Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Moving Color"


"Life is like moving color...blending and moving with many surprises." Even the best laid plans can be interrupted with unexpected events. It reminds me of liquid color moving on a very wet sheet of watercolor paper. You can only control its direction somewhat, but never completely.

Control of a particular technique, even the spontaneous ones, requires patience, skill, and practice. One of the big advantages I give myself when creating a piece with pouring medium is to work on a larger sheet. If the paper is adhered to the support first, all cropping options are off of the table. I have heard the complaint that if the paper is expensive, (like 300lb. HP), it is very tempting to take advantage of every square inch. But I cannot emphasize enough that where the image is cropped is a hugh part of the design process. My rule of thumb is to work on paper at least 2 or 3x larger than my intended size. Buying more paper and being somewhat "wasteful" is the price that must be paid in order to achieve the maximum result.

Another control factor is the wetness of the pouring medium and the ratio of paint to medium. It you don't want very much movement, then cut down on the amount of medium used. If you want a lot of movement, add more medium. And if you want very diffused lines and a thinner, less dense application, then add water to the medium and paint before pouring. So these are some of the techniques that must be practiced over and over until you can achieve the results you want. Even so, it is much like life and full of surprises. That's why I write the quote based on the image, especially with this technique. Just a few more things to think about.

Friday, March 30, 2012



"Neutrals plus one hot color equals amore." We could all use a little more love and today it is visually showcased in a sea of neutral color. Brilliant Red Violet is a very hot color and if you add a little gold, it is quite luxurious. It's Friday. Show a lot of love!

This fabulous color is one of my favorites. Fortunately, it is available in Golden tube acrylics, Fluid Acrylics, and Winsor Newton Gouache. It can be fugitive so if you are working on a larger complicated piece that you want to last a long time, use Quinacridone Magenta or make sure the color is encased in a medium or use varnish with UV protection at the end. The permanence of Quinacridone colors has been tested and proven to stand the test of time. (If you google "quinacridone", you can find out all kinds of interesting facts about these colors.)

Raw Umber is a good companion to brilliant red violet and is the perfect choice to make it look deeper and richer. Of course, I must mention for the third or fourth time since blogging that the best raw umber gouache is Graham. Windsor Newton has a rather "wimpy" umber that is not dark enough.

One last note about this piece is the corners and the division of space. It is very important to think about those two things when cropping from a larger sheet. It makes all the difference in the world whether you have a "ho hum" composition or something very dramatic. Just a few more things to think about.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Pure Inspiration"

($40.00.....6" x 6"....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Pure inspiration comes from the inner spirit ignited by anything that produces creative thought." There is nothing quite like the surge of energy that accompanies a spark of inspiration. It is that sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea that prompts immediate action.

As I have mentioned in other postings, a gradual change has occurred in what inspires my quotes. In the beginning, I thought about the quotes first, often spending hours writing them down in advance of creating the art portion. I am happy to say that the whole process has flipped and now I create the visual first and then let that be my inspiration for the quote. It's much more natural and satisfying to me. I am quite convinced that artists working in any medium could benefit by working in this way. It allows for more freedom and inspiration when creating a piece. This is especially true when working from a particular concept or theme. If you get an idea in your head that something would be best illustrated by including particular materials or a particular shape...all of the wisest "design sages" on the planet will not be able to convince you otherwise...even when everything in the piece is screaming for a "do over".

For instance, if you are inspired by a particular color arrangement, it would be very inspirational to take those colors and try them in your own particular medium and enjoy that process without laboring over any particular concept. I promise that a concept will emerge from this process and it will seem much more spontaneous and much less contrived. So my advice, especially to artists on my team at church is to flip your process and see what happens. Quit contorting your artwork into some preconceived idea first. Do some experimenting, hone your techniques, and place more of your focus on good design...and the rest will follow. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"The Ultimate Luxury"

($40.00....6" x 6".....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Chocolate is the ultimate in affordable luxury." Some of the most ornate packaging with highly embossed gold lettering is seen on packaged chocolate. It is a delectable treat that most people can afford from time to time. Enjoy a piece today!

One of the most easily understood formats that works every time it's tried is horizontal bands. In the case of my piece today, they are slightly in motion which is even better. If you have had the foresight to work on a larger sheet of paper, effective cropping will automatically give you four well designed corners. The varying widths of the bands will also give contrast and sometimes alternation such as the pink and brown color in this piece.

This pouring medium piece had very little external manipulation which would have caused the color to blend more. As for the edges, there is a contrast between the hard edges and the soft diffused edges. All in all, it's a win / win to choose this type of format and technique. You could probably do the same type of thing with watercolor or oil paints. Colors would need to be very fluid and support would need to be very wet. Water soluble oils would probably work better than traditional oils but I have not tried either so it would definitely be an experiment. There are very simple things that can make or break a piece of artwork. Each artist must be willing to embrace the "tried and true" before insisting on creating some preconceived idea and sticking with that idea so stubbornly that all is lost in the end. Just something else to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


($40.00....6" x 6"....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"The tenacity to make a "comeback" shows up every spring in the form of a flower." You may have noticed that the bluebonnets and other wild flowers have made a great comeback. The beautiful yellow blooms on the prickly pear cactus are soon to follow. Enjoy!

Paintings are made up of shapes. None of us can hear that "four star" tip often enough. It is especially important in mixed media where combinations of different techniques can result in chaos and ill defined shapes.

The small photo was blocked in with gesso and a credit card held like a trowel rather than between two fingers to get closer to the surface. (That may not be the best visual. You almost need to see it done.) After laying down the gesso, it can be texturized by using the corner of the credt card to make erratic lines and gestural marks. At this stage, I left the piece overnight to dry.

This morning I used a brayer to add color with Speedball Printing Ink. Since it's water soluble a sponge brush dipped in water can be used to soften the edges and create a wash in other areas.  All of this must be sprayed with Spray Acrylic Coating. After drying with a hair dryer, sponge on some Liquitex Clear Gesso to give the surface enough "tooth" to add soft pastels and charcoal powder.

While doing all of these layers, keep the main thing the main thing and preserve and further define your shapes. Play the lights against the darks. All of this contributes to a well designed piece of art rather than a scrap booking page gone bad. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Casa de Colores"

($40.00.....6" x 6".....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Color with a rich patina soothes and calms the soul." The colors we choose to surround us in our homes can go a long way in setting a mood. Antiques with a rich patina as well as other "aged" items can be a calming effect even in a contemporary setting. Think about the colors you have around you. They have a profound effect on your emotional health.

This piece began as a pouring medium piece. However, I am very much in another experimental stage and used several aging techniques and lots of layers to develop a richer surface with lots of patina. The initial pouring medium had raw umber, turquoise, and yellow and was quite bright. After completing the Spanish Round Gothic, I sprayed the entire thing with Acrylic Spray coating and then did another layer of pouring medium with titan buff. Much of it was sprayed with water to reveal the portions I wanted to see. It was left to dry overnight.

This morning, I sanded it with very rough sand paper to remove part of the lettering and break up the surface of the pouring medium. Collage was added, along with pastels, charcoal powder, etc. After that, I cannot tell you what I did. It's a blur because I got so into it that I kept doing whatever came to mind until I had done all I could do. The one line of spencerian script was the final thing. The depth of this surface is incredible. The only advice I can offer is that you should decide what you still want to be visible at the end and do everything to preserve those areas. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


($200.00....12" x 12"....mounted on a 2.0" depth clayboard)

"My child, you can trust the man who died for you. If you cannot trust Him, whom can you trust?" This is a quote by L.B. Cowman. She is best known for a devotional book entitled Streams In The Desert. This is the last in a series of pieces I created for an exhibit called... "New Beginnings"... now showing at Hill Country Bible Church NW.

This piece was created by first adhering a sheet of blank 140 lb HP watercolor paper to a clayboard. I then added some erratic lines and gestural writing.

The cross in the middle is a photograph I took at a restaurant in San Antonio. After printing it on transparent tissue paper, it was adhered to the support with gel matte medium and dried thoroughly. All of the succeeding layers were created with white gesso, soft pastels, and charcoal powder.

To add some more interest and texture, I printed some fragments of a commercial stamp with Speedball Printing Ink (water soluble). Simply brayer some of the ink onto the stamp and print. You will then need to used Spray Acrylic Coating to fix the stamped imaged before taking the next step.  (I also used the brayer by itself to add some of the black printing ink over the gesso.)

And here is a wonderful tip for surfaces that may not have enough "tooth" to hold the pastels and charcoal powder. Brush on a coat (or two) of Liquitex Clear Gesso. It will alter your surface by giving it a texture similar to light sandpaper. It holds the pastels beautifully without altering the look of the previous layers. Just a few more things to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"New Beginnings Through Faith"

($200.00....12" x 12"....mounted on a 2.0" depth clayboard)

"Faith is believing what we do not see, and the reward is to see what we believe." This is a wonderful quote by St. Augustine. Like the last few postings, this piece was created for an Easter Exhibit..."New Beginnings", now on display at Hill Country Bible Church NW.

Even though this piece was created with pouring medium and acrylics, I attempted to give it an "aged" look by doing several things. The first layer, of course, is the pouring medium on 300 lb HP watercolor paper with more water sprayed into the pour. The second layer was the Spanish Round Gothic text written on the surface after preparing with gel matte medium.

The third layer was begun by spraying with Spray Acrylic Coating (2x) to protect the lettering from the next pour. I then used a palette knife to completely cover the piece with pouring medium and Titan Buff Fluid Acrylic. The piece was then sprayed with water to reveal the text, but greatly diffused. It was left to dry overnight.

The fourth layer was created by sanding with rough grit sand paper (very hard) to remove portions of the letters to give it an "aged" look. Charcoal Powder was brushed on in various places followed by spraying again with Spray Acrylic Coating to protect the charcoal powder.

Last, but not least, I prepared the surface for lettering with gel matt medium (2 parts water to 1 part gel matte) and then finished the piece by adding the Spanish lettering in script. And this is just one of a series of things that can be done with layering techniques. So there you have it...a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, March 23, 2012

"The Word"

($300.00...9" x 12".....mounted on a 2.0" depth clayboard)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." This powerful scripture from John 1:1 was created for the upcoming "New Beginnings" exhibit at Hill Country Bible Church NW in Austin, Tx. We are having a fabulous Opening Reception this evening from 7:00-9:00. You are cordially invited. To see the invitation click onto the links from my posting on March 18th.

The paper used for this pouring medium piece is greatly responsible for the  drama. It is 300lb HP watercolor paper that receives the pouring medium extremely well. The other contributing factor was pouring the colors and blending the colors just long enough to achieve some exciting movement and then leaving it alone. If this process is overworked, it will end up being a mud color. If you have been experimenting with this and are still having trouble, I strongly encourage you to pour your color from edge to edge on very wet paper, lay it down on wax paper and walk away. Do not touch it again until it's bone dry. This will be the first step in letting the water and the natural flow of the color do the work. It will take two days to dry on 300 lb paper.

From time to time, I get a desire to do a block of lettering called Neuland. It was created by Rudolf Koch and meant to be stacked with little or no space between lines. By changing the size of the nib, it is possible to emphasize certain words over others and to highlight those words by varying the color a bit. The spanish text is written in Copperplate as a contrast and also to appeal to those in our church who are involved in the Spanish Ministry. It is quite fun to write in other languages because your total focus must be on the letters rather than what it says. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Joy Follows Tears"

($200.00...6" x 12".....mounted on a 2.0" depth clayboard)

"His death is our life. His loss is our gain; the joy for the tear, the peace for the pain." This quote has come before my eyes on several occasions. I do not know the author, but I do know the power of the quote. This is a piece created for the upcoming "New Beginnings" exhibit at Hill Country Bible Church NW. (Refer to the Sunday, March 18th, posting for links to the invitation for the Opening Reception.)

This is a very richly colored pouring medium piece created on 300 lb HP watercolor paper. The Iridescent Bronze Acrylic forms a beautiful ribbon of rich color through the Raw Umber. There is also some Green Gold and Dioxazine Violet. (Golden Acrylics) As I've said in past postings, it is much easier to have the colors blend properly if you begin with a pour of just one color over most of the design space. The paper must be very wet (under the faucet wet). Once you pour the medium on the paper, be sure to hold it over a tray and spray with more water to keep it moving and rotate the paper to get as even a coverage as possible. In this case, my base color was a pale blue.

I have been comparing the effects of pouring medium on different papers and I do believe that 300 lb. HP yields the very best results with 140 lb. HP coming in as a strong second. Mounting the heavier paper is very tricky because it doesn't want to lay flat. After wrestling with it for a bit, I finally placed gel matte medium on the support as well as the paper and laid it down as best I could until it set up enough to lay wax paper on top, followed by a couple of books, followed by heavy rocks. It must lay that way overnight to completely become bonded to the clayboard. Just a few more tips to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Nuevo Principio"

($40.00......6" x 6".....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"New beginnings often emerge from the fires of affliction." No one likes to be afflicted in any way, but it can often be the catalyst to a new beginning. I would not be creating lettering art today if it had not been for a tragic event in my life. I am quite sure there are many who have a similar story. Take hope in new beginnings.

There are several key elements to good design that have emerged from my first year of blogging. I knew them before, but now I REALLY know them. One of the things that sets apart an "okay" piece of art from a great piece of art is how the corners are designed. Corners need to be designed and each one needs to be different. If they're all the same, the piece loses impact immediately. On the other hand, it is not good enough to simply place something in a corner just to make it different from the others. It will then look contrived. It must be an integral part of the design of the piece and given some thought at the beginning of the process.

It is very instructive to go through an exhibit and notice the corners of each piece. The lessons learned from that observation are vast. Try staying out of the vignette mode and begin giving your corners more serious consideration. Just something to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Lofty Goals"

($40.00.....6" x 6"....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Lofty goals are attainable after letting go of past failures and negative mindsets." I have a brother who has a favorite phrase he uses when reminding himself to let something go....or reminding me! It's called "lig it"...and stands for let it go. Some things need to go and past failures and negative mindsets are two of them.

This cropped section from a pouring medium piece has an interesting selection of diagonals as though they're flowing off of the page. It is a visual metaphor of letting something go...hence the quote.

To quote myself..."Black and white plus one or two other colors works every time it's tried." I particularly like the raspberry color with turquoise. It's a softer version of the powerful red and green complementary colors. Throw in some yellow and you have another set of complementaries between the yellow and turquoise.

The only thing I wish I had done before doing the pouring medium is create my pencil lines and non verbal text. The spontaneity does not quite ring true when they're added after the fact. It goes back to the idea that if you want a spontaneous result you must use a spontaneous process. It is far better to make these erratic marks on a larger sheet, create the pouring medium and then crop the piece. It will look random and never contrived when following that process. Lesson learned. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"Second Look"

($40.00.....6" x 6"....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Rich treasures are found when giving ideas and books a second look." Who can possibly know how and why the human mind thinks and acts the way it does. What I have personally experienced is that too often we set aside ideas and books that need to be revisited. The rich treasures are stored up for those who "mine" the depths of deep thought.

This pouring medium piece by itself does not contain even one hard edge. That's important to notice because it's very much like "cotton candy" art. You can look at it, but it seems to dissipate quickly just like cotton candy does. Once the large lettering with very hard edges was placed on the piece, it was immediately anchored. The script lettering adds a nice contrast with more hard edges. This is a perfect illustration of the importance of edges. All soft or all hard will give the viewer an unsettled feeling.

Even though there is clearly a distinction where the color changes occur...the values are so close together that it gives the "soft edged" feeling. It is the values and the technique used to lay down the paint that makes the difference. This becomes even more important when painting realistic imagery. Just a few more edges to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"Joyful Dancing"

($300.00...12" x 24"...mounted on a 2.0" depth clayboard)

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning, and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks forever." (Psalm 30: 11, 12)

This is a cropped section of a piece for an upcoming exhibit called "New Beginnings". You are all cordially invited to attend the Opening Reception this coming Friday evening, March 23rd, from 7:00 - 9:00 at Hill Country Bible Church NW.  You can access the actual invitation (front and back) at the following links:

This particular piece was created on 300lb HP Arches Watercolor Paper. It has been my experience that a much heavier paper is needed to do a Pouring Medium technique if you go much beyond an 8 x 10 size. I do believe the color actual responds better on this paper, but another good (less expensive) choice for most smaller sizes is 140lb HP Arches or another brand of watercolor or printmaking paper in a similar weight. The colors in this piece are absolutely brilliant when viewing the original. As always, I waited until after the pouring to match the text with the image. You could literally drive yourself nuts trying to do it the other way around.

After trying many different kinds of varnishes and having a near disaster with Krylon Triple recommendation is Golden Gloss Archival Varnish. It works very consistently and gives the piece depth without being so glossy that it is blinding. This is a much more complicated piece than a 6" x 6", but it was very fulfilling to work on larger sizes for a change. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"True Calling" (Sold)


"The gravitational pull of a deep desire to do one thing above all others reveals your true calling in life." It is a great feeling to know that you're doing what you are "wired" to do. I have noticed that a person may be generally working in the area of their gifting and as they continue on in that general area of focus, it becomes very specific over time.

The colors in this piece are very tropical and genuinely appear happy. That mood completely mirrors the feeling of working in an area that perfectly fits who you are. One of my favorite parts of this piece is the very quiet area in the top right corner where very little is going on. When cropping these pieces, I look for those areas to include...even if I am forced to leave something out that is a favorite part. The reason cannot be overstated. The eye must have a place to rest in a piece of artwork. This is especially true where the majority of the design space is filled with movement and color.

Another thing that is often overlooked is an insatiable desire to place too many elements in a given piece. I often ask myself this question..."Is this element of design contributing to the main thing or is it detracting from the main thing?" If there is any doubt...leave it out.   Just something else to think about.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Decadent Chocolate" (sold)


"Decadent chocolate with a raspberry filling is the perfect treat." I absolutely know I have some partners in crime out there! Who can resist a quality piece of chocolate? It's a perfect treat to celebrate Friday and the upcoming weekend.

Some chocolate factories have elaborate displays of hot chocolate moving from one glass container to another. There is such a place in the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It is mesmerizing to look at and the chocolate is glorious to eat. That's what this pouring medium piece reminds me of and so the quote was a "no brainer".

And that takes me back to a very important thing to remember in creating abstract art. I've noticed in myself and others, a very strong tendency to place infinite detail in a piece to convey what it is. Did I need to paint a chocolate bar with the wrapping and the lettering on the wrapping to convey that this represents chocolate? No, I did not. My encouragement to those who are experimenting with mixed media and layering techniques is to keep it simple and describe the essence visually. Even the simplest representations can get complicated when finalizing a piece so it is prudent to start simple since it can get complicated in a hurry.

Also, take note, once again, that the entire piece is not covered with extreme detail. The viewer must have a place to rest their eyes and then they will stay focused on what you want them to focus on. If everything is covered with detail from edge to edge...the viewer will have no clue where to look. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Slow, Silent, and Invisible"

($40.00.....6" x 6"....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Growth is slow, silent, and invisible, and then the flower appears." Growth is all about process and most of us would like to skip the process and go to the reward. With flowers beginning to bloom, it is a great reminder that growth is slow, silent, and invisible. That's the process and no one gets to jump over that and experience the reward without the time, effort, and energy.

Echoes are those design elements that are repeated in some other part of the piece. They are very important in creating artwork because the eye has this insatiable desire to make connections. For instance, if there is violet in the piece, the eye automatically looks for other areas with violet. By echoing the color again (in this piece I echoed it again in the flower in a darker value). I also echoed the subtle curving line by writing the quote in a similar line created by the blue green line underneath the flower. However, if there is an abundance of detail and other things going on, a straight line of lettering is probably the best choice. Simply following the line of a shape can look contrived rather than convincing.

Other echoes can be created by having lines, shapes, and colors disappear and reappear. For instance, I created some erratic lines on the paper before the pouring medium and they are creating a subtle dynamic with their appearance and disappearance.

Another important reminder is to take your shapes from edge to edge which allows for more dynamic shapes than having something stuck in the middle of the design space. The flower, for instance, was placed so that the brown and blue green curving lines are connected to the flower and integrate well on those moving lines. The flower printed on transparent tissue is also better integrated because the blue green and brown colors can be seen right through the image. These are just a few of my design thoughts for the day and something else to ponder or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Swept Away"

( the permanent collection of dee day)

"The power of peace is swept away with worry." This quote is a friendly reminder to not go to the place of "worry". It will ruin your health and it accomplishes nothing. It is probably the most useless activity there is. The Bible gives us another solution to worry and that solution is prayer.

Another name for these pouring medium pieces is "moving color". This particular one had a sweeping band of white moving upwards which fits beautifully with my quote. Another aspect of this piece is the titan buff used as the first layer and then titanium white poured into the raw umber. That particular combination creates the veiled ethereal look that is so compelling. You can see it above the decorated capital on the right hand side. And since the quote refers to the power of peace...the red was appropriate. Red is the epitomy of power and this particular one creates a glowing effect. It is Quinacridone Burnt Orange (Golden Fluid Acrylic).

The choice of including a very old style decorated cap and text to be included here is my love for the extreme contrast between something very archaic and something abstract and contemporary. The combination is unbeatable in terms of contrast. If you are creating with mixed media, it is so invigorating to "brain storm" about the choices you make about techniques and collage inclusions. Sometimes the very thing you think would be bizarre is the deal maker. And these are just a few more things for you to think about.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Playful Dance"

($40.00....6" x 6"....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"The colors invited me to join in their playful dance." Of course, we all know that colors do not have the power to actually speak and offer up invitations, but they do have a way of captivating your imagination. In that sense, it is an unspoken invitation. Color is wonderful!

This piece was done with pouring medium. The blue and white were my base colors that merged over the very wet 140lb HP watercolor paper. The other colors were added one right after the other, but the small isolated color spot was an afterthought....not knowing what the quote would be. It is quite playful and fits the quote perfectly. By placing the lettering between the two detailed color shapes, there is cohesion in the composition. Lettering can almost be considered the needle and thread that binds two or more shapes together.

Laying down a light color first, adds another layer of depth and interest which would not have been there had it not been done. The blue also introduces the cool side of the color wheel, otherwise, it would have been a totally warm color palette. Even though violet can go either way, in this case it is a red violet which causes it to lean towards the warm side. Another interesting color fact is the hot pink...but even though the root color is red, the addition of a lot of white causes it to trend towards the cool side. Just a few more things to think about concerning color and composition.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Creative Power"

($40.00.....6" x 6"....mounted on a 1/8" clayboard panel)

"Creative power erupts from the fire of passion." Try doing anything without a deeply felt passion and it shows up in the work immediately. It is the passion that compels us all to go that extra bit to make something as good as it can be. There have been many negative connotations to the word "passion", but today we are looking at its absolute necessity in the creative process.

This piece was created by laying down horizontal bands of color on very wet 140 lb. HP watercolor paper. I wanted to see what would happen if I laid the color down and did nothing else to redirect the flow of color. Just by virtue of the paper being more wet in one area or the table not being completely went its own way. You can clearly see how pure the colors are when there is no external factor (like a marbling tool or plastic fork) affecting the flow of the paint. There is minimal blending of color. This is good to know if you want very intense color and very little gradated effect going on.

The shapes of color are also more defined with a more prominent display of hard edges. One line of lettering was all that was needed because the piece is so intense. It is still amazing to me how one line of lettering going from edge to edge creates another division of space and is an elegant touch to a dramatic piece. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"The Sheep"

($40.00......6" x 6"....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"The helpless sheep are always in need of the Shepherd." Of course, the reference and inspiration for this quote is from the Bible. People are often referred to as sheep in the Bible with Jesus being the Good Shepherd. The analogy is more to the point when realizing that because of the anatomy of a sheep, the animal cannot even get right side up again should it somehow fall in a ditch or fall on its back. That's why the shepherd has a staff with a crook so it can wrap it around the sheep's neck and help it up again.

In this piece, I have included a collage of two sheep. The secret to having it this well integrated into the piece is to adhere the collage to blank paper (in this case, it is 140lb. HP) before doing the pouring medium. It is also wise to do it several hours or 24 hours in advance of the pouring medium so that the collage doesn't lift from the paper. You will also need to watch where the pouring medium is going even after you've laid it down to dry. I did need to push some of it back by tilting the paper and kept watching it so it didn't completely cover up my sheep. (Also, brush some of the gel matte medium over the collage when adhering to the paper so it will not bleed or completely disappear when doing the pouring medium.)

As for the lettering, I chose Neuland because the piece needed a solid block of lettering to contrast with all of the movement of the pouring medium. The yellow I chose for the lettering is Winsor Newton Lemon Yellow gouache mixed with white and a bit of purple added to knock down some of the intensity. It was fun to do and I would encourage experimenting with collage elements in combination with pouring medium. Just a few more things to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Unfolding Biography" (sold)


"Each day is like turning the page of my unfolding biography." The day takes on new meaning when placed in this context. It is true that each day is precious and we are choosing our own biography with our daily choices. Write a good one!

I am beginning to think in terms of what I can do in the first layer to create even more depth. In this piece, there are gestural marks and erratic lines done with a sharp pencil before the pouring medium was added. You could add the pencil lines after the fact, but it would not have the same "lost and found" edges and subtlety going on. Some of the lines got lost completely and others emerge and then disappear. It is quite fascinating and I would encourage you to try it yourself. It all goes back to the transparency issue and giving the viewer the illusion that they are looking into an infinite variety of layers.

My encouragement to everyone working in mixed media is to not give up on a particular technique too soon. By doing it day after day, you will continue to see new things and your entire process will keep evolving.

As for the choice of colors, it is more effective to play warm against cool in these types of pieces. The purple choice in this piece is Brilliant Violet Fluid Acrylic mixed with a bit of Raw Umber. It has more depth with the Raw Umber added and becomes warmer in temperature. The Hansa Yellow Medium was also mixed with a bit of Raw Umber making it warmer as well. The cool temperature color is the Cobalt Blue mixed with Titanium White. I guarantee that this piece would not have the same impact without the addition of the blue. Notice the "glowing" effect where it mingles with the darkest parts of the Violet and how it completely merges and becomes the same value of the other two colors when they become more diluted and mixed on the right hand side. It's these kind of observations that will assist you in deciding your colors for your next pour. Just a few more things to try or think about.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"Change Agents" (unavailable)

( the permanent collection of dee day)

"Words are just words until they are applied to life as change agents." There are bits of wisdom buried in books, speeches, and sermons that have appeared in my mind like neon signs. One of them I recall quite vividly from my own pastor...."If I haven't obeyed, I haven't listened." Ouch! That one hurt a bit, but it keeps coming to mind and has actually helped me at times when I needed to do something that was difficult, but right.

Transparency is one of those elusive things in art that artists everywhere have tried to incorporate into their layering process. In this piece, as in others, I have printed onto very, very thin tissue paper. It is difficult to find, but if you need just one word or line, you might try printing on removable tape. Just be sure you lay it down into gel matte medium on your piece so the bit of adhesive is not making contact with your paper. (Over time, it can eat a hole in your paper...but acrylic emulsions do resolve that problem. I thank God for them every day!)  Also, don't forget to spray your print with acrylic spray coating or it will rub off.

If you desire to see lettering or imagery, but want it to be imbedded in your piece, diluted gesso or acrylic glazing medium are good choices. You can add water to both of these products and apply thin coats (drying in between) with a sponge brush or credit card until the degree of transparency is reached.

For those persons new to lettering or layering, it may be difficult to overcome the fear of writing or adhering something over another image. There is a strong tendency to avoid doing that and place elements on a solid background instead.  However, it is necessary to realize that layering, especially transparent layering creates depth. And if the truth be known, all art work is lettering to a greater or lesser degree. Just a few more things to think about.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Closed" (sold)


"Hang a "closed" sign in your mind on any thought that sends you on a detour." Detours are never fun. It generally takes a lot of time and effort to get back on the right road again. That's why it is so important to place a "closed" sign on those thoughts that can derail us. Most of the time we don't like to see the word "closed", but in this context,  it's a treasured word.

In order to have photographic images on hand that provide a lot of interesting shapes, it is necessary to change your mind on what constitutes a good photograph to provide the first layer for this type of piece. Taking photos of the typical scenic images that might be a good source for an oil painting is a different kind of photography. For this type of piece, you need to be looking for odd images that have some interesting shapes. All artwork is made up of shapes so the best candidates for this type of image will be the ones with many different sizes of shapes, overlapping shapes, shapes of different values or colors, and shapes that have edges on a diagonal. It's quite like going on an Easter Egg Hunt for shapes rather than eggs.

This particular signage was seen hanging on the door of a store. I was disappointed that the store was closed, but quite fascinated with the hand made sign that looked like a primitive collage created mostly from newspaper. Notice the division of space created by the sign and the way it was cropped for the photo. I did create a monoprint on Arches Text Wove with Ink before printing the image. Gesso and Black Charcoal Powder helped to add interest and mystery to the piece. Just a few more things to think about.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Discipline Equals Freedom" (sold)


"Discipline equals freedom: a good strategy for exiting an emotional roller coaster." Runaway feelings can land you on an emotional roller coaster unless a decision is made. The best decision is to stay disciplined and keep doing what you need to be doing to progress in life. The intense feelings will subside.

No process has been more creative for me than to respond to an image and actually attach a meaning to my case, a one line quote. I am growing more fond of abstract art, but know myself well enough to realize I will inject realism again. What makes someone come into my studio and remark on the page of practice where I did my last 6 x 6? I realized it was the erratic pen marks made when I wanted to be sure the medium was coming out of the pen. They were going every which direction and then there was a word or two written when I was determining the lenght of the word or line before writing it on the final.

I have concluded that most people find this fascinating because you are allowing them to peer into your process a bit. And then there are artists who deliberately try to mess things up to create spontaneity. And then they will paint or write something beautiful on top of all that mess. It's quite fascinating to determine why this is so compelling to look at, but I am considering doing a bit more of that kind of thing...starting with the first layer.... including odd erratic marks made with different tools and then beginning the pouring medium process over that. Now that is something to think about and you just may see it tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Remember the Alamo" (unavailable)

( the permanent collection of dee day)

"Standing on principle can change the course of history." Today is Alamo Day in the state of Texas. This was the day that the Alamo was under siege and all but three people were killed defending this small fortress from the Mexican Army. It was not particularly a smart military move on the part of the Texans, but it gave tremendous will and courage to those who determined that the sacrifices of those who died would not be forgotten. We are still remembering.

The first layer of this piece began with a photograph of the Alamo as it stands today. The original photo was not aged and actually looks a bit odd in a very contemporary setting with modern buildings all around.

However, with the addition of Pouring Medium plus Golden Titan Buff Fluid Acrylic, it was on its journey to looking like something from a history book. The photograph was printed on Arches Text Wove and then mounted to a clayboard panel. I then added the pouring medium mixture and sprayed much of it off with water...leaving the residue mainly on the sides and corners. With the addition of Charcoal Powder and #305 Sennelier Soft morphed and changed dramatically. The one collage piece is Optima (a font designed by a calligrapher) printed out on the computer and then printed onto very thin tissue paper. After preparing the surface for lettering and actually writing the quote, the piece was done.

The particular pink / orange color of soft pastel is one you might want to try. It has a "glowy" effect and works quite well with the "old photograph" look. Running the line of printed text vertically mimics some of the pencil lettering that is also running up the page vertically. This way it is not competing with my one line of written text at the bottom. Lettering placement can be a difficult thing to determine, but I have found that it is best to play off of lines or shapes that are already there. By doing that, it is like having an echo of something else. In other words, the pencil lettering becomes an echo of the printed and collaged text. Just a few more things to think about.

Monday, March 5, 2012


($60.00....6" x 6"....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

"It takes a spontaneous process to achieve a spontaneous result." Most people would probably agree that the most special memories happened spontaneously or in a way that wasn't planned even it was a planned event. There just seems to be more emotion and more energy when things happen spontaneously. We can't always act on a "whim", but occasionally, it can be the beginning of many good things.

My entire goal this year is to explore spontaneous processes and to achieve a spontaneous look by improving my skill level. There are some processes that take considerable practice and even years to master, but once they're mastered, it looks spontaneous.

What doesn't look spontaneous is art work created by someone not using a spontaneous process and not having mastered a skill until it can be done with no hesitation. It's the hesitation that shows up in the art. Practicing how to lay down paint for an oil painting and learning how to be direct and decisive is part of the learning curve. Even in a process like Pouring Medium, the artist is the one who decides how long to continue allowing the colors to engage in movement and how much external blending with a tool needs to take place. I am learning to lay it down and let it be...sooner rather than later. It's about learning the perfect balance between decisive and quick action with the movement of a tool and knowing when to slow down or stop.

Another process that really helps is to do something with time constraints so that you actually begin to make decisions and movements quite unconsciously. That is precisely what blogging will do for anyone willing to submit themselves to the process. Time constraints will actually help shut down your internal critic and keep you moving forward at a much faster rate.

All of this pretty much describes where I am artistically and what I've learned over the past year. I am hoping it gives you a few more things to think about.  Today is posting 363.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Lines of Choice"

($40.00.....6" x 6"...mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Life is like an aged photograph etched with the lines of choice." Choices are the most powerful tool any of us has to alter the course of our life. This is especially true in a free society where we can choose to come and go at will. It is the cumulative effect of choices that make a life rich or destroyed. It's a choice.

As a visual artist, it is impossible to run away from the power created by division of space. It doesn't seem to matter what medium it is or whether the subject matter is realism, abstraction, or somewhere in between. The fact remains that all paintings of all types are made up of shapes. Those shapes create the way the space is divided. One of the most prolific daily painters (Carol Marine...oils) has compelling images because of the way her still life set ups are cropped and painted on the support. She has a great many diagonals plus the straight forward and confident brush strokes are also laid down in many different directions creating a rhythm which is mesmerizing.

The problem with all of us is that it is way too easy to shut off our brains and not intentionally think about these things. The result is often the same old thing with a still life placed in the center with negative space all around or the shadows and draping going off of the page, but always looking at the set up from the same angle. It's time to think because if any of us finds ourselves doing what thousands of others are doing, the viewer will tune out. There are simply too many compelling visuals out there so we must consider creating work that is not seen every day. In other words, to set ourselves apart somehow....some way. It is just something to think about. The division of space in this piece was created in layers with the lines playing a key role in how the space iwas divided, but it start with the division of space created by the photograph.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Thoughtless Words"

($40.00....6" x 6".....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Thoughtless words muddy relationships like black ink dropped into clear water." If you have ever said something in haste that hurt someone or someone has said something that hurt you, then the engulfing nature of this image completely mirrors what you might have been feeling. The good news is that the Bible has the proper response from Proverbs 3: 3..."Do not let kindness or truth leave you. Tie them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart."

This image is a perfect example of a caution when using very dark colors with pouring medium. In this image, it covers about 75% of the design space. It is a bit disturbing, but mirrors the quote perfectly so I decided to let it stand. But under most circumstances, it would be better to have the white area take up 75% of the design space with the black taking up only 25%. Color is the most emotional and powerful design element. It is the one element that does more to set the mood of the piece than any other element.

However, if you use much lighter colors with only a touch of black, brown, or some other very dark color, it is possible to get by with more of the design space covered. It's quite an interesting phenomenon to observe how colors react alone or with other colors. One of the best ways to observe colors is by paying attention to the colors used in an interior room. There are many periodicals that have countless examples of different combinations. The secret is to use the same percentage of that color as what you see in the room or image. As we can see in  today's posting, the percentage of space a color occupies can affect the mood completely. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, March 2, 2012

"A Grand State" (unavailable)

( the permanent collection of dee day)

"Independence gave us a grand flag for a grand state." Today is Texas Independence Day so, of course, we need to commemorate such a grand occasion with a grand flag. Enjoy Texas today!

I was going for the old, historic look in this piece. I did create a mono print and erratic pencil lines on the paper before it was printed. After spraying the image (3x) with Spray Acrylic Coating and adhering to a clayboard panel...pouring medium mixed with Golden Titan Buff was poured over the entire piece. I sprayed with water to expose the areas to be highlighted and allowed it to dry overnight. I always use spencerian script when going for a historical feel so here it is with a bit of color bleed in the flag. This often happens, even after spraying the image (3x)...especially when wet medium is sitting on it overnight. I like the effect for this piece, but if it bothers you, blot the area where you don't want any "bleed" immediately after applying the pouring medium and spraying with water.

 Just a few more things to think about.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


($60.00....6" x 6"....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

"Jewels of insight are the reward of deep thinking." The skill of deep thinking may be a lost art, but those who stay the course and practice their thinking skills will have many jewels of insight. Select a quiet, meditative environment and think away!

This visual is a mental image of what I feel like when I am thinking. It's a bit contorted, takes many twists and turns and then the jewels of purple, gold, and green appear as wonderful insights, providing the reward of deep thinking.

The power of cropping is quite evident here. You can see two unequal white areas and then the diagonal band of moving color. That's why I encourage everyone who tries this to leave areas of white or light and very diffused color in parts of the design space. Covering the whole thing with dynamic color can be overwhelming and discourage the viewer from looking more than (5) seconds.

I did break my rule of having the lettering straight when there is this much going on, but in this case, it is a way of having the lettering "go with the flow" so to speak. There is nothing I like better than camouflaging the lettering within the piece and that is done by following the flow of lines or edges in the piece and using the color that is prevalent.

Even without lettering this piece could stand confidently on its own and be a dynamic visual in any environment. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.