Limited palette MIXED MEDIA art challenge #1: black, purple, navy blue, bright blue

Limited palette mixed media art challenge: black, purple, navy blue, bright blue / Embers on the Hearth

Over time I have accumulated a variety of art materials, mostly of the mixed media variety including a lot of fabric and yarn. It’s not a massive stash, it all fits in a box that could be hidden under a bed (think large travel bag). Considering that I have two artsy-crafty kids, one which wants to be an artist, and I crochet and sew, the amount is not that much. But it bothers me. It annoys me that I have so many things that I like that I am not using. Hence this challenge!

I am no artist, I have zero training and I’m learning as I go. Arts and crafts is something I do for fun, and the process is what I am interested in, not the final result. And I never intend to sell anything either, so I don’t care if my materials are light fast or not.

The challenge rules

The starting point is a palette randomly generated by and a bunch of A6 papers, cardstocks, and fabrics. I am not mixing paints, I am only using things that already are the colours in the palette.

My goal is to create 15 different small bits of art based on those colours. Why 15? Because that amount is large enough to explore the palette in a variety of different media and it pushes me to be creative when I feel I have run out of ideas.

I am also allowing myself to use black and white of ‘basic’ supplies (pencils, markers, thread, paints…) in small amounts.

I’m not giving myself a timeframe to complete these. Life is complicated, sometimes I have a lot of time, sometimes I don’t and I don’t want to turn this into a stressful activity. Art and creating is, to me, a relaxing activity and I want it to stay that way.

Challenge #01

Because I am very smart, I left the eye protection yellow tint of my screen on when I was rummaging through my supplies for things that matched the colours, so the shades are more purple and yellow-tinted than the actual palette is (oops!). I figured it out for the next one which I’m already working on, and the colours actually match.

So, this is my palette (except more purple because I’m an idiot):

And this are all the supplies I gathered. A somewhat random collection of paints, fabrics, papers, embellishments and yarns. This will become a regular sight as this challenge develops.

Limited palette mixed media art challenge: black, purple, navy blue, bright blue / Embers on the Hearth

Piece 01

Media: mixed fabrics, mercerised cotton thread, some sort of metallic thread, glass bead, sequins.

Limited palette mixed media art challenge: black, purple, navy blue, bright blue / Embers on the Hearth

Not much to say about this one, it’s slow stitch inspired but kept a bit simpler than most slow stitching pieces. The background fabric, bead, sequins and metallic thread I got from the local scrap store. The flower fabric and wavy black lace came from old clothes. And the cotton thread I’ve had for over a decade.

Using the metallic thread was, as it often is, incredibly frustrating. I love the look, but I hate using it.

Piece 02

Media: acrylic paints in black, blue and metallic purple, tissue paper, scrapbooking paper, pencils.

Limited palette mixed media art challenge: black, purple, navy blue, bright blue / Embers on the Hearth

I started by painting a gradient on the background with acrylic paints with a ‘wavy’ shape. I then added the butterflies cut from scrapbooking paper, and increased the waves with regular pencils and watercolour pencils I softened with water. I’ve had everything for a while, mostly bought for the children, except for the watercolour pencils which were a gift to me when I was a tween.

This is my daughter’s favourite.

Piece 03

Media: acrylic paints (one metallic and one with glitter), tissue paper, plastic embellishments.

I absolutely love this one, it has a metallic shine that the photo can’t quite capture. Same paints and paper as the previous one, the little butterflies came from the scrap store. I love them, you’ll see some matching flowers soon too.

I crumbled the tissue paper and glued it to cardstock. When it had dried, I gave it a very light layer of metallic purple, and a few focused areas of blue and glittery blue, and the stuck the embellishments on top. Very simple, but also very effective (in my opinion).

Piece 04

Media: soft pastels

I have a love/hate relationship with this one. I love the look of soft pastels, but the dust gives me allergies, so I always have to use a fixative. Fixatives are notorious for changing colours, and they did that to this one, as well as drying weird and leaving a splotch, I didn’t even use that much! The gradient was much more pronounced and the white dividing lines were almost impossible to see before the fixative.

The pastels I’ve had since I was a kid, there’s very little left.

My son loves it, so I guess it’s not all bad.

Piece 05

Media: glossy paper, acrylic pens, plastic embellishment

A sort of mandala with some bits on the side. The paper was from the scrap store and a bit battered, and I love how it looks, a bit grungy. The markers I got off Amazon a few months ago to try them, as I had never used acrylic markers before.

I really like this one. It was fun to do as well.

Piece 06

Media: tissue paper, oil pastels.

I am not a big fun of oil pastels, but I’m slowly getting used to them. I bought a small set for my daughter to experiment with and she doesn’t seem to be a big fan, so now I get to use them. I will try to use them more and develop a bit of a friendlier relationship with them. In this case, I like how they applied, they did what I wanted. The tissue paper I applied the same way as piece 03.

Piece 07

Media: GLITTER!, mercerised cotton thread.

This one was a lot of fun and the result is exactly what I had pictured in my head, but it got a bit damaged before I took the photo (my storage is not the best).

I basically put a ton of glue on the paper, then a ton of glitter and waited for a long time for everything to dry. The last step was to add the sewing.

The glitter I’ve had for quite a while as I got it while the kids were very little, and we have only a small amount left. The thread, I’ve had for ages, like all of my embroidery cotton.

Piece 08

Media: water-based marker, tissue paper, glossy paper, acrylic markers

This one was very simple and mindless. I stuck strips of different kinds of papers and drew patterns on top with acrylic markers. It was easy and relaxing, but I really like how the tissue paper allows the background to show slighly. And to finish it off, I painted in the gaps with a black marker.

Piece 09

Media: mixed yarns, marker

I love how simple and cute this one is. I crocheted some very basic shapes: two basic circles, and two with some picots around the edge. Then I glued them to the paper and drew some sketchy stems with black marker.

Piece 10

Media: mixed fabrics, ribbon, mercerised cotton thread

Just a little weaving experiment. Everything is strips of fabric, except for the sparkly star ribbon. The button came with the fabric (it was part of a pocket). The only thing keeping the strips of fabric together are the big crosses of thread. This one took forever! But I am really pleased with the outcome.

The fabrics come either from old clothes or from random bits from the scrap store. The thread is part of the decade-old collection.

Piece 11

Media: metallic acrylic paint, random scraps of fabric, mercerised cotton thread

This started as a way to use all the small scraps of fabric I had lying around. I hate throwing things away, and I truly do believe there is beauty to be found anywhere if we just take the time to look. And this is what this piece is: random bits, randomly sewn together.

This is one of my favourites.

Piece 12

Media: mixed fabrics, ribbon, mercerised cotton thread, sewing thread

Lots of yoyos or Suffolk puffs, whatever you call them. I really like making them, they’re a lot of fun and a great way to use up little scraps. I sewed them to the background with basic black sewing thread (the generic black cotton you can get anywhere).

The fabrics all came from old clothes, the ribbons from the scrap store, and the thread from the old stash.

Piece 13

Media: fabric, acrylic paint, marker

Limited palette mixed media art challenge: black, purple, navy blue, bright blue / Embers on the Hearth

I made a bird! A magpie to be exact. We live in an area full of magpies, and I love how beautiful they are. I tend to do more abstract, so a bird is not an everyday thing for me. If nothing else, the kids both new it was meant to be a magpie straight away, so I’ll call that one a win!

I decided to paint the white bits rather than use more fabric to add a different texture.

Piece 14

Media: acrylic paints, acrylic markers, sequins, plastic gems, buttons

I went back to my 90’s childhood for inspiration for this one. But it’s coming back, so I guess I’m fashionable again instead of an old millenial who grew up watching The Fresh Prince?

In any case, I painted the background with acrylics, and then decorated with acrylic markers, sequins, and buttons. The sequins and gems came from the scrap store, and the buttons from old clothes. I really, really like this one. Probably because it makes me think of my childhood, I’m sure I had a windbreaker with a similar pattern, probably with some neon added in for good measure.

Piece 15

Media: glossy paper, pencils

This is the mindless thing you do when you’re watching real play RPGs and want to create something, but not engage your brain too much. I used some random scraps of paper and pencils, the more pigmented ones are watercolour and the less pigmented one is a kid’s coloring pencil.

Another very 90’s looking one, but this time not on purpose.


I really like this colour combination, so it was easy to work with it. Most of my wardrobe is based around these colours, and a lot of the fabric came from my old clothes, while the yarns were leftovers from old projects. I’m used to combining these colours, and I was mostly comfortable with the materials having worn or already used many of them at some point.

Challenge #01 was an easy one to dip my feet into this whole limited palette thing, and I am happy with everything I did (even though I’m still salty about the fixative!)