Grids on Grids with Golden Molding Paste (Acrylic August, 4/31)

Oh, I’m addicted to texture products! It took me awhile to understand what gel mediums do, what texture mediums do, and how the different paint formulations behave….I guess now that I understand, I want to keep experimenting!    If you’d like more information about this too, I can highly recommend Chris Cozen’s videos on Artists Network TV, as well as her books.   Also, Nancy Reyner has a terrific book called “Acrylic Revolution” that I believe Jill from Jill’s Art Journal told me about.  Jill, you nailed it; it’s a wonderful book, with lots of techniques and great illustrations too!   Chris and Nancy are both Golden working artists and educators, and they know their stuff.


This is another painting do-over.    It was a texture experiment gone wrong on a 5″ x 5″ Ampersand Gessobord and so I needed even more texture to wipe the slate clean, so to speak.   I spread a layer of Golden molding paste on the painting first.    This product dries opaque, leaving no show through from the painting underneath.     Next, I embedded a scrap of 1/2″ grid hardware cloth from Hub’s wood shop into the painting, lifted it up, and then turned it and impressed it again.   This gave me all of those great texture lines.

After it dried (several hours), I dripped some Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay India ink in, sprayed it with water, and moved the painting around, allowing the ink to follow those grid lines, highlighting them.  Where the ink was a bit too strong or became soupy, I sopped it up (on paper towels I will save, thanks to Kerfe’s great inspiring post yesterday), and wound up refining with some Golden fluid acrylic paints.   I think I may have gone a bit too far with Quinacridone Burnt Orange, but I can always go back, add Titanium White, which is very opaque, and have another go with the colors.   Or I may leave it as is.   What do you think?

Blick’s Free Shipping offer for orders of $45 or more is extended through 11:59pm Pacific Time tomorrow, for anyone interested.   Purchases from these links support my site.   I hope we are all having fun with our art supplies.    For too long, I saved them and didn’t want to run out.   So I rarely used them.   Boy, that is just not part of my vocabulary anymore.    Art supplies are the jungle gym and the art world is a playground, and I am gonna enjoy it.    How about you?   I can smell the weekend!    Happy Thursday!  Peace.


Golden Fine Pumice Gel and Inktense Pencils! (Acrylic August, 1/31)

I’m so glad we’ve turned the page to August! A new theme for this month: I’m going to be playing with acrylic paints and acrylic texture mediums.   I’ll be throwing in watercolor, Inktense blocks and pencils, Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay Ink, gesso, collage, fabric, Paperclay, and everything else under the sun as we celebrate the last month of summer and prepare for wonderful Autumn.  I’m also working on improving my animal and bird drawings in graphite and ink to complete my 100 Face Challenge for 2016, and so those will be sprinkled in as well.    Looking forward to it!


This painting has had a couple of incantations already, and I’ve never been happy with it, so I decided it was time to give it another life.   I have fallen head over heels for Golden’s fine pumice gel, so much so, in fact, that over the weekend, I ordered a 32 oz. container of it from Dick Blick.   I’ve never ordered a 32 oz. container of anything art related, but I just love this stuff (and it’s 65% cheaper per ounce than the 8 oz. jar; quite a difference, I find most Golden products run that way.)   It is like extremely fine sandpaper in gel form.   It is an off-white color and dries translucent.   It can be colored with acrylic paint or ink before applying, but I like to leave it as is, as I usually paint my surfaces anyway.

I spread it on my 5 x 7″ canvas panel, and with my palette knife, made numerous lines into the surface.   It takes several hours to dry, so I left it overnight before painting.   I think what I love most about it is the way it gives texture.   It’s not too thin or too thick, it is just right.  Once dry, it accepts watercolor, as well as ink, acrylic, you name it; I imagine it would be a good surface for pastels as well.    It is also a drawable surface for pencil, pen, charcoal, anything pointy at all, including my Inktense pencils, which is where I went with this piece next.

I drew against the textured lines with various pencils, then used a damp brush to spread the color around and blend.   Inktense pencils are actually ink in pencil form.   (Click here for a color chart and more info.)   They are very vibrant and usually permanent once liquified and allowed to dry.   One thing I noticed when working on the fine pumice gel with them though is that they can still be lifted from this acrylic surface and adjusted once dry, something I have never been able to do with Inktense before.    It was quite helpful for me in this case, as I looked at the painting again in the morning and decided it was much too dark or bright in some areas, and I was able to lift the color back with a damp paintbrush.

(Note:  Blick Art Materials has extended free shipping for orders of $45 or more through 1159pm Central time today, August 1!   Purchases from Blick links will support my site.    Enjoy, and thank you!)    I’d also like to recommend a book I finished reading this weekend:    “The Creative Edge – Exercises to Celebrate Your Creative Self” by Mary Todd Beam.  If you’re interested in mediums of all kinds, including Golden acrylic products, this will give you lots of ideas to run with.   Lots of great inspiration from many artists in there as well.

I enjoyed reviving this painting so much that I’ve decided to do a series of these, so there will be lots more “mad scientist” experiments to come!    I hope you have a wonderful week, and thanks so much for your visits and comments!   Peace.

Geometric Abstract Watercolor, Take 200? (World Watercolor Month, 23/31)

Boy, I had quite a journey with this little painting the other night.    This is 5 x 5 3/4″ on Arches 140 lb. cold-press watercolor paper:


Sometimes the combination of listening to a good audiobook and painting a picture can be a wonderful escape from the news headlines that are becoming all-too-anxiety provoking for this HSP.    I got very lucky with a recent pick, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” by Anne Bronte, which I was able to download from Hoopla for free in a couple of minutes.   (Gotta love the library system!)    I just love British literature with all of my heart, particularly the classics, and this one is really filling the bill for me right now.

The creepy setting and mysterious female main character we meet toward the beginning of the story bled into my painting a bit, I think.   (She is also an oil painter, which I didn’t know going in, and loving that aspect too.)   I’m also loving the narration, the characters, the creepy, wild setting, even the cover art on the audiobook.    But I’m thinking my paintings may start to darken a bit in the coming days.   (Then again, maybe not, I don’t know what happens after all, lol.)

I’m having lots of fun learning about M. Graham Ultramarine, Prussian and Phthalo blues and some Quinacridone Violet snuck into this one as well, I believe.    Working wet into wet is what I love most about watercolor.   I really like to just turn it loose and let it play, letting the colors find each other, join hands and dance.   There’s just nothing like it, for me.   Really enjoying working with a 1/2″ flat acrylics brush – I like the Princeton Umbria series, not sure if I have any sisters or brothers out there who are also fans.   It brings enough water to the page, but not nearly as much as my sable flats or even the Princeton Select brushes with longer bristles that I think of as more of a watercolor line.  (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site and a fledgling art business.   Enjoy Free Shipping on orders of $35 or more through midnight CST Monday 7/25, and thank you!)

I hope you find your happy place this weekend, and May Anne Bronte (or someone like her) and good ol’ Paint Puddles be with you!



Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Ink and Watercolor (World Watercolor Month 14/31)

Another experiment from the mad scientist!   (You’ve come to expect them at this point, right?)  This time with permanent, transparent acrylic ink and watercolor. This is 5 1/2″ x 8 1/4″ Arches 300 lb. cold-press watercolor paper:


I recently met an artist named Andrew Seal of The Changing Palette blog through Debi Riley, an inspirational artist, teacher and all-around wonderful human being here on WP.   Debi recommended a watercolor book titled “Painting Landscapes from your Imagination” by Tony Smibert, and Andrew has been completing and posting exercises from the book, including quotes and examples.   Needless to say, he sold me on it, and I recently received a secondhand copy in the mail.    I have only just begun to read it, but I thought: Why not try a landscape from my imagination today?   And so I did.

I began by laying in a quick sky working wet-in-wet with a mixture of M. Graham phthalo blue (mostly) and ultramarine blue.   I went back in with some watered down purple Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay ink, which I mixed from Magenta and Blue (there is a purple bottle in the set, but I wanted to mix my own for this).   Coming forward with darker and warmer tones, I laid in the other mountains in my mind’s eye.  Wherever you see purple here, including the reddish-purple on the tops of the mountains in the foreground, that is the purple ink.   I really like the granulation produced by this ink.  It was so easy to drop into the damp paper for the vibrancy of acrylic paint, with only one wash.    All of the inks in this set are transparent, lightfast, permanent, and non-toxic, a pretty nice combination in my book.   (I have Set 1; there are three sets of 12 bottles each available at Blick.)

This ink is very highly pigmented, and so I found it helpful to use disposable Glad mini food storage containers to water down the ink at times.   (This comes with the added bonus of being able to put the lid on when I’m finished for the day, so I can keep it from drying out.)    I was experimenting to see how the ink mingled with the watercolor paint, and found they played together well.    As I’ve said, the ink is permanent when dry, which can be really useful when building up layers, or if you don’t want to worry about your background blooming or moving on you, for example.   Plus, it gives me the really bold acrylic colors I have been missing at times while painting in watercolor this month.   (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links will support my site and a fledgling art business.   Enjoy and thank you!)

Things I noticed today:

  1.  I used a flat brush for this entire painting – an acrylic brush, actually, made by Princeton.   I usually use a round brush when painting in watercolor, but I was really pleased with the effects I got from this 1/2″ flat.    I need to work with a flat brush more often in watercolor.
  2. Phthalo blue makes a really wonderful sky when watered down a bit and mixed with just a touch of ultramarine.
  3. I am growing to love Arches 300 lb. paper more and more, the more I use it.   It is luscious and forgiving, which is helpful for this beginner!
  4. I think I am going to really love that Smibert book by the looks of things; thanks much to Andrew and Debi!    I’m looking forward to incorporating acrylic texture products into some future “imaginary” landscapes.   Tony explains everything you need to know, with a bit of Zen, and without lots of flowery language.   I think I’m going to enjoy reading this book quite a lot.
  5. Now that we’re just about at the halfway point, I find I’m getting into the swing of painting daily.   My body is learning how to get up at 5:30, or thereabouts, on its own, which helps!   This, oddly, seems to give me more energy in the day.   I’ve also added yoga before breakfast, which is definitely helping with the energy bit.
  6. Maybe watercolor isn’t so bad……..I think going in with a playful attitude is key; thanks to Margaret, Jodi, Jill, and others who have been coaching me up!   I start to wonder will I leap back to acrylics in August, or stay with Watercolor awhile and see what surprises may be in store?    Stay tuned to find out.   I have no idea where this train is going!   Which is part of the fun.

So now that I’ve written my first novel, I’ll say hasta manana for now.    Peace and Happy Almost Friday to you!

Acrylic Abstract on Molding Paste

I’m in love with Golden paints.   Just head over heels for them!   I hope my cooing and gurgling won’t be too loud for you.   This is acrylic on a 5 x 7″ piece of Claybord by Ampersand.


I started with a thin layer of Golden molding paste.   Before it was dry, I added lines suggesting a random grid pattern with my palette knife, then used the flat of the knife to add web-like texture here and there. (Note: This molding paste is not the same product as the light molding paste I’ve used to paint watercolor on. This one is heavier and creates a non-absorbent surface.)    I wanted another deep, dark surface, similar to the black gesso I used to create yesterday’s underpainting.    So I went with some dark colors such as quinacridone burnt orange, van dyke brown and even threw in a bright one (diarylide yellow, a favorite; you’ll see it there in the top center area of the painting as well).

This painting feels to me like a patchwork quilt, without needles, pins, or fighting a machine.   Triple win!   I really enjoyed using the lines created by the palette knife to help me build the structure of the composition.   Iridescent copper fine played an important role, as did interference violet (love the interference colors!) and  Golden’s broad range of purples, oranges and others (quinacridone crimson, quin violet, quin burnt orange, quin crimson, micaceous iron oxide, diarylide yellow, cobalt violet hue, green gold, van dyke brown).    It is like playing in a sandbox of color every time I sit down with these paints!   It’s like being surrounded by a bunch of toys you never tire of.   What could be better?   (Note:  As I am a Blick affiliate, purchases from these links will help support my site.)

If you’re interested in dipping your toe in the wonderful world of acrylic paint and texture mediums, I can recommend any book or DVD by Chris Cozen.   I think Artist’s Network TV (where her videos are featured) is a bargain at under $20/month.    All of the major mediums are covered, and you will never need to go elsewhere for inspiration!

I hope you are rocking into Monday morning.   I think your art supplies may be calling you!   Peace.

Watercolor on Light Molding Paste (for Jodiiiiie)!

Now THIS is cool! My pal Jodi at Life in Between and I were chatting the other day about how much fun acrylic texture materials can be……….and she encouraged me to experiment with Golden’s Light Molding Paste and watercolor paint. This may shock you (or not lol): I LOVED it!


I took one of the Blick 5×7″ canvas panels I mentioned in yesterday’s post and slathered a layer of Light Molding Paste by Golden on top.   Scooping it out of the jar, it may remind you of Marshmallow Fluff (and yes, it’s just as fun!)   You can mold it to any texture you like, but it remains very lightweight.   I think the idea being that if you’re going to be using it on a large canvas, it won’t be so heavy to, for example, tear the canvas from its support, like some other molding pastes can be.   It behaves a lot like frosting, so when using a palette knife, you can get all kinds of textures on your surface.   I set it aside to dry and didn’t check it for a few hours.    (I believe it takes 1-3 hours to dry, depending upon how heavy the layer is and how hot and humid it is where you live.)

Next, I wet areas of the surface with water, and set in some of my favorite colors from my watercolor palette.   Oh, the loveliness!   This surface loves water media of all kinds!   It is absorbent and yummy, like the best kind of watercolor paper, but with jazz and sass!   I see limitless potential for FUN with light molding paste and watercolor, fluid acrylics, high flow acrylics, inks of all kinds…..think of an amusement park for color!   Needless to say, I’m really excited about the possibilities for this surface for almost any type of abstract, and even cool landscape effects!    I didn’t have time to make a real honest-to-goodness painting out of this last night, but this was loads of fun and I will definitely be playing with this some more.    I understand that Golden’s absorbent ground is another promising surface for watercolor.   And I’ll be trying that next!

If you’re interested in really having fun with acrylic paint and/or texture mediums, I can highly recommend one of the Golden A to Z sets.    Depending upon which set you choose, you will receive primary colors of all different formulations of sweet, highly-pigmented paint and an assortment of texture products to play with.    These sets are affordable, and give you the chance to play with lots of different products in small sizes to see which ones you may want to work more with.    I bought the full set of 30 products, but honestly, the starter set of 14 products is (IMO) a bargain at under $30.   You receive 10 bottles of Golden paint in all of the formulations:   heavy body (think soft toothpaste), fluid (like heavy cream), open (like the heavy body, with an open time of up to several hours) and high flow (which is basically acrylic ink).   In addition, there are three texture products to try, including the light molding paste, and a bottle of polymer medium, which is a sealer as well as a paint extender.   The only thing you may want to add soon-ish would be a bottle of acrylic glazing liquid.     I’ve painted with acrylics quite a number of times, and even though the A to Z sets come with sample-sized bottles of everything, I bet I’ve not used more than 1/4 of the acrylic glazing liquid from that set yet.   (Disclosure: as a Blick affiliate, I may receive a percentage of your purchase when you buy items through these links.)

I am SO over the moon about acrylics, and honestly, I tried the less expensive paint first, because I thought Golden was overpriced.    Now that I’ve tried Liquitex basics, Liquitex soft body and heavy body formulations, though, as well as Golden, I have to say I’m sold on Golden.   This is one of the times that you actually DO get what you pay for, in my opinion.    And again, the best thing about buying from Blick is that you can always return products with no questions asked.   (Blick allows customers up to one YEAR to return products, even opened ones.   That is unheard of, and one of the reasons I love them so much!)

So anyway…..I need to pull myself down off the ceiling.   I’m just so excited right now about the endless variety of artwork I can produce after trying this light molding paste.   And I haven’t even tried most of the texture products from that set yet!   I’ve been spending more time experimenting with all of the different paint formulations and colors!     Chris Cozen’s videos on Artist Network TVand her books – if you’re interested in playing with acrylics, she is a wonderful resource, and will teach you everything you want to know about Golden products.    She is the reason I decided to even try acrylics at all, as I’ve always been a watercolor girl.    She will show you what they can do!   Her materials are the next best thing to trying the products for yourself.

Dancing into the week, and I hope you all are dancing too!   Happy Tuesday, everyone.   Peace.

May Madness Day 3: Exuberance!

More fun with a 5 x 5″ Gessobord by Ampersand, and acrylic paints by Golden.   This is what happiness looks like in my little corner of the world right now!


Colors used: quinacridone red, quinacridone magenta, hansa yellow light, quinacridone nickel azo yellow

Have I mentioned I love quinacridones… any medium?    This one started out as another “window” painting, and went awry. I was getting discouraged, rubbed at a section with a wet paper towel, and quickly got right back down to the surface.    Then I remembered they’re designed to do that!    (You have to protect the surface with a fixative when finished.)  So I decided to run the whole thing under the sink faucet! Didn’t take too long and most of the old painting was gone. There was just enough left to give me a bit of underlying structure for this new one.

I started by getting the surface damp, then added some fluid acrylics and high flow paint (which are even thinner than the fluid acrylics, but still lusciously, densely pigmented). It was flowing well, and I liked the way it was developing, so I added more with the tip of my brush here and there to punch up the contrast and steer it a bit – but not too much, as I didn’t want any obvious brushstrokes to show.   Purple and yellow are my favorite colors in the world, but I didn’t want them to get too friendly and make mud, so I had to be a bit careful.   I sprayed the painting with a fine mister of plain water here and there and let the paint do its own thing.   At times while drying, I propped it up very slightly to pool areas of the painting in one direction or the other. That’s pretty much it! Sometimes the work I enjoy best comes from a place where it’s very organic and the medium does most of the work.   When it’s working like that, I just get out of the way as much as I can.

An artist whose books and DVDs I can highly recommend is Chris Cozen.   If you’re interested in painting with acrylics, I don’t think you can go wrong with anything she wrote or co-wrote.   “Acrylic Color Explorations” and “Acrylic Solutions” are two of my current favorites.   She is widely available in my local libraries, but I’ve purchased a couple of her books, and would definitely consider buying others.   They are very hands-on, and will get you experimenting and enjoying yourself quickly.   Her DVD lessons are all over Artist Network TV as well.   She is so inspirational.   I have seen them all, and pick up something new every time I re-watch.   She has a background in education, and it shows.   She is a wonderful communicator, and you’ll wanna run for your paint tubes every time you read her books or watch her lessons!

I hope you have a wonderful spring (or autumn) Tuesday, and that the paint, pencils, pigments, pen, whatever you love most gets to come out and play.  You deserve it.   We are creators and we are on the move!  Peace.

Abstract Acrylic, Take Two!

I decided to experiment with a grid composition, molding paste and Liquitex Basics acrylic paints.    This was done to cover up a Bombay ink experiment gone wrong in the watercolor journal I made last summer.     I just love how molding paste changes the picture so fast!


Having lots of fun with this! Loving that metallic gold. Chris Cozen’s classes on Artist Network TV are so informative and inspirational!    She knows just about everything you’d ever want to know about most any product Golden makes, having been a Golden Working Artist, and now Educator, for many years.   Here is a link to her author page on Amazon, if you’re interested in checking our her work.    She’s truly a gifted teacher.  Bonus!

It is wonderful and warm here and I hope you’re enjoying the season where you are today. Peace.

Kaiko, Kitty (and Bookworm!) #51: 100 Face Challenge

I found Elisabet’s beautiful cat, Kaiko, one day when I was searching for cats in my WordPress Reader. Her photo really caught my eye, because Kaiko loves to read (and incidentally, so do I)!


I didn’t have time to include the book Kaiko was reading in my sketch, but if you visit Elisabet’s site at, you’ll find this dear kitty purrring along with a favorite book! I used to call my kitty with this phrase: “Is it time to read?” Wherever she was in the house, Penny would come running to snuggle and read with mama. There’s nothing like furry love, people, whether you prefer yours barking, meowing, or singing.    It’s all wonderful!

I hope everyone is having a peaceful and rejuvenating weekend. Purrs and wags to all!