Hula Girl – A Tiki-Inspired Mixed Media Canvas Project

It’s just been a little over 6 months since I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, and I took a short, creative break to re-establish my footing. But I’m back -and who knew this fish out of water would be doing so well in the desert?!?! I have a great job with Spellbinders Paper Arts as a Graphic Designer, I’ve met some incredible friends, been stepping up my boxing training, have a handsome new beau in my life and things are really looking up! So, I put together a Tiki-Inspired Mixed Media Canvas Project to combine some of my favorite ocean elements (symbolizing “where I’ve been”) with elements that symbolize my move to “The Valley of the Sun” (symbolizing “where I’m going”) to share with you today! It’s also a special treat to use a vintage picture of my mom as a Hula Girl mixed with Julianna Hudgins‘ Sun Die Cut Shape from her Jewel Framed Sentiments set to make this Mixed Media canvas have a really unique, vintage and fun style.

Hula Girl - A Tiki-Inspired Mixed Media Canvas Project

The inspiration for the overall vibe of this Tiki-Inspired Mixed Media Canvas Project comes from one of the first restaurants I visited when arriving in Phonix, Hulas Modern Tiki. Within walking distance of my home, Hulas is a modern, urban twist on the classic tiki bars and restaurants of the ’50s & ’60s. It’s locally owned and operated, and is a community place where everyone is welcome, from hipsters, oldsters, youngsters and everyone in between, and beyond. They have a Spicy Seaweed Salad that I’m hooked on, incredibly-prepared seafood offerings, drinks that are to-die-for…and an atmosphere that gives me that little taste of being back home at the beach (even though I’m in the desert) each time I visit. It truly is one of my favorite spots in Phoenix.

Hulas Modern Tiki Restaurant in Uptown Central Phoenix

To pull this piece together, I wanted some strong ocean / tiki imagery, so I started looking through my photo archive.

I knew I had the picture of my mom in her hula dance costume that I’ve been dying to use for years in a project. I absolutely love the image and the timing couldn’t be more appropriate. I remember for years, my mom telling me that she always wanted to be a professional dancer. Not only was this picture’s subject matter perfect for this piece, but it also symbolized that moment in your life when you’re doing exactly what you want to be doing….like how I feel with my career, boxing, friends and my new beau.

Then, I found a picture of a beach in Mexico that I took…and with a little work in Photoshop to remove the throngs of modern-looking tourists, I was able to create a vintage-looking image that had the vibe needed for me to create a stunning background with this Tiki-Inspired Mixed Media Canvas Project.

If you’d like to use either of these images, I’ve placed them here for you to download for FREE! Just give me a shout-out if you ever use them so I can compliment your work!

Hula Girl - A Tiki-Inspired Mixed Media Canvas Project - My Mother, The Hula Girl

Now that I had my ocean references, I wanted to pull in the desert, Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun. If you’ve ever seen a Sparkletts Water Truck, the back sign is completely blinged-out with round, aqua bling. I just love the idea of that technique and wanted to play off of it.

Back of Sparklets Truck

So, using Julianna Hudgins’ Sun Die Cut Shape from her Jewel Framed Sentiments set, I created rows of suns to symbolize the intense heat in Phoenix in a fun and playful way. I love how Julianna’s suns are really the foundation of this Tiki-Inspired Mixed Media Canvas Project. They represent heat and the “Valley of the Sun”, but they also represent all those “fun-in-the-sun-days” I used to have at the beach through their Sparklet-Truck-like application. And by using Deco Art’s Texture Fierro Medium on the metal foils to age them, it brings a sandy, gritty texture that is definitely representative of both Phoenix and the beach. These suns really make this piece come together for me.

Hula Girl - A Tiki-Inspired Mixed Media Canvas Project - Suns using Julianna Hudgins Dies

I really love how flexible and versatile Julianna’s dies sets are. They have pieces that can be used together or separate in so many different ways. Just look at all the other pieces in this set that I didn’t use….just a number of possibilities down the line.

S5-144 - Jewel Framed Sentiments

Below, you’ll find a list of items used in this Tiki-Inspired Mixed Media Canvas Project.

Feel free to download the images I used for free or look through your photo archive and create a Hulas-inspired piece of your own!

Julianna Hudgins’ Jewel Framed Sentiments Die Set from Spellbinders
Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting & Embossing Machine
Precious Metals Premium Craft Foils Assortment
Beach Photo (Download FREE Here)
Hula Girl Photo (Download FREE Here)

8×10 Value Pack Canvas
Deco Art Americana Paints (I used Bahama Blue, Indian Turquoise and Toffee)
Deco Art Texture Fierro
Deco Art’s Decoupage Medium
Powder Puff Amaretto Chalking Ink by Quick Quotes
Bronze Necklace Chain bent to make corner brackets
Short, Bronze Screws
Hemp Twine
Antique Brass Jump Rings
Slim Flat Nose Pliers
Blue Glass Seed Beads
Emery Board for distressing
Strips of Leather
Antique Brass findings
Thin Burlap, Mica or other natural fabrics / papers

I hope you enjoyed this piece!  I love to create using the things that inspire me every day like with this Tiki-Inspired Mixed Media Canvas Project.  It’s even better when I can incorporate those special things that symbolize the times in your life when you’re doing exactly what you want to be doing!  Love that.

Till next time….Make Heads Turn…every day.


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