Dreams of Winter, Mixed Media Canvas by Nicole Austin

Hello!  I’m Nicole Austin and I’m so excited to be a guest designer this month for The Crafter’s Workshop!

December here in Arizona means that we are still having weather that resembles most people’s summers! So, I was inspired to create something that combined my longing for winter and my acceptance of life in the desert.  I also love to combine simple portraits over messy backgrounds, so this lovely lady was the result!

Supplies used:

TCW613 Pretty Succulents Stencil (12 x 12)

TCW698 Emma Stencil (12 x 12)

TCW593 Doodled Pattern Stencil (12 x 12)

TCW9008 Clear Modeling Paste

12”x12” canvas

Paint pens (gold, white, red, orange, pink, lime green)

Acrylic paint (aqua, dark blue)

Acrylic ink (pearlescent white or sliver)

Spray inks (preferably permanent ink)

Stabilo marks-all pencil (black)


Oil paint sticks (white, yellow ochre, red–these are not the same as oil pastels)

Palette knife

Baby wipes


First, use the Emma Stencil (TCW698) and a Stabilo marks-all pencil to trace a face onto your canvas.  Then, paint the background with an aqua or light blue color.  When dry, add random marks with paint pens in contrasting or bright colors (red, fluorescent pink, bright green, fluorescent orange, etc).

Once that is dry, scrape Clear Modeling Paste (TCW9008) with a palette knife over the Pretty Succulents stencil (TCW613), over the background. (Move the stencil as you go, but be careful not to smudge the wet modeling paste)  TIP: use a cut-out in the shape of the portrait using deli paper to cover the face and hair to keep it from getting the Modeling Paste on it.   Once that has dried completely and is hard to the touch, use your fingers to spread dark blue acrylic paint or fluid acrylic over the entire background, using a baby wipe to wipe off the paint from the stenciled succulents.

Use the Doodled Pattern Stencil (TCW593) to add colorful patterns to the hair with various spray inks.  I used pops of bright red, pink, dark aqua, and bright green.  Flip the stencils over to print the ink onto the canvas–this will give you a nice balance of positive and negative images from the stencils.  Be sure to use permanent ink if possible.  Another alternative is just to use acrylic paint through the stencil with a makeup sponge.  You can also darken the pencil lines with a water brush at this point.

Color in the face with the oil paint sticks.  (NOTE: these are different than oil pastels.  The paint sticks are oil paint in a stick form and will blend smoothly.  Oil pastels are more like crayons and will not blend as easily.)  To color in the face, start with white and yellow ochre and blend the two colors together, avoiding the features of the face.  You can also add a bit of aliziron crimson (red) to the mix as well.  Add more yellow ochre to the  darkest areas of the face and white to the highlights.

Add a little bit of red and white for the cheeks and lips and blend.  Add highlights with white paint pen, lightly dabbing it over the areas of the face that stick out: tip and bridge of the nose, chin, cheeks, eyelids and forehead.  Color in the eyes with an aqua paint pen.  When dry, add sparkles to the eyes with white paint pen.  Alternately, you can also use acrylic paint and a detail brush if you don’t have paint pens.  Re-draw in any parts of the face with the stabilo pencil and darken with the water brush.

Add any desired details to your lovely lady such as earrings, a crown, necklace or anything you wish.  You can paint it in with acrylic paint, paint pen or draw in any details with the stabilo pencil.  Lastly, add drips of pearlescent, high-flow acrylic ink to the background (you can also use acrylic paint that is slightly watered down).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and that you are inspired to create a winter-wonderland scene of your own!  (And if you’re bundled up next to a fire with hot chocolate and cozy slippers, send  some cold weather my way and I’ll trade you some of our warm, desert sunshine!)

Thanks so much for joining me this week!

Nicole Austin

Guest Designer

Blog: www.kinueko.com

5 thoughts on “Dreams of Winter, Mixed Media Canvas by Nicole Austin

  1. Very pretty! I really like the marks you added in the background, the doodles in the hair and the highlights on the face!

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