Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime!

Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime!

Monday, August 22, 2016


Painting loosely, freely, is a tool for beginners as well as advanced painters. Play! The goal is not necessarily to make paintings for exhibition. Rather, the goal is to allow yourself to loosen up, find your true creative self.

I bought three small squeeze bottles of acrylic paint. High flow is fun! Quin nickel azo gold, permanent violet dark, and green gold.

how-to, art+media
Love these colors!
I also purchased Fineline
bottles with two sizes of
tips. For today's post, I
used the finer line, not
the standard.
art+blog, how-to
These are cool!
Before using either, I drizzled colored tar gel on watercolor paper. In a small container, I mixed clear tar gel with acrylic paint. (Wish I'd used a bit more tar gel, so the scribble would be more transparent! I meant to merely tint the tar gel.) The end result of this first step looks messy, but was fun to do.

mixed-media, art, blog
Wish I'd used less paint...this got too opaque.

After that was dry,
I painted with the 3
acrylics, wet on wet,
leaving some white.
I actually worked
directly from the
bottles, but spread
the paint with a wet
brush too. Wheee!
(High Flow Acrylics have an ink-like consistency that lends itself to a wide range of techniques: hand-lettering, spraying, and much more. Use them with an airbrush, a dip pen, a refillable marker, etc.  I have the 1-oz. bottles that I can fit with a fineline head.)

blog, mixed-media
Not done yet. Looks sorta "intuitive," doesn't it?!
When that was dry, I used the fineline to accent some areas still further.
Guhin, tutorials
Fineline applicators allow you to create complex designs and draw lots of cool lines. They make precise, accurate, controlled placements of liquid media possible.
Use them with acrylics, inks, gutta, watercolors, silk dyes, stains, water-based adhesives, glazes, and other liquid media. They have a cap and wire system that resists clogging. Buy them (empty) for about $9.00 for two of the same size. You can get replacement tips, too, which tells me maybe people DO clog them!
If you're inspired and can afford them, give these products a try. They're a blast!
(Attention Golden and FineLine, I'd love a few freebies if you read this!)

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Gesso has enough body and tooth to use as a barrier to hold in wet media. 
gesso, painting
I made my own black and gray gessos.
A clean squeeze bottle served me well for "drawing" the shapes. I also filled in some areas. Then I let the design dry overnight, before painting.
painting, Guhin
This study was finished with fluid black acrylic and water.
The water and paint stayed within the confines of the slightly raised gesso lines. This exercise might be good for middle schoolers or beginners at the high school level. Art teachers could substitute watercolors at the painting stage if desired. Students should create their own designs rather than relying on this "Pebble" motif, of course.

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Self-adhesive clear plastic can save big, solid areas of wet-media paper. Buy low-tack, see-through shelf liner from the kitchen department--many stores carry it with their other contact papers. I used Frisket Film because I had some on hand.
FIRST, I painted with watercolors on smooth watercolor paper. I worked with lighter colors and left plenty of white! Then I let that dry.
how-to, art+blog
Here the Frisket Film hasn't been stuck down yet.
Remember, you can preserve large white or light areas that are dry. Save the background pieces of contact paper (the ones you aren’t using for this artwork), perhaps even applying them to a different support!
Then you can paint, pour, and spatter to your heart’s content! An old toothbrush is great for the latter.

ART TIP: Paint might seep under the edges of a contact paper mask, so seal the edges better by rubbing them with the bowl of a spoon. The word for that is burnishing. You can also run a fine line of rubber cement or masking fluid along the edges. I didn’t use that precaution, alas, and you can see where seepage occurred!

Remove the contact paper when the painting is dry. (Save the peeled-off stuff for another use if you wish.) Now add any finishing touches you desire.
Guhin, art, technique
Sharpies and more paint added some definition and accents.

For anyone reading this who’s more into collage, I’m hoping you’ll be inspired to save portions of a mixed media work this way! It’s a joy to try a technique you haven’t done or haven’t used in awhile.Use a previous artwork that seemed to be lacking something, and apply contact paper shapes, then sponge with dryish paint around some of the edges. Like an easy form of airbrush! You can even use a sponge roller, and more than once, with different colors here and there. Why not take it even further and selectively sponge over a stencil?


Friday, July 29, 2016


Resist fluid is a favorite of mine that works
well with fluid acrylics.
Here's a finished example, below, and I'll provide the steps (and some pointers) below that!
art+blog, acrylics, how-to
After the latex was removed, I painted parts of a few exposed lines.
Resist fluid makes an exciting addition to any painter’s resources.

I didn’t have a Fineline Resist Pen at the time, so I applied lines and dots with a painting knife. Always apply this product to dry paper! The latex rubbed right off my knife when I was finished.

Other application tools you might use include wooden skewers, toothpicks, old (bad) brushes, even dip pens. Most resist fluid doesn’t thin with water, but you could try ammonia.

If you make a mistake, just let the masked line dry and remove from the paper.

ART TIPS: Don’t try drying the masking fluid design with a hot hair dryer! (But don’t leave the fluid on absorbent paper for a very long time. Also, masking fluid becomes gummy if you leave the cap off too long.
painting, how-to, mask, resist
Let the fluid dry before you go to the next step!
When my mask was dry, I painted with watercolors, although fluid acrylics are fine. (Granulating medium made the gray areas more interesting.)
You MUST let your painting dry well before removing the masking fluid! The latex can be removed with a rubber cement pick-up tool, but I just rub a finger over the masked lines and shapes.
I wanted to color some of the white lines,
so I used blue at right and left edges.
But do leave some white, darn it!
The original white paper will
make your painting sparkle.

Friday, July 22, 2016


Last week's  post promised an example of this technique
on good, smooth watercolor paper.
Again, let your tar gel design (lines, shapes) dry before painting!
watercolor, art+blog
I do love me some analogous colors!
The specimen above was done with liquid acrylic inks.

ART TIP: Always wet the brush before beginning to paint with acrylics.
Lightly blot the water out and use. The paint flows better that way!

VARIATION: Mix tar gel with transparent fluid acrylic to create colored lines and shapes.
ANOTHER ART TIP: Always cover your work surface with old newspapers or other protection!
Guhin, art, blog


Saturday, July 16, 2016


Here’s a painting idea for you to up-cycle a previously-used canvas.

Tar gel is very viscous and dries clear.

ART TIP: Pure black doesn’t occur in nature, or so many artists believe. They think using pure black makes your painting appear artificial, fake, phony! I tend to agree sometimes, especially with figurative work. And, when I see an entire background that’s solid black, I want to tear out my hair! But that’s just me.

1.     Paint the entire thing with very dark colors of your choice (I used umber, deep red, and dark violet on an unwanted painting).

Guhin, art+blog
The light areas shown here were
actually apologies.

2.     Let dry.

3.    Apply strings of tar gel in line patterns, and some shapes as well. Drizzle fine lines from a skewer or knife, or pour some tar gel into a squeeze bottle. Try various size tips and not ON the paper but from above. Allow to dry before the next step.

tar gel, Guhin, how-to
Next week's post will show more tar gel methods!
4.     Apply a coat of white gesso when the tar gel is dry, and quickly scrape while still wet. I didn’t have an old credit card handy, so I grabbed a square of Styrofoam. Leave some gesso in places! Scraping reveals the raised tar gel designs. You can even wipe them with a rag if the tar gel lines and shapes aren’t showing up well enough. That's what I had to do. (But again, you’ll want some gessoed areas for the next step!)
painting, acrylic, technique
Don't let the coat of gesso dry!!!

tutorial, mixed-media
Scraping off some of the gesso.
5. Let what's left of the gesso dry completely. Then use liquid acrylic ink or diluted high-flow acrylics to complete the painting. Transparent paint allows the darker layer below to show through. Watercolors even work well.

Bright wallpaper, anyone? 
ART TIP: Plastic vessels you might ordinarily discard (but
cleaned ones!) make great palettes. With so much goods-packaging available, why add new Styrofoam plates to the landfill after a paint session? I know they’re sturdy, but they don’t decompose for a million years! When an artist recommended them in her recent art book (new plates!), I was sick at heart. Just wash old ones, please.

REVERSE VARIATION: On absorbent paper such as good, smooth watercolor paper,
   no need for the dark layer or the gesso! See next week’s post for examples!
Although my finished acrylic painting (see above) looks rather juvenile to me, I encourage you to do more with this fabulous method! Add collage to the painting, or use the technique over a collage. Use more transparent colors than I did, perhaps. Go a little nuts with it!


Saturday, July 9, 2016



It's not that I think the final product is so terrific. As you've likely heard before, it's the process!
First, I just played around with warm colors of acrylic paint on canvas, creating non-objective shapes.
This is only Step 1!
Next, I grabbed a Pilot metallic marker in gold. I'm not one to go for glitter or glitz, normally, but I did like the shine with my color scheme. I drew lines and scribbled here and there. Not done yet, though.
art, techniques
Step 2, a gold metallic marker.
Thirdly, I mixed clear tar gel with red and umber acrylics (lots of them, to make the mixture more opaque). I filled a clean squeeze bottle with the mixture and went to town.
But wait, there's more! To add more interest, I pulled the tines of a fork through the dark brown in six or seven places.
Guhin, art+experiment
End result...and the tar gel added a slightly raised texture.
Do try scribbling with a shiny metallic marker, or squeezing a tar gel mixture, or combing through with a fork...great techniques!