Art Therapy: In the News (Acrylic August, 5/31)

Yesterday, I read this post from Lucy’s Coloring Book where she describes a therapeutic (and beautiful!) experience she had with her art journal.   Well, the news headlines have been getting to me lately, so I decided to take a page out of Lucy’s book (so to speak) and see if I could turn some of that trash to treasure.    This is M. Graham watercolor and Golden fluid acrylic paint on a 4 x 6″ Blick studio canvas:


I started by digging into the recycle bin, grabbing the front page, and flipping through to one of those headlines.    Ripped it out of the paper and tore it in strips, and collaged it to my canvas with Golden soft gel medium.  It doesn’t take long to dry in the summertime with no retarder added, so I didn’t have to wait long before throwing paint at it, to cover it up.   “Make pretty, make pretty” I said to myself…..and it just wouldn’t be made pretty!    So I covered it with Golden Titanium White fluid paint.   Very opaque, totally covered in no time.

But I needed more texture.    So I grabbed a sheet of white rice paper, crumpled it up, spread it out, and grabbed the Derwent Inktense blocks and started rubbing blue, red, magenta lengthwise on the paper.   Hit it with a damp brush and took another look.   Gave it a few seconds to dry a bit, shredded that one too…..coated my surface with more Golden soft gel, and started laying the strips in.    Still wasn’t thrilled with it, so I dripped some Yellow Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India ink in, and hit it with a spray bottle of water so it would travel.   Let that dry….and picked it up again.

And it started talking to me.    The yellow ink had created a sun, and there were so many nice wrinkles below it, so I went after that area with M. Graham Quinacridone Rose and Phthalo and Prussian Blue, Burnt Sienna watercolor paint, and just let those colors mingle.    Dampened the sun area and added some M. Graham Quinacridone Gold watercolor.  There was a bit too much distracting activity from the prior layer outside my focal point, so I faded that out with more Golden Fluid paint in Titanium White.    Voila!   (Blick Art Materials is offering Free Shipping on orders of $45 or more through 11:59 Pacific Time tonight.  Your purchases from these links help to support more mad scientist experiments.   Enjoy and many thanks!)

And boy, was this therapeutic.   I encourage you, if those headlines bug the heck outta you like they do me…….tear them up and turn them into something happy.   You might be surprised at how the day (and your mood) turns around afterward.    Happy Almost Weekend to all!   I hope you paint like you mean it this weekend!    Peace.

Fun Watercolor Doodle with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Ink (World Watercolor Month, 30/31)

This could be a cool background for a mixed media piece, or it could stand on its own as a fun watercolor doodle.   I started with my 8 x 5 1/2″ Strathmore Visual watercolor journal (a bargain at under $5.50), an eye dropper, and clear water.   I drew lots of squiggly lines on my paper with the water.   Before the paper dried, I dropped some color into the wet areas with my Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Ink (I have set 1, which includes (12) 1-oz. bottles) and squiggled some more, so I had areas of dark, medium and light tones.


Once I was finished with the ink, and because this is World Watercolor Month after all, I dropped in some M. Graham watercolor in Phthalo Blue and Hooker’s Green.  Is this art?   I don’t know, but I like it.   Maybe you do too!   If so, you’re one of my kind lol!  😀    Sometimes, we have to stop taking it all so seriously and just have fun.   When we have fun, hopefully our viewers are having fun too!    That is why art is such a healer, and such a great way to express feelings and release stress.    Yoga and meditation are great, but we all need a little color in our lives, right?   (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site.   Blick extended its Free Shipping offer for orders of $45 or more through 11:59 pm Central time today, July 30.  Enjoy, and many thanks!)

Can anyone believe July is almost behind us? Shall we dance and sing a “Come on, Autumn” song?   Soon I’ll be painting lovely fall leaves again.   Can’t wait.   Peace.

Chasing Confetti: A Black Gesso Experiment

Every time I watch one of Chris Cozen’s videos on Artist’s Network TV, it’s not long before paint starts splashing over here.


I took the abstract Claybord experiment (elephant) painting from Friday, added a high-low application of black gesso, and used some of the lines created by the gesso to bring structure to my piece. I still don’t think this painting knows what it wants to be, and that’s ok for now. One thing I do know for sure is that I will be doing more paintings over black gesso in the near future. So much depth from the start, which is great!  The challenge, for me, becomes how to bring in the light while retaining that depth.  When I figure that out, I think I’ll be really jazzed with this technique.   (Note:   Purchases from this link help support my site.)

Happy June Sunday to all! I hope you either make something beautiful or make someone feel beautiful today. Peace.

Fresh Energy: May Madness Day 10

I went to the surface (5 x 7″ canvas panel) with a dilemma on my mind last night, and some luminous Golden acrylic paint on my brush.


I find art to be tremendously powerful from a therapeutic standpoint when I can begin with something less than great on my mind, add a color, swish, rinse, repeat…and transform those feelings into something I will be able to smile at in the morning.   You know?    For some, it may be baking a fresh loaf of bread, or cutting up fabric to sew into a quilt, or taking a walk with that camera, whatever it is.

When we create, we transform.    It’s a powerful thing. This may not be a finished painting, and it may not hang on a gallery wall, but it was my partner through that mind ramble. I’m finding many of my abstract paintings are like this, almost like visual journals, taking me right back to whatever I was thinking about, celebrating, learning, watching, doing at the time that work came to life.

I hope your Tuesday brings a fresh burst of transformative energy your way, like a fresh spring breeze at 72 degrees.   Peace.

Flowers in February (inspired by Cathe)

I saw Cathe’s Valentine’s Day post over at Amaryllis Log recently and just had to try to capture the essence of her beautiful flowers in my art journal.

021616 1

Lately, I’ve been fascinated with Neocolor II water-soluble crayons.   I realized I’ve not done much realistic work with them, and thought I’d try to remedy that.   This ^^ is just the initial sketch on the page, before brushing with any water.   The nice thing about sketching with a water-soluble medium is that the drawing will be melting into the painting.

021616 2

Amazing what the water does to the initial sketch!   After liquefying the initial color, I did go back and add just a bit more to darken my dark values.     I was pleased with the end result.  I just can’t resist this medium!    The ease, control, buttery softness, and vibrancy of color all make them a real pleasure to work with.    I think what I love most is that they help me to quickly capture my feelings as I look at my subject.   I can easily lift out color after liquefying if I’ve gone a bit too heavy with the initial sketch, and in no time at all, I’m finished!   And at the end of a long day…..that’s often exactly what I’m looking for.   Thanks again, Cathe, for sharing your lovely photo!

Happy Tuesday, and I hope you have time to exercise your art muscles today!   Peace.

Reaching for the Sun

Feeling like more warm colors on this blustery Valentine’s Day. This was brought to you by Inktense blocks, Neocolor II water-soluble crayons, and Liquitex soft body acrylic paint (just a touch).


I’m hoping to create a collage with this later. Also experimented with a Valentine’s gift from Hub, which is the Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay inks. Woo, talk about saturated color! A little goes a loooooooong way. Will be cutting up both paintings and making a little who knows what! Having some mixed media fun this weekend.

I hope everyone in the northern hemisphere is staying warm and that everyone else is staying cool and….Happy Valentine’s Day to all! 😀

Light Up the Sky

When time is short at the end of the day, I grab the Neocolors and any paintbrush that’s hanging around and go.


If you love color, but don’t consider yourself an artist, you can’t go wrong with a set of these. It’s like being a kid with a set of crayons. Draw, swipe with a wet brush, and voila. Very fun and vibrant and you only need a few minutes to make something pretty.   You owe it to yourself to see what creating art can bring to your life!

I hope everyone is enjoying a lovely weekend, whatever the weather. Time to dance! Peace and love to you and those you love this weekend. ❤

Rock You Like A Hurricane

Sometimes, you just have to have color, whether it makes sense or not! These are a variation on the painted circles from last week with, you guessed it, Neocolors by Caran d’Ache with help from a black Pitt pen (centers) and a black Posca paint pen (black lines on top).  (I don’t recommend writing over Neocolors or anything waxy/oily with a Pitt pen; it clogs the nib, and poof goes the pen.)


I can’t decide whether they are little hurricanes, fishes, eyes……but they are somewhere sunny and warm and they’re bright and colorful, and that’s all that counts! I hope they wake you up with a smile this morning! Just one more day before the Valentine’s weekend dance! Peace.

Portrait of a Young Man (#40): 100 Face Challenge

I’m really enjoying my 100 Faces Challenge!   This was just a quick one last weekend, because I couldn’t resist the photo from Google images. So I dove right in. I like it better a week later than I did at the time, hehe.    If you’d like to guess who he is, feel free!    The reference image was probably from about 40 years ago.  I’m holding all guesses in moderation, so everyone has the fun of guessing.


I can’t believe I’m up to 40 faces in the first week of February!   I can’t seem to resist faces of all kinds.   Also hoping to have some fun with color this weekend.   Kerfe and Nina at Method Two Madness are helping me out by hosting Draw a Bird Day once again this month (for which I’m very grateful), and Monday is the 8th!    So get on over to their place on Monday and post a link to your artwork where prompted, and then they’ll do a round-up post after the dust settles a bit.   Looking forward to seeing what happens when my Mixed Media Monday crosses with Draw a Bird Day.  Stay tuned!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, doing whatever makes you smile biggest and laugh hardest. Peace.