~*~ Mixed Media May ~*~ Ursula Smith ~*~

What does mixed media mean to you?
Freedom!! Because I never went to art school, I never got a chance to play with fun tools like charcoal, and wax, and metals and inks. Ever since a friend introduced me to stamping, I have always mixed different materials in my cards and projects. I never knew that you weren’t supposed to mix 😉

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How long have you been a mixed media artist?
I began stamping about 10 or so years ago and I would say that was when I really began what we all know now as mixed media. Before that, I had tried my hand at decorative painting for a while, and then I went crazy painting all the walls of the various houses I lived in with murals and faux finishes. I was self-taught so I just used whatever I could find that looked like it would work, and I took that to a whole different level once I got a stamp in my hand. Again, because I didn’t know any better I just stamped with or on anything. Also, because my “real” job is in software, I naturally have always incorporated my computer into my projects.

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How has art impacted or enhanced your life?
Most of my day is divided between work (a very left-brained job as a software engineer), and family. You know the drill — driving, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, keeping everything at home running smoothly. Without my “play time” I would be a very sad person. I need that right brain time — it both calms and energizes me at the same time!!

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What are a few of the mixed media supplies you find yourself turning to the most?
My computer is ALWAYS involved in my projects- whether it is using the scanner, Photoshop, or the printer; I very rarely complete a project (other than my sketch or journal pages) without turning to my trusty hardware! I use rubber stamps very, very often in my projects as well and generally acrylic paint. I was on a huge kick with the Gelli Art Printing plate, and I still use that in roughly half of the projects I do.  Lately, I have been very enamored with graphite, charcoal and wax. Mostly used separately, but I have started to try to mix them as well.

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Who are some of your favorite mixed media artists?
Oh my! What a hard question!! There are so many great ones!! If I have to narrow down to a few they would be

  • Tamara Laporte – she is fun, generous and was the very first Instructor that I took an online class with.
  • Jane Davenport – she is hysterical, and I just love watching her draw! She was the second online class I took.
  • Pam Carriker– third online class I took- are you seeing a pattern here ;). I also had the enormous pleasure of taking a live class with her!
  • My latest classes that I am taking are with Misty Mawn, and Karine Swenson. They are very different, but equally awesome!!
  • …the list goes on and on- there are very few artists that I have taken classes with that I haven’t liked!!

All of these artists/Instructors are listed on a site I run with my friend Lori at Creative Clearinghouse.

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Tell us about your creative process.
Generally, I start with an idea (usually while driving in the car). “I wonder if this would work…”. I start with an experiment — a combination of materials, a different way of using a tool, or trying to emulate something I saw. I have scraps/ things EVERYWHERE from these experiments. Lately though I have tried to take them to a new level and actually use them in a finished piece — either as a gift, a rubber stamp, or a digital background or card.

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What makes your mixed-media art unique?
I just kind of do my own thing. For years I tried to stay away from magazines and sites so that I wouldn’t be influenced by others and end up having my art look like someone else’s. When I took a couple of online classes to learn how to draw, I quickly saw that even when I watched a class by Tam or Jane, and drew the people in their exercises, it still came out with my twist. Meaning they were terrible, LOL! Two years later my drawings are better, and sometimes you might be able to see the influence by those artists, but I think because of my computer work, the end results have my unique spin. Because I combine and change and morph using the computer,  what I start out with- a drawing, a Gelli Art Print, maybe one of my stamp designs- looks nothing like the original pieces once I get through with it.

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Where can we find you?
Website: http://Ursula-Smith.com

Creative Clearinghouse: http://www.CreativeClearinghouse.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Ursula.MixedMedia

UrsCowboy-Hat-3-3 I am a busy Mom, wife, software engineer, workout fanatic, and I am also crazy about Mixed Media and Digital Art. When I have some time to myself I experiment with paints, inks, paper, and all kinds of art products to see what fun I can come up with. If I strike upon a fun technique that is relatively quick and easy, I like to share it in my blog pages. I had a business with a friend called Easy Scraps, but she went on to bigger things at her real job, and decided to exit the crafting world. So I decided to venture back out alone ;-).I am a Photoshop nut, and now I work on digital downloads. These include background pages, ready to print card fronts, digital stamps, etc.I also design rubber stamps, mostly for use by myself, but when I have extras I offer those for sale as well.

My other venture, CreativeClearinghouse.com, was started with my friend Lori, in order to list all kinds of creative classes and the Instructors that teach them. For me, online classes are the absolute best idea! I have been able to take drawing and jewelry and other art classes that I otherwise would never be able to do because of my schedule!

I wish I had a thousand hours in my day to be able to try all the things I want to try, and practice all the techniques I want to get better at. In the meantime, I just keep doing my thing with the few hours I do have ;).

16 Responses to ~*~ Mixed Media May ~*~ Ursula Smith ~*~

  1. Ursula, So great to hear more of your story and see a sample of your work here!
    C xo

  2. Lynn Kopas says:

    Beautiful pieces of art!

  3. Carol says:

    Love your art, Ursula!

  4. Nice interview and great showcase of your work!

  5. Ursula says:

    Thanks everyone!! XOXO

  6. […] and all the others participating this year! You can find out more about me, and how I play at http://www.mixedmediamay.com/mixed-media-may-ursula-smith […]

  7. Ellen says:

    Beautifully done work. Very creative and inspiring – thank you for sharing!

  8. Beautiful artwork and a great interview too.

  9. gloria says:

    Glad to see another computer engineer that is an artist. I can’t call myself an artist yet, but hopefully one day…..your work is great, thanks so much for sharing.

  10. What wonderful inspirations! So beautiful!

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