Better With Art

Winter Wonder Collage

Welcome to Better With Art. This week we’re having fun making several different types of wintry papers to create unique collages. I’m so glad you’ve decided to take some time to practice creative self-care by making art with me. I’m Melinda and I’m here to encourage you to reclaim your creativity and practice creative self-care with weekly small-art prompts that can be done in an art journal or on paper if you don’t have one. Links below if you’re looking to get started with my simple form of art journaling. And if you’d like to extend the week’s theme with journaling prompts and other creative self-care inspiration, click here to sign up for Better With Art emails. You’ll also receive a link to join the private Better With Art Facebook group.

Wintry Weather

Winter has finally hit my little area of the world. December was unseasonably warm, and my snow blower hadn’t seen much action this winter. And I’m not complaining about that. But I am sort of dreading putting on my snow clothes and firing it up, but, well, that’s life.

I’m not a big fan of winter. Though, as I was telling my daughter, I wouldn’t mind it so much if I never had to move snow, my house was warmer, and I never had to drive when roads are slippery and/or visibility is low.

I don’t like feeling cold.

The cold does make me wonder why I live here. And maybe some day I won’t, but for now, this is where I am, and it’s important to make the most of whatever season we’re in, it’s important to find the beauty.

But these short hours of daylight can make that more difficult. The lack of sun is hard on many.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

My SAD isn’t as bad as it used to be. But how can anyone be happy with darkness before dinnertime?

While my Australian friends are in the opposite time of year, I know many of you are here with me in winter. For some of you it’s even colder and darker than my home in Central New York.

And I know that many of you struggle with the depression and anhedonia and fatigue of seasonal affective disorder.

So today we’re going to purposely and purposefully focus on the beauty of icy cold and snow. And explore various techniques to capture bits of that beauty.

Try as many as you have time and materials for.


art journal or heavy paper or cardstock to build your collage on
card stock or printer paper
white tissue paper
watercolor paint
acrylic paint
table salt
kosher salt
plastic wrap
paintbrushes of various sizes

if you have a gel plate, baby powder or cornstarch & a sieve

Salt for an snowfall or icy effect

There are several simple ways to use salt for a snowfall or icy effect. The simplest is to sprinkle table salt or coarse kosher salt on a wet watercolor or watered-down acrylic wash. For the best effect you need to have plenty of paint, and it needs to be quite wet when the salt is applied.

I used a pale blue, medium blue, and pearlescent white.

After your page is sprinkled to your satisfaction, set it aside to dry, and make some more papers!

After your salted paper is dry, brush off all the salt to see its effect.

I wanted to try a new-to-me type of crystallizing watercolor but I didn’t have Epsom salt when I had time to play. So maybe we’ll revisit this effect.

Tinted tissue paper

You can also use watered-down acrylics on a very wet brush to tint tissue paper for lovely translucent collage paper. You can see examples of how I use it in various places on my website, including in the header at the top of this and every page.

Icy texture with plastic wrap

As well as experimenting with salt a little on the 52-Week Art Journal Journey, we also played with effects of plastic wrap on watery acrylics, which is another option for this week’s collage, focusing on cool icy colors. I’m using a pale blue and silver acrylic craft paints. Craft paint is ideal, as it is a thinner consistency than my tube acrylics, and costs less, as my 52-Week Art Journal Journey and Better With Art refrain… Reclaiming your creativity doesn’t need to cost a lot of money.

Click here for the Week 18: Paint Playtime video.


For the best effect, make light, medium, and dark papers to create dynamic contrast in your collage… or collages.

On one of my medium shade papers I did some asemic writing, which is a form of writing that has no literal meaning. It’s a lot of fun, and beautiful. I just used the tip of a small paintbrush handle through the wet paint.

If you’d like to see it in action click here to check out the 52-Week Art Journal Journey Week 30: Asemic writing video.

Try some asemic writing, or writing with meaning. Find mark-making tools other than a paintbrush to create other designs and patterns that remind you of winter and the beauty of snow and ice.

I made one blue-black sheet that I wanted to cut into a bare tree silhouette, but that was another thing I ran out of time for.

Putting it together

After your papers are dry and, if need be, flattened (under a heavy book or other object, or I’ve heard spraying the back and letting it re-dry works), have fun creating your own unique collages. Break your page up into smaller pieces, or work on a whole page.

If you’re overwhelmed by all the paper choices, choose a few you like best and that work well together and have enough contrast between your lightest and your darkest.

If all of the pages seem too large to work with, or you’re struggling with making first-piece choice, cut and tear up your pages into smaller manageable pieces and start with the ones you find most interesting.

Scissors work for rounded and straight edges, and you can also use the edge of a ruler to tear straight edges.

Clean edges, rough edges, torn edges.

Organic. Geometric.

Figurative. Abstract.

Free form. Landscape.

No limits. No rules.

Just have fun creating. Don’t think too much about it. Just do.

Find the beauty. With your unique flair.

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