I've been doing a lot of mixed media lately ~ and one type of painting I LOVE to do is a style I call Garbage Painting. Take your garbage can out from under your desk... I bet you have tons of stuff in there that you can use to create fun texture, image, and background!
Sale flyers, junk mail, printer paper, envelopes, lined paper you wrote on, old lists, ledger paper, postage stamps, barcodes, tissue paper, greeting cards...you name it...you can use it!
Rip up a BUNCH (you'll need a lot) of random sized pieces. I collect bits and pieces of scrapbook papers, wrapping papers, cards, etc., in a drawer one of my plastic organizers - then whenever I need a "fill in" or extras - I have them handy! No waste! :)
Next - start glueing the pieces down randomly all over your canvas! I use DecoArt's Decou-Page in Matte, or you could use Mod Podge Matte Medium, or Regular White Glue (watered down a little for easier application). Spread some matte medium onto your canvas, place the piece of paper, then spread some more glue on top of the paper. Matte Medium leaves an awesome, smooth texture for you to paint on when you're finished ~ so I would suggest that over the white glue ~ but you can try different options.
Continue slathering on medium, paper, and more medium ~ until the entire canvas is covered. Let dry! A couple tips -- if you're using 3/4" deep canvas, it can tend to warp a little if you add too much paper and glue -- especially if you are wrapping paper around to the sides -- so if that's a concern for you, use a thicker canvas like 1 1/2" gallery canvas. Second, some of your paper images, words, etc will show through the paint - so make sure they are items that you're o.k. with people seeing. haha
When the entire canvas is dry -- start adding paint to the surface!! Just think "background" at this point -- colors you love together! I do a wash of one color first - to get a layer down. Then start slapping different colors on here and there -- as your intuition likes -- don't think to much! Use different brushes - pick up a color and pounce in a few areas... water-down some paint and let it run down from the top...etc.
Stop from time to time and let your paints dry -- or use a blow dryer or heat gun to speed up the process for you! If you don't stop and let it dry - your paints will become "muddy" with each new color put on top of each other - and you want them to stay nice and saturated - so you can see the different colors and texture. It's GREAT to have some areas that blend together and form new colors -- but when your canvas gets too wet -- you lose the definition.
Use an old credit card or a piece of cardboard, dipped in paint, to make "swipes" across the painting in different areas. The texture of the papers underneath will create cool, distressed-looking sections!
When you're happy with the background - and it's totally dry - start by drawing/sketching your design onto the canvas with a pencil! You can use traditional methods of transferring designs, if you wish, by drawing your design onto tracing paper first ~ then using transfer paper and a stylus to transfer the design onto your background.
"Patience" Vase Print by Sue Allemand ~ available HERE
Continue painting, shading, adding textures with scruffy brushes, bubble wrap, stamps! Just have fun! And every time you look at your painting ~ you will remember and see all the little bits of garbage that make-up the background and awesome texture of your fabulous painting ~ and that you saved from the landfill in the process! :)