I have been a fan of Kelly Rae Roberts’ mixed media art for a while. Last week, in honor of her 40th birthday, she offered her Instagram followers a special price for her self-study course, “Hello Soul, Hello Mixed Media.”

Naturally, I couldn’t pass that up.

This is a rather long post because I share the class project, a class review, and a minimum supply list.

I spent the past 2 weekends working through the lessons.  Once again, I’m so grateful for Effy Wild’s Ultimate Class Notebook and I have completely adopted her method of watching the videos first and taking notes before diving in.

This class really pushed my boundaries because it requires you to really let go and play and at the very end, bring the piece together.

Joining Kelly Rae for this course is Lynzee Lynx. For a bit of synchronicity, Lynzee taught a Life Book lesson on making your own stencils and I really enjoyed her lesson. Lynzee was playing the role of a class student.  This is not her particular style so she was way out of her comfort zone and a stroke of genius for Kelly Rae to include Lynzee in this class.

One of the things I’ve struggled with is incorporating words into my art.  Part 1 of the class is about digging deep and developing your mantras.  Part 2 is a ton of techniques for backgrounds.  I had a bit of an art orgy and made a bunch of canvases. My friend Marva gave me a bunch of canvases when she moved recently, and I used most of them to make this pretty mess on my studio floor:

a plethora of canvases

The background-making stage is a lot of fun: alternating different acrylic paint techniques and collage.  This method is totally in my style because it’s all about filling the space with mixed media goodness.  The pulling it all together stage of Lesson 3 was a bit tougher.  Even though this project was in my area of art-making, it was a challenge to stay loose and in the moment.  Also, I am drawn to dark colors, so I had to lighten areas up quite a bit to create contrast.

I chose “Trust Your Inner Voice” because I had to let go and trust the process to get this piece done. While watching the class video on bringing in the focal image, I thought of the Bear I made for Juliette Crane’s lesson, Week 13 in Life Book.  I traced the Bear and glued him down then re-painted him. In Native American lore, bears represent, among other things, bravery and your hidden strength, which was appropriate to the lesson.  The butterfly wings were part of the following joy and intuition.  A bear with wings just makes me happy. I’m pretty pleased with the finished piece, although looking now at the photo, I think the horizon has gotten lost and whatever I decide to do with it will probably be the contrast I feel is missing.

Review of the Class

As a teacher, Kelly Rae is terrific. You feel like she’s there with you, she has a friendly teaching style.She and Lynzee work well together.  Kelly Rae is the first teacher I’ve taken a class from who has no formal art training. This makes her teaching style accessible to beginners because she isn’t trained, she just loves to make art and it shows in her lessons and in her work. You see the art being made before your eyes, in (mostly) real time.

My complaints with the class are minor: 1) you can’t download the videos. I understand teachers do that as a measure of control over their content and I respect that; and 2) you have 6 months to access the lessons. I’ve been spoiled by teachers who offer a year or forever to access lessons. Limited access is the reason I soaked the class in over 2 weekends. I wanted to make sure I could watch, take notes, and get through the material at least once and still have time to re-watch any of the demos.

The price of this class is $247, and Kelly Rae offers a 2 payment installment plan.  That sounds like a lot of money, but there are so many lessons (50?), a ton of information, mixed media techniques, and pdf handouts. With the limited access, I suggest you watch the lessons and take notes before you start. At the very least, watch the demos and make a list of the techniques to refer back to later. The price is comparable to Jane Davenport classes. If you can only take one class this year, splurge on this one because it’s suitable for any level and you’ll have a painting to hang up at the end of class. If you’re more experienced, this class will shake things up, while letting you create in your style.

A beginner with minimal drawing or painting skills can succeed in this course.  If you can doodle, glue stuff down, and finger paint, you can rock this class. As for supplies, I think you could make a very successful first piece with a minimum investment in supplies. My minimum list is below.

If you’re interested in taking the class, you may sign up here:  Hello Soul, Hello Mantra. Of all the mixed media classes I’ve taken, I think this is one of the best class for a true beginner because you can make a beautiful piece without the ability to draw faces, figures or whimsical creatures.  Full disclosure: I am a Kelly Rae Roberts’ affiliate, so if you sign up by following the above link, I get a little something in return from Kelly Rae, which I’ll no doubt use for art supplies, so I appreciate your support!

Minimum Supply List

If you’re completely new to mixed media or you have non-acrylic paint supplies, here is my suggested minimum and least expensive supply list:  large (9″x12″ minimum, really, this style is easier and more fun on a big scale) canvas board, regular gel medium gloss (gloss is vital), 2 or 3 colors you are drawn to, black and white heavy body (tube) acrylics, small paint brushes for doodling and writing, collage paper, a spray bottle, tools you can find around the house.

The cheaptest paint option is to purchase is DecoArt Crafter’s Acrylic.If you have a bit more to spend on paint or you just want more paint, I suggest Amsterdam heavy body acrylics. The paint itself is nice and the price per tube is good. You can water down heavy body acrylics to achieve the wetter techniques in this class.

For colors, I suggest you include a mix of warm (yellow/red) and cool (blue/green) colors. This will give you more color flexibility.  If you’re drawn to neon (and who isn’t?), I suggest 1 neon because they tend to be less opaque than non-neon colors, which makes them good to layer but they get lost pretty easily as the layers increase.

You can make your own acrylic spray inks with whatever paint you have using 2 ounce spray bottles you can pick up in any drug store for less than a buck. You may download my pdf instructions for backgrounds and making spray inks – scroll to the bottom of this page for the link.

My next steps

I am excited to try more pieces using Kelly Rae’s techniques, incorporate words more routinely in my art.  I’m also curious to find out what would happen if I use different art supplies, substrates.  How will I have to adjust the techniques to use, for example, Neo Color II crayons? I’m very interested in making a piece in all water-based supplies. What would a page in this style look like in my art journal?

I want to find out and think Kelly Rae would grant me permission.

Trust your inner voice.