Monday, April 30, 2012

"Broken Patterns"

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

"Broken patterns in design or life are often the most interesting." The reason people gravitate visually to the erratic line or things that show only a fragment of something is that it is more interesting. We are so accustomed to seeing images centered, patterns perfectly repeated, that we stop and take notice when it is not that way. Just think about it.

My interest in white, black, grays, and silver are still operative. In fact, I wanted to push the envelope and see if it is really true that by sticking to this palette, it would be possible to combine more elements and not be as chaotic as it would be if I included color. I do think it works.

So if you want to combine different patterns, I encourage you to stick to a black, white, and gray palette and see what happens. I think it would probably work with any other color in its various shades and tints, but it is much more pronounced in black and white because the contrast is as strong as you can get on the gray scale.

In this piece, I did begin with a lightly textured background of white gesso. I then used a brayer to apply black Speedball Printing Ink. The silver leaf came next and then the surface was secured with Spray Acrylic Coating. A dilute solution of Gel Matte Medium was used to prepare the surface to receive stamping. I used a commercial stamp, but only inked a fragment of the stamp. The surface then needed to be secured and prepared to receive lettering. I wrote the quote in two places because it was so hidden in the texture, it is difficult to read. So there you have it, my foray into black, white, gray, and silver with a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Vessel of Hope"

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

"A vessel of hope is filled to the brim with faith in Jesus Christ." Nothing more needs to be said.

In recent postings, I've talked endlessly about division of space, designing corners, focal points, etc. Today I want to have a little chat about how art gets created.

Art is all about process since every artist begins with nothing and then creates something. But it must go beyond just intermittently creating a piece here and there. It would be the same thing as a person trying to learn to play a musical instrument, but only picking up the instrument once a week or maybe even once a month. It would be like starting at square one every time you practiced if it weren't consistent...meaning every day.

Persons who become accomplished at anything have a strategy for achieving the goal. And yet I still meet artists who do not understand this. First of all, you need a place to work where you can use the brief moments you may have to work on your work. Second, you need to think through the techniques you know and see if you need to add to your repertoire. (Most techniques are learned by working on your work and by taking a class or working with other artists.) Third, make sure your strategies stretch you a bit. It's the time constraints and the determination to do something in spite of obstacles that will get you where you want to go.

The truth of the matter is that nothing falls out of heaven on our heads. Even persons who are considered gifted will falter if they don't hone their skills because doing is the one condition of knowing. It does not happen any other way. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Color of Desire"

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

"Discover the path of your dreams through the rich color of desire." It is always good to examine where our desires are taking us. They can obviously take us in the wrong direction, but they can also help us discover how we're "wired" and what we're naturally inclined to do. Today is a good day to examine our desires and perhaps find the path of our dreams.

Multiple lines create multiple shapes. In this piece, there are varying widths of lines in different colors dividing the space diagonally. It doesn't get more dramatic than that. And of course, black and white plus one or two other colors works every time it's tried.

Letters are also made up of lines and when the black lines are connected to the black diagonal shape, it creates a strong contrast of black line work that is effective because of placement. Generally speaking, it is not a good design decision to have design elements floating in space. It is much better to have them grouped together so as to form a larger shape that creates another division of space. The key words are "generally speaking" since we have all encountered exceptions to that design point.

By thinking edge to edge...line to line...shape to shape, the art piece is much more likely to have a positive response and outcome. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Glorious Thoughts"


"Glorious thoughts billow into a continuum when the negative is disallowed." I have observed that negative thoughts will stop creative thinking in a heartbeat. We should all stay focused on thoughts that will help us progress and move us forward.

One of the techniques of blocking negative thoughts about our ability to create on any level is to impose a deadline. I have noticed that this is a trend even on some of the popular reality shows where the participants are cooking food, designing clothes, designing a room, etc. It's the deadline that forces a person's internal critic to shut down.

I have mentioned this from time to time, but now that I am on my 412th posting, I can give you even more positive data. Daily blogging, especially when other things are pressing in on my time, has resulted in most of my breakthroughs. In a nutshell, there is not time for thoughts that don't contribute to the goal. I've learned to act quickly, precisely, and not second guess myself. By working in this fashion, new ways of working have automatically happened out of pure necessity. (Reminds me of another quote I read....Necessity is the mother of invention.")  By the way, I have been in a glass fusing class from last Saturday through Tuesday, and then left for Houston on Wednesday morning where I am presently posting.  The pieces from the last three days were completed in record time on Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning.

In the piece today, I would not have automatically reached for a bottle of premixed raspberry pouring medium, but without hesitation, I poured it into the mix and it looks fabulous with the burnt sienna color. So my advice is to push yourself into a strategy of some kind that forces you to create with the pressure of a time constraint. You will be stunned at your progress. Just a few more things to think about.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


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

"Easing into your day with prayer is like pouring ointment over your soul." Life can be bruising and leave us all feeling battered. This is a deeply personal quote for me because it sets the tone for my day. My prayer is that you will feel encouraged to pour ointment over your soul as well.

In this piece I have combined pouring medium techniques with gesso techniques. After completing the pouring medium and allowing the piece to dry thoroughly, I decided to block out some of the color "chaos" going on in part of the piece. I applied white gesso with an old credit card and texturized it with gestural marks created with the corner of the card. (You will need to cut off the rounded corner on the card first.)

After allowing this to dry overnight, I applied Liquitex Clear Gesso the following morning over the gesso. (Remember that this makes the surface gritty so the soft pastels will hold.) Using a combination of brushing on charcoal powder and some turquoise pastel, I achieved a nice gray. (The pastel was scraped onto a disposable plate with an x-acto knife and brushed on to keep it diffused.)

After getting the gesso as dark as I could, I sprayed it with Spray Acrylic Coating followed by another layer of clear gesso. I applied more charcoal powder.....sealed it again and applied more clear gesso...followed by white pastel. I then modulated the tone by rubbing over the surface with a kneaded eraser to achieve the "slate like" surface.

The important part of this was achieving an edge which blended into the pouring medium. So I did soften the gesso edge while it was still wet. All in all, I achieved the look I was after and learned how to make gesso look like slate. So there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Forward Thinking"

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

"Forward thinking is a combination of past experiences plus one new thing." It is so easy to stay in our comfort zones and never include new ideas into our thinking. We can all be forward thinking by thinking and doing new things.

This is a very graphic piece because of the presence of straight forward blocks of color and lettering with very hard edges. Fortunately, the burnt sienna with its diffused edges occupies almost half of the design space. It's a great contrast and considering edges is a hugh part of a successful piece.

The pouring medium in this piece was left to dry after pouring onto very wet paper. (under the faucet kind of wet) By not blending the color externally in any way, you can retain a few sharp edges to your color. The burnt sienna has more diffused edges because it was the outside color and probably a bit more wet. The black is held in place by a dense application of titan buff on one side and the burnt sienna on the other. So where you place your color is very important.

The pencil lettering and erratic lines take on a more prominent role in this piece which gives it a very real human touch. We can often reproduce elements on the computer for inclusion, but pencil marks, especially when they are gestural in quality, give the viewer a sense of the human touch in the work. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


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

"Insight is often packaged in ordinary thoughts." Brainstorming sessions are important because you will often make connections in your thinking that lead to extraordinary insight. Take time to think and enjoy your new insights.

Cropping is one of the most important tools in your design toolbox. Whenever possible, it is a great idea to work larger than your finished piece to allow yourself several cropping options. Such was the case in this piece.

You can see how important it was for me to make sure I included two white areas where the quote could be written. Cropping also allows you to think about division of space and making sure your corners are all designed. If it is not possible to crop (like in a mosaic), you can still take advantage of this tool by creating a drawing of your design larger than what you intended and then cropping it to your desired size.

Becoming skilled with this tool will set you apart from others because it creates such dynamic compositions. You will discover diagonals, allow images to run off of the edge, learn to be bolder in your work. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, April 23, 2012



"Inscribe great thoughts on the vellum of your mind." This is a wonderful thought to begin the week. Thinking great thoughts precedes doing great things.

Black and white plus silver and grays will always have appeal. Black is a fabulous grounding color and gives weight and presence to any room. And if you must have color, just the addition of one other color will work with this combination every time it's tried.

The underpinnings of this piece begin with white gesso and then texture is added by creating gestural marks or writing with the corner of an old credit card, stylus, or any other pointed object. After the gesso dries and the black printing ink is applied with a brayer (over the entire surface), you will be able to see where the best textures are and then crop accordingly. It is extremely wise to not place the image in the center. If you divide the piece into thirds both horizontally and vertically, you can have an idea of where to place your focal point. Any place where the imaginary division lines intersect would be a good option.

You can clearly see that the black, white, and silver shapes do form other shapes which give the piece cohesion. Remember that paintings are made up of shapes. A piece can fall apart when this concept is not clearly understood. Just a few more things to think about.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Work of Art"

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

"Our lives are a work of art...painted by our choices." If any of us stopped to consider how many choices we make in a day, we would be stunned. Life is truly just one choice after another. Let's make sure they're good ones.

Color combinations are a key component of creating a really good pouring medium piece. All moving color is not beautiful. By limiting your choices to (3) colors and a metallic, you can have a very interesting piece. I typically choose one dark value color, one medium value color, and one light color. Golden's Iridescent Bronze also goes well with the Raw Umber, but silver would offer a nice contrast as well.

Remember, too, that you can gray down a color, add some white, and have a softer effect with your lightest value as I did here with the blue. It is a "grayed" down turquoise with lots of white. (Add just a bit of the complimentary color to gray it down). When all is said and done, these color contrasts have created an ethereal and rich look.

Another important consideration is how the colors are poured. If I had placed the raw umber between the Transparent Burnt Orange and the blue, much of the ethereal quality would have been lost. Notice how the blue and orange blend and fade out at the edges. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"Colorful Dreams"

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

"Colorful dreams are hidden in the folds of my mind." Everyone has dreams, visions, and goals of doing glorious things. I like to think of them in bold sweeping color with a never ending hope of becoming reality. It's a grand thought! Embrace it and have a glorious day.

This, of course, is another pouring medium piece. (You can reference other postings for details of how it is done from beginning to end.)  In this piece, there is no external manipulation of the paint whatsoever.

The piece was created on 140 lb. HP. (It is my experience that the hot press papers give the best results with this process.)  Before doing the pour, I made erratic and gestural marks on the paper with a pencil which can be seen in the upper left hand corner underneath the quote. As mentioned before, I have discovered that it is a good practice to coat the wet paper with white or a very pale color over the entire piece before pouring on the other colors. It creates a base for the color to move better. In this case, I used Metallic White. When the other colors were poured onto the paper, side by side, some of the base white mingled with the Pthalo Green to create a "backlit" effect. So you might want to give that a try.

And as a matter of review, you can notice that every corner is different...that some of the paper was left untouched by the bright colors...and that the cropping played up the diagonals. Don't be afraid when cropping to move your mat around at an odd angle to take advantage of every possible dynamic. It is also wise to place your piece while very wet and with the base color applied on the wax paper in a shallow box where it will be left to dry. Pour the colors on the paper at this point and do nothing else until it dries. Don't move it or touch it. It will automatically move on its on and create phenomenal color. So there you have it. Just a few more things to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Timeless Setting"


"Tarnished silver creates a timeless setting." In the hectic age we live in, it is calming to surround ourselves with cherished and timeless objects. Tarnished silver pieces are the rage now and can be purchased at flea markets and antique stores for a fraction of the cost of new pieces. It is a way of adding some nostalgia to your space.

In trying to achieve a look of tarnished silver, I turned to silver leaf. It is difficult to realize the full impact of the look on a computer screen, but the original is very rich. I began this piece with a blank piece of Arches Text Wove (larger than a 6 x 6) by laying down some white gesso with an old credit card. The reason for using the credit card is to remove portions of the gesso in some places and allowing it to create a ridge or line in others. This happens automatically as you scrape the card across the gesso. The gestural marks were incised into the gesso with the corner of the card.

After all that was dried, I applied Black Speedball Printing Ink with a brayer. Let that dry and then with a wet brush soften some of the edges and blot with a kleenex to create some grays. The silver leaf was adhered to the surface with Golden Gel Matte Medium straight from the jar. Apply the silver with a lot of pressure and then allow to dry overnight.

The remaining layers were a combination of Clear Gesso, Charcoal Powder, Gouache, Soft Pastels, Commercial Stamp, Black and White Printing Ink, and Rubbing Alcohol. Using black, white, grays, and one other color is a great way to practice your design skills and create some contemporary art. So these are just a few more things to think about.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


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

"Attention to detail is the essence of integration." Even though integration is typically used as a design word, it is also a good word for describing life. To integrate means to combine individual parts to create a whole.

Attention to detail is so important in achieving integration. There is another quote that says the same thing..."the devil is in the details".  If something is not adequately integrated into a piece, it will not be convincing. For instance, paying attention to edges is so important to this concept. If you don't give attention to your edges, they may be all hard or all diffused. To have design elements well integrated, it is necessary to have both. It is also important to have lost and found edges. This is accomplished by allowing some of the edges of an image to be hidden behind color or other images. It gives depth and a sense of being grounded to the piece...or integrated.

Some of the other important details are division of space, designing the corners, contrast, value arrangement, shapes, etc. So these are just a few more details to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


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

"Stability is the capacity to set your mind on that which is immovable and unchanging." This quote is an obvious reference to God. We all realize that life can sometimes feel like shifting sand beneath us, but there is a power higher than us who is immovable and unchanging. The white lettering is the Spanish translation of Philippians 1:6.

Creating a focal point in a piece can often seem like a difficult task especially in a piece with strong color in the first layer. To be honest, the first layer could have been the end of the piece and simply been categorized as a contemporary piece of artwork. However, most people desire to have a bit more complexity without going into visual overload.

By selecting an image with some intricate ironwork printed in black on transparent tissue paper (gampi), I immediately created a focal point. The transparency completely integrates it into the piece. This bit of collage also became the nucleus for the placement of the lettering with some of the tiny white lettering overlapping the image. And finally, the black letting is a nice stabilizing factor to all of the moving diagonal bands of color.

Just as a rule of thumb....the following things describe a focal point which should help in creating one. First of all, it is an area of the piece that contains more detail than any other area. It also contains the lightest light and darkest dark. Third, it contains the most vivid pure color compared to the surrounding areas. It can also contain more texture...whether simulated or real. Last, it contains more line work that leads the viewer's eye to the focal point.

These are only guidelines, but it really does help to think these things through when creating your masterpiece. Just a few more things to think about.

Contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Rich Conversation" (sold)


"Rich conversation between friends produces a wealth of satisfaction." After looking up the word satisfaction, I knew it completely described the conversations I've had with many dear friends. There are several "nuanced" meanings, but the one I like the most is..."nothing left to be desired." Interestingly enough, it is a word that also refers to Christ's atonement..."a thing that settles an obligation or pays a debt." Either way, it is a deeply satisfying word.

Besides the colors used in the pouring medium, my good fortune in this piece was being able to crop it in such a way as to have white in all four corners. And of course, the lettering makes another connection with the white. It is so true that artwork is all about connections and repetition is the best principle of design to use to create those connections.

However, it is also true that an artist can have repetition and connections without having a cohesive piece. And one of the best ways to have cohesiveness is to keep the main thing the main thing. If two main concepts are introduced in the same piece and both given equal attention it's like two people having a conversation by both talking at the same time. It is chaotic and no one knows what either person is saying.

So if you look at your piece and and your internal voice tells you that something isn't quite right, try looking at your main image and seeing if something is competing for attention. By making a value adjustment, you will more than likely resolve the problem. Just a few more things to think about.

Monday, April 16, 2012

"The Broken Pieces" (unavailable)


"Even the broken pieces can form a beautiful pattern." Disparate parts can often be the very best pieces in a mosaic. The pieces in this mosaic image are fairly consistent and uniform, but I have also seen some with rusty metal parts, glass that's been aged by weather, and even wood that a normal person would discard. However, these discarded treasures can come together to make a very compelling statement about what creates beauty. It is wise to think of the dysfunctional parts of life as simply a part of a beautiful life.

This piece began with a photo of the mosaic. I did print it out on a full 8.50" x 11.00" sheet of Arches Text Wove to make sure there was not an exposed  edge around the image. After the gesso was applied with a credit card and texturized with erratic marks and was left to dry overnight.

This morning I used a brayer to apply black Speedball Printing Ink to the entire piece, excluding the image. It was dried with a hairdryer and then much of it was softened with a brush dipped in water and blotted with a kleenex. I then sprayed with Spray Acrylic Coating before adding the next layer.

White Printing Ink was then applied with a brayer, with a thought to creating an edge to edge shape above and below the image. It was dried, and then the edges softened and unwanted areas of ink removed. Black Charcoal Power was applied over some of the black areas. It was then sprayed with Acrylic Spray Coating.

Liquitex Clear Gesso was applied to all areas except the image. Some soft pastels were applied in brown and pale blue. A kneaded eraser was used to remove the pastel where it was too prominent. It was sprayed again with Spray Acrylic Coating, followed by a preparation of the surface for lettering with (2) parts water and (1) part gel matte medium.

And so that is the process of layering in mixed media. Every step is important as values are adjusted and the main thing is highlighted in a way that it remains the main thing. It is great fun to play with so I would encourage you to do your own experimentation. And these are just a few more things to think about.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


($40.00....6" x 6"......mounted on a 1.50" clayboard panel)

"Prayer is a condition of purity." Communicating with God is a reflective and purifying process. It is a place of refuge and peace. Visually, it is best communicated with a lot of white.

Yesterday was black and ink. Today is white and purity. This piece satisfies my desire to create a piece in whites and muted grays. Tone on tone can sometimes be weak depending on what the surroundings are. This would be a stunning piece on a mid to dark gray wall. It would, of course, disappear on a white wall.

Another way to handle this type of tone on tone technique would be to introduce several different textures. It would not be interesting if it were simply painted one color. It is very important to have some intrigue in the piece by have some subtle value changes without going too far from the white end of the gray scale. In addition, the attention to shapes and designing the corners still needs to be a strong consideration. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, April 14, 2012



"Write it down and be healed." Journaling has been around a long time and there are numerous testimonials advocating its benefits. I can personally testify to the benefits of writing my thoughts down which explains my compelling need to do what I'm doing. It's worth your time.

This is the second piece in a quartet of pieces I'm doing in black, white, and grays pertaining to inkwells and writing. If you haven't worked on a series of pieces I would encourage you to try it as a means of exploring one topic from several different design viewpoints.

I began this piece by laying down gesso on a blank sheet of Arches Text Wove. When I had covered my paper, I poured the remaining gesso in the middle of all the other gesso and then began to remove parts of it with a credit card which created the large circular shape. I knew I wanted to introduce a bit of color and this seemed like a good thing to do.

The remaining layers were alternations between rolling on Speedball Printing Ink with a brayer, spraying with Acrylic Coating, applying soft pastels, and printing the word "ink". This "ink" stamp was one I cut several years ago out of linoleum. I also randomly printed the white printing ink along two sides of the design space to create a semi-frame for the circular shape. It's all about design. Just a few more things to think about.

Friday, April 13, 2012



"An inkwell is a reminder of unwritten thoughts." This new addition to my inkwell collection is from the 1800's. And with the takeover of technology, it is a beautiful reminder of the handwritten thoughts that reveal our personality. There are still some things that computers cannot do!

In mixed media, timing and planning ahead are key. The silver leaf square was the first thing that was adhered to a blank sheet of Arches Text Wove. I brushed Gel Matte Medium in a freely formed square and then placed silver leaf (the kind with an easy release backing...available at Michaels) over the gel. It is best to brayer over it with lots of pressure for good adhesion. Let it dry overnight. Failure to give it sufficient drying time will result in the leaf moving around and tearing in places when you go to the next step of your process.

I printed my inkwell onto transparent tissue (check paper sources that carry exotic Japanese and Chinese papers. This one is gampi) Brush gel matte medium over the silver leaf and adhere the image. Dry thoroughly with hair dryer.

The remainder of the steps were accomplished with gesso, a brayer, and Speedball Printing Ink. This was an experiment in black, white, and gray with contrasts of shiny silver vs. tarnished silver in the image and the black, white, and gray in the background. A renown interior designer inspired me to try it as I was reading what she had to say about black and white. The beauty of it is that you can get away with using lots of complex patterns and texture. The black and white values tie them all together beautifully. Just a few more things to think about.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"The Bling"


"Wildflowers are the bling in the spring landscape." The wildflowers are definitely out and I thought it would be fun to describe them with words usually confined to women and their jewelry or other adornments. There is a hugh crop of them this year. Enjoy!

Contrasts have tremendous power to highlight the very thing you want the viewer to enjoy. In the case of this piece, I have contrasted a "pristine" image of a wildflower with a textural, "smudgy" looking background. There are (3) layers of gesso alternated with soft pastels, brayering with printing ink, and (2) layers of Liquitex Clear Gesso in between to cause the pastel to grab hold of the surface. If you have a color in the background that needs to be toned down, you can add another layer of gesso and then create some gestural marks with the edge of an old credit card to "pump up the volume" to speak. You can see that I did exactly that in the area right above the flower. This technique also creates rhythm and drama rather than having a solid band of color connecting the image to the top edge.

The importance of the gestural marks flying upwards to the top edge cannot be overstated. Having them in close proximity to the corners, is a good design move as well. If you like splatters, splotches, textural marks, this gesso treatment is something you might want to pursue. And when you blog everyday, you get tons of experience! Today is my (400th) posting. Just a few more things to think about.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"A Creative Vortex"

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

"Linking ideas together is the entrance to a creative vortex." Everyone has a creative spirit in some area. Even though most of us are in a "rush-rush" state of is still productive to have a few minutes each day to link some ideas together intentionally. You will soon find yourself in a creative vortex.

I have had recent discussions with several artists on their working process. There are still a few creative minds who think they can work in a more inspirational manner by simply waiting until the Spirit moves them to do a certain thing. My answer is and will always be a strong one. If you only work when the Spirit moves you, growth will not happen in your art.

Our minds are very much like computers and ideas are linked together to form new ones. The responsibility of the artist is to work on their skill level until they can do it without thinking about it. Unfortunately for many of my Spirit led friends, this is time consuming and many shy away from the intense commitment it takes. The way to experience growth and put something in your mind for God to work with is to practice and learn new things and keep working on your work intentionally rather than waiting until the Spirit moves you.

These are tough words, but oh so necessary. The truth of the matter is that your work will speak much more deeply to the viewer if the skill level is at a high level and you are able to integrate the elements of design in a meaningful way. And all of this takes time and creating tons of artwork. That's why I'm blogging. Thankfully, I have stepped up my game and have grown considerably since the first posting. Tomorrow will be number (400). Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Ashes to Beauty"

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

"When life turns to ashes...focus on beauty." A ton of beauty can do a lot to lift the human spirit. So when life seems to bring you to your knees, it is quite time to focus on beauty and in abundance. The image in this piece is the bougainvillea flower which typically grows in tropical areas. I grew up with these flowers so they have a special place in my heart.

One of my friends calls the look in this piece the "grunge" look which is quite appropriate. It begins with an image (or not) and gesso. I typically make gestural marks in the gesso while it is still wet. Just use the corner of an old credit card, look out the window, and pretend you're writing something. No one needs to read it because you're only doing it to create texture.

The green color was added after the gesso dried overnight. It was applied with a brayer and softened with a brush and a bit of water followed by blotting with a kleenex. Soft pastels and lettering came next. Now if you like smudges and texture, this is the technique for you. There is so much that can be done with gesso...and if you don't like it, you can gesso over the whole thing and start over. I did focus on connecting the image to at least (2) sides of the design space. The connection is the green color. By adding a "grayed purple" pastel color, a haze was created which adds to the color vibration. (red and green are direct complements.  Green and purple are split complements.)  It's fun and generally goes well unless you try to include too much. Keep the main thing the main thing. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, April 9, 2012

"Extraneous Detail"


"Focus is the exclusion of extraneous detail in all areas except one." Focus is never easy because we all have a ton of detail in our lives. This visual is just a small reminder to exclude all extraneous detail in order to focus on just one thing.

This pouring medium piece was absent of all detail with just large color blocks making up the image. However, the very minute that I added detail to the circular space, the piece had a focal point and hence the quote. This is a very important design tip. So whenever you have ambiguous color that has no sense of direction...just remember to add some detail to one area. If you try to add detail to other areas, the impact is lost. When you go into a large building and you see a logo or writing in just one area of a large expanse of stone, where does your eye go to? Of course, it's the writing. In art, it is very important to understand how a viewer perceives visual imformation. Be a good editor and resist the urge to place pattern everywhere. It ruins the impact.

Also, a few pointers on stamping and printing imagery. If you want your stamping to integrate nicely into your piece, try using Speedball Printing Ink (water soluble) so that you can mix the right color. Stamp pads will look "cheesy" because they are not always dense in color or it's not the right color. Another tip when using commercial stamps, don't print the entire image. For instance, in this piece I printed a portion of the stamp and some of it printed into the surrounding area. Because Speedball Printing Ink is water soluble, you can simply wash off or diminish with a damp paper towel any part of the image you want to remove. You can clearly see where I have softened some of the lines in this stamp.

It seems like I learn something everyday about design and you will too...if you don't get discouraged and give up. Just keep going and think about all of these things.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

"The Triumphant Processional"

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

"Easter is the triumphant processional celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ." All of the color in the flowers, the eggs, the dresses, the hats point to a celebration of the greatest gift ever given to mankind.

This piece is a photo montage of greenery with one lily adhered to a support with erratic pencil lines and writing. After this thoroughly dried, the pouring medium was added with most of it applied in a thin, watercolor technique with some thick medium and marbling at the bottom. It was very important to leave a lot of space with very little detail since there is much going on in the image. It gives the eye a rest and the viewer will not be so quick to turn away. Visual overload and bad design are the number one reasons why an artist cannot keep the viewer engaged.

Even though the lettering may be a bit difficult to read on a computer screen, it is quite clear in the original. I chose not to use pure white for the lettering, but added just a tiny, tiny bit of Cerulean Blue Gouache to tone it down a bit. The robin's egg blue color at the top is achieved by graying down turquoise and adding a bit of that to a ton of white. It really is quite lovely with the Golden Green Gold color mingling together with it in the pouring medium.

This is a good time to also talk once again about positive and negative space. If the two are close to being equal, with the positive taking up a bit more than the negative, there is a bit of drama and it is pleasing to view. If there is not a lot of detail in the positive space, you can create a lot of drama by having the positive image taking up at least two thirds of the design space. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Formed in Darkness"

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

"The color was formed in darkness and then a butterfly emerged." The butterflies are out indeed, and their color reminds us of transformation and the hope that comes out of darkness.

Injecting an "echo" of a design element is one of the keys to developing rhythm in design. The colors you see in the pouring medium are echoed in the butterfly. The eggplant purple color is also echoed in the lettering. (That color can be mixed or purchased in a tube. It is Winsor Newton Gouache and the color is Perylene Violet.)

There are some erratic lines that are echoed in the first layer of the piece as well. It only takes a bit of forethought to make sure those "echoes" are always present. Combine that strategy with designing the corners and the piece is better designed immediately. The placement of the butterfly was it in a corner!  Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Light Penetrated Darkness" (sold)


"The light penetrated the darkness literally, figuratively, for all mankind...stretching into eternity." This pivotal moment in history gave us redemption. What a day of thanksgiving!

This piece has a different application of pouring medium. It was applied more like a watercolor with no marbling effect and also the use of gray which I haven't used as much in the past. I did work on paper at least twice this size which left me some interesting cropping options. The image could have been "dead center", but by placing it in the lower right corner, I increased the drama 100%. It is so easy to stay in the mindset of the same old formats, but my encouragement to you is to branch out and try some "riskier" options. There is literally something different in every corner which is so much better than a vignette. Remember that paintings are made up of shapes which is another advantage of cropping. Image and strong color, or both, should be touching at least two sides of the design space. You will lose the viewer much quicker by placing things in the center. It is simply not interesting enough.

The paper the image was printed on also creates a rectangular shape, but the color flowing over it onto the negative space (or background) binds them together yet the shape is still visible. This all sounds so easy until you are in the middle of the creation which is why it is important to practice on a regular basis. Just think about it and soon the corners and shapes will come into focus.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"A New Dynamic"

( the permanent collection of dee day)

"Combining two diverse elements creates a new dynamic." There is nothing quite as powerful in art or interior design as combining two diverse elements. For instance, throwing a cowhide on the floor in a contemporary setting can actually make it a more dynamic space. Be bold and try combining diverse elements. You'll will be stunned at the "dynamic" it creates.

Having an analytical mind causes me great "angst" at times, but it has proven to be a good friend when it comes to analyzing why things work in design. In the case of this piece, I knew I needed a strong focal point to fit in with what was going on in the pouring medium. My decision to have a sharp contrast by introducing hard edges was good, but I created another important contrast by choosing something from the 17th century (old Spanish choir book) and combining it with very contemporary abstraction and techniques. Some of the colors, erratic lines, and pencil writing can be seen through the tissue paper which truly helps to marry it to the supporting role of the background.

More decisions were made by tearing the piece of tissue paper to form a negative white shape in the lower right hand corner which balances out what is going on in the other (3) corners. They are all different and trust me when I tell you that paying attention to the corners makes for a much more dynamic piece and will keep the viewer engaged in your piece. If you want to compete with all of the visual imagery that bombards us all on a daily basis, you must pay attention to these kind of details. Otherwise, your artwork will simply fade into the wall and no one will notice. Just a few more things to think about.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


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

"The magnolia flower is a model of confidence by the way it sits on the branch." Some flowers may seem a bit timid by the way they present themselves. This is not the case with the magnolia flower which is large, has beautiful form, and sits with confidence on a bed of large magnolia leaves. Of course, there is always something to learn and apply to ourselves as we think about the way we come across to others.

This piece is all about design,  shapes, and texture. I created some erratic lines on a blank paper first. The printed image was then placed over the word magnolia and shows through the flower because it was printed on very transparent paper.

Gesso came next...applied with an old credit card. I then applied some peach and green soft pastels. Gesso was applied again and scribbled into with the corner of the credit card to create texture. It was dried thoroughly

The shapes really began to take form after applying Speedball Printing Ink with a brayer. You can see how the texture marks in the gesso remain white. It is very important at this stage of printing more color with the brayer to make sure your shapes extend edge to edge but also leaving some areas to create smaller shapes. After being satisfied with the shapes, I brushed on some more peach pastel and sprayed the surface with Spray Acrylic Coating.

After preparing the surface to receive lettering, I finished the piece by writing with peach colored and eggplant colored gouache. This type of piece can become chaotic if you use too many colors and include too much photography or collage bits. (Also notice that all of the corners are different and I made sure of that while printing color with the brayer.) The key is to keep the main thing the main thing. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


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

"The ornate memories of the past are often reflected in the portals of my mind." The ornate texture in this image is at the top of the entrance to the Alamo. Now there's a portal with a lot of ornate memories!  Just to use an adjective to describe something that is not typically described by that word helps to pivot to a different perspective. Such is the case here.

This piece is all about texture. It contains simulated and actual texture. You can even see it in the lettering. (A very difficult surface to write on.) The simulated texture is the photo at the top portion of the entrance to the Alamo. There is also a band of collage which was printed on silk tissue paper. I then added some real texture in the form of Golden Crackle Paste around the corners.

After spraying all of that with Spray Acrylic Coating, I brushed on a coat of Liquitex Clear Gesso to help the surface receive soft pastels and charcoal powder. The surface was then sprayed with acrylic coating again and then prepared with gel matte medium to receive the lettering. For those who read my "diatribe" everyday, I hope you notice that I keep repeating my steps so that you can understand the complexity of mixed media and layering. My desire is to continue shaking it up a bit and adding or combining different techniques and materials to create more surface texture and depth. I will also be introducing more contrast of size, color, and gradation in the lettering to add interest as well. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, April 2, 2012


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

"Procrastination is an empty gift called manana." All of us tend to procrastinate doing those things we dread or fear. The problem with that strategy is that very often tomorrow never comes.

Long ago, I discovered that sand paper was a quality tool for my studio. Combining pouring medium with sand paper techniques plus soft pastels and charcoal powder creates a "timeless look" like the one in this piece. I even sanded off hunks of the paper from the edges after it was adhered to the support.

The process with this piece requires it to be mounted on a panel after the first layer of pouring medium is totally dry. The surface was then prepared to receive lettering. After completing the lettering, it was sealed with spray acrylic coating and prepared with gel matte medium again. (It must have a matte finish to receive the second layer of pouring medium). The second layer of medium was tinted with Golden Titan Buff (Fluid Acrylic) and then sprayed with water until the desired transparency was achieved. It was left to dry overnight.

Sand paper (very rough) was used to rough up the surface and remove portions of the text and edges of the paper. A piece of collage was added at the top. It was then sprayed again with acrylic coating and clear gesso was applied. The clear gesso will cause it to receive the soft pastels and charcoal powder. With no apparent image, the ornate lettering becomes the focal point. I like the casual quote contrasted with an ecclesiastical application. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Truth and Rhetoric"

($40.00.....6" x 6".....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard panel)

"The Word of God is sharp enough to cut through our rhetoric." It is very easy to express feelings verbally, but truth has a way of getting to the bottom line immediately. It's the ultimate "reality check".

This piece may seem a bit dark on your computer screen, but seeing the original reveals a lot of deep color, especially Golden Iridescent Bronze. One of the ways to overcome the overwhelming dominance of dark values is to introduce a piece of collage (in this case a copied section of the Gutenberg Bible) and by writing the text in white.   The quote is actually a "spin off" from a verse from Hebrews 4 which says "The Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword, cutting between bone and marrow..." So the richness and the depth of the pouring medium inspired this quote which is a key verse that motivates me to do many medium to large pieces that include scripture.

Yesterday, I mentioned several ways to learn new techniques with pouring medium by modifying the amount of medium, paint, or the addition of water. If you choose to work on a larger sheet of paper, you will definitely have a sample from the original. By taking that sample and gluing it into a notebook or punching a hole into it and placing on a binder ring, you can make some notes about your process. This will actually propel your process along much faster since none of us can possibly remember what we did even a week later. When all is said and done, art is all about process. Why start from "square one" every time we begin a new piece. Let's be smart and jot down a few notes. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.