss with black embossing powder to make the sentiment stand out.
  3. Cut out words of the sentiment and adhere to the page using Modge Podge or any other adhesive.
  4. Use a fine point black Sharpie marker to draw lines around the sentiment squares to ground them to the page.

4.      Finishing Touches

I don’t normally put a protective layer/coating when I work in my Art Journal.   When I believe my project is finished.  I take a break, come back and look again.  Most times I’ll add some doodles or a spritz of color

Steps to finish the piece:

  1. Place the mask over the cupcake/pedestal images, stand up to get a good distance from the piece and spray purple distress ink all over the page to get a mist effect rather than a splatter.

5.      Oops Moment

The Oops Moment in this piece is when I came back after I added the daisies and realized I did not like how intense the original color scheme turned out.  The colors didn’t blend well together, they were too strong on their own.  That’s when I decided to put the white gesso all over the page.  Once it dried, all that beautiful yellow came through and softened the overall color scheme. 

6.      What do I love most about this piece?

I love all the layers.  I love the covered up daisies and I love the way the yellow really took over at the end.  I was unsure when I covered the daisies, but once I placed the cupcake/pedestal over it, I loved it!  It created such an unexpected and cool effect to the page.  I believe it added a lot to the end project. 

7.      What inspired this piece?

The color yellow was the inspiration for this piece.   I love that originally I thought I wanted something vivid and bright but ended up wanting something much softer.  Yellow always makes me happy no matter the hue and this piece definitely makes me happy!

8.      How long did this take to make?

Because of all the layers and drying times, it took a little longer than my art journal pieces usually take.  The total time was approximately two hours.

We want to extend a big THANK YOU to Dorlene for breaking this down into little pieces for the rest of us to learn from! If you know of someone who would enjoy learning these techniques or reading about Dorlene’s process to make mixed media art journal pages, please share!

Happy crafting!

Your Bloom Arts Team


Mixed Media Lessons with Dorlene – Part I
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