A Cowboy Santa

"Cowboy Santa", 14" x 11", Mixed Media on Canvas

Prints of all sizes, on canvas or paper, metal, shower curtain, pillow, iphone case! Not to mention Greeting Cards!

2015 has almost ended, and has been an exciting year. Since I started playing seriously with Mixed Media the studio has been turned inside out to accommodate all the bits and pieces. I'm also a DecoArts Artist (their Helping Artist Program) and had to make room for all their product lines. Their artist quality acrylic is fantastic!

I have over 500 subscribers on my YouTube channel, and have joined the team at Canvas Corp Brands as Creative Media Muse. 2016 kicks off with a bank at CHA in Anaheim in January. 

Please continue to follow me on my Wicki-Wacky Adventures in Art!



Baker's Dirty Dozen Video Hop

Video Link Below!

Shannon Green came up with a crazy idea to invite 12 of her YouTube subscribers to participate in a Video Hop. Bloggers do these all the time, but I think this may just be a first for a YouTube Hop!

Three (including Shannon) are large channels, with over 10,000 subscribers. 5-6 of us are in the mid-range, and a few are new and have smaller channels. There will be three groups of three, with some from each size channel. All 13 will be links in each video, just in different order. This is to even out traffic, since typically the large channels get sorted to the top of a viewers list. 

The plan is to direct viewer traffic to ALL thirteen channels so the small channels will get their share of new viewers. Way to go Shannon! And thanks for inviting me!

Illustrated PDF file here to explain Japanese 4-Hole Binding Technique


I have been accepted to join a group of YouTube Art Creators for this fun and exciting event! #Cinnamon Cooney dreamed up this ongoing event that will showcase artists who use the hashtag #LoveSummerArt. From fiber to painting to mixed media to card making, sewing to stained glass to encaustic to weaving to washing cars! No kidding, if an artist has a novel way to wash a car, you might find a link here!

Starting on July 17-20, this group of creators will be releasing videos with the #LoveSummerArt in the title. All you have to do is search for #LoveSummerArt and you'll see videos on all kinds of creative channels. And it will be fun! Some silly, some tutorials, all done in the unique style only artist creators can do.

Oh, please subscribe to my own YouTube Channel HERE! I'm told I have some very informative, short, sometimes goofy, tutorials.



A Fun Challenge! Journaling by 5s

If you've ever had a desire to be looser in your art creation, take a look at this! Shannon Green developed this challenge to solve the issue many of us have about overthinking every move. Journaling by 5s has become very popular, and there are videos all over YouTube about those who were curious. So far, I've prepared 3 journals, ready for coloring! One was a small composition book I had already junqued up. The second was a full size composition book, and the third was a blank paper spiral bound notebook I found in Randy's room...an advertising specialty item...complete with a holder for a pen!

I promise, you will get messy and your muse will be able to create something without your nasty left brain trying to control it!

Shannon explains it fully, so I won't do that again,,,but, each has 20 pages (5 pages glued together). Yes, it takes some time. But, an hour a day with this cathartic exercise becomes almost meditative. 

This first video is stage one. Yesterday I spent several hours getting ready for stage two, fussy cutting pictures from magazines and collecting bits and pieces of collage materials.



Redo, Reuse, Recycle

While looking for my prismacolor set...you'd be surprised at what other things I've found during the search...I came across this calendar from 2008 that was filled with high quality full page prints of notable Arkansas artists. It was a project of the Govenor's office and was signed by Ginger Beebe, former first lady.

Storage is a premium, and everything has to have a reason for taking up space, but this was too good to pitch. I brought it into the studio for some creative thinking. Fifty-Two weeks/pages, and my art could be in there along with the others who only got one page.

I did a video talking about my process, although basically I painted over the calendar pages and picked up a brush for the first exploration. There are some current images below because I add one or two a day to the book. Enjoy!



A few notes on Encaustic

Some of my mixed media artists are beginning to explore new media, including encaustic. I offered to share a few tips about working with it.


  1. Industrial ventilation: I guess if you had 10 work stations going, or didn't monitor your temperatures and keep the wax 200° or lower, it might be advisable. Modern recipes aren't as toxic as those experimentations in the 1950's. My studio is 14' x 10' and haven't had any breathing issues. I faithfully use a flat temperature gauge on the griddle and make sure it is working. A window fan blowing to the outside will help. Any shellac burning or regular size butane torch is done outside. BUT, if you are the type to wear gloves when working in other media, you might feel you must have 3000 BTU exhaust.
  2. I use a pancake griddle with flat bottomed tin cans. I also keep soy wax in an Oatmeal Tin to toss my brushes in. When ready to use them, I pull them out and wipe off excess with paper towel. They stay in the can between sessions and that is all the cleaning they get. Once an encaustic brush, always an encaustic brush. I also use synthetic brushes that are worn from oil painting. Haven't had any issue with them melting...and it is a good way to recycle them.
  3. I use a heat gun (already in my craft stash) and some small propane torches from Freight Salvage that were under $10. Any heating tool is handy (like those meant for woodturning and other crafts)
  4. I make my own medium with supplies from Swans Candles, refined beeswax and damar resin. It does take the better part of a day waiting for the resin to melt. Swans pre-made medium is good and reasonably priced. I've used several more expensive brands and really can't tell the difference. As with all art supplies prices and qualities range all over the place.
  5. Colors: I've got some blocks of colors, but prefer to make my own for several reasons. It costs less, and I don't have a storage issue with 50-100 color blocks. I keep a cup or so of melted medium on my griddle, with 6-10 smaller tins for colors. In the smaller tins I mix a limited palette (similar to my oil paint palette) with oil paint. NO ACRYLICS with encaustic! Warm/cool reds, yellows, blues, and white. From those I can mix most colors I use frequently. The brand oil paint I like best is Lukas (Jerry's Artarama) because it is milled with a bit of beeswax and seems to melt quicker. Just make sure your paint doesn't have an excess of oil (doesn't play nice with wax medium). If it does, squeeze it out on a paper towel, then put it in your tin. I also have a Ranger Melting Pot and a smaller warming tray (from thrift store) that I use for mixing as needed. 
  6. I sometimes work on watercolor paper mounted on mat board or cradled panels. Even Luan 1/4" panels from Lowes work great. American Easel has good quality and pricing and are made in USA. Wax needs strong support to keep it from cracking.

Some of my encaustic art can be viewed here: 

I've written several blog posts about processes. 






Art Journaling is the bomb!

Adonis prints and cards available HERE

Adonis prints and cards available HERE

My evolution as an artist has brought me full circle. Almost every painting I did for 13 years was suitable for framing and competitions. When I figured out this mindset was doing me no favors, I drifted into mixed media. That art community was having so much fun...and the products designed for them were fascinating.

I had to completely change my direction, it seemed at the time. Playing? Not in my vocabulary. Turns out that was exactly what I needed to add. I've had a ball, and now have four+ journals going...when one dries, pick up another, turn the page and keep on going. I've been studying techniques learned in workshops and from tutors I always meant to delve into. 

Attendance in a class or workshop is great, but you cannot learn in a few hours what a particular tutor has taken a lifetime to perfect. You have to go back to your own studio and practice until the something different becomes part of your vocabulary. I did so much study I never took the time to do the real work.

Slowly, I picked up watermedia again. Always liked doing faces, and now have a journal devoted to watercolor figurative works. Here are a few:



Mixed Media Art Featured Designer

An article with a practical tip: how to fix bubbles in collage. 

Sometimes, even with the best practices (glue on support paper and on collage paper, squeegee) you still get a pesky bubble or two. I usually just go ahead and work over them to see how nicely they want to play with the art.

BUT, in this case, I was using a thick wallpaper for an experiment. Note to self: Heavier paper may not cooperate when glued to lighter paper. Since the play was with the wallpaper, I made it work.

Here is one solution: LINK TO VIDEO Be sure to share and comment! 



Kara Beth interviewed Vicki

Kara Beth is a new friend on Google+, and is very eager to crawl in my head and learn what is there. Might impossibly scare her :) I had a student once who said if she could just find where to put the cable in my brain so she could download what is there. I convinced her she'd have to take it all...not just the art stuff, so she quit looking. 

Her blog is Art+Java in the morning, and she has done some very good artist spotlight articles. I'm pleased to answer her questions.

Here is the link. Please subscribe to her blog and leave any comments so she and I will both there is someone out there.



Skin Tones for Journaling

I am SO glad I took up art journaling! It gives me an excuse to PLAY, really play! New materials, wonky ideas, practice techniques and methods. Even got out my first love, watercolor, last week. 

Had a request from a google+ community member for a video explaining how I achieve my skin tones. The pieces in question were more illustrative than painting, so I pulled out my most familiar color techniques.

All Tied Up

As part of this new adventure, I am participating in some great online workshops. This was for one of the weekly suggestions from LifeBook 2015. I highly recommend this year long resource! I've found that all my study and tutoring in fine art meshes beautifully with mixed media.

In these videos, please keep in mind that I was merely showing a few techniques to achieve skin tones, not to paint the perfect face. Had I been doing a 'real' painting, it would have taken much longer than an hour or so.

Enjoy! Subscribe to my YouTube channel to stay on top of what Wicki is doing.



Georgia Mountain Arts Interview Snippet

Peggy is a real teaser...I've not listened to the podcast yet. You know how hard it is to listen to yourself! CLICK HERE to read her post about the podcast.

I've made such good friends through Google+! The groups are so focused and fun. There will be much more coming including a guest blog post mid-March that happened because of those groups. 

Now who's teasing :) OH, by the way, after months of trial and error on my part, and going in absolute circles, MailChimp support spent 2 hours with me on chat until we figured out the broken link problems. Cross fingers that they are all fixed. (thanks Marsha Savage)



THANK you, StencilGirl!

I always enter product giveaways...never know when you might get lucky! Most of these are automated...the winner selected by computer. I keep my fingers crossed, keep checking back on their subsequent posts and hope to see my name. I'd hate to miss one! 

BUT, after a glorious 3 hour lunch with a friend I've known since age 3, I came home to find an email congratulations from StencilGirl. I had won!

Color Wicki Smilin;!



What's in the Bag 2?

Another just for fun silly post. Who cares if you NEED anything else in your art room? Especially if you are saving stuff from the landfill, AND helping people who need financial help? Helping Hands in Bentonville runs the BEST thrift store I've ever been in...total volunteer run. It is set up like a nice department store...wide aisles, things are gather by department, and you can find some great STUFF!

I spent the past two weeks immersed in a hardware issue...trying to learn Linux/Ubuntu/Knoppix to see if I could salvage a NAS drive with TWO 1 tb drives. Supposed to be safe because one mirrored the other for backup. NOT. It appears both are gone...or at least unrecognizable. Boggles my mind...and that is why I wouldn't give up. Still won't, just gonna find a nerd It guy here in Wal-Mart headquarters land I live in!

SO, I quit. Took a routine tour of my fav spots: Sonic for a junior deluxe cheeseburger (once a weekly habit, now once in a month or so, due to living with a diabetes2 spouse who cooks), Helping Hands...found great stuff there, as always! Then Tuesday Morning (nothing) and Hobby Lobby (a few things). Then to the 3 local dollar stores looking for silicone baby bottle nipples, slow flow. These for a tip shared by Google+ friend, Sylvia Tabor. Original video by Laura Denison Designs. Links are under the video! Enjoy!



Georgia Mountain Arts

Thanks to Google+ group Kraafter Kommunity and member Peggy Gabrielson of Georgia Mountain Arts for the wonderful article she wrote about me. Color Wicki blushing! Can't wait to see how she can turn my Ozark linguistics into a listenable podcast! TBA

Click Here for the article!

xxoo and big hugs for Peggy! Please comment on her post and let her know you read it...


Latest MMA article by Vicki Ross

I explain in this tutorial how to take an inexpensive composition book and alter it for a Journal Jumpp (a Wicki coined phrase). Journal Jumpps are starters for your own journaling...gets you over the 'fear' of the blank white page. It is already grunged, so there can be no fear of ruining it as you add your own touches!

Click on www.Axully.com to see the original blog post and to leave a comment! 


Testing Pastel Fixative on Watermedia

In this most sophisticated laboratory experiment (buahaha) I wanted to see if my favorite fixative for soft pastels would work for art journaling and waterbased sprays and media.

For those who are new to soft pastels, there is a continuing debate over "Whether to fix, or not to fix, that is the question, dear Watson". Many workable fixatives in readily available spray cans will drastically alter the color and look of the pastels. If the artist is trying to achieve texture and layering, this spray can ruin the texture...AND dull lighter colors.

Several years ago, Spectra-Fix was introduced at IAPS (International Society of Pastel Societies) and was an immediate hit. I wrote a blog post about it...and what I learned from Alan Flattmann about using it. Since my pastel easel and setup are but feet away from my mixed media workstation, it was an easy hop over to nab my mixture. 

On 140# Fabriano watercolor paper I first wet the paper with a spray bottle of water. Next, I dropped and sprayed several different brands of ink and liquid watercolor, and some Tattered Angels and Smooch spray colors. After drying, I masked off the left side and sprayed my Spectra-Fix in two good coats...drying between.

Next, I sprayed with the water bottle again and put some deli paper on top. The un-fixed side pulled some color, while the fixed side only got a bit from the top...probably where I didn't hit the fixative good enough. Next, I re-wet it and used a paper towel this time. Violå! You can see the unfixed pigment stain the towel.

Page two: Get ready for it! I found a new product (to me, anyway) by reading a blog post on Google+ from a friend in England. She was showing her studio space where she used her "Brusho's". After a bit of research, I found that Dick Blick imports these from England...and they are fairly inexpensive. BUT, what FUN! They are highly pigmented watercolor CRYSTALS, about the size of glitter. In addition to all the traditional techniques for watercolor, these add an important ability...sprinkle a few granules into a water puddle and watch it explode onto your paper...reminds me of Fizzy's from 1960's.

The fixing and wetting and blotting process was repeated, with the same results. Spectra-Fix WORKS! AND, you can purchase it in a 3oz concentrate bottle and mix your own as the blog post explains. AND spray right at your workstation.



Life Book 2015 Beacon of Light Week 1

What fun Wicki is having! This process is a more illustrative one, and requires much more time than I originally thought. BUT, it is very enjoyable and the mixed media materials are like being a kid again! 

Gold, Glitter, Magic, Oh My! And somewhere between the worktable and photo she gained an angel kiss on her forehead. hmmm. curious.

You know, funny thing is...many subscribers have left this blog since I've started exploring mixed media, bookbinding, journaling, etc. Too bad cause they are missing out on a lot of fun. I can already see how learning whimsy is going to help with my regular painting. Besides, just another stop on my art journey. Life Book 2015 by Tamara Laporte

I've found such warm, PARTICIPATING artists on Google+ who are a delight to interact with. You don't feel like you are preaching to the choir as with 'fine art'. Join us! I'm Vicki Ross, (on google+) and will steer you to some of the groups.



Life Book 2015

I have caught hints of this annual workshop for a year or so, and decided on a whim that I would 'Just do It'. As I've mentioned over the past few months, I've been exploring mixed media. This started with encaustics where anything that can be embedded in the beeswax medium is fair game. How much fun! Fibers, papers, junk mail, buttons...which led to the world of Art Journaling where much the same thing is done on paper. 

The journal is not the end product, rather a recipe book of trial and error experimentation. Color combinations, layering, mono printing, stamping, stenciling...any thing that will add texture or a layer of intrigue is the name of the game.

Life Book 2015 is the brainchild of Tamara Laporte from Willowing Arts in England. She has the most charming accent that shows her Dutch ancestry. She is also exudes an Earth Mother persona...it is all about self image. The first day of January, she jumped right in with a "warm-up" exercise. Took me TWO days to get mine done. Oh well, that, too is OK according to Tam. There are about 20 guest instructors throughout the year. I am EXCITED.

My word of the year 2015 is "DO". As in just do it. Quit reading and studying about it. I won't do a detailed step-out out of respect to Tam and all her hard work. I will say that she under promised and over delivered on the content!

I've also registered for a few other workshops similar to this one. I am determined to throw some color in 2015!