If you are a mixed media artist and haven’t heard of Mary Jane Chadbourne or her Desert Dream Studios, you have been missing some inspirational work. She is a master of whimsy, color and design, and her work keeps getting better and better.
I have been trying to put my finger on what it is that draws me to her work because there are so many elements and factors that make it so special. Maybe the most important element is color, so I analyzed some pieces of Mary Jane’s and decided that, among many other factors, it was the use of earthy golden ochres with turquoise that speaks to my heart.
I started this journal page in Photoshop, and layered vintage handwriting, old newsprint, and several shades of yellow, brown and orange. Next, I started using the eraser tool (in varying percentages) so that it would “age” and have layers peeking through layers. I varied the brush size and shape, and experimented with bringing different layers to the front or back to get the effect I wanted. Next, I added a heart shape in a pretty shade of turquoise.
I printed the design out on ordinary copy paper from a color laser printer and glued it to my journal page with matte medium. Then I tried to figure out what to do next, especially since I needed to cover up the marks that were already on the page, made from testing new stencils. But first I wanted to highlight the heart, so I used a Balzer Deco Doily stencil with viva décor inka gold—a creamy paint that goes through a stencil beautifully with no bleeding or smearing. I also used the edge of the doily at the top and bottom to fill in the blank space. Next, I used the inka gold through a section of the Cathedral Series Amiens stencil, placed in the center of the heart.
The page needed more turquoise, so I applied a soft chalk pale turquoise ink through a Balzer Flower Piecing stencil at the edges. Pretty, but still…something was missing. I decided that it needed whimsy and magic, so I added a blue Graphics Fairy vintage butterfly to match the heart, but decided to cut it in half and apply to the edges of the heart with matte medium. A few pieces of washi tape with French words, measurements and mini butterflies, and my homage to Mary Jane was done.