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Mixed Media Steampunk Canvas

Hello to everyone from Robin Horasanian

Welcome to another March project highlighting the partnership between Altered Pages and USArt Quest this month.  Today I have a mixed media Steampunk canvas to share.

These canvas art boards are already primed with gesso so they are ready whenever you are.  If you wish to tone down the canvas texture showing through your paint, you can add another layer or two of gesso before you begin.  I like the texture and actually wanted to add more.  I used Artist Cement to add random layers of swirls like I do when I frost cakes.  Then I sprinkled on a few Prills here and there and lightly pressed them into the paste.

When that layer was completely dry, I coated the entire project in a layer of PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive) to seal it.  I made sure to get a pool of the PPA around each of the Prills to help hold them in place.  

USArt Quest has their own line of acrylic paints and there is a rainbow of beautiful, rich colors.  I have six of them and challenged myself to use them all on this project.  

Using a touch of slow-drying clear glaze gave me a little extra time to blend the colors together.

For the first layer of color after the PPA coat was completely dry, I used the tomato red, wheat, copper and yellow ocher.  Followed by more drying time to avoid further blending.

I applied burnt umber in small amounts using my finger tip.  I highlighted the edges and ridges.

Then I added the green in small patches.

Using Goosebumps spray, which is thick and clear with a hint of shine from mica dust, I squirted several areas to create drips for added texture.  In the end, it's just one more layer of texture.  You won't necessarily notice the drips on this particular piece.

Using a feather brush, I added short stripes with the burnt umber and with the handle tip, little dots of yellow ocher at the ends of them.

Bricks were added using a 6x6 stencil I got from AlteredPages and two colors of StazOn ink.  I chose chai and emerald to keep with the paint colors.  I sponged ink into all of the brick squares and then a touch of green to some of them on the edges.

As you can see from these photos, the paint, spray and ink are all shiny on the canvas.  I have a preference for matte finish so I added another layer of PPA over the entire project.  

As you can see below, the PPA goes on milky white. Once it's dry, you won't even see it.  You'll just have a beautiful smooth matte finish.  Of course, if you prefer a glossy look, there is a PPA for that, too!

Using my Fine liner tool, I used Duo adhesive to draw around each brick.  I'd like to say that I have a steady enough hand to do it freestyle, but the truth is that I laid the stencil down again and drew inside the lines. You don't use Duo when it's wet.  Let it dry to a clear finish before you move on.

I chose several colors of leafing from my gilding kit and placed them at random, then burnished them into place the sponge that came with the kit.  Don't throw away your scraps.  It's all good to use again, even if they are small bits.  You can keep them in a separate container if you like to keep your large sheets separated by color.

The Prills underneath did not allow the gears to sit flat so I used Tacky Glue for the chipboard pieces painted in burnt umber. To hold the several colors of Mica Flakes, I chose the PPA so that the glue wouldn't show on the finished project.

Look at all of this texture going on!

It's always at this point I ask myself it I'm done.  After working so long on the piece, sometimes I don't want to cover up any of the background.  

This time, I decided that the few gears I have can't stand alone.  I chose a Altered Pages collage image called Fly with Steam.  I've seen many Steampunk balloons, but the big one on this page is my favorite.

I copied this one from my digital file and printed it as a 4x6 image.  I trimmed it close to the image, making sure to leave all of the cables in tact.  The edges were colored with a cinnamon Gelato using my fingertip.  I also added layers of browns and green to give the image a hint of more color.

When the coloring was done, I placed the image face down in my palm and used my knuckle to lightly curve the balloon along the image lines.  Three dimensional foam adhesive squares were tucked into the curve to help it keep its shape, as well as to keep it attached to the canvas.

PPA was added to the top and bottom of the balloon image to secure both to the canvas and enhance the balloon shape and shadow.  I used a paintbrush since the little cables were on such a tiny space.  

The words were cut out, colored with the cinnamon Gelato and adhered with more foam adhesive squares. And here is my completed project.  I love the little touches of shine that the Mica Flakes and leafing add without taking away from the overall matte look of the project.  I hope you like it, too.

Scan of project is below the list of supplies.
Supplies Used:
Art Canvas Board - 8x10, but they come in other sizes
Gesso, if desired
Chipboard Gears
Pink Paint Palette
6x6 Brick Stencil
Goosebumps Texture Spray
StazOn Ink Pads - spiced chai and emerald
Gelatos - cinnamon, iced chai, chocolate and green tea
Tacky Glue or other strong adhesive
Foam Adhesive Squares
Metal tin to hold bits and pieces
Fly With Steam Collage
USArt Quest 101 Heavy Artist Cement
USArt Quest PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive) - matte
USArt Quest Perfect Pigments - tomato pearl, yellow ocher, burnt umber, metallic copper, wheat,  permanent green medium
USArt Quest Perfect Glaze
USArt Quest Prills - any color will do for this project because you are painting over them
USArt Quest Mica Flakes - cinnabar, copper and copper patina
USArt Quest Gilding Kit - includes Gildenglitz leafing, texture sponge & fuzzy ball to buff the metal to a shine and remove the little bits

Scan of project


  1. Wow great products, great texture and colour. Love this piece.
    hgs June x

  2. Robin, your detailed tutorial is very inspiring. Great job!

  3. I love the layering. I have trouble getting enough. Thanks for the tutorial.

  4. This is beautiful! I love the paint effects, so fabulous. Thank you for sharing the detailed how-to!


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