“Today my forest is dark…” Mixed Media Origins Layout

Why do you craft?  To make art?  Design?  Create?  Because your are driven to do it?  Because it relaxes you?  Because it must come out?  Because it is your therapy?  Everyone creates for a reason and with a purpose even if we don’t always realize it.  It may be a love of making for others, out of necessity, a need to fix or make something better or a stress reliever.  Creating is a proven healer and is used daily in children’s hospitals to help the patients take their minds off of their treatments and healing, in nursing homes to help rehabilitate the mind and body and in our homes to help us work through emotions, trials and things that the world throws our way.  Sometimes the work greatly reflects what we are feeling and sometimes we create cheerful and bright pieces that take us where we want to go, both are healing and both tell a story.  Share the message of creating and healing and next time you wonder how you can help a friend, child or loved one who is hurting or going through a hard time, consider the gift of art as a therapy that can take their mind off their troubles or dig deeper and express what they are feeling when words may not. 

Crew Member Mandy Leever-Koel walks us through her story, her thoughts, and her art as she creates this amazing work of art that will always remind her of this time, her strength, her son’s strength and how precious life is.  It is as if each detail was created as she worked through things and brought them together to create a masterpiece.  

Mixed Media Origins Layout

I made this layout to “scrap away some of my emotions.” My little man (3.5 years old) had to have surgery to remove an infected gland. It broke my heart he had to undergo this. Bringing him to the operating room and staying with him while he struggled, crying, to stay awake when they were giving him narcosis was so hard to watch. Once he returned it was still heartbreaking to watch him lie in the big hospital bed with the IV in his little hand, the pain all over his face, the bandages on his neck. Finally he gave in to the sleep he still felt. After that he felt better. To me it was a dreadful experience. Thinking about it or seeing him so fragile in this picture, still brings tears to my eyes.
The quote seemed befitting, the Mixed media Origins paper with the wings was perfect for my little angel. I had started this piece before we went on a week long holiday trip and while we were there, I found the real butterfly wings. How suitable!!!! Tragic beauty. They add the perfect finishing touch to this layout.
Materials Used:
Tattered Angels – Glimmer Mist: Rusty Red, Walnut Gold, Crushed Shells, Bronze, Boardwalk
Tattered Angels – Glimmerchips – Nature
Canvas Corp – Kraft Tag
Canvas Corp – Hemp Rope – Natural 
Prima stencil tree pattern/bark
Modeling paste
One step crackle medium
Distress Ink “Tea Dye”
Gel medium
Glass filler
Prima finnabair art ingredients glass glitter “sterling”
Black feather angel wings
Kraft paper
Chipboard word “today”
Metal tag
Chipboard tree
Crown, wood
Finnabair rust paste
Metal wings
Real butterfly wings
Paper doilie
Tools Used:
Step 1 – Select the Mixed Media Origins Paper you desire.
Step 1 - mixed media origins paper
Step 2 – Using a tree bark stencil and modeling paste, create a tree pattern between the wings. Then spray ‘Rusty Red’ Glimmer Mist onto the stencil before you remove it. (Don’t repeat the mistake I made by pressing the stencil down onto the corners, the color was far too intense and I gave the paper a real trial by sanding the color off. Yes, it worked without tearing!)
Step 2 - Tattered angels
Step 3 – Colour the wings as you desire. I used Tattered Angels ‘Crushed Shells’, ‘Bronze’ and ‘Boardwalk’ Glimmer Mists. Then I added a layer of one step crackle medium. That didn’t tickle my fancy, so I sprinkled Prima finnabair art ingredients glass glitter ‘sterling’ over the wings to emphasize the ‘crushed/broken wings’ theme.
Step 3 - Glimmer mist
Step 4 – This sort of goes with the previous explanation. Sorry. You can also use the glass filler I used to sprinkle onto the wings for more dimension and depth.
Step 4 - Mixed media origins paper
Step 5 – I sprayed the tree with ‘Rusty red’ and ‘Boardwalk’ Glimmer Mists, and added some prima finnabair rust paste. The word ‘today’ got a coat of ‘Boardwalk’ Glimmer Mist, and some glass filler and glass glitter sterling, and a little rust paste. The crown basically got the same treatment.
Step 5 - tattered angels paint
Step 6 – These wings are from my old Tattered Angels stash. Glimmer chips – Nature. I snipped them into pieces because of my quote, stapled them together again, sprayed them with ‘Boardwalk ‘ Glimmer Mist, added a one step crackle medium, some ink, and some Rust paste.
Step 6 - tattered angels mixed media
Step 7 – The crown was sprayed with ‘Boardwalk’ Glimmer Mist, and I tried to blend some things but it didn’t quite work out.  Instead I turned to some texture paste mixed with Glimmer Mist, and some crackle paste and rust paste with glass glitter sterling, and that did the trick. You can see the beautiful *real* butterfly wings here. I found them, don’t worry. Perfect match!
Step 7 - crown
Step 8 – I made the text by writing on kraft paper, cutting it, and adding some one step crackle medium over the strips to make it more vintage. A little rust paste and ink – and there’s the quote. “Today my forest is dark. The trees are sad and all the butterflies have broken wings.”
Step 8 - mixed media layout
Step 9 – Sticking it all together and finding the right balance is often still a lot of work.
Step 9 - mixed media layout
Step 10 - Mixed media layout
Mandy Leever-Koel shares with us her amazing mixed media style and story that is such an inspiration to us.  In a creative world filled with beauty, digging deeper you will find a story behind the art.
To see more of Mandy’s work please visit her blog Less is Bore!!   You will see other amazing works of art and a sneak peek at that sweet little boy.
Create and Heal!!!


Canvas Corp Brands is the home of Tattered Angels, 7Gypsies and Canvas Corp (Canvas Home Basics). We are a manufacturer of surfaces, paint and vintage reproductions coming to you from Springdale, Arkansas.

'“Today my forest is dark…” Mixed Media Origins Layout' has 1 comment

  1. August 1, 2016 @ 1:54 pm Christine

    Mandy, great job on your findings of nature to include! In reading your post I found that your comments on what did not work and how you adapted it and changed it up to continue to utilize the same piece were very inspiring to me. Too often fear of mistakes hold us back or even prevent us from trying to create. Thank you.


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This blog is a compilation of inspiration from the Canvas Corp Brands family including Canvas Corp, Tattered Angels and 7Gypsies.