Winter’s Whisper Mixed Media Collage

(This tutorial was previously published in Explore Mixed Media Collage by Kristen Robinson and Ruth Rae, copyright 2014. It is republished here courtesy of and North Light Books.)

Winters Whisper Final Collage

The first time I ever lived away from home was when I left for college. Not only was I in a new state, a new place and a new environment but  also a new climate. For the first time in my life I was living in a state with four seasons. The first snowfall I experienced was magical and amazing but, as time wore on, winter days grew a bit bleak and at times melancholy.
During this time I sought out the beauty of winter. The soft whispers of snow falling and bare branches dancing in the wind became something of a friend. This piece pays homage to the awakening of my winter senses while it also explores the juxtaposition of color and texture.



acrylic paints, assorted
Catalyst Wedge
charcoal pencil
cloth rag
crackle medium
hole punch, ¼” (6mm)
linear stencil
molding paste
number stencil
paint pens, assorted
paintbrushes, assorted
spray sealant
watercolor crayon
wood board

Collage step 1

1. Add Molding Paste
After prepping a board with gesso, add dimension: With the wedge, add molding paste in a random manner, starting from the edge of the board.

Collage step 2

2. Create a Gesso Resist
Place a stencil in the top right-hand corner of the background. Place a good amount of gesso onto a squeegee and scrape the surface of the stencil until the numbers are filled with gesso. Remove the stencil slowly so as not disturb the raised area. Repeat this on the bottom left side using a linear stencil.

Collage step 3

3. Paint the First Layer
Paint cream or off-white acrylic paint in a random manner over the board. Wipe away any excess paint. Allow it to dry.

Collage step 4

4. Paint the Second Layer
Paint one 3″ (8cm) strip of pale pink acrylic paint, one 3″ (8cm) strip of yellow acrylic paint and one 3″ (8cm) strip of bright pink acrylic paint. Allow to dry.

Collage step 5

5. Mask
2″ (5cm) from the bottom of the board and 2″ (5cm) from the left side, apply frisket, also known as masking fluid, using the brush and creating three different sized squares: one large, one small and one that is incomplete. Allow the frisket to dry.

Collage step 6

6. Apply a White Layer
With a wet brush and white acrylic paint, apply a thin coat of paint over the entire surface. Dab any areas of excess paint.

Collage step 7

7. Draw a Tree
With a pencil, sketch a simple tree. Once the tree is drawn, create a horizon line behind the tree and draw in a few leaves.

Collage step 8

8. Shade the Tree
With a charcoal pencil, go over each line of the tree to define the shape.

Collage step 9

9. Create a Custom Stencil
Create a series of holes with a ¼” (6mm) punch on a clear transparency. Place this custom stencil on the right side of the background. Add molding paste to a squeegee and push the paste through the stencil. Repeat on the left side.

Collage step 10

10. Add a Crackle Layer
Add a layer of crackle medium to the bottom left side of board. Allow to dry.


Collage step 11

11. Remove Masking Fluid
Use your fingertip to roll the remnants of the dried frisket off of board. Using an old room key or a squeegee, apply molding paste in a linear fashion.

Collage step 12

12. Add Depth
Paint over the cracked texture with Burnt Umber and gray paint pens. Use a wet cloth to rub the colors into the crackled surface.

Collage step 13

13. Shade Resists and Molding Paste
With a gray watercolor crayon, trace around the stenciled gesso resists. Blend with water and a soft cloth.

Collage step 14

14. Add Markings
Add random markings to the piece with a pencil.

Collage step 15

15. Seal
Seal the piece with spray sealant to ensure the charcoal does not smear.

Defining Color and Texture

In lieu of a squeegee, a discarded gift card or even a room key works well to create linear shapes in molding paste.

When using paint pens, you will need to act quickly, as the paint is quite a bit thinner and will dry more quickly.

When manipulating watercolor crayons, fingertips work well to push the color deeper into the valleys of the texture.


U7402_MMCollage_CM1.indd(This tutorial was previously published in Explore Mixed Media Collage by Kristen Robinson and Ruth Rae, copyright 2014. It is republished here courtesy of and North Light Books.)

Find out more or order a copy of Explore Mixed Media Collage at the North Light Shop.

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