Workshop: Liz Powell mixed media

I’ve been lacking in inspiration and drive recently so this workshop came at the right time.  Messing around with a group of like-minded people, using products we all own but aren’t sure what to do with, seemed like it would be fun and it was.  Note: You will see from my samples I’m currently in a ‘brown’ mood!

Liz has many skills and teaches a variety of workshops.  In a few weeks I’ll be doing some bookmaking with her but yesterday was all about experimentation, exploring the effects of layering products, wiping back, adding more, adding resists, buffing surfaces and creating textures.  As I love bookmaking I’m interested in making fabulous unique covers for my books so was eager to see how Liz integrates lots of both physical and colour layers to result in abstract unified designs.


We started by looking at what effects can be produced on kitchen foil using gesso, oil sticks, boot polish, shellac and other colouring agents.  Powders and mediums were mixed and brushed on, cloths were used to buff and blend.

The colours I used adhered to the foil and knocked back the brilliance of the silver.  Crumpling enables colour to be pushed into the crevasses or lightly applied to the peaks.


Using a base of crumpled yellow Unryu paper I added some gesso, various oil based and water mixed products.  Good start but hated the white gesso resist area.  I added some washi paper and tissue over the surface then continued to build up colour layers adding high/low lights where appropriate.  I decided I liked the crumple effect and stayed with it.


Here I used an old sewing pattern as my base, colouring and layering, adding some additional collage and unifying with shellac and oil stick highlights.


This was very thin tissue crumpled and applied to a base with glue stick instead of PVA as the previous samples.  It worked well and had no leakage through the tissue, which happens with glue.

This piece isn’t finished yet as the collaged leaf and elephant paper strip need more integration with the base.

I like the idea of applying more thin paper layers over the surface and then further colour layers.  The collage pieces then disappear into the overall piece and unify better.


Above is some Japanese printed rice paper which has been coloured.  I prefer it before the shellac was added, making it too golden.

We also played with a bit of image transfer using block printing inks.

The Derivan block printing inks are very sticky.  They roll out well and adhere nicely to flattened natural objects such as leaves.

So what’s next? Well I have a textural background semi-prepared (below) and am going to colour the foil before adding more layers.  However, this time I’m staying away from the shellac which gives the golden surface and trying for something completely different.

Let’s see what I can come out with and how well I can disguise the original colour base.  I might even be able to use it as one of my book covers in the next bookmaking workshop.


About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
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5 Responses to Workshop: Liz Powell mixed media

  1. kath says:

    great work Claire, looks like you’ve been busy. glad you were inspired by these

    • Claire B says:

      Liz was a great teacher and I’m going to ContextArt and doing various types of book making/binding with her next week. So I’m really looking forward to continuing working with her.

  2. Pingback: Mixed Media in a Day with Liz Powell | Primrose Paper Arts Inc.

  3. Lovely experimenting with some beautiful results. Thanks for sharing, it was really interesting to see all this work.

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