Gessobord and Light Molding Paste by Golden (World Watercolor Month, 31/31)!

Have we reached the finish line of World Watercolor Month?   Wow!   Was it indeed a challenge to paint in watercolor every day? Yes, it was. If I hadn’t had gesso and/or acrylic paint, some days, I wouldn’t have had anything to post lol. But it was fun, and I learned a lot. I want to thank my friend and WP bro Charlie O’Shields at Doodlewash for making July World Watercolor Month an official “thing”, and for inviting us all to join him in painting in watercolor daily. Charlie, you rock at it, and it is so much fun to see what you create every day. You inspire us all, my friend!


I really had fun with this piece.    It began with a 6″ square Gessobord by Ampersand.   This is a hardboard panel with a textured toothy clay surface.    It is easy to correct, requires no taping down or stretching, and can be scratched into and otherwise abused.   (Gessobord and Aquabord are my favorite of the Ampersand surfaces, and I’ve not even tried Pastelbord, Scratchbord, and many of their others yet – but I plan to)!   First, I painted the white surface with M. Graham acrylic heavy body paint in Viridian green.   Acrylic paint dries pretty quickly in the summer time when you don’t add retarders or gel mediums to slow down the process.

Once that layer dried, I used a palette knife and Light Molding Paste by Golden (which is kind of like Marshmallow Fluff, light and fluffy and wonderful) and spread a layer of this texture medium on my Gessobord.    This layer is like a playground; it can be as smooth or as textured as you’d like to make it.   I could have colorized it first with acrylic paint, ink, probably even watercolor paint, as this surface absorbs watercolor!   I have been saving lids, corks, buttons, bottle caps, all kinds of round stuff that would otherwise be tossed or recycled for months, and had fun impressing them into the molding paste.   I shortened an old comb and ran that along the side.  (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site.   Enjoy and many thanks!)

Once that layer was dry (about 2 or so hours in a warm location), I had a surface that could absorb watercolor paint!   If you dampen the surface with water, the paint will stay within the damp area, just as though you had used watercolor paper.   You can also easily keep color to one section by painting the inside of one of the circles, for example.   (I encouraged the color to go outside the lines, cause I’m an outside the line kinda girl, but if you want to use lots of different colors and not make mud, using the impressed areas and rinsing the brush in between is an easy and fun way to do this.)   Of all of the products I’ve tried, I think Light Molding Paste is my favorite.   Very easy to lift color, too, if you decide it is too strong or the wrong shade.   I just love it.   I hope you enjoyed it too!

Sunday is a great day to relax, recharge, and get ready for the week ahead.   I hope you find time to do something that really makes you happy today.   We have to take care of ourselves if we’re to take care of anyone else.   Peace and Happy Sunday to all!


Blue Green Cat Silhouette in Watercolor (World Watercolor Month 12/31)

Working wet-in-wet and watercolor seem to go hand in hand.   I find it most fun when I lay vibrant, juicy M. Graham colors in to an already damp surface, so the paints can mingle and dance, as they’re meant to do.    It’s always fun, and you can hardly ever predict how it’ll turn out.   Bonus!    This is 5 1/2 x 7 1/2″ on Arches 140 lb. cold-press watercolor paper   (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site, and a fledgling art business.):


So last night, I had some fun with a silhouette of a cat, which I lightly drew with a 5H pencil, damp paper, my watercolor palette…and some splatter.   Splatter seems to make everything better!

Thought for the Day:  Purr more.   Meow less.    What makes you feel like purring?    Do more of it; make time for yourself.   Make the world a better place, one soul at a time.  Remember the ripples.   Peace.

Fun with Aquabord

If Aquabord abuse were a crime, I’m pretty sure I’d be in the clink-y without a key-key….hehe.     This surface is so much fun!   This is watercolor and acrylics on a 6×6″ piece of Aquabord by Ampersand.


I thought I would share some ideas for how to have fun with Aquabord, a textured clay surface that absorbs watercolor (and even acrylics!) like paper:

  1. I enjoy dampening the surface well, dropping in any type of watercolor or acrylic paint or ink, and watching what happens.  I usually spray the surface further with a water mister bottle to encourage different types of effects and get the color moving.
  2. Tilt your board this way and that, and try propping one side (or one corner) of the surface with a palette knife, pencil, or other tool if you like the swirls, pools and puddles you are seeing, and would like them to dry that way.
  3. While the surface is wet, try dropping rubbing alcohol from an eye dropper, one drop at a time, and watch how the alcohol relocates the paint.
  4. Aquabord is very easy to correct.   Think watercolor paper on steroids, backed by a hardboard (Masonite type) surface.  Ampersand, the manufacturer, advises that a damp paintbrush or a damp paper towel (I’ve even worked with Q-tips) is the best way to make corrections and lift pigment.    I have run the surface under a cold running faucet many times, but Ampersand does NOT recommend this.   If I were creating a painting to sell, I probably would not do it, as you wouldn’t want to risk the textured clay surface lifting from the hardboard support.   I love this surface for the watercolor beginner, as it is very forgiving!   Way more than any watercolor paper I have tried.
  5. Aquabord is tough.   I worked with this particular painting for many hours, running it under the faucet (as we are not supposed to do) countless times.   It didn’t give me any trouble until I took a palette knife to it several times, as you can see.  🙂

I have so much fun every time I paint on this surface!   Aquabord was designed for watercolor paint specifically.   Your paint will in all likelihood be more vibrant on Aquabord than on watercolor paper, as the pigment sits closer to the surface.    Ampersand recommends that watercolor or gouache on this surface be sealed with several light coats of spray varnish or fixative when your painting is finished.   The representative with whom I spoke suggested Krylon 1311, which is a matte spray.   Ampersand’s website also mentions other Krylon UV resistant varnishes, such as this one, which has a clear finish. (Note: As a Dick Blick affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site.)

I’d love to hear how you have played with Aquabord.   I bet I haven’t even scratched the surface yet (haha, no pun intended).   I hope we’re all gearing up for World Watercolor Month in July!   Peace and have fun playing!

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.

An Abstract Claybord Experiment

My first experiment with Claybord……and I’m undecided at this point about this one.   This is a 5×7″ acrylic.   Vicki Hutchins reviewed it here, and I love everything Vicki does, so of course, I bought some too!


I’d love to know what you think about Claybord.   I love Aquabord and Gessobord, all created by Ampersand.    (Note:   I may receive a portion of your purchase from these links to help support my site.)   Not sure how I feel about this one, but I’d love to get your thoughts.    It is a very slick surface.    So I guess I expected a different result?    I don’t know.   Maybe I was having an off day with the brushes.

I’d also love to know what, if anything, you see in this painting.    It’s a pretty fun kind of mind trip for me, hearing everything I didn’t paint, lol.    For this one, I had something in my mind and I was painting abstractly, randomly (or so I thought).   Then I turned the painting to the side when I was ready to put my brush down, and there it was…..what was on my mind while painting.   Strange, huh?   *cue the Twilight Zone theme*

Happy Almost Friday, good people!    Peace and paint puddles to all.

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.

Turn Tuesday on its Head!

Or turn yesterday’s painting on its head.


I added soft chalk pastel to yesterday’s painting and then I went too far with it. Luckily though, I took a picture beforehand. Now I’m thinking I may abandon this one OR I may add texture paste and acrylic OR I may add plain old acrylic. Wherever the wind doth blow and Father Time alloweth!

Happy Tuesday and I hope everyone is having a smashing week!

Abstract Acrylic

My first purely acrylic painting, and so far, I like! Got a set of Liquitex Basics after hearing a rave review from Lisa at Lachri Fine Art. She does beautiful work, and her review and product comparison was one of the reasons I chose the Polychromos colored pencils (which I adore), so I thought it was worth taking a chance and seeing what those little bottles could do.

I started with very watered down acrylic craft paints I had from many moons ago. This initial layer gave me the feeling of a watercolor background, and was lots of fun to do.

Then the other night, I went back in with a palette knife only and three colors from the Basics set: Phthalo Blue, Cad Yellow Medium and Titanium White. I know abstract work isn’t everyone’s bag, but I’m really enjoying it.   It’s a wonderful way to be expressive, to learn a new medium, and to really have fun playing with color. SO many wonderful colors in that set! Based on my (limited) experience, two thumbs up so far.

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I hope you have a wonderful week. I think I can smell Friday. It’s rich and warm and chocolate. 🙂 Peace.

Hey, You! Wanna Moo? (#49): 100 Face Challenge

Donna at Bay Photos by Donna recently shared some amazing photos she took in Florida while on vacation.   Normally, she focuses on birds…..but lately she’s thrown in alligators, and cows!


This is another image that keeps drawing me back for more abstract paintings with those Neocolors by Caran d’Ache.   It’s hard to describe how hooked I am on these things.   I used to love coloring with crayons as a little kid.    This is like that, but a million times better, because they’re water soluble!   Imagine vibrant, buttery smooth color with no fuss, no mess, and yes, lots of fun!

I hope you have a Super Happy Tuesday today and that you find time to play, in whatever way brings you the most joy.   Peace.