Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lessons from an Abstract Workshop

I took an abstract workshop from my good friend, Nancy Reyner, and learned a lot about abstract painting and myself. Working with someone else's color palette really took me out of my comfort zone. Plus I learned that doing a good abstract is very hard to do. Amazing when you think of all the bad abstracts in galleries. I almost started to hate my favorite color, Quinacridone Nickol Azo Gold but I recovered.

I was lucky and sold this piece to another student. Calm in a Moment of Chaos, 12" x 12" mixed media on panel. Yes, I had to glue a few things on it.
Then a creative friend of mine, Celia Forrester, took my abstract and showed me how it would look in a repeat fabric pattern. Wow.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Creative Paperclay for Charity

I shared my Creative Paperclay ideas with friends at an outdoor art play party. Two of them were working on charity box auction and decided it would be a great product for their pieces. The auction was for Kitchen Angels, who provide food to those less fortunate, so they picked garden themes.


Creative Paperclay®
acrylic paint
wire mesh

Dave Robinson, artist/photographer, brought his muse to the party. On his box he had already built up the body of the pineapple with carved styrofoam glued to the box. After much brainstorming, we decided the best way to get the texture was to lay ceramic clay over the pineapple to use as a mold for the paper clay. He then gave it a light mist with PAM cooking spray before laying the paper clay over the mold.
  On the left you see the mold created out of ceramic clay on the top and the cast paper clay on the bottom.  
The cast paper clay was applied to the carved styrofoam block to make the pineapple's body. The top part of the pineapple was made with wire mesh cut into shapes then covered with fiber paste, which is flexible. When dry, they were painted then glued into place.
Teena is an encaustic artist so after she created her box using Creative Paperclay, she painted it with colored wax.

Get your friends together, find a cause or just have a good time.

Darlene Olivia McElroy

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Painting Blocked In

Just finished an abstracted workshop with Nancy Reyner - a dear friend and fellow author for Northlight. Decided I needed to get back on my artistic bandwagon with a cowgirl mixed media piece. Just a start.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wedding Cake/Party Cake

Make a permanent cake for a friend's birthday or wedding. This would be great for table decorations also. I have painted my white with clear glitter but it could be painted in wild colors or your friend's favorite color.

Creative Paperclay®
acrylic paint
paint brushes
dimensional paint
molding paste
fondant mold
I stuck two rounds of styrofoam together with toothpicks. You can also use white glue or styrofoam glue. Since I am going to cover the whole shape with Creative Paperclay® this was enough strength for this project.

Next, I covered the form with Creative Paperclay® and stamped into it.

I applied molding paste into the recesses of my fondant mold and waited 24 hours for it to dry. I used the molding paste because it is flexible and I could glue around the curve of the cake shape.

I made and applied roses and cast leaves while I was waiting for the next batch of cast molding paste to dry. I dipped my finger in water and smoothed out the rose petals and let the piece dry.

I added finishing touches to the clay and sanded any rough edges with Sandits then painted and added glitter and a tea light.

The last step was to paint my piece white, add some glitter and a tea light. This would be great presented on a plate with a doily.

Have fun and dream in color — Darlene Olivia McElroy

Monday, June 15, 2015


I am entering this piece, Inner Selfie, into a show about portraits and selfies.She is taking a selfie of her inner spirit guide.  I have always loved the Whorls that Navajos used to wear.

Sorry but I took this photo with my iphone and gold leaf is hard to shoot.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sleeping in the Clouds

Cleaning out my studio allowed me to rediscover an old painted background and a cast figure. Since the figure was cast with Creative Paperclay® I thought it was a perfect start to a project. I have always love the odalisque or reclining figures you see in baroque art. They made lying around look good. I think a contemporary reclining figure would be on a couch watching TV. Not quite the same.


Creative Paperclay®
polymer medium
platinum rub
silver leaf

First I used a small wad of paper clay to attach the figure to the background. Next I added a pillow and a snake-like ribbon.The story was finished with clouds, small cast flowers and a moon. Detail was added to the pillow and all the clay edges were smoothed with a little water on my finger. When it dried I filed some rough areas with Sand-Its.

After this picture was taken, I added one more cloud.

I decided it needed some small details so I used dimensional paint. What a difference it made. 

I finished it off with a stain, some platinum rub and a little silver leaf. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Step by Step Art Technique Tutorials

So many of you have asked about available classes even though you may live out of the area. So this month has been busy taking a workshop on Etsy (instead of painting) and putting together my shop - MixedMediaWorkshop. It has been a lot of work but fun going through all the art techniques again. Currently I have eight classes in the shop and am working on more. Through July 15th I am giving a $4 discount for the lessons. The code at checkout is FUNWITHART. Enjoy. 

This example is Old Leaf Techniques #3 on tarnishing gold leaf/metal leaf and image transfers on the leaf.