close-up of a mixed media art piece
“True Colors” 3D mixed media by New CT Member Ali Imperiale
Posted Oct 14, 2020

For my first piece as a member of Shawn Petite’s Creative Team I wanted to see if I could use Shawn’s stencils and collage paks to create a 3D mixed media piece! Inspired by Shawn’s product range I had a very clear idea of what it was that I wanted to do and as soon as I started looking through her wonderful collection my idea very quickly became reality. I had the stencils and supplies that I needed and was able to download the collage paks very easily and quickly and get started straight away.

Firstly I covered my mannequin head with ripped up pieces from Shawn’s Vintage Ledger and Journal Pages collage pak. I dripped a watery mixture of Buff Titanium, Titanium White, and Raw Umber over the head, and then once dry I cut out and stuck down the butterflies from the Vintage Butterfly collage pak. I covered the butterflies from The Bright Butterfly pak with sticky back paper to make them stronger and then scored gently along the inner wing so that I could lift the wings slightly. I mixed some Raw Umber to a watery consistency and dripped it from the butterfly edges to add an aged, distressed look. I used Shawn’s Butterflies and Masks stencil to create some larger butterflies and then once again covered in sticky back plastic and cut out. With a hot glue gun, I added copper craft wire to the back of the butterflies. This added strength to the butterflies and allowed me to bend the wings into shape. With my hot glue gun, I then positioned and stuck the collage butterflies around the top of the mannequin head and then I added the stenciled butterflies to the top of the head giving height and lift to my piece. I added a few more butterflies where I felt there were gaps and then bent and positioned all of the butterflies into place.

The piece is inspired by the lyrics of one of my favorite songs, True Colors, written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg. The piece shows the courageous journey from a place of sorrow to a place of fulfillment as it is only by stepping into our greatness, by allowing our true colors to show we can really soar and flourish. This journey is depicted by the butterflies growing in color, size, and strength and eventually lifting away from the main body of work. I found so much joy in creating this piece and I hope you will too.

Enjoy the Video!

Supplies Used:

Shawn Petite’s Stencils: Butterflies with Masks 8×10, Let it Fly 2 8×10,

Shawn Petite’s Collage packs: Bright Butterfly downloadable collage pak, Vintage Ledger and Journal Pages collage pak, Vintage Butterfly collage pak.

Galeria Matt Medium, A polystyrene mannequin head, Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic paint:-Buff Titanium, Titanium white, Raw Umber, Phthalo Turquoise, Sticky back plastic, Copper craft wire.

I used YouTube music:-Invisible Beauty, The Beauty of love, And One Step Closer. All by Aakash Gandhi.

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Posted Oct 14, 2020
Headshot photo of artist

Hello there! I’m Shawn Petite

I’ve been teaching and creating for well over 25 years. About 15 years ago I found my art soul mate in mixed media, and it changed my life! I love the story that can be told by combining paint, texture, ink, paper and—really anything that you can imagine.

But what I’m truly passionate about is being your guide, walking with you step by step and helping you become your own hero in your creative journey.

Along my path, I’ve learned that the creating art also creates a healing space. Life can be messy and complicated and painful, but something about a paint brush can help heal your soul. I believe—no, I know—you are worthy of love, and I want to teach you to know that about yourself. Join me on this journey of art and inspiration!


  1. Marguerite

    This is such a cool project! Thank you so much for the clear and inspiring video, too. Just, wow.

  2. Susan Kinne

    Hi Ali,

    Enjoyed watching your process and resulting piece. Thank you for sharing!
    This put all kinds of thoughts and ideas in my mind.



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