Friday, July 31, 2015


Tinna asked about the Inking Palette overlays I did a while back...

Here is what the palette looks like - the photo shows the white paper torn from the plastic palette and the info about the inking palette.  They come in a pad with white tissue paper in between each plastic sheet.  Pull them apart, remove the tissue, and use the inking palette for acrylics.

When you paint using it as an inking palette, you get leftover acrylic paint that you can let dry on the plastic palette - and since it's see-through, you can glue it down over something else to get...something else! haha

This piece of the plastic inking palette (with a bit of dried acrylic on it) could be trimmed down and glued over the white paper in my watercolor journal - or over a "failed" painting on paper.  It could add interest into a painting that needs something else to make it more interesting.

What about this sheet over a very dark sea turtle (made with the Kathleen Conover gesso juice and Mary Beth Shaw stencil technique mentioned last post)??  Pretty dark...maybe need to brighten the turtle a bit more...

Anyway, this is just to show you how you can use these sheets - rather than throw them away with the garbage.

(Hope you see this, Tinna, and that it helps you understand the process a bit more.  I think the plastic inking sheet works best over something lighter in the background/underneath so a light painting or drawing would work best.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Kathleen Conover is coming to the Middletown Arts Center (Middletown, OH) to give a talk and then a 4-day workshop.  I will not be going.  But it did make me pull up a YouTube video of her doing something with her "gesso juice" patterned background as a start.  So I tried it.

You dab the gesso juice (a mix of white gesso, acrylic matte medium and water) on a piece of watercolor paper using a soft makeup sponge over a stencil.  Let that dry and then paint as you usually do with watercolors.  The watercolors go over the plain watercolor paper differently than they do over the gessoed parts.  Interesting textural background to start.  I used a MaryBeth Shaw stencil of trees - and what goes good with trees = Crows, of course!

In hindsight, I wish I had done the legs and talons differently, having them grasp the trees (which became reeds in this painting because the crow was so big).  Maybe will try this again.  I certainly made enough gesso juice to do a lot more.  Was going to show this to my class but they didn't seem very interested in working with a patterned background.  Oh, well, every technique cannot be a winner.  And I think this may work better with a bolder stencil (Kathleen uses large blocks in her video) and cutting around them with color.  She also paints her stenciled paper in a medium to dark value and then draws her object on with white chalk.  

Monday, July 27, 2015


The acrylic on paper painting I did a while back was not making me happy.  

Too blah.  Nothing to make anyone want to look at it.  

So I went back with oil pastels and my fingers and made changes.  

Hmmm...still missing any pop or interest.  

Maybe this one is going in the trash.

I did play around with some other things - just a bit of this and that...

A pink flamingo using just one color = Permanent Alizarin Crimson.
On a scrap sheet of Arches 140# cold press paper.  The seashell is a molded shell out of paper (like you use to make your own paper with a blender and a screen - I used a cookie mold and filled it with the paper pulp and let it dry).

The crow was a print I trimmed around, then added the heart (made by using texture medium in the shape of a heart, letting that dry on the paper and then painting inside it; letting that dry and cutting around it, punching a hole and adding the string).  

This one may become a birthday card for my Sweetie - who has a birthday in August :)

Speaking of birthdays, I just got an order from that included blank Watercolor cards, blank Printmaking cards and blank Mixed Media cards - so I can make tons of cards for birthdays coming up and for the rest of the year - and then some!  

Meanwhile, my full sheet hydrangea is sitting waiting for me to finish it and I just do other things instead - can you say displacement behavior??? ha ha

Saturday, July 25, 2015


In the latest Watercolor Artist magazine (the European one), there was an article about an artist named LaFe who paints without drawing - mostly flowers.  

I thought I'd try it.  

It really makes you slow down and look and look and look closely.  I started in the center darks, put in the darks first, and then the wet colors around.  Last = the background which then brought the lights up around the flower.  

Of course, now that I look at it I see the green leaves are pretty tiny compared to the flower - but that can be fixed...

Thursday, July 23, 2015


When working in acrylics, I put my pigments out on Grafix Inking Palette, which is a plastic sheet.  I have a pad of 9 x 12 inch sheets (25 sheets in a pad).  When I'm finished working on the prints and other things, there is a remainder of the acrylic on the plastic sheet.  I keep them because they are pretty, but didn't know what to do with I think I have a new idea for their use.

Using Matte Medium, I glue them down to a piece of white printmaking or watercolor paper. 

Putting them over a drawing works pretty well so it shows through and the color is added.

The top two are glued down over drawings.  The third is just a lpiece laid on top of my watercolor journal.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Another water lily painting using the Elegant Writer technique where you draw around the subject with the Elegant Writer and bleed that out using just water and a soft brush.  Then you add watercolor.

The first one, I left the lily white.  This time I bled out the Elegant Writer pen marks and added a touch of violet.

The students finished their paintings today, using this technique.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Some things that may become collage pieces...or not...

Acrylic paint, fluid acrylics, oil pastels, etc., on fairly thin paper (Strathmore Windpower Drawing paper, 80#)

This one reminds me of 
Looking in Other People's Windows.

And this one says to me, 

Don't Fence Me In.

This one is fluid acrylics and other things (oil pastel, watercolor crayon and pencils, white gesso, etc.) on fourth sheet (11 x 15 inches) Arches 140# hot press paper.

Thinking about 

The Circle of Samsara

which is what Buddhists call this life and all our patterns we escalate or de-escalate.

And this is just a journal entry, trying hard to go with the flow - now isn't that a typical human response to relaxing???  Instead of going, letting go, releasing and relaxing, we have to TRY HARD to do it right! ha ha

Gessoed partially over a prior entry in the sketchbook/journal - then used watercolor ink, fluid acrylics, white gesso and gouache and opaque watercolors to get to this.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


This is not finished yet, but it's getting closer...

And the title?

Fireworks in July Hydrangea

Full sheet (22 x 30 inches) 
Arches 300# cold press paper
Daniel Smith and Holbein paints

I'll deal with the fiddly bits in the center, bringing the yellow petals out a bit more and giving them the centers.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Adding the yellow (Hansa Yellow Light which looks a bit greenish - more so than the Azo Yellow I had on my palette).  

By adding the bright yellow, it changed the look of the whole thing as far as the photo is concerned = it looks more warm now overall.  I'll be slowly adding the petals, one by one, as I move through this one.  It will be slow going, I'm sure.

So the actual painting is somewhere in between the top and bottom photos...the background is Moonglow + Zoisite Genuine (a dark dark green) so a deep purple with cerulean and pinks coming out in the wet-in-wet plus the deep granulating green-brown.  Strange how different these two look.  Guess I'll get a true photo when it's more finished.

Two shows are coming up soon, and I'm not even sure I'm going to enter either one.  If I do want one or two in the show in August, I have to get something to the framer's shop.    

Saturday, July 11, 2015


From a reference photo of my hydrangea as it bloomed by the doorway...

Using Moonglow + Zoisite Genuine in the background with Zoisite Genunite + Sap Green for the leaves.  I think I'll play the granulating/texture look of the background against the smooth look of the petals in this one.  Look for lots of blues with just a touch of violet or pink :)

This is a half sheet, Arches 300# cold press.  Daniel Smith colors.  
I will soften those hard edges when I add more paint and give the outside edges a little pop of color.  

This one has a name already (sometimes they just come so easily and other times it's a struggle!)...but I'll save that until it's more finished...

It's hard to get a good photo of the Moonglow + Zoisite Genuine in the background but this is pretty close.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015


On Tuesday I had three students.  I showed them how to use The Elegant Writer pen to outline their drawing and then bleed it out before adding color.  All three students did really well with three very different photos/paintings.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of them.  I will try to do that next time when they return to finish their paintings.

My finished one on a fourth sheet of Arches 300# cold press paper.  (While the lily pads are accurate, in color, the water is more dark green and violet - sometimes the camera just does not get the right colors no matter how much I manipulate the white balance while shooting the photo.)  

I have another started on Arches 140# hot press, going to see if it makes a difference what kind of paper you use for this technique.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


More steps in the acrylic on canvas...

If Crow is creating the World, then there must be some explosions and violent colors, right?  

But Crow, as the Creator, has to stand out - she can't just blend into the Universe!  So...above and below colors and shapes with darker Crow colors...

A little micacious iron oxide to add depth to those feathers but still keep some color there...

Now what?  Where do I go from here?

Too static - get rid of one of the orbs or add another?  Lighten around the crow?  More thinking and waiting on this one to come together.

And now the name changes to

Crow Captured all the Colors and Created the World

But it's not finished...maybe some words?  With this type of creating, you can just go on and on and on...letting it sit a few days may be the best thing for this one.

There are a lot of Celtic and Native American creation stories about Raven or about how Crow was white and became Black...I could add something of that in...

For now, it will sit and wait and I'll glance at it each time I enter my little art room and some day Crow will tell me what to do with this one.

Crows are never considered harbingers of death or sorrow in Native thoughts and lives.  Crow's intelligence is admired and there are tribes with Crow Clans.  Crow is the messenger between life and death, between right and wrong.  Listen to Crow if he calls you, because he is calling you to be smart and make a good choice, not a bad one.  Or he is telling you someone from the other side is trying to send you a message.  If Crow is your Totem Animal, you are smart, you think things through, but you sometimes see things in black and white.  You also are more aware of the bigger picture and can sense more than with just your 5 senses.

***How Crow became black (from a Lakota story)***

Now, in the past, Crow was white.  He was a friend of Buffalo and warned him and his herd whenever he was being hunted.  He would fly high above and watch out for hunters.  Seeing them, he would settle down between the horns of Buffalo and say, "Caw, caw, caw, Cousin, there is danger here!  Hunters are just in that tall grass!  Run!"  Buffalo would take heed and run.  And the hunters and tribe would go hungry that day.  This happened so often that the hunters went to the council for help.

The council made a plan to capture the largest Crow, a big white one who always warned Buffalo when hunters were near.  A young hunter was covered in buffalo hides and sent out to infiltrate the buffalo herd.  He waited until Crow saw the hunters coming over the ridge and warned the herd.  When all the buffalo ran away, the hunter in the buffalo hides stayed.    

Crow saw that one buffalo had not heard him so he landed on his head, between his horns and said, "Caw, caw, Cousin, the hunters are coming!"  But the young man, hidden beneath the buffalo skins, reached up and grabbed Crow by his legs, tying his legs with string and tying the string to a large rock so Crow could not fly.  He took him back to the council.  

Now Crow's legs were tied with string, he was held on the ground with a large stone, and the council members talked through the night, trying to decide what should be done about this big, white crow who was helping Buffalo but taking food away from the people.  As they talked, one man got impatient and shouted, "Burn him!"  Before he could be stopped, he grabbed the stone, string, and Crow and threw them into the council fire.  Crow cried out as the fire singed his beautiful white feathers, but the string burned through quickly and Crow flew up and out of the fire.  He flew above the council members and said, "I have learned my lesson.  Let me live and I will make this promise to your people.  I will no longer warn Buffalo when your hunters come."  

So Crow became a friend of the people and did not warn Buffalo.  He had lost his lovely, white feathers and now had feathers as black as night.  


Sunday, July 5, 2015


I spend a lot of time reading and looking through the Acrylic Artist magazine when it comes.  There are always some interesting things in there that make me want to try them.  I don't know if that's because I'm a beginner when it comes to acrylic painting, or if it just seems fun to play around with acrylics in this way.  

This month's issue had a feature on Jean Pederson painting in acrylic and using lots of texture - what's not to like about that?  So I had to go down to my little art room and pick out a Fredrix Watercolor Canvas and begin making marks and texture on it using a variety of tools. (Look at all the tools Ms. Pederson used in her demo in the magazine - lower left of the article.)

This canvas was one I'd gessoed over because the painting on it didn't work, so I had a nice clean foundation on which to start.

Now, I had nothing in mind but making marks and playing with texture in acrylics when I began...but sometimes things arrive after you've been doing some work and you see what might be the subject matter or shapes (if working in abstracts).  

Here are the first steps, 
putting down lots of texture (made from various tools and colors) 
before painting on it as the mood dictates.  

Friday, July 3, 2015


Here is something.  Just playing with the idea of waves (afterall, I have all that paper painted in blues!!), using those papers on a piece of paper I'd previously painted in muted colors and whites.

And here is another one, more seriously begun.  

This one begins with acrylic and collage papers on Arches hotpress 140# paper.  Unlike the previous acrylic and collage on canvas, this one began with my thinking I wanted to do a seascape instead of a landscape.

The next step is to push back all that collage stuff on the horizon line...

Reinforcing the idea of the seascape...

Now need to add some line work with...hmmm...maybe watercolor crayons or oil pastels?  Anyway...needs more oomph at the horizon and a darker sea?

These things do make one think more about composition, value, line, color, etc...but I'm not sure I'm successful yet - more practice to come.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


I had a nice watercolor board (Fredrix watercolor canvas on board, 16 x 20 inches) in the corner looking forlorn and not being used.  So...used it to do this painting, an abstracted landscape in acrylic and collage.  

Acrylics give you the freedom to completely change your mind about shapes 
and colors 
and line 

You can see that as the painting progressed and changed.

I liked the colors in the beginning painting but they are not "my" colors, so you see things became more blue and violet and yellow as I progressed with adding the collage papers to the horizon line.

And then, it became this!!!  What a change.  For the better?  Not sure.  I did like the first and second iterations of this one and maybe got too literal.  Or maybe just felt like it should look more like summer?  

Live and learn - and practice practice practice.  (Sorry the photo is a bit blurry - for some reason, it's harder to get a sharp image when photographing acrylic on canvas?)

This one is finished and is now called

Walk to the City of Flowers

Acrylic, collage and watercolor crayons 
on 16" x 20" watercolor board