Mixed Media Exploration and Influences

Mixed Media Torn Paper Collage by April Sproule
Mixed Media Torn Paper Collage by April Sproule
   Play days in my studio are finally becoming a reality for me now. To have a day completely cleared of all obligations is a pretty great feeling. What especially interests me is the way one art form influences another and provides the inspiration for the blending of different mediums like fabric, paper, and paint.
   My only intent is to play and experiment with supplies and techniques I am totally unfamiliar with. This little practice has so many positive results that I am now scheduling these play days on a regular basis.
   My fascination with Mixed Media Collage had been ongoing for quite some time. But until recently, I spent my time just observing and admiring the work of others who worked in this medium. You can only learn so much as an observer, but to truly learn anything you must do it for yourself.
Collage materials used by April Sproule.

For the collage piece above, I worked in my Canson Mixed Media Sketchbook. The pages seem to hold up well enough for light applications of wet mediums like watercolor.

To prep my sketchbook paper, I coated the front of my pages with Golden's Matte Medium and let it dry. 

I had read about using a tack iron to heat fuse the papers down. The tack irons I found online didn't have great reviews, so I decided to try my little Clover heat tool. It worked just fine. This is what I did.

  1. I tore scraps of papers I had hand painted with acrylic paint, stuck them to my sketchbook pages, covered the page with a sheet of parchment over the paper, and fused them down with my heat tool.
  2. Next I rolled acrylic paint over the top of some areas.
  3. I made a glaze with paint and Golden's Satin Glazing Compound and smeared it all over the whole thing. I then added the blue glazing around the outside of some of the paper shapes.
  4. Finally, I used wax pastels to add a few highlights.
 The final outcome was that I made a big mess, thoroughly enjoyed the process, and fell in love with those brilliant colors I ended up with. 

  Working in a different medium you are unfamiliar with has many benefits.

  • You are under no pressure to succeed as there are no expectations when you are just playing.
  • Being unattached to the outcome is incredibly freeing.
  • Trying out unfamiliar supplies and techniques gives you a totally different perspective. And you can give yourself permission to make nothing more than a huge mess.
Laura Lein-Svencner mixed media collage.


Laura Lein Svencner is one of my favorite mixed media artists, and I found several of her short videos on YouTube that were very helpful for a beginner like me. 

 You can see her beautiful artwork and selection of online classes here:

Laura Lein-Svencner