January 2009

Welcome to our first e-zine! We hope that you will find it entertaining and useful.
Our group; The Latest Trends In Mixed Media Arts recently celebrated its 1st year Anniversary and with over 750 members, it is a fast growing popular, friendly group. It is a place to network with other artists, ask questions, learn new techniques, make new friends and mentor others via free workshops.

We will be offering some fun workshops during 2009, beginning with Sherre's "Mailbox Valentines" on Jan. 5th and Eileen's "Sewn Hearts" starting Jan. 18th. We will also be sharing some exciting "Monthly Designer Papers" by: Carolyn S., "Altered Book Techniques" by: Stephanie C. and "Digital Tutorials" by: Cynthia (Cindy) Powell.

There is a Chinese Brushwork Workshop hosted by: Cynthia (Cindy) Powell, which will be at a slower pace and will last for at least 6 months. This is an intense, in depth workshop that will teach you the style of the masters, specifically what is known as the "4 Gentlemen" or "Four Seasons".

At the Archives group files, you will find instructions from all of our past workshops, fantasy film, embossing metals, etc.

The database has a list of future workshops, swaps, etc. (Please remember, all of our files are copyrighted by the author of the workshop.) Membership to this group is free, but must be approved, so when applying, please let us know how you found us and why you would like to join.

We will be hosting a "Blog Jumping Party" for Valentine's Day! For those of you who are unfamiliar with how this works, here's a brief description: We will provide a blog button for you to post to your blog site well in advance of the event, which links to Lesley's blog. Lesley will have a list of links of all the participants in her sidebar. Each participating blogger is asked to provide a.) a free download, b.) free images, or c.) a random drawing for a goodie bag, etc. This encourages people to visit your blog, which enables them to get to know you. You will also post some of the participating blogs in your sidebar, usually you will post links to your friends blogs. You can also redesign your blog for this event, via color changes, special images, new header, etc. Then on Valentine's Day when we blog jump, you provide your "gift" to the visitors, or have them leave a comment to be entered into a "random drawing". If you do not have a visitor counter on your blog, I would recommend you get one. They are free and easy to set up. Just google "Visitor Counters". Check Lesley's Blog, she will be adding the button on Jan. 2nd.
Sherre's Yahoo Group is finishing up one of the largest swaps in history! 120 artists participated in a technique swap called: "The Fat Book". Also the "Skinny Book" swap ends this Spring! It was 4 swaps in one, covering the four seasons. I'm sorry I missed this! Every month, the arttechnique group offers a new technique as well as some Digital Art challenges. The current theme is "Poetic Inspiration". Sherre also has an ATC Yahoo Group. which offers themed swaps and "Artist of the Month" where you can try your hand at techniques used by the Masters to current day mixed media artists. Want to create a personal journal? Sherry will be posting weekly journal prompts to help get you started.
This month we will start featuring some fun, new projects that did not make it into our first book. Here is a game board created by me (Cindy), which is so much fun to create but currently has no rules for playing. You have the opportunity to create your own rules! This game was designed to help you get past those occasional creative blocks. It didn't make the 1st book because of page limitations, but I think you will enjoy creating your own version. You would need some simple supplies: *a recycled game board *artist paper *circle cutter *compass *ruler *scissors *glue stick *alphabet & number stamps *black ink pad and several other color ink pads *gesso *sandpaper *acrylic paint & brush.

To get you started:
1. You will want to lightly sand the game board and give it two coats of gesso. Let dry.
2. Base coat the game board with your acrylic paint, this should be a light color, as it will be altered using the ink pads. I chose a "Trail Tan" acrylic. Let dry and apply a second coat. Let dry.
3. Apply color ink pads. I used "Butterscotch" and "Vintage Photo" Distress Inks but you can use whatever you have on hand. I like to use poly fiberfil and rub the inks on for a smooth finish but you can also do the direct to paper method.
4. The next step would be to draw the rings which provides the spaces for your game pieces to move around the board. Divide these rings into spaces. (Use the photo as a guide). I divided each ring into several overlapping rings and filled each of the spaces with artist papers, using 4 colors, one for each section. Originally these sections were going to be used for 4 different creative projects, but you can decide how you want to use them. You will need either a game spinner or dice and game pieces for playing as well as some simple rules. My game pieces were going to be photos of Fairies (or Muses), but you could use photos of the players or whatever strikes your fancy.
5. I created 5 cards, for each section with basic multiple choices of materials that could be used for each sections project. Depending on what the project is, you could also include various steps to take, like: use crayons, beeswax, an image, sandpaper, etc. They don't necessarily need to be in any order. You could make one pile of cards and combine a variety of suggestions, the first being what project you would be working on. ATC, Digital Art, Assemblage, etc. Include your favorites, but make sure you throw in some of those "Outside Your Box" projects too.
The little white squares on the gameboard are computer generated steps to follow like: "Move back a space", "Pick a card", whatever would make the game more fun for you, throw it in. You should have at least 5 "pick a card" spaces that your playing piece could land on, in each section so you can get a good start on your project. How about adapting this game to include your blog? Could be interesting! Have fun!

Thank you for taking the time to read our January Zine. We hope you found it interesting and will return again to read our future issues! Cindy, Sherre, Elizabeth & Lesley