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Month: October 2016

Someone Say Steampunk?

Someone Say Steampunk?



There’s no denying it. Steampunk is big. After enjoying at least a dozen years of mainstream popularity, the demand for steampunk only appears to be increasing. I often see proof of this not only in a multitude of new steampunk fictional releases and Mixed Media supplies but also in the search data from my Etsy shop.

So, it seemed like the perfect time to create another steampunk canvas and this one is appropriately named Someone Say Steampunk?. I’m not one who gets into the floating legs or hollow eyed doll faces one often sees in steampunk art; I prefer to concentrate instead on the industrial and Victorian aspects of this fascinating science fantasy sub-genre.

On a 12″ x 9″ stretched canvas, the depth of this piece is 1.5″. The background has multiple coats and spritzes of paint with stenciled textured designs and pieces of bias tape providing additional dimension. Embossed stamp designs add yet another element before the piece is further defined by multiple layers of embellishments.

Metallic paint is hard to capture in photographs. Even after photographing Someone Say Steampunk? three times in three different light settings, I still failed to capture its true colors in a full on shot. The picture at the top of the page is very close but the colors are actually a combination of all these pictures as the lighting changes slightly as you turn the picture one way and then another.

The vintage elements in Someone Say Steampunk? include rhinestone buttons, various other buttons, seed beaded necklace segments, a chandelier piece, lace, and chain. Newer pieces provide its pure steampunk look with such items as a propeller, a high-wheeler bicycle, clock, riveted heart, gears, word plaque, Victorian hand, winged heart, crown, and blackbird. Also you’ll find flower cabochons, bark, and many assorted metal embellishments and beads.

I suggest hanging as is (utilizing canvas framework) but will include a sawtooth hanger for installation in case you desire a separate hanger. Although I prefer the no-frame look, this is ready for framing. I occasionally frame an  Assemblage Art piece and the end result can be stunning.

Dimensions: 12″ x 9″ x 1.50″

Original article updated Nov, 2017 to include current status – SOLD

All Assemblage Art pieces sold at Art Creations by Vicky are original works from artist Vicky Hensley.



Finding the Right Paint for Your Mixed Media Assemblage Art

Finding the Right Paint for Your Mixed Media Assemblage Art

A few of my favorite Media Fluid Acrylics

Like most of us, I started my Mixed Media Assemblage adventure with bottles of acrylic paint from my local hobby store. Today, cost usually runs around $2.00 (give or take) a bottle depending on your ability to coordinate your need with a sale. Since I usually make my in-town purchases at Hobby Lobby, that means choosing between brands such as Americana, Folk Art, Delta Creamcoat, or Anita’s Craft Paint. I have all on my art room shelves and some have served as my favorites whiles others have been used once and tagged “never again”.

Generally I was happy with these more affordable paint options even though there were times I couldn’t achieve the depth of color I desired or even a shade I should have been able to achieve through blending. Sometimes the colors were muddy or irritatingly transparent. So my options were somewhat limited – which was fine. For a while. Then I discovered two excellent alternatives.

DecoArt’s Media Fluid Acrylics

In 2014, I started following Andy Skinner’s instructional videos on YouTube. Andy is a renowned Mixed Media artist and an excellent teacher of Mixed Media techniques. Although I don’t create in the same style as Andy’s team, we use the same techniques to achieve our individual looks. Andy often encourages his students to try DecoArt’s (he’s a consultant at DecoArt) higher quality acrylic paint line – Media Fluid Acrylics. It is part of their Mixed Media line and therefore more suited to Mixed Media work (Andy’s 1 minute YouTube video on Fluid Acrylics here). I took the bait and tried the products. And, wow, what a difference.

With me at the cabin this week – a selection of Media Fluid Acrylics. I keep a larger selection in my art room but I could probably mix all the colors I need with less than a dozen bottles.

Media Fluid Acrylics are now my favorite Mixed Media paint. These satin acrylics have a high pigment load; they’re permanent and flexible with superior adhesion. What does that mean to the every day artist just looking for performance? Strong and vibrant colors for starters. And then there is the fact that on my very first try, I immediately felt the difference as the paint smoothly flowed from my brush to my canvas, all while easily maintaining consistent color.

Blending paint is a simple process as you can easily blend only a bit at a time without the colors running together. You only need a small amount of paint to color your various mediums (such as texture or stencil paste) and their Media Tinting Base greatly extends a bottle of paint.

You will find a selection of transparent paint in this line as well. I have yet to learn all the advantages of transparent paint but it is often used in Mixed Media technique. In addition to the usual basic colors, the transparencies give us options such as Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide or Transparent Red Iron Oxide. Just reading the names of those paints makes me feel Mixed Media happening!

Although metallic paint is the big thing these days, I prefer using a non-metallic paint. I can then choose to give the piece that metallic look later with paint spritzes. Media Fluid Acrylics are non-metallic yet burst with vibrancy even without the flair of metallic. However, that doesn’t mean I dislike metallic paint – my finished work runs approximately half non-metallic and half metallic.

Okay – I know that all sounds like one big advertisement but it’s just a plain old testimonial. 🙂 Of course, the Media Fluid Acrylics’ excellent performance and selection of colors carries with it a higher price tag. My first purchase was actually funded with money given to me for my birthday – I started with around 15 colors. One could do with less – just utilize blending.

Finnabair’s Art Alchemy Acrylic Paint

If you are a follower of Finnabair (Anna Dabrowski), it’s likely that that you have heard of her Art Alchemy paint line. It’s a higher quality metallic acrylic paint that is rich in color and permanent after drying. That “permanence” means a lot to a Mixed Media artist since we layer and layer and then layer some more.

Can you tell these paints are well used? And loved too. FInnabair’s Art Alchemy line looks luxurious and feels that way too when applying.

I absolutely love working with this line of acrylics. It’s divided further into two lines – Metallic and Opal Magic. Metallic is just as it sounds with intense yet gorgeous colors to choose from. The Opal Magic line is truly the most unique paint I have yet to use with a two-tone iridescent effect that changes in tone from different angles. Its perceived color also changes with your choice of a light or dark background.

I haven’t yet blended Art Alchemy Metallic paints but believe it would be a fairly easy process. However, I don’t see blending the Opal Magics; there’s just too much going on. I view the Art Alchemy line as one intended to be used “as is” straight out of its wide mouthed jar.

By comparison, I usually blend the Media Fluid Acrylics for further (countless) color choices or with mediums to extend its use. Fluid Acrylics are definitely the most versatile especially when you add in a metallic spritz or two. But the Art Alchemy line earns its place as one of my two favorites by its uniqueness and that “ready to use” feeling.

Investing in Your Paint

A selection of Finnabair’s Art Alchemy paint and Mixed Media products plus Perfect Pearls are all at the cabin with me. I love these little tin shelves that can easily be packed in one of my art cases for use away from home.

Do any of us really want to pay more for our paint? No… not really. But the more you pursue Mixed Media as a serious art form, the more I believe you will want the advantages I have mentioned the higher quality acrylics provide. Yes, it’s an investment – one that can be made slowly or all at once.

The more I use these better quality paints, the less I consume as I have learned how to extend the paint rather than waste it. Now I don’t consider the higher cost of Media Fluid Acrylics to be significant since I have discovered that I use less of a paint that covers better and goes on smooth and even. Also – other intensely colored mediums can be obtained with only a few drops of a Fluid Acrylic.

I consider the Art Alchemy line to be more of a luxury since I do tend to use it out of the jar. It’s an extravagance that is well worth the cost IF you can afford it. Its uniqueness also means it carries a larger price.

I’m sure there are other higher quality acrylic lines similar to the Media Fluid Acrylics but it is hard to find your way through all the hype. One thing I do know – you aren’t going to find this quality for a bargain or even a discount. Lower cost usually equals lower quality. So, when you are thinking about increasing the quality of your paint, take a look around. What about your favorite art sites?  What paint do the artists you most admire use?

When it is time to actually make my paint purchases, I usually price both the Media Fluid Acrylics and the Art Alchemy line on a number of sites and take into consideration shipping costs as well as availability. At least 75% of the time, I buy from Amazon both for availability and their lower shipping costs. But, I always always compare. If an item is hot, price can vary greatly per bottle or jar.

If you are looking for other art sites that offer Mixed Media products at reasonable prices, message me and I’ll be happy to provide you with a few sites.

Happy painting!



Harlequin Heart

Harlequin Heart

harlheart1Another new Assemblage Art creation – Harlequin Heart.

A large hand fashioned polymer clay heart provides the focal point and a string of pennants add the finishing touch. Both the heart and pennants are original – made by yours truly (with no use of molds). The 12″ x 12″ stretched canvas has multiple coats and spritzes of paint with texture past stenciled on the background. Its depth is 1.5″.

There are two uses of vintage items in this piece – the center octagon is actually a lightweight metal hot pad and along the bottom, you’ll find old buttons. New items include flat discs, floral embellishments and red beads.

I suggest hanging as is (utilizing canvas framework) but will include a sawtooth hanger for installation in case you desire a separate hanger. Although I prefer the no-frame look, this is ready for framing. I occasionally frame an Assemblage Art piece and the end result can be stunning.

Dimensions: 12” x 12” x 1.5″

Original article updated Nov, 2017 to include current status  – SOLD

All Assemblage Art pieces sold at Art Creations by Vicky are original works from artist Vicky Hensley.

Thanks for checking in!










Two Sides of One – a New Assemblage Art Work

Two Sides of One – a New Assemblage Art Work


One of my latest works, it is also my most intricate to date.

Two Sides of One is a “two canvases makes one piece” work of art. On two 11″ x 14″ stretched canvases, overall measurements of the work (when you include a 1″ space between the two canvases) is 23″ wide by 14″ high. The background has multiple coats and spritzes of paint with stenciled textured designs, and pieces of a beaded purse strap and bias tape with an overall depth of 1.75″. It is sold as a pair.

It seems that I love tiny details and Two Sides of One proves that point. When I finished this work, I knew I had included many pieces but had no idea it contained over 420 embellishments! And that’s not including all the tiny beads you see throughout the work. Listing all those pieces would be tedious for both you and me but here are the highlights…

Let’s start with the vintage found objects. The center of the two canvases features a split paper milk cap from decades ago to simulate the opening of doors into this wonderland. Other vintage pieces include plastic straw hat, bird from a mobile, pearl purse section, beaded purse sections, chandelier plaster pieces, brass lures, old buttons, tin belt pieces, and jewelry pieces such as beads, earrings, bracelet sections, and brooches – all considered vintage.

The new charms/embellishments/found objects include resin cabochons, paper flowers, gears, leaves, wings, word charms, beaded buttons, feather, heart, crowns, rabbit head, Sandra Everston craft blank (doll head), key, brass findings, filigreed round findings and much more. You’ll also find two handmade polymer clay pieces made by yours truly – a clock and scripted heart.

I suggest hanging as is (utilizing canvas frameworks) but will include two sawtooth hangers for installation in case you desire a separate hanger.  Although most of my Assemblage Art pieces can be framed, I don’t suggest framing Two Sides of One. Embellishments hang over the edges as part of the intricate design.

Dimensions: Hung as a pair as shown 23″ x 14″ x 1.75″. Hung separately 14″ x 11″ x 1.75″

Original article updated Nov, 2017 to include current status – SOLD

All Assemblage Art pieces sold at Art Creations by Vicky are original works from artist Vicky Hensley.



The Creative Soul Sisters

The Creative Soul Sisters

Liz, Vicky, & Christine – the Creative Soul Sisters

We call ourselves the Creative Soul Sisters. We love creating art. We love each other’s company. And we all just happen to love working with Mixed Media.

For years I longed to be part of such a Mixed Media group that regularly met for “art time” – each creating their art projects in a shared environment. I hoped such a group would provide support outside of those group meetings as well, you know – to share a current project or, even better, to discuss technique or ask a question.

I had given up hope of finding such a group to meet with personally – especially in Oklahoma where opportunities to learn Mixed Media techniques (or in my case Assemblage Art – a close cousin of Mixed Media) didn’t seem all that plentiful or, even available. Fortunately, the internet offers numerous such support groups online (I’ll be sharing a few of my favorites at a later time) as well as hundreds if not thousands of tutorials. So, I did find tremendous support online. But I still wished for that personal touch.

At last month’s meeting, Liz creates at one of three work stations in my art room.

And then it just happened. Circumstances brought the three of us – Christine, Liz, and yours truly together and, you know, we were already friends of sorts. Liz and I graduated from high school together and years later reconnected. Christine is Liz’s sister. It was a slow discovery as I, for one, was very private about my Mixed Media/Assemblage Art – rarely sharing it with another. But when we finally realized that there were three of us all interested in a common medium – Mixed Media – it was inevitable that we would soon become the Creative Soul Sisters.

Christine painting at another work station – the one usually reserved for my gourd art work.

We meet once a month and work on our latest projects or teach one another techniques and, of course, take time for visiting and eating. All of us have our areas of strength and each of us works with Mixed Media in a slightly different manner. Liz refers to her work as Mixed Media Collage and she sells her work on Etsy. Christine has a background in scrapbooking and art journaling (Liz and I do not) so she tends to know techniques Liz and I have missed along the way and often is our instructor. Her work is the most versatile of the three of us. And I concentrate on Assemblage Art. But all of us know that Mixed Media is our foundation. And we take great joy in sharing our knowledge and creating together. At times we may even work on the same type of project in an attempt to learn a new technique but the three outcomes will differ greatly.

I guess one of the coolest aspects of our little group is our ongoing discussion via group text for those days in-between our meetings. We share pictures of our finished work or even the first stages of our projects. Or we may even share our latest haul of Mixed Media goodies from a unique source or a sale at one of our local hobby stores. But the brainstorming is the best as we talk together about our ongoing projects and give words of advice or encouragement when another requests it. Our texts are full of snapshots and I must admit, I love finishing up a work and running to take a picture to immediately share with the others.

A typical scene at one of our group meetings. I’m working at the primary work station in my art room – one reserved for Assemblage work.

I worked with Mixed Media/Assemblage Art for at least six years before Christine, Liz, and I formed our little art support group. Throughout those years I needed advice, instruction, and encouragement and found it online – mostly. Advice – most definitely. Instruction – I still rely on the internet to provide the latest in instruction. It’s an excellent source for just about anything that has to do with art. But encouragement? That’s lacking online. Even if you are courageous enough to share a picture of your work online with fellow Mixed Media artists, encouragement is most definitely not a guarantee. That’s where a local group can feel like the very best of icings on the cake. Creating together and sharing your art work is so completely fulfilling and encouraging one another while you all learn together is priceless.

So, if you can identify with me in hoping for a local art group, be brave and open up – share with your friends just what you create. Inquire about classes at your local art or hobby stores where you may, in turn, meet artists just like you looking for art friends. And when you find those online support groups that feel like a good fit for you, think about stepping up and asking, “Anyone know of events in my area?”



Wait – Mixed Media…That’s Not Exactly Right

Wait – Mixed Media…That’s Not Exactly Right

Ten years ago, when I started teaching myself what I now refer to as my Assemblage Art work, I often consulted Mixed Media magazines, Mixed Media blog posts, and Mixed Media YouTube videos for instruction. You see – in those early days, it was all about learning how to work with so many varying mediums. What was even available? Why couldn’t I make my paint look this way? Or why was that color so vibrant when mine wasn’t? How did I finish it all off? What about that crackling – I couldn’t figure that out. Or that light sprayed effect – where in the world did that come from? How did one get things to adhere that well? And why couldn’t I obtain that rusty look on metal? I didn’t realize that there were at least twenty different ways to paint an item depending on the end result you desired. Or that those sprays were much more than adding a bit of paint to water in an 88 cent Hobby Lobby spray bottle. And much, much, much more.

Creating Tree of Hearts while vacationing in the mountains. Notice all the Mixed Media supplies and tools. But then there are all those little pieces – the driving force behind my creations.

And learning Mixed Media techniques was the answer to all that. To become proficient in Mixed Media, one usually needs to learn how to effectively utilize a number of art mediums and the more, the better. And it is also discovering just how much there is to learn all while realizing there is still so much more to learn although you have already spent days, weeks, and months carefully following tutorials from YouTube or art supply sites and then practicing, practicing and practicing it all some more. Yes, what we now know as Mixed Media is the answer. Mixed Media is usually the term I use when searching the internet for a new process or product. And it delivers. But… Mixed Media does not describe the art I now turn out.

When I launched Art Creations by Vicky, I knew I had to properly describe just what my art was. And although I knew it encompassed a great deal of Assemblage technique, I still recalled all those years I spent learning Mixed Media techniques and felt I had to give homage to Mixed Media when naming the type of artwork found on the site. So, I started with “Mixed Media Assemblage Art”. As those two months of starting a site, an Etsy shop, and a Facebook page flew by, I didn’t think much more about my description other than it nagged at me – I knew it missed the mark. Now that I have the time to look around and find other work similar to mine, I have come to the conclusion that I need to remove the “Mixed Media” from the description. And I need to emphasize Assemblage Art.

Here’s a definition of Assemblage Art per Wikipedia:

A sideways view of the completed Tree of Hearts


Assemblage Art – an artistic form or medium usually created on a defined substrate (insert canvas here) that consists of three-dimensional elements projecting out of or from the substrate (canvas). It is similar to collage, a two-dimensional medium.


That’s it! That’s me! Finally, an accurate description of just what I create.

So, I’m removing Mixed Media from my art descriptions. It’s pure Assemblage Art. Mixed Media helped me arrive at this place but my love all along has been taking many small objects and forming a single art work with lots of three-dimensional action.

Other descriptive phrases that I feel work well for the type of art I create (other than Gourd Art) are Found Object Art, 3D Art, and even Repurposed Art or Recycled Art.

So, although all this doesn’t mean you will note a difference in what you see here at Art Creations by Vicky, I feel solid in selling myself purely as an Assemblage Artist. Thanks Mixed Media – you are part of what I create but the end product in my case is Assemblage Art. That feels ever so right.