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What is Mixed Media?

The Healing Power of Creativity


October 13, 2018

Photo provided

Andi Hicks with her art journal mixed media page. Andi Hicks with her art journal mixed media page.

"When I do art, I feel safe. I'm in the present moment, not the future or the past and that calms me. Creating art is my medicine. It teaches me to be more of a human being rather than a human doing," said Melanie Rivers, indigenous mixed media artist.

Mixed media art combines a variety of media in one piece of artwork. According to a blog on the Abstraction of Cubist Collage from, the use of mixed media began around 1912.

"Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque permanently altered the course of abstract art when they introduced the techniques of collage and papier colle (pasted paper) to their Cubist compositions. Playful, experimental and a challenge to the seriousness of "high art" Cubist collage inspired all types of Modern artists. It expanded the definition of painting and created a legacy that inspired Surrealism, Dadaism and even Pop Art," according to the website.

Essentially art can be made of anything or any combination of things. The things that artists collect for their mixed media projects are called ephemera. Mixed media artists use ephemera to add "texture" or interest to backgrounds. Sometimes the ephemera is visible, sometimes it is covered under layers of paint. The term "ephemera" refers to everyday items like receipts, transportation tickets, invoices, movie tickets, clothing tags, postcards or old greeting cards. Things you might otherwise throw away can find a new life in your art. I'm always adding ephemera to my art journal pages. It could be a magazine image or a paper wrapper, anything at all that catches my eye. If you start training your eye to look out for interesting supplies, you will be surprised what you might discover.

Mixed media is a great way to discover the creative process even for those who feel they, "can't draw or don't know how to be creative." This form of art is perfect for beginners as well as seasoned artists. There is no right or wrong to the method. The main thing is to create just for the joy of creating. Every time you create, you will learn more about yourself. It is a journey of self-discovery and a wonderful way to be good to yourself.

"Art helps me through the rough days and makes the good days even better," said Andrea Gomel, mixed media artist.


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