How to Create a Mixed Media Painting

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How to Create a Mixed Media Painting

When it comes to art, the possibilities are endless.

There are so many ways to draw, paint, sculpt and design your ideas into physical form. One method I have been hooked on lately is mixed media painting- or more specifically a mixture of acrylic painting and sculpting medium. 

To create a mixed media painting like this, you will need the following:

  • Canvas
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Variety of Brushes
  • Sculpting Paste
  • Palette Knife 

Sculpting paste- sometimes called molding or modeling paste- is a great way to add texture to a canvas piece. How you apply it will depend on a variety of factors. One way is to apply it straight on a blank canvas with a palette knife to add dimension for certain subjects, and then paint over it after it dries (I let my paste dry for a day or two). This method is what I used for my recent gray whale piece!


I used the sculpting paste only for the gray whale- smoothed out sections to add texture for molty skin, small dollops for barnacles and sculpted areas for the eyes and mouth. It almost felt like working with frosting. I'm quite pleased with the final results!
Be careful not to create areas of paste that are too thick in one session- the top will dry before the inner layers, trapping moisture and later on crack or break. Work in layers, with at least a day of drying time for each layer, if you'd like to create larger or more dramatic sculpts. I would additionally recommend using a board or more rigid surface for these, as opposed to canvas. The elasticity and movement of the canvas can also bring the danger of cracking your sculpts. 
I also created a mako shark piece with sculpting paste and paint, in a similar method to the gray whale. Smoothing out paste for the texture of skin and teeth, and shaping the areas around the eyes and mouth.


You can also try mixing your sculpting paste with paint, creating a colored sculpting paste! With the opaque whiteness of the sculpting paste itself, it will affect the vibrance of the paint you mix in it, so keep that in mind.

There are a variety of texture mediums for paint other than sculpting paste- such as gel mediums, and glossy pouring mediums. So much to try and experiment with. I will report back with any new methods I try and like!

1 comment

  • Richard Pero

    Excellent description and method.
    I appreciate your attention to detail and trust to do good things for our planet. Let me know more please🙏

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