Tag Archives: Winsor & Newton inks

The one with the canvas that took months to complete

19 Oct

Happy Saturday!

Last month, I shared a few photos of a canvas piece I’ve been working on for a friend. Today, I am happy to report that I have finished it! I will warn you; this is a long post as I’ve been taking photos over the last few months (I think I started this back in April?). So, grab a blanket and a cup of coffee on this gloomy fall day, and take a look. And if you are so inclined, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments at the end.

Oh and by the way, everything used for this piece, including the canvas, is recycled (well, except the paint and adhesive). Yes, this fantastic 3′ x 3′ canvas was given to me by a good friend (her company prints photos on stretched canvas and when they are done with them, she gives them to me!)

So heres where we started. One large 3′ x 3′ canvas. First layer was of course, gesso (not pictured).


I knew my color pallet was going to be purple (my friends favorite color) and yellow (to match her office) so that part was easy. A lot of times my second layer of miscellaneous paper helps me determine the colors I’ll use. Since that wouldn’t be the case here, I went with papers that would complement my pallet.

2I used Regular and Soft gel medium to adhere the papers (I used both cause I ran out of the regular part way through). I used the old gift card to smooth down the bubbles.

3 I used a combination of book pages and wall paper samples.

4Using one of my favorite stencils, I added some texture down the left side of the canvas with Golden Course Modeling Paste. I love using the paste as it gives the piece dimension and interest (and it’s so touchable!)

5Here I’m starting to add acrylic layers. I used all types of “tools”. For example, a large plastic bowl as a circle stencil.

6I began adding more color using a (new) kitchen sponge. It adds great texture.
Ok, I have to be honest here. I wasn’t too happy with the the way the background was turning out. Actually I was getting frustrated. This process usually comes together nicely and I’m always pleasantly surprised at how it all comes together. Especially since it’s so random. That’s part of the fun! But, this wasn’t turning out how I pictured it in my mind and I started to panic. After all, this is going to hang in my friends office (where we both work) and everyone will see it. I know, artists; we’re kind of a mess. So, I left it alone for a bit. I imagine she thought she was never going to see it completed. And everyday, I walked by it and hated it even more. Until I realized the purple wasn’t right and that was throwing it off for me. So, I bought a new tube of purple (more blue than red this time), started over (and by that I mean new layers on top of the hated layers) and LOVED it!


Look at all that textury goodness!


This time, as I added layers of paint, I pulled some off with cling wrap. Now, I am loving the background.

13Next, it was time to concentrate on the focal element. I knew I was going to use my signature flowers and my friend had given me her favorite proverb. So, I covered about a dozen pages of thick magazine pages with gesso, allowed them to dry, and drew the petals using Winsor & Newton black drawing ink.

14After a few attempts to choose the right shade of yellow, I finally settled on this. Too bad the purples were all off.

16As you can see here. I thought I had the petals completed but when I put them on the canvas, I realized the purples were too red compared to what I had going on in the background (a more bluish purple). So, I made new sets of petals……

17And finally landed here. Or so I thought. More on that in a minute. I was really pleased with the center parts of the flowers (the anther). I used painted granola bar boxes and a circle punch to create them.

18Ok, so here we are. Flower petals (before I redid them) and the proverb (printed out on printer paper) which I went over with drawing ink so it was really crisp. I’m playing with the placement (and not too happy). It seemed too heavy with this design.

19Moving things around…..

20Finally deciding that yes, these are the correct placements….

22And that’s when I realized that I still didn’t like the insides of the flowers. The purple was too much. Yes, after I had adhered them to the canvas. Yep, I was back to hating it. Until I decided to soften it up by adding some yellow.

24Much better!

23I also decided that the printer paper was too dull. So I cut each letter out with an exacto knife and glued them down on gesso covered book pages. Again, much better! That took an entire afternoon.

29And now we have this……



26I think it was a happy accident that the placement of the proverb makes an upside down abstract flower (do you see it?)

So, from start to finish, this took about 5 or 6 months. And it was quite a journey. It reinforced my love for paining and mixed media. Even though I had moments when I hated this piece, I think in the back of my mind, I knew it would all come together. That’s the beauty of it; you get to keep trying till you get it right. Kind of like life. I’m back to my much smaller canvases this week, but I am ready to challenge myself again on a large canvas when the inspiration strikes.

Oh, and my friend loves it. We’ve joked for a while now that I would know if she liked it based on where she hangs it in her office. You know, if she hangs it behind her, not so much, but if she hangs it where she can see it, then clearly she likes it. Yeah, she has it on the wall right in front of her desk so she sees it all day. Now, if she could just get me to quit parading people in her office to take a look at it. First I was afraid for people to see it and now I want everyone to see it. I say it again, artists. We’re something else!

Till next week,


The one where I draw

1 Sep

Happy Saturday.

This week, I found inspiration on Pinterest (I LOVE that site).  An artist named Jessica Sporn shared a tissue paper and and stencil piece she created. I think what drew me in was her focal point, which was an angel she sketched using a paint brush. I love that she suggested loosely sketching the figure right on the canvas without fear of making mistakes.

Journal1I decided to use my symphony magazine turned art journal for this layout. A quick layer of gesso and I’m ready to start with tissue paper and some other random papers.

Journal2After that layer dried, it was time to sketch out my woman. I did use a pencil first, but I pretty much just traced over her with drawing ink. I did what Jessica said; I was loose with my sketching because I could always go back and “fix it.” Turns out, I was happy with my first attempt.

journal3Next I filled in the negative space around my figure using the technique Jessica shared in the video (linked below).  Basically, I applied my paint with a piece of plastic covered cardboard (I used a piece out of a snack box). I think it’s a pretty cool technique but one that you need to practice to have the amazing effect Jessica achieved. Again, I was happy with the way mine turned out. Remember, I’m looking for inspiration; not to copy someones work down to the last detail. I am sure as I play with this, my own artistic style will start to come through.


Journal5I used a quote from Tina Fey “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” Which I thought was perfect since for this is my first attempt at drawing a figure free form like this AND sharing it with you. She’s not perfect, but she’s not too bad.


journal7Another reason this appealed to me is because I’ve been trying to teach myself to draw faces. Not to do portrait art, but to draw whimsical faces to include in my pieces, like Jennibellie and Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  I’ve been doing sketches here and there, but haven’t committed to real practice to find my style. Watching Jessica gave me the courage to just do it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll continue to work on faces in pencil, but I will also keep working on them in ink and paint. Cause practice makes “perfect”. Let me know what you think.

And here’s the link to Jessica’s video.

TIll next week.

The one with watercolor flowers

24 Aug

Happy Saturday,

This week, I finished another granola box canvas and it’s either on it’s way (or hopefully there by now) to Las Vegas cause I made this one for my mom. She’s an artist as well if you’ve been reading for a while, you know that we share a small mixed media art journal.

As usual, I had to reinforce the sides of the box with masking tape….


A layer of gesso and then a layer of various bits of paper (which gave me my color pallet for this piece) were the next steps. I’ve been using Golden Regular Gel medium (adhesive) but I’ve discovered that I like the Soft Gel medium better so when this container is finished, I’m back to the good stuff!

GB2Using one of my favorite stencils, I added some Golden Course Molding Paste. I like this element because it adds such a rich texture to the piece.

GB3After the molding paste dried, I continued with some home-made stencils, adding more layers and color.

GB4I set the canvas aside to start on the next element: the water color flowers. I love using magazine pages for this. I put down a layer of gesso (let it dry especially if you are using water colors. Since your brush is really wet applying the water colors, the gesso can pull up with the brush strokes if you don’t). Next, I brush on color and once that’s dry, I drew my flower petals. And yes, I used my favorite, Winsor & Newton drawing ink.

GB5I decide on the placement for my flowers as well as the quote I added “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein. I think Mom is going to appreciate that!


GB7And now comes the fun part; drawing in all the finishing touches.


GB10And here is the finished piece. I’m really pleased with the way this turned out. What do you think?

Till next time,

The one with alcohol and acrylics

10 Aug

Happy Saturday,

And before you ask, I mean rubbing alcohol, not the drinking kind! It’s been nice to finally get back in my art room and be free to create again. Between work and home renovations, I haven’t been able to paint in about 3 weeks. Way too long! So it was really nice this weekend to have the chance to work on multiple pieces (cause ya know, I have no patience for anything to dry!)

A good friend was kind enough to give me this:

Mag1I just love the size and shape of this mag! I decided to make it into another journal. Naturally, I started with the cover (and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may recall I used these figures in my crayon wrapper layout recently – and thank you for sticking with me!)

I wasn’t sure what to do for the cover, but I remembered a YouTube video that shared a technique using rubbing alcohol and acrylic paints (the link is at the end of the post).

Mag2A generous layer of gesso…

Mag3Here’s my first layer of color. I blended Titanium White (Liquitex Basics)  and Manganese Blue Hue (Golden Artist Colors) and brushed it on.

Mag4Next is the fun part! I used an eye dropper to drip the alcohol (it was recommended to use 91% Isopropyl) onto my page. It was really cool to see the paint separate and form these free forms. Unfortunately  I had to wait for this to dry (see how having multiple projects comes in handy!)

Mag5For the second layer, I went with a silvery gray (I don’t recall what I mixed) and repeated the process. I have to say, I was pretty pleased!

Mag6A little more gesso to highlight the areas I wanted to draw on…..

Mag8I’ve been really having fun with flowers lately so it seemed like the right thing to do.

Mag9My cover is complete. I will share this tip with you: have patience and let your hand drawn with drawing ink image dry completely before you try to use soft gel adhesive.  Or you will end up smearing your sweet little butterfly like I did and have to go back once the adhesive really dries and draw it again.

Have you ever tried using alcohol and acrylics? Did you have fun? I’d love to hear about it. Hope you like this week’s creation. See you next Saturday!

Oh, and here’s that link (almost forgot) to the video: acrylics and alcohol don’t mix, do they?


The one with the newest granola box canvas

22 Jun

Happy Saturday.

Last week, I shared a photo of some of the does that spent some time  in our yard. This week, we were treated to 4 bucks (and one feisty doe) so, of course  had to post one (of the many) photos I took. Isn’t he something?


You know, I never get tired of seeing wildlife pass through our tiny part of the world. So, this week, I finished another art piece on a granola box canvas. I love the size of these boxes! They’re about 5 1/2 x 6 3/4. Not too big and not too small. Anyhow, this one was for a very special woman I work with. She takes care of our entire building and everyone in it and always makes time to stop by, say hello and share her beautiful smile. I look forward to her visit everyday!

After prepping my canvas (using masking tape and gesso)

CB 2

I began with a layer of misc papers and Golden Gel Medium…..

Granola 1Originally, I started with a pallet of yellows and greens,

granola 2but that wasn’t talking to me so I moved on to reds and blues,

granola 3which turned into mostly shades of reds and pinks as I added layers.

granola 4

Using my (favorite) Winsor and Newton drawing ink, I started sketching out some flowers.

granola 6

filled them in with black acrylic paint…..

granola 7

And completed it with this fantastic quote: “Those who don’t believe in magic, will never find it.”

granola 8

A big shout out to JC, who lent me these fantastic letter stamps by Close to My Heart (I LOVE this font!)

granola 9

granola 10

granola 11This little bird stamp is on tissue paper and I used Golden Gel Medium to adhere him to the canvas.

Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. And in case you were wondering, it was a big hit with my friend.


The one with new art cards

18 May

Happy Saturday!

flowersThis is how I started my Saturday morning….greeted by beautiful flowers in the back yard! What inspiration first thing in the morning. And this week, I had been working on art cards with flowers as my focal point. Kinda perfect, huh? Anyhow,  I had so much fun making the last granola box canvas, that I had to make some more of those cute flowers.

This time, my canvas were magazine subscription cards. Yep, my art cards are back! So, I started here:

art card 1After a layer of gesso, I chose my color palet and applied the paint with my fingers. I always did enjoy finger painting as a child!

art card 2Sometimes when I’m creating, I forget to take photos so you’ll have to forgive me for not having close ups of the backgrounds without the beginnings of the flower heads. I used scrapbook papers for the flower heads; coordinating or contrasting papers, depending on my mood.

art card 3

I think I enjoy these flowers so much because they are quick, easy, and never the same twice. And because I love using drawing inks which are for the stems and smaller details.

art card 4

art card 5

art card 6I used some Stampin Up! stamps to complete each card.

So there you are. Quick and sweet cards. Let me know what you think. I always enjoy reading your comments!

Til next week.


The one with the some art journal fun

12 May

Happy Saturday!

This week, I’ve been working on quite a few projects (having to wait for paint to dry is just an opportunity to start something new). I worked on some new art cards for my cousins, started a new granola bar box canvas, painted a mothers day card, and played around with some art journal pages.

Recently, I was inspired by a video I saw on YouTube (by JournalArtista). I love her idea of creating a journal by using a magazine (cause I have a ton at my house…..I may eventually try this). But it did inspire me to use magazine images as my focal point.  I did a two-page layout in my spiral bound journal. I’m not sure that they go together or if they are really 2 separate layouts. I’ll let you be the judge.

journal 1I started with some images that caught my eye while flipping through magazines. And some of the wallpaper I got at the Zero Land Fill project last weekend.

journal 2Starting with the left side, I had added some paint to soften up the harsh lines and then didn’t care for it at all. So, I gessoed over it (while it was wet) and ended up with a streaky, gesso, paint, ink mixture…….

journal 3I can work with that! (I also added some jesso and leftover paint to the right side for some texture). Back on the left,  I like the zebra and wanted to keep her but the page needs something. And then this idea pops into my head. I tore out a few pages from one of those magazines (also from my trips to the ZLP), spread on a light layer of gesso and let it dry.

journal 4I drew the outline using my new favorite, black drawing ink from Windsor & Newton (and let it dry) The idea is to paint these flower petals with the Twinkling H20 water colors I picked up a while back (I saw Donna Downey used them in one of her Inspiration Wednesday videos and had to try them for myself). I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

journal 5I know they don’t look twinkly here, but trust me, they are!

journal 6Here’s how they look on the page….

journal 9I needed something to finish off this side, so I looked through my stacks of papers and found this flyer from an event put on by one of my colleagues. I loved the colors and the design so I grabbed a few of the extras she had.

journal 12And here is the left side with some additional embellishments. I got to break out the Winsor & Newton drawing inks again to add some finishing touches.

Now the right side has a nautical theme (not sure why, I just went with what appealed to me when I was looking through the mags). I had started with this….

journal 8Keep in mind, I worked on this layout over a 2 week period (I unfortunately don’t get in as much time to paint after work during the week as I would like). Last weekend, I went to McKay’s (the best used bookstore ever!) with a friend and found this great book in the free bin (in the FREE BIN!)

journal 7Yep, a nautical themed book! I pulled out some photos and a few of these really cool velum pages and went to work.

journal 10At this point, it’s starting to take shape, but everything looks like I just stuck it on the page (and yes, I get that it is in fact what I just did). But it needs some depth….no pun  intended!

journal 11The use of some bubble wrap, and a kitchen sponge takes care of that.

journal 13I have to say, I was really pleased with this little element…..

journal 14And how fun is this guy over all that yummy texture? (he’s from one of those vellum pages)

journal 15Again, I’m not sure if these pages actually go together or not. I imagine the blue in both pages kinda ties them together. The themes certainly don’t. What’s important is I had fun creating them, I used a new technique and I generally like the way they both turned out so it’s a win in my book!

I’d love to hear what you think so please leave a comment!

Till next week,