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.

Is the Future Mine to See?

I love the imagery that fortune telling/divination has. So perfect for the creation of a story. While doing this piece, I also wanted to do a painting with the color of the year - Marsala. Forward Thinking, 24" x 36" mixed media on panel.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Deer Me

 While in Tucson I went to this museum full of stuffed real animals (the guys voted on going to this museum). And, gawd, there was even a room with my last name. The idea came to me to create a friendlier, happier version of what I saw. This could be great for a boy's room.

Creative Paperclay®
acrylic paints
brown paper
tree branches

 Cut your styrofoam to form the deer's head and start adding the Creative Paperclay® to shape the face.

Add eyes and nose then start adding detail.

Paint the face with as much or as little detail as you wish. Add ears cut out of brown paper and you are done.Next drill holes in the top of the head to add the tree branches whether real or fake. You could even change out the branches with the season.

Dream in color and play with your whole heart.

—Darlene Olivia McElroy

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Too Much?

Life has become more chaotic between Twitter, Facebook, several blogs, enewsletter & keeping my website current. Instead of being so scattered and painting a little, doing social media a little - I realized that if I can't carve out a solid block of time to paint my work will not improve. So now I am setting dedicated time to paint & to do social media.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tips on Adding a Textured Border to Painting

Since I paint very flat I like to add dimension to my art with Creative Paperclay® elements. Sometimes it is a cast object, a raised circle or a border. I love the texture and depth that I get plus it pushes my art to a new level. This one was finished with paint and gold rub (my favorite thing on earth).

Creative Paperclay®
Vintage wallpaper
Wax paper

I started by marking my art and laying down some tape so I would get a clean edge. I laid a thick rope of Creative Paperclay® on a slightly dampened surface and kneaded it down to spread it out a bit.

Next I laid wax paper over the paper clay and brayered it flat. The wax paper keeps the Creative Paperclay® from sticking to the brayer and lifting up while I am flattening it out. When flat, I removed the wax paper.

I have a collection of vintage wallpaper that I use as texture plates. I picked one and laid it over the clay
and brayered the texture into it.

With an exacto knife I scored the edge of the tape then lifted the tape off. It leaves a nice straight edge.

The last thing I do before letting the clay dry is to smooth out the edges. I dip my fingers in water and rub the edges to give it a nice edge. When the clay is dry, it is time to paint.

Take time off today to play.

—Darlene Olivia McElroy