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My Mixed Media Art Start |
Creative writings of MAYRA•YADIR, an artist who writes & a writer who practices art. Site includes resources & inspiration for creative writers seeking to expand and cultivate their creativity and stretch further their self expression.
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My Mixed Media Art Start

With 2023 now *here* (and happy new year btw!) …

… I can’t help but reflect on where my creative writing and visual art stuff may be headed — or at least, where I think I’d like it all to be headed.

But reflecting about the future is often laced with reflections about one’s past.

So while I’m still kinking out direction and moving forward details, and as I think about this new year and all that lies ahead, it’s impossible to not pause — for at least a moment — and think back to how I even got this whole creative writing/visual art thing started in the first place.

Mixed Media Art Collage by Creative Writer and Visual Artist MAYRA YADIR

A young girl chillin’ on her tablet. Mixed media collage (close up view; original size 9″x 12″) created with block print, vintage ephemera, and paper cuts.

That tale, however, is a long and winding road.

It’s best to recount small chunks instead along my way.

And so for this first 2023 post, I’ll share a small sliver of my art origins story — one that focuses on just how mixed media art and illustration, in particular, became my visual go-to in recent years.

Diving right in … 

Once upon a time, I couldn’t draw or paint much of anything.

And I do mean *anything.*

See indisputable proof of said fact shared below 🙂 👇🏾

Learning to paint and draw: here's my first ever oil painting

My very first attempt at oil painting 🫣

Yes, I know … 😑🙄🫣 lol it’s pretty darn bad.

See?! 👆🏽

That coffee mug and half-gallon milk jug “rendering” (lol) constitutes my first ever oil painting.


Pretty awful … sigh.

But that was then.

And now, roughly 5 years later, I’m designing characters, books, textiles, paper products, and other goods.

The mixed media-specific part of my journey, however, landed on my artistic lap as a complete accident.


That “accident” was the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was half-way into my Editorial Illustration MFA program when COVID19 forced all of us around the world into a socially distanced experience.

Like most working women, I was juggling two kids and all their virtual-schooling needs.

I was also stuck with what felt like dawn-to-dusk cycles of ceaseless cooking, cleaning, and laundry.

And this was all on top of my piles of graduate assignments and my consulting practice clients.

Needless to say, it was a hyper-stressful time in my life.

Enter mixed media art (part 1).

I had been working on several art assignment at the time:

  • One assignment required me to submit a finished collage for a grade.
  • The second required me to re-envision a well-known fairy tale and re-author it in my own way.

The Amazing Paper Cuttings of Hans Christian Andersen by Beth Wagner Brust

For the second assignment, I planned to rewrite the fairytale of the Princess and the Pea (originally written in 1835 by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen).

By utter and sheer coincidence, I had found a nonfiction book about Hans Christian Andersen (before the onset of COVID) at a local thrift store and remembered I had put it up on one of my shelves.

When I went to fetch the book, I realized it was more focused on Andersen’s life story and did not really feature his famous fairy tales.

While the book didn’t have what I was looking for, I remember being *mesmerized* and inspired by Andersen’s life.

The book, The Amazing Paper Cuttings of Hans Christian Andersen (by Beth Wagner Brust), featured page after page of the most insanely talented and most exquisite paper cut art I have ever seen!

Prior to this book, I had no idea Andersen had been not only a gifted writer well beyond the realm of his fairy tales but that he had also been a masterful paper cutter.

I honestly just couldn’t put the book down.

Brust’s biography about Andersen was interesting, yes … but my total fascination was 100% ** ALL ABOUT THE PAPER CUTS!! **

Enter mixed media art (part 2).

By the time I started working on my collage assignment, Andersen’s beautiful paper cuts kept infiltrating my imagination.

Intricate paper cut art by Hans Christian Andersen, a "Poet with Pen and Scissors"

Intricate paper cut art (Phantasieschnitt für Dorothea Melchior, 1874) by Hans Christian Andersen; via a “Poet with Pen and Scissors” online exhibition. Image obtained from Odense City Museums – Hans Christian Andersen Museum.

That’s when I started thinking I would try incorporating paper cuts into my collage assignment.

Lo’ and behold, I dug out a *HUGE* vintage paper stash of antique books, music sheets, and (much) more I had been collecting for years precisely for such a day or task.

As I dug into my paper treasure trove, I was in an inspired trance of sorts. And without much warning, I found myself tearing old and withered books apart from cover to cover.

Before I knew it, I had a pair of scissors in my hand.

One book cover cut led to another …

… and then another …

… and then …

a bit of tape here …

an inked stamp or so there …

… and a splash of ink everywhere!

Several entrenched hours later, I had my first ever, paper cut-themed collage completed!


Mixed media collage art on journal front cover design by creative writer and visual artist MAYRA YADIR

This is how lovely my finished mixed media collage looks as writing or art journal cover 🙏

While scanning the artwork and lightly adjusting colors from my computer, it was at THAT VERY MOMENT I knew mixed media — where one combines the analog with the digital — would be at the crux of ALL my art and illustration work moving forward.

And so it has.

And mixing media shall continue taking center stage in much of what I do and produce moving forward.

So that’s how I got my mixed media art start 🙏.

This is why you can’t ever be dismissive of things, even if you think they don’t or won’t interest you of maybe they’re not as relevant … because one unexpected discovery inevitably leads to another, which proves my very important point:

… you just *NEVER* know when or when you’ll get hit by a thundering bolt of unyielding (and deliciously refreshing) inspiration!

Wishing you and yours a VERY INSPIRED 2023!!

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