A Mixed-Media Approach to “Four Seasons” Art: Autumn

"Creating a 'Four Seasons' Mixed-Media Collage: Autumn" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

“The Four Seasons” has been a popular theme in art for decades. From traditional approaches showing trees during each season to landscapes to Alphonse Mucha figures, various subjects have been used to depict “The Four Seasons.”

In looking to do something different, it’s hard to come up with something interesting and not too close to what has already been done. Eventually, looking at printer tray crafts — and wanting to create one — led to a new approach: a collage much like the vignettes in printers’ tray crafts but held within frames.

And one of the best things about this project is that with all the mixed-media and scrapbooking options available, personalizing this is pretty much limitless.

For those interested, some photos follow of a few supplies used, and the remaining materials are listed at the bottom.

Since this project was started around the end of the year, it actually began with autumn.

The Background

"Creating a 'Four Seasons' Mixed-Media Collage: Autumn" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.comOn one side, the background was a piece of scrapbook paper from a paper pack (which I got years ago and held onto) and the right side was a piece of bristol board painted with an Americana acrylic paint in the color Desert Turquoise (a teal shade seemed like it could go well in some way with all the seasons).

"Creating a 'Four Seasons' Mixed-Media Collage: Autumn" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.comFor an autumn feel, a leaf was stenciled onto the teal portion on top of the acrylic paint with some Martha Stewart stencils from Michael’s and Faber-Castell Gelatos in the pastel variety.

Michael’s also had some cute tiny stamps from Art-C. One pack had a stamp with “live” on it, and with some metallic acrylic paint applied to it lightly, it made a nice addition.

Collage and Scrapbooking Pieces

Otherwise, it was mostly a matter of shopping for pieces for the collage and finding items that would work well together.

"Creating a 'Four Seasons' Mixed-Media Collage: Autumn" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

The Art-C “Everyday” Ephemera Collage Pack had great sayings printed on cardboard stock to use for this, and the chosen phrases for autumn were “Enjoy the little things,” “fun,” “smile” and “Make every moment count.”

(Incidentally, as a happy coincidence, the song “Smile” started playing on my Pandora while working on the “smile” part of the project.)

The cardboard sayings seemed a bit harsh on the background, so a mixture of the Desert Turquoise paint and FolkArt’s Metallic Antique Copper (which was also used for the frame) was mixed and washed over the pieces lightly as a unifying border.

Metal Embellishments: Keys and Keyholes

"Creating a 'Four Seasons' Mixed-Media Collage: Autumn" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

Tim Holtz had some Idea-ology pieces that were too cute to pass up: both keys and keyholes. These were fixed to the piece with e-6000 glue. It’s tough to see in the pictures, but the keys had words stamped on them, and the “heart” key seemed the right key for autumn, since the holidays start in autumn.

(The key does make the frame heavier on one side when you hang it. See here for correcting a tilted frame.)

To make the key stand out a bit, some white washi/masking tape was painted with the FolkArt Metallic Antique Copper and was just adhered to the background.

When put into the frame, the piece actually turned out really well!

"Creating a 'Four Seasons' Mixed-Media Collage: Autumn" (blog post) | artisticallywriting.com | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.com

The winter “Four Seasons” piece will follow shortly — and stay tuned for spring and summer!


Main materials used:
Tim Holtz Idea-ology Keys
Tim Holtz Idea-ology Keyholes
• Art-C Ephemera Collage Pack: “Everyday”
• Art-C Stamp: “Live”
Americana Acrylic Paint: “Desert Turquoise”
FolkArt Acrylic Paint: Metallic “Antique Copper”
4×6 frame from Michael’s


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Feeling Festive: The Beginning and the End

"Feeling Festive: The Beginning and the End" (blog post by Brenna Pierson)

Let’s engage in some really outrageous fiction for a moment. This is probably more fictional than science-fiction or even fantasy. It will simply never ever happen in this day and age.

Once upon a time, on a brisk day toward the end of November, the Boutique of Beautiful Things stood ready for its next season. Happy employees, eager to greet the upcoming holidays, carefully took down the autumn decorations that had graced the store ambiance since right after Halloween. The lovely orange and rust-colored leaf garlands were barely being taken down to be put on clearance, and the pumpkin decor was leaving the shelves to join the cornucopia of other fall decorations on sale.

With Thanksgiving coming up and Black Friday on its heels, this would be the most busy time of the year—the time to first start putting up the Christmas lights and rows of decorated trees. Gingerbread houses were daintily placed on the shelves in place of the pumpkins, and snowy holiday merchandise made its very first appearance in the store to bring a blanket of holiday cheer.

The Reality

Wandering among the rows of decorated trees just reminds us of how much we look forward to the holidays each year. Tons of ornaments and Christmas decorations surround us on store shelves, with the autumnal decor straying nearby, reminding us that the winter holidays have arrived. All around, holiday decorations tempt you to bring them home and decorate.

And we feel the holidays start to beckonand we want to answer.

All around, holiday decorations tempt you to bring them home and decorate. And we feel the holidays start to beckon—and we want to answer.

That’s at the end of September.

Everyone complains about how Christmas starts being marketed earlier each year. And every year, more people jump on the bandwagon of irritated consumers who are exposed to Christmas before Halloween month even starts.

The biggest shame about this is that by the time the holidays actually roll around, a lot of people are not interested anymore.

Why? People spend all year looking forward to the holidays, then around the beginning of December, are tired of it.

The problem with writers is that we tend to overthink things sometimesbut not this. We realize that a lot of people just want their real-life holiday stories back.

And as writers and readers know, timing is everything. It is kind of ironic, though, that Dickens’ A Christmas Carol speaks to the worship of moneyliterally the first thing that our society now gravitates to when it comes to Christmastime.

In response to “festive.”

Gingerbread Wisdom (Flash Fiction)

"Gingerbread Wisdom" (flash fiction by Brenna Pierson) | BrennaPierson.com

Lilly had never seen a gingerbread house with Christmas lights on it before. That did seem strange—that and the fact that it was the size of a real house. Otherwise, the candied, iced exterior, with its adobe-colored walls made of gingerbread cookies, were completely what she would have expected.

She could only see the very front of it; the sides and yard area were a haze. Getting closer to the porch, she saw the door, made completely of icing, was open just a tiny bit…just a few inches. It had no knob, so she pushed it open gently, though she had never been there before.

The smell of pastries and cookies and frosting and chocolate and candy swirled around her, it seemed—but the smells simply came from the home itself. A strangely decadent interior for a candied house, the inside boasted crown molding made of frosting, tables built from sugar cookies, a couch made of chocolate cake. Gumdrops hung suspended from the ceiling by candy that looked like licorice, and the gumdrops dazzled with their sugar coating, which lit the entire room.

Then she spotted what looked like a mirror in a candy cane frame. The “glass” seemed to be a spun sugar so shiny that it reflected her image gazing within it—and she realized she was out of place in the festive home. Her hair was barely brushed, and bags pulled at the skin beneath her eyes. As soon as she glanced at herself, she felt instantly tired—even within the wake of all the holiday beauty.

To the side, she saw a doorway carved into the gingerbread wall and walked right on through. She had reached the kitchen, which oddly appeared to be a regular kitchen—except that a gingerbread woman stood at it, stirring a pot. Two gingerbread children stood by her, looking up at her eagerly.

“Then you can read us a Christmas story?” came the words from one of the children’s “o”-shaped mouths—though the mouth itself didn’t move.

“Of course,” said the gingerbread mother. She then turned to Lilly, who did not even flinch at being found intruding into the gingerbread house.

The gingerbread mother went right up to her, and with her icing “o” mouth stuck in the same position, communicated, “You have forgotten what to do during the holidays.”

A scene seemed superimposed onto the gingerbread kitchen scene—this time, one of Lilly running around the mall in a frenzy, frustrated that she couldn’t find this or that; then one of her rushing around her own home, trying to finish seemingly 20 things in one day.

The gingerbread mother continued. “Just slow down, and you’ll actually enjoy Christmas again.”

Then the sound of candies or peanuts or something similar falling into a bowl made a deafening sound in Lilly’s head—and so did Lilly’s alarm clock.


Just slow down, and you’ll actually enjoy Christmas again.



In response to “Relax.”