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Lesson: Jacqui Fehl-Inspired Mixed Media

May 23, 2015 | By Rachel Zink

Artist Statement from Jacqui Fehl via

I make mixed media art with just about anything I can get my hands on. Influenced by music, lyrics, feelings, stories, other artists, and the materials themselves, my art is as varied and unpredictable as my ever-changing hair—sometimes light, humorous and colorful, while at other times serious and a touch dark (though I always strive to keep one toe in the light). I often color outside the lines and don’t like to be limited in pallet, materials, or genre. If I had to describe my work, I would say that it is a blend of grunge, whimsey, and outsider. I think some of my best work happens when I remember to get out of my own way.


  • To increase awareness of the artwork of Asheville artist Jaqui Fehl through the creation of a piece of work inspired by her style.
  • To encourage creative thinking by exploring elements of drawing and collage.
  • To practice the collage skill of layering elements to achieve a dramatic effect.


  • Mat board, cardboard, masonite, or canvas panel
  • Newspaper
  • Glue stick
  • Watercolor paints
  • Cups for water
  • Medium and large paintbrushes
  • Hairdryer (optional)
  • White gesso
  • Bright patterned paper—magazine, origami, handmade, scrapbooking—can be scraps
  • Black Sharpie marker


  • Look at some examples of Jacqui Fehl’s work (below). What do you notice? What stands out? What are some of the common motifs, themes, materials? Read and talk about her artist statement and notice how it connects to her art. Decide on a subject for your own piece of work inspired by the artist.
  • Begin creating the background by ripping the newspaper into pieces and using a glue stick to attach the pieces to your board. They should overlap each other so that when you are finished, the whole board is covered completely. Be sure to glue all the way to the edges of each piece so that they don’t pull up in the subsequent steps.
  • Use watercolor paint to paint directly over the newspaper. In this step, you are just adding color; you are not trying to paint a scene. Keep it abstract and fill the whole board with color.
  • Allow your paint to dry completely. You can speed the process with a hairdryer if you like.
  • Using a large brush, paint a layer of gesso over the newspaper. You do not have to be precise—there should be places where the gesso is thin and somewhat transparent, and other places where it is thicker.
  • Select a few different patterned papers to use for the subject(s) of your work. Decide what main shapes of paper you will need and cut these out. For example, for a bird, you will need to just cut out the main shape of the body. For a cake, cut out the shape of each layer. Don’t worry yet about details.
  • Use a glue stick (generously) to stick these shapes where you would like them to go on your board. Or, if your gesso is still wet, you can just press them into it and they will stay.
  • Allow the gesso to dry completely. You can speed the process with a hairdryer.
  • Use a black Sharpie to outline your shapes and add any details you may need (facial features, additional body parts, decorations, accessories, etc.).

Examples of Jacqui Fehl’s artwork (the following images were created by the artist; from

“Getting Ready to Leave the Nest”

“Getting Ready to Leave the Nest”

“Ready to Fly”

“Ready to Fly”

“Just Larry”

“Just Larry”

Photo at top: “Birds at Play” created by Arts For Life student Serenity, inspired by Asheville artist Jacqui Fehl

© 2015 Arts For Life