How to create quick and easy background pages for art journals and mixed media projects

Hi! I'm super excited about this post! 
I'm taking Life Book 2014 the amazing year long art course by Tamara Laporte and several dozen other top notch artists, but I have been in a bit of a creative slump lately. Today, I decided to forget about assignments and how behind I am and just play and make lots of yummy backgrounds. 
I combined a few mixed media techniques I learned last year (and will give credit where credit is delightfully due), but tried to keep it simple and fun. Ok, enough rambling, let's paint!!!

Over the weekend, I purchased some awesome (cheap!) cotton yarn from Walmart and decided to use these colors for my palette.

I globbed a bunch of Folk Art craft acrylic paint onto a foam plate. 
The colors I used were (most of which I got from Walmart too):

  • 901 wicker white
  • 627 tangerine
  • 509 sunny yellow
  • 954 fresh foliage
  • 524 calypso sky
  • 2574 brilliant pink

FYI, I'm addicted to the Calypso Sky color and I think I've used it in every Life Book painting I've done this year. I might need help...

Step 1. Paint some blobs everywhere sticking to two or three colors in the same family (warm in this case - yellow, orange, pink). Let dry -OR- if you're impatient like me, move along...

Step 2. Cover entire page in blue. You can use a brush or scrape on a thin layer using an old credit card/store rewards card/gift card/etc. 
Step 3. WHILE WET, spray page with clean water from a spray bottle (you could also flick water on the page with a clean, wet paint brush).
Step 4. Wait impatiently for 1 minute. This will allow the water to loosen up the most recent layer of paint. (image above)
Step 5. After 1 minute, take 1 or 2 sheets of paper towel and lay it down on painting and press firmly. When you lift off the paper towel, the spots where water was on the blue paint will come up and reveal the colors underneath. (image below)

***NOTE: steps 3-5 were inspired from Life Book 2013 lessons 
I'm sure this technique has been around for forever, but I first learned it through these amazing ladies. :) Check them out!

Step 6. I felt the background needed some grounding so I added green paint around the borders with a dry brush and dabbed with a paper towel so there wouldn't be a harsh paint line. The green is more vibrant, but this was taken with my cell phone with paint-covered hands!

Ta da!!! Below are some detail images.   

Ooohhhh!!! How fun!

So by this point I had some creative mojo back and continued on with a similar process and made the 4 pages in the title image in under an hour (stopping to take some pics too). Below is one of my favorite pages. Finished, it reminds me of candy... yum...

But here's how it began... What?!?!

Same color palette as before (in fact this was my attempt to use up all the leftover paint on my plate).

I coated it with blue like before and sprayed it with water like before too. 

Here's what part of it looked like after patting off water with paper towel. A lot of the paper towels turn out pretty cool too, so I may turn them into flowers or something in another project. 

And I repeated the above with white paint. I had a ton of it out and it was humid and drying up quickly.

And here's a detail of this yummy page. I hope you enjoyed this and I will be posting the extra technique I did on the other two pages soon. Enjoy!

Be blessed,
:) Ann