Play hide and seek with an artistic photo collage

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Sue Kemnitz

As I was cleaning out my computer (to move to a new computer), I came upon my ginormous photo stash. Yikes. When did it get so out-of-control?!!?

And I remembered that in the old days, we went to the photo place and had our photos printed out. And we put them in a photo album. As in a physical, real live, photo album! (And some wise and creative peeps probably still do that!) But I simply had all recent trips on my computer.

 Check out this video tutorial as Design Team member Sue Kemnitz creates this artistic photo collage as her project. Sue takes you step-by-step through creating this creative hide and seek collage to showcase your photos. She uses Art Pops™ and Paperbag Studios Stamps. @robenmarie @suekemnitzart #robenmarie #robenmariedesignteam #paperbagstudios #artpops #mixedmedia #diy

So, I chose the highlights of our fabulous trip to Thailand in 2014, and fit as many photo images onto one 8.5x11 photo stock and printed them out. Since I have an inkjet printer, I also sprayed them with a varnish to protect them as I did the project. 

I laid them out and used Roben-Marie’s Art Pops™ and stamps to enhance the selection. And voila! Something I can trim out of my sketchbook and hang on the wall. A super fun remembrance of our trip to Thailand in 2014!

have fun creating your own photo collage!

Going Deeper...

Is there an aspect of mixed-media art that you always avoid? Why? 

Ha! Anything black! It might stem from my watercolor days when it was taboo in a “good” watercolor. Or it might be a little wishy-washy about deciding on darks. But it’s true! And that’s why I like stamps. I can stamp them on a sheet and decide which fun darks to add without pressure.

What creative tool/supply are you obsessed with right now? 

I’d have to say my Dina Wakley Scribble Sticks. I carry them everywhere with my (smallish) sketchbook and can pull them and my water brush out to color. Anywhere. They’ve been a life-changer for my #the100dayproject as they are small enough to travel with.

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Altered Calendar, The Mixed Media Way

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Kristin Peterson

The inspiration behind my calendar is really the Art Pops™ Sticker Tape. I bought the brown paper bag calendar at Target and was hoping to be able to paint the months. When I started with January, I looked at the Art Pops™ Sticker Tape, and thought to myself, "I am going to use the sticker tape to create each month on this calendar."

 Check out this video tutorial as Design Team member Kristin Peterson creates this gorgeous mixed media altered calendar as her project. Krisitin takes you step-by-step through creating this textured calendar which would make the perfect addition to your desktop. She uses Art Pops™ and Paperbag Studios Stamps. @robenmarie @alteredstatestudio #robenmarie #robenmariedesignteam #paperbagstudios #artpops #mixedmedia #diy

For each month I have used a different piece of tape from the Woodland Art Pops™ Collection. I love how the tape offers a starting point for color selection, is easy to work with and nice to blend into each month.

I added gesso to each page so my paint would sit nicely on top of the paper instead of soaking in. This step has been important. The other key thing has been keeping it relatively simply by only picking a couple of colors from the tape to work with.

I have been working each month at a time which has been low stress and a project I have looked forward to as we continue to move through this year. I hope you enjoyed the video and watching my process. Thank you!!

xo. Kristin

have fun creating your own altered calendar!

Going Deeper...

Is there an aspect of mixed-media art that you always avoid? Why? 

When it comes to the aspect of mixed media art, I really can't say that there is an aspect that I would always avoid. I like to think of myself as a reactive, problem-solver artist; so I am aware of the "rules" and will definitely push the boundaries of any art rules and sometimes the results are not good. But, I enjoy the process of fixing whatever issue I may have created and I am certainly willing to keep working a piece until I am happy with it. Tweet That!

What creative tool/supply are you obsessed with right now? 

My current creative tool obsession right now as silly as this sounds, has been using the black ink pen. I love the marks it makes, the contrast it brings back to my piece, and if I spray with a spritz of alcohol, I like how the ink will bleed a bit into my piece.

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5 ways to deal with criticism as an artist

From a Creative Perspective

Criticism - let that word sit there a moment.

Dealing with criticism is just part of putting ourselves out there, right?!  I have received inquiries in the past from my readers about how to deal with negativity and criticism.  This article will give you some tips that I hope you will find helpful.

First, I want to share with you the most entertaining dialogue of criticism I have ever received.  This exchange was on one of my Youtube videos and is exactly as it "still" appears on the video.  It still makes me laugh when I read it:


Wow!  That is something, right!? Such a fixation on mice and rats...MMMM???

Today I want to take some time to explore how we can stop letting this type of criticism get us down. I know better than anyone, that it’s the negative stuff that stays with you, even if 98% of your messages are just lovely.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
— Elbert Hubbard

It doesn’t matter what you do, there will always be someone who finds a fault, especially when you are in a subjective field, like making art.

 Dealing with criticism is just part of putting ourselves out there, right?!  I have received inquiries in the past from my readers about how to deal with negativity and criticism.  This article will give you some tips that I hope you will find helpful. Article by Roben-Marie Smith. @robenmarie #robenmarie #robenmariesmith #artandbusiness #dealingwithcriticism

By the very act of creating, and sharing those creations with the world, you are opening the door to other people’s opinions. It’s part of the deal, so let's learn to deal with it in the most graceful way possible:

Reflect on the critique.

Take some time to read what they’ve actually said. And ask yourself two questions:

  1. Is this person someone who knows what they’re talking about, or is he/she an internet troll?

  2. Is there any merit to what they’re saying?

There are times when criticism is valid, and may just have been expressed in a less than ideal way. For example, if someone left a comment complaining that the photos you share of your artwork are too dark, you could look at ways to improve your lighting. If they moan that your nose is too big, or your voice annoys them, delete and ignore.

There are also times when other artists or teachers may offer constructive feedback about your art. It can feel like a personal attack, because as artists our work feels like an extension of ourselves, but it’s important to know the difference.

Make choices that are right for you.

Like I said before, no matter what you do, and what direction you take your creativity, there will be people who have something negative to say. You can’t control that. The only thing you can control, is you and how you handle it.

You're not going to please everyone anyway, so remain true to yourself.

Understand your spotlight.

Having an online presence will always attract attention (of all kinds). There is no magic bullet for cutting all criticism from the web, but you can put certain measures in place to limit the impact:

  • If you run an online community, draft strict guidelines about what is and what is not acceptable, and follow through with removing anyone who gets nasty.

  • Close comments on your blog posts or simply moderate them to control spam and unwarranted ugliness.

  • Kill with kindness. If someone has something unkind to say about one of your posts, don’t engage in the negative, simply say “Thank you for your feedback - I hope you enjoy the next one more.”

Appreciate the outpourings of support.

I can guarantee that no matter the size of your creative network, you will receive more positive messages and comments than negative ones. Unfortunately, we all tend to dwell on the ones that make us feel bad.

I would suggest collecting those nice things people say in a notebook or take a screen shot and save in a folder on your computer, and reading back through them every time you have to deal with something mean.

Here’s another thing to remember - those people that really cut you with words are not thinking about how they’ve hurt you. They will already have moved on to the next thing. The people who support you, are the ones that will be thinking of you - so give them your focus too.

Journal it out.

Our journals aren’t there just to look pretty on a shelf, they can really help us work through this stuff. Whether you’re a “regular” journaler or an art journaler, you can use those pages to process your feelings, and move on to a more positive headspace.

Writing it all down can be a very cathartic experience, and I really recommend it.

I really hope these tips will get you thinking the next time someone says your work is ugly or that you draw like a chicken!  When they do, jump onto Instagram and leave some love for your followers.  Bringing joy to others is the most excellent way to forget about the negativity and, or course, a pint of Ben & Jerry's couldn't hurt either!

Have a blessed day!


I'm having a workshop retirement sale!

I am having a retirement sale on nine of my workshops and they are all 50% regular price.
Sale ends June 10.

Note: You will still have access to the course classrooms on my site.  These courses will just not be available after June 10 for purchase.

Click on image for more details!

Vintage Vibe Tag Book Tutorial

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Cindy Gilstrap

I love making books and especially small books. As I was cleaning up my art table one day I picked up some tags to put away and had an immediate idea to make a book with them. I didn’t get to make the book that day and went ahead and put them away. When it was time to do my project for Roben-Marie I immediately thought of the tags and combining them with Art Pops to make a small tag book. Sometimes inspiration can come from the simplest of things like cleaning off your art table.

 Check out this video tutorial as Design Team member Cindy Gilstrap creates this beautiful vintage style tag book as her project. Cindy takes you step-by-step through creating this gorgeous tag book with a real vintage flair to them. She uses Art Pops™ and Paperbag Studios Stamps. @robenmarie @junqueart #robenmarie #robenmariedesignteam #paperbagstudios #artpops #mixedmedia #diy

Combining new and vintage elements is one of my favorite ways to work so as I was gathering supplies for this project I made sure to pull out some vintage papers and a vintage milk cap that I knew I could use somehow. When I started working I didn’t have a set plan I just knew what supplies I would be using. I often start creating without a plan. When I work this way I find it’s helpful to limit myself and pull out supplies that inspire me and stick with just those supplies.

When working with vintage items don’t be afraid to combine them with bright colors. I love the contrast between the two and it can often give an unexpected look. Look for vintage items with fun graphics on them to add interest to your art.

Roben-Marie’s Art Pop collections make such a great jumping off point for this tag book. By adding just a few layers to the tags and Art Pops it made a quick and easy art book. This project would make a great little quote book, photo book, or just a place to play with new techniques. Thanks so much for being here and I hope you enjoyed the project.

Going Deeper...

Is there an aspect of mixed-media art that you always avoid? Why? 

Perfectionism. After creating in art journals for several years there was something that was bothering me about what I was creating. I finally realized I was trying make things too perfect and worrying about how it looked. When I started looking at my art journals as just a place to play and explore they became fun! They became my playground! Perfectionism in art can be paralyzing. So when I find myself worrying about things being perfect I pull out one of my art journals and loosen up!

What creative tool/supply are you obsessed with right now? 

I am in love with the Stabilo Woody pencils! They are versatile since they can be used dry or wet. I love the crayon looking scribble marks you can make with them but I also love that you can get a watercolor look. You can see me using a few of the pencils in this project.

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