Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Profusion of Color"

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

"Love breaks open the heart in a profusion of color." This quote has meaning on many different levels. I'll let you decide the interpretation.

This is a wild, out of control pouring medium piece that was brought into an ordered state with a very straight line of lettering and a collage piece of line engraving.

I've become extremely fascinated with line engravings. There are several Dover Publication books with an array of these simple and powerful engravings that are copyright free. The one I used in these piece is from Baroque Ornament and Designs. There is a hand cut stamp of straight lines in the background that echoes the band of lines at the bottom. (The paper was stamped before the pour.)

I began by covering the paper with Titanium White + Pouring Medium. I then laid the paper where it would stay until dry and poured the solid bands of color on the left. Then I took a fork and ran it through a select area of the bands of color which created a profusion of color going in many directions. The contrast between bands of color left untouched vs. external manipulation is a very effective way of creating interest.

This piece is a great example of why I use Spencerian Script so much with Pouring Medium techniques. That one line of straight lettering is a powerful contrast and has a calming effect over the wild display of color. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, July 30, 2012


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

"Time and space create room for reflection." To set aside time and be in the right space makes reflection an intentional act. It has to be done intentionally in this day and age because of the millions of interruptions within a day. It is definitely worth the effort!

The technique used to create this pouring medium piece is quite simple and yields very positive results. I did make some gestural pencil marks on the paper before doing the "pour". The first pour was over the entire sheet of paper with Titanium White, Pouring Medium, and a bit of water. The addition of the water makes it flow easier and gives a nice even layer over the entire sheet. The next layer was Green Gold and Pouring Medium making a large band from edge to edge, but not covering the whole paper. I then lifted the paper in diagonal corners and moved and titled the paper over a shallow cookie sheet which caused the white and green gold to mingle and create a soft texture.

The last step was to place the piece on wax paper where it would stay until dry and then pour small bands of black + medium...quinacridone magenta + quinacridone burnt sienna + medium....and cadmium orange + white + medium. That's it! No more external manipulation at this point. Simply let it dry overnight.

The initial stage of white and green gold can be changed to white plus any other color. I think it works better to use a very light color. Remember that any dark color engulfing the whole page is very "scary". This process will give you some nice solid shapes as well as a few that are diffused. And fortunately, I had worked on the word "reflection" for another project so that part was printed on silk tissue paper and collaged to the support. As those of you know who do lettering, it can take longer to create this kind of lettering than it does to paint and prepare the rest of the piece. It is also easier to create on a blank sheet of paper rather than on the top of this type of background. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


($150.00.....6" x 6"....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel....floated on a linen mat in a custom frame)

"Beauty creates a longing to be transformed." Noticing beauty in creation or in the smallest act of kindness is one of the ways the longing is expressed. Beauty transports us into a realm of spiritually connecting with God and with others.

In most pouring medium pieces, I have emphasized the fact that it is wise to include a light, medium, and dark color in the pour. Today's piece is an example of not having a dark value in the initial pour, but having it in an image that is included after the fact. The butterfly was my first choice of image because of the colors in the background repeated in the colors of the butterfly and the fact that the shapes of the color blocks look like "echoes" of butterfly wings. Printing that image on silk tissue paper works far better than printing it on opaque paper. In fact, these two techniques (pouring medium and collaged elements on tissue paper) work extremely well together. Not all techniques work well together and part of creating mixed media pieces is realizing that fact. For instance, gesso techniques don't seem to be compatible with this process so I have quit trying to beat my head against a wall by forcing them to work together.

Another technique that does work well with this process is light pencil drawing or gestural writing on the blank paper before the pour is done. You can see some of these faint lines in this piece. It is another spontaneous technique because you will have no idea where the pencil lines will be visible or how much will be "cropped" out of the piece altogether.

This entire process of pouring color on paper is the most spontaneous I've ever tried and also the most compelling. But having said that, it can also become tiresome unless you have some contrast. Because the edges and flow of the color in a pour are so erratic and often diffused, it is a good design decision to include an image that falls in the realm of realism since the pouring medium is totally abstract and very contemporary. Including this contrast is important to your continued interest in this technique. Stamping is also a good option, although you will have much better results if you prepare the surface with gel matte medium and if you use Speedball Printing Ink to create the image. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


($40.00......5" x 5" ....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

"Bridges of thankfulness are the connectors to life." A bridge is something that connects one thing to something else. And so it is with thankfulness. Being thankful for every small thing and deleting a spirit of complaining is a bridge to the abundant life.

In this pouring medium piece, I did some very effective "cropping" by placing my mat (with a 5" x 5" opening) on the diagonal over several areas of my larger sheet. This allowed me to have more options than I would have by keeping the mat straight in front of me.

To me, cropping is a spontaneous technique because it is unplanned...meaning you cannot possible know the outcome ahead of time. So it is very important to work larger if you want as many options as possible.

Because of the quote, I was happy to place the ornate "B" over two color blocks as a another bridge or connector in the piece. The large red and black color block is the visual bridge that connects to two sides and slightly to a third side to create a dynamic division of space. This particular red was created with Quinacridone Magenta and Quinacridone Burnt Sienna. These would be two colors to have in your repertoire of Golden Fluid Acrylics. The Quinacridone colors are extremely lightfast and when dealing with reds and magentas, that is important. They are synthetic colors originally created for the automobile industry and they eventually creeped into the fine arts community. (Praise God!)

Some of the other colors that I have as a basic palette in Golden Fluid Acrylics are.....Raw Umber....Titan Buff....Titanium White....Carbon Black....Raw Sienna...Hansa Yellow Light or Cad. Yellow Light...Green Gold...Viridian....Cobalt Blue...Cerulean Blue...Cobalt Turquoise...Napthol Red....Quinacridone Magenta...Quinacridone Burnt Sienna...Light Lavendar...Iridescent Bronze. These are my basic colors and if you keep a "sharp eye",  you can use coupons from Michaels or other sales to receive the best price. Dick Blick is also a good source and often has a good sale. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, July 27, 2012


($40.00......5" x 5".....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

"Letters provide layers of comfort to my soul." Letters make words and words come together to express thought and feelings. Even technology must rely on letters to convey thought and meaning. Of course, the most personal way to express thought is through the handwritten word.

This piece represents layers of texture. The first layer is Patching Plaster (DAP brand) that can be purchased in the paint department of a home building store. The "key word" is patching plaster. If the container does not contain those two words, it is not the right thing. The reason I chose to use this material is because it does not contain a polymer emulsion like all of the Golden and Liquitex mediums do. Quite often, a medium with polymer emulsion will create a resist unless applied with a concentrated amount of acrylic and a brush.

The Patching Plaster was applied to blank 140 lb. HP with a palette knife and texturized by writing into it with the corner of a credit card. It was then left to dry overnight. The following day, I lightly sanded the surface (outside) and ran it under a faucet on both sides to prepare it for Pouring Medium. (all my colors were already mixed.) I then laid it aside to dry overnight.

This morning I was able to make my final design decisions. The large color block of green was a bit overpowering so I knew I needed to break up the surface tension. By stamping with white Speedball Printing Ink, I was able to bring another color in the piece into this green color block to create a "back and forth" between two areas of color. White also provides a contrast to the warm colors since pure white is generally considered to be cool.

For those who do lettering, pointed pen will work better on this surface since you will most likely be writing over a textured surface. And there you have it...a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Ordinary Life"

($40.00....5" x 5".....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

"Hope is hidden in the beauty of ordinary life." Observing the beauty in the smallest of things is a reminder of the hope and holiness of God and His creation. It is no small matter and this act of noticing and thanking is the way to live life abundantly.

It is especially important for the artist to develop the act of noticing and bring creations to the world that will inspire others at a deeper level.

Today's piece is a pouring medium piece with two pieces of collage adhered to blank paper before the pour. You can still see some of the lettering which is in Spanish. The word in the upper right hand corner is "caridad" which means "hope". It is simply another way of imbedding elements of design into the piece. Where a particular color will land and how much will settle over a piece of collage does require noticing and experimenting. My experience is that paying attention to how much pouring medium goes into an area will definitely effect the transparency. I have also had some success with placing a drop or two of pouring medium (with no color added) into an area which causes a dispersion of the color. You might want to test it on another scrap piece of paper before ruining your piece.

There was no external manipulation in this pour which is why there are solid color blocks with a variety of edges where the colors bled together. I did place a layer of White and Pouring Medium on the paper first before pouring the other colors which is why you see white coming through in several places. What I do like about this piece is the different shapes and percentages of color creating undulating horizontal bands across the page. So carry on with your own experiments and enjoy the process. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"The Right Word"

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

"The right word at the right time helps everyone have a beautiful day." Saying something that lifts another person's spirit is a wonderful feeling for you and for them. I want to do more of that and I hope you do as well.

For those of you who have been captivated by pouring medium techniques, I have new things to share today. Quite by accident, I picked up Black Fluid Acrylic (with no pouring medium) instead of the bottle that was already mixed with pouring medium. You can see what happened in this piece. All of the other colors have a generous amount of pouring medium, but the black has a very hard edge and breaks away from the other colors in places to create a crackling effect.

So now that you know that, you can deliberately drop Fluid Acrylic right out of the bottle into the moving colors of pouring medium and the color will not mingle quite so freely and you will have a hard edge that may be desirable. It will also be possible to transfer some Fluid Acrylic to a smaller bottle with a smaller tip and create more intricate designs.

One of the other inspiring techniques in this piece is the stamped image underneath the red violet color on the right hand edge. So placing gestural writing or stamped imagery on the paper first yields another whole dimension to this process.

Also take note that I have combined more intense colors with diluted and "grayed down" colors. There are actually two sets of complements in this piece... orange and blue....red violet and lime green. The amount of space that each color occupies is also very important. And there you have it...a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Recharge Zone"

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

"A recharge zone is a place of renewal." Everyone needs a recharge zone. It's that place or activity that helps you "chill out" and get renewed. If you're like me, you need more time in your recharge zone.

This is an interesting piece and was a total experiment in layering over a pouring medium piece. Because I've created and looked at a ton of these type of pieces, I am wanting to take it to another level by integrating other techniques into the process. Pouring medium is a very "charged" look and process that can also be overpowering. My desire is to bring in enough other elements (but not too much) that will create a contrast between active and passive.

For the most part, that means introducing some very straight lines to counter the active movement of the pour. I may have too much of a "counter attack" going on here, but part of my purpose for blogging everyday is to work through all of the design issues that come up with mixed media processes.

What I do like very much is the lovely texture created by writing into Speedball Printing Ink (with water)that has been applied over Silver Leaf. Of course, the silver leaf was adhered with Gel Matte Medium and then partially removed. It sticks very well most of the time, but it is necessary to reveal the previous layer so I used rubbing alcohol and a stiff brush, following by immediate blotting with a kleenex to create all of those erratic edges.

And if you don't have time for a piece every day, you might want to try doing one 6" x 6" every week. Putting a piece together is a wonderful way to learn design because of all the decisions that must be made to bring the whole thing to a conclusion. So there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, July 23, 2012


($40.00.....5" x 5".....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

"Priority means that not all things receive the same amount of space and attention." For most of us, priorities need to be "fine tuned" everyday. It is very easy to allow non essential things occupy our time. The same is true in art. It is very easy to allow non essential elements to occupy space. Non essentials need to be omitted completely.

To allow all of the colors in your artwork to occupy the same percentage of space equals boredom. Try making a black and white copy of your artwork and notice the range in values...in comparison to the gray scale. If everything is almost white in your black and white copy, then you have a serious issue with not making your dark values dark enough or not having any dark values at all. If your piece is all medium to dark gray, then you have a problem with not including enough light values. This black and white copy will also tell you if you have any shapes in your piece. Even if you are working on an overall design for a background, in order to have a strong design, you must have a range of values from white to black. Failure to do so will lead to chaos and the viewer will look at your work for all of two seconds!

You should be able to see some strong shapes in your work from across the room. Just dabbing on color all over does not a painting make and it also does not make an interesting enough background. Remember that we are all bombarded with visuals every day. To have people view your artwork requires a careful attention to division of space, values, shapes, edges, corners, etc. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, July 22, 2012



"Salutis to all my art friends." The word "salutis" means "greetings". I am with a lot of art friends in Houston and had a fabulous time! Art friends always know what you're talking about and want to come along beside you and be creative.

This is another 5" x 5" and I was happy to discover that the pouring medium shape touched (3) sides of the design space after being cropped. I had already stamped the paper with a commercial stamp and acrylic paint on blank 140 lb. HP before doing the pour. It was important to use acrylic paint to do this. If I had used something water soluble which would then need to be sprayed with acrylic coating, it might have created a resist when doing this pour.

The actual word "Salutis" is a word printed on silk tissue paper and then adhered to the support by brushing on gel matte to the actual piece and then carefully placing the tissue paper into the medium. Several people yesterday wanted to know how to print something as thin as tissue paper using an ink jet printer. If you just think about this carefully, it is quite easy. You must first make a copy of your selected image on regular copy paper and watch how it exits the printer. Then you would cut a small piece of tissue paper to cover only the portion you want to print and tape it to this copy paper with removable tape. You would then run it back through your printer in the very same way it went through the first time. Spray your print with Krylon Acrylic Spray Coating...dry with a hair dryer...remove the tape and adhere the print.

My choice of placement for this one piece of collage was simple. When in doubt...go for the corner. Corners should be one of your main design decisions because it locks the viewer into your space visually. Things that are floating out in the middle somewhere with no connecting color or line to the edge will lose the visual communication you are desiring. By finishing off the quote clear to the edge, I was able to bring stability to all the motion of the pouring medium and create another shape by going from edge to edge. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Saturday, July 21, 2012



"Refresh your mind with creative thought." The power of creative thought cannot be overestimated. It takes your mind to a place of rest and frees you from everyday stress and entanglements. What a perfect day to enter into the creative process.

This piece is a bit smaller (5" x 5") than I normally do, and a wonderful way to use up extra pieces of leftover pouring medium. Cropping just the perfect spot is much easier and there are ampersand panels and 1.50" depth clayboards available in this size for mounting the work.

I am in Houston teaching the technique of pouring medium using Golden Fluid Acrylics and this piece represents one of the techniques we will be doing today. The first thing to know about doing a pour is that the "pour" itself doesn't take very long, but setting up your color and actually "thinking" about your color selection is the key to success. In this piece, I mixed up a substantial amount of Titanium White and Pouring Medium (ratio of 1 tsp. .....no need to measure...and 1/3 cup of medium) on a foam paper plate. It is very important to mix and use things that can be tossed. You will be hard pressed to get this sticky stuff off of anything. And it is also critical to wear latex gloves (the kind found in the pharmacy section and I have found that Curad fits most people better than other brands.)

Once the colors are mixed, you can thoroughly wet your paper under the faucet or dip it into a pan of water. Do not use thin paper such as Arches Text Wove. I have found that 140 lb. HP is a good choice for small work and move to 300lb. HP for large works.

The veiled effect in this piece was created by covering your wet paper with a base coat of the Titanium White, holding it over a shallow baking pan and allowing it to run while spraying with more water if it fails to move. Once the entire sheet is covered with white...lay it down and pour the other colors edge to edge. Leave a bit of space between the colors so that the white can seep through and create the effect you see here. Another choice you will have is how much of one color to pour. It can be a thin line or you can go more slowly as you pour allowing more of the color to create a wider band. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"Warm and Fuzzy"

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

"Warm and fuzzy feelings do not create art; knowledge, skill, and actions do." This is the occasion of my 500th posting, so I feel like it is entirely appropriate to talk about what it takes to create art every single day. One thing I have learned...warm and fuzzy feelings and waiting for the spirit to move me do not get it done. Some of my best work has been created on the mornings when I just wanted to drink my coffee and go back to bed. And that's the secret...you must show up in your studio every day.

I am making every effort in my pouring medium pieces to learn how to fine tune them by knowing when to manipulate the color...when to leave it alone...and what to add to bring the design to a solid conclusion.

In this piece, I chose colors that remind me of South Texas and the Mexican culture I grew up in. Color plays a hugh role in the Mexican culture and so I spend a lot of time looking at visuals of haciendas, patios, decorated pots, painted tiles, etc. so that I can absorb the color.

In this piece, the strong color contrast is not between dark and light, or direct complementary colors...it's between warm and cool. The light aqua color is a strong contrast with the raw sienna and Hansa Yellow Medium. The bright yellow in the bottom portion is actually Green Gold (Golden), but it looks totally yellow due to its surroundings.

There are actually (7) color contrasts and it is wise to know what they are and include at least (4) of them in every piece of artwork. The most definitive book on color contrasts is The Elements of Color by Johannes Itten. This is among my top five picks that should be in every artist's library. I refer to it often and I owe my study and introduction to this fine book to Hazel Dolby who used it as a building block for a workshop where we learned to paint and letter on primed and gessoed surfaces.

Looking through decorating magazines is also another way to hone your color matching skills. Try to use the same percentages of color that are used in a well decorated room with colors you like. Remember, that it is the percentages that draw you in...not just the colors.

The last thing that needs to be said about this piece is the fact that I only manipulated two bands of color at the bottom where you see the detail. The other colors were poured and left completely alone. You can see how that gives areas of rest where the color is subdued with very little detail. I did add the silver leaf and stamped color block to give a contrast to the moving lines of color. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Silver Lining"

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

"Every design issue has a silver lining." As you might guess, this quote is a "take off" on another familiar quote..."Behind every cloud is a silver lining." Silver leaf has an amazing ability to change a shape that may not be attractive. So look for the silver when faced with a design issue.

This pouring medium piece was poured over a base of raw sienna, white, and pouring medium. (The pencil lettering was written on the blank paper first.) I did not manipulate the color in any way with a plastic fork or other tool that creates a marbling effect. The brown shape was a bit odd and took over the piece so I resolved the problem by laying down silver leaf over an area brushed with gel matte med. Leave it to dry for a few minutes before removing the backing paper. Go do something else for about 20 min. and then brush over the silver with a stenciling brush to remove parts of the silver and reveal the layer underneath.

Of course, you cannot stamp over metal leaf because it is slick so prepare the surface as for lettering (2 parts water to 1 part gel matte med.) and then stamp using Speedball Printing Ink. In this case I had to mix black and brown to create a raw umber. This is the first time I've used metal leaf with pouring medium and I am satisfied with the results. It's a great way to alter an undesirable shape as well as to introduce another texture that will directly contrast with the smooth look of pouring medium.

And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


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

"A conversation with a friend is the root or essence of brainstorming." I can truthfully say that I can sort out my thoughts much better when discussing them with another person. Everyone is advised to get an attorney when facing legal issues and not to be their own counsel. There is a reason for that. The same is true in life situations. It is wise to seek counsel and that friend needs to have wisdom.

This is a rather bright pouring medium piece, but I was experimenting with transparent colors and layers. Pyrrole Orange and Green Gold are very transparent colors. (This information is on every bottle of Golden Fluid Acrylics.)  I did actually pour a base coat of very pale orange mixed with a lot of white and a higher ratio of pouring medium. However, the brighter undiluted orange rather overtook everything.

The transparent colors moving over the stamped lettering was interesting to me, but I needed to calm down the intensity of that orange. I did add two collage elements with neutral colors and a different texture that helped a lot. It also helped to write the quote in white. (White is always a calming color.)  The lettering is still a bit light, but the decision to do heavier lettering with such an active background was not an option to me. And I always like the idea of keeping the lettering more integrated into the background so it is barely discernible from a distance, but readable up close. And this will be the dilemma every time you step into the fine arts side of things with a desire to create a painting that also includes lettering. A straight line of lettering will have a calming effect without overtaking the piece. Save the gestural, more expressive lettering for a piece where the colors are more neutral and there is very little detail going on.

These are just some of the things I think about on a regular basis. And I can tell you that it took me over an hour to decide where to place my collage elements to help offset the strong color blocks of orange. It did not work until I printed my texture on silk tissue paper so the background could be seen through the paper. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Love, Truth, and Innocence"

"Nostalgia is a longing for the return of love, truth, and innocence." Events can go very wrong in life, but there is always the nostalgia of praying and longing for redemption. Love, truth, and innocence can return by using the same power of choice that caused them to leave.

This piece contains colors (especially the rose color) that create a feeling of nostalgia. Like I've been saying again and again, the process of creating artwork with fluid acrylics and pouring medium gets a bit wild! Learning how to bring order and stability to the drama of all of that moving color is a challenge. (And you might choose to simply enjoy the end product with no additions whatsoever.) I have opted to stabilize this piece by stamping with a grid like pattern on blank 140lb. HP before adding the pouring medium mixture. And because of the nostalgic look, I also added some Baroque images of leaves created with line engraving. They can be found in the art section of many bookstores. This one is a Dover publication entitled Baroque Ornament and Design. The images are copyright free and because the designs have a lot of open areas...you have the advantage of seeing the background color through the drawing. Silk Tissue Paper (Gampi) will give the desired transparency. Your own personal drawings printed on this transparent paper would also be a nice touch.

There are other ways to control this process of moving color. For instance, if you have a tendency to pour too much of this mixture on the paper at once, try storing your different colors in a bottle with a pointed tip. This will automatically assist you in controlling how much color is being used.  (It will keep for months in these bottles.)  And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Into the Soul" (sold)


"Write it down and the words will seep into your soul." To be a lettering artist in this day and age, you must be thoroughly convinced that writing something down is infinitely better than selecting a font and typing the letters in the correct sequence. Writing, to me, is the equivalent of inscribing the words deep within my heart. It simply is not the same as typing on a keyboard.

This is a pouring medium piece with a different twist. Yesterday and today I have stamped repetitive imagery on the page to create an underlying rhythm to the piece. In this case I simply mixed up some acrylic paint, adding a touch of water and sat a glass bottle into the paint and then onto damp paper. The bottle was wiped and the image repeated across the larger sheet I was working on. My theory is that a mass of moving color that happens with pouring medium can become much stronger and more dramatic if there is a repetitive "motif" such as a repeated shape. It's a stabilizer to the work. And by doing the stamping first, you can achieve some interesting color effects as the moving color glides over the image and settles more heavily in one place or the other.

It visually works well with my quote since the color appears to be "seeping" into the stamped imagery. The approach is worth a try and works best if you use a very simple repeat. If you use a very detailed stamp more than once, it might look very contrived which will defeat the purpose of the repeat.

I will be creating pouring medium pieces all week and varying the sequence of layers and techniques. Stay tuned! And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


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

"White awakens the ethereal more than any other color." Ethereal is a big word with several meanings. It means light; airy; highly delicate; heavenly or celestial. It is a favorite word of mine and describes many of the looks or moods I like to create visually. The word itself evokes a more spiritual state of mind and being and nothing conveys it better the white.

The white in this piece was my very first consideration, so I mixed up a great deal of Titanium White with Liquitex Pouring Medium. The purple lines of stamping that you see underneath the color were done prior to the first pour.

On very wet 140 lb. HP watercolor paper, I covered the paper with the white mixture, spreading it around with my gloves (you must wear the latex, surgical type gloves to do this) and then held it up and sprayed a bit more water to keep the color moving. Keep rotating the paper until it has a good even coat of white.  (Hold it over a shallow baking sheet to keep it from running off of the table.)

The other colors were poured over the white base in thin bands going from edge to edge and leaving a slight space in between. The base coat of white seeped up into the other colors creating the white hazy lines that look almost like smoke. I did tilt the paper a small bit by holding it at diagonal corners. However, if you do this too much, it will cause "over blending" and ruin the effect completely. I then laid it down on wax paper over a glass covered table and left it to dry overnight.

It is important to emphasize (since I haven't been posting pouring medium pieces in a while) that you must lay it on wax paper and allow it to dry naturally. If you try drying with a hair dryer while it's still very wet, you will ruin the pour completely. (And don't keep manipulating it or you will also ruin the effect.) It's best to occupy yourself doing something else, like going to bed and leaving it alone for the night. I've noticed that there is an overwhelming tendency to keep fussing with it! And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

"Empty to Full"

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

"Thanksgiving transforms empty to full." Thanksgiving is a reverential act that gives all of us the full life we want to experience. Making a mental or actual list of the many things we can be grateful for is a very good start.

When I think of overflowing abundance, my visual memory takes me back to the outdoors and the colors I experience in that environment. This piece is a "nod" to the dominant colors in most landscapes such as trees and grass and leaves. Texture is something I have also been experimenting with and Glass Bead Gel has been my ally along with Speedball Printing Ink.

I have already discussed the layering process of this particular technique in previous postings, but it never hurts to be mindful of shapes, division of space, corners, and edges. What I have noticed is that a straight edge has a very stabilizing effect on a chaotic surface. Just make sure there is a contrast by adding a substantial amount of erratic or uneven edges. I did add a piece of collage made from a cowhide image to give me one of those straight edges. It's hard to tell where it is, but it did achieve the desired outcome. And the goal in most of my collage work using this type of background is to integrate it so well (color wise) that it is barely discernible.

If you like texture, this type of layering is very addictive and compelling and I would encourage you to do your own experiments. The water soluble printing ink is fabulous because it will stick to any kind of surface and writing or imprinting with water following by blotting will reveal the previous layer...which goes to the heart of integration. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, July 13, 2012

"Lesson Learned?"

($150.00......6" x 6".....floated on a linen mat in an 8" x 8" wood frame)

"History repeats itself until the lesson is learned." This is true in personal experiences and in the history of nations and cultures. It is a wise person who reviews their life from time to time and notices what particular habits are continually repeated as well as though that produce success. It's a great time saver to stop doing things that don't work.

A band of color(s) running diagonally across a page can be boring all by itself or not have very interesting texture. However, the composing of opaque and transparent collage over that band of color can create a lot of drama.

The segment of an old book page became the focal point with the added texture of an embossed emblem. It was then easy to "frame" that one segment with the burnt sienna color of the background and the aged book spine. Those two collage items were then "framed" with transparent scroll work plus the more ornate scrollwork acting as another part of the "frame". I also printed out the copyright date (1800's) and placed it in the lower left hand corner. And the final touch was the fragment of silver leaf adhered to the book spine. The placement was decided by a desire to have it quite near to the center of interest and also becoming a part of the "frame" around the cream colored book page.

Collage can often be overdone, but it helps to think of all of your collage pieces as a unit. Take note that there is at least one third of this design space with nothing except for the quote. This negative space helps relieve the eye. By keeping the detail in one area, you are telling the viewer exactly where you want them to look. A good analogy is a logo or lettering on a tall pillar in a large building. Your eye will immediately go to the one area on the pillar where there is detail of an image or lettering. And that's the power of negative space. It helps direct the eye. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Angel Wings"


"Angel wings receded into the clouds, but not until the call for protection was completed." I've never seen an angel, at least in the image that is depicted by artists, but I have felt the brush of angel's wings and their divine protection. Our prayers are answered for ourselves and others in many ways. These divine messengers from God are just one way.

Pouring medium has come back on the scene, although I will probably mix it up a lot with glass works and mixed media.

Pouring medium isn't particularly difficult to do, unless you keep moving it and thinking you will make it better by running a particular tool (like a toothpick, comb, or other tool) through it just one more time. The truth is...the more you manipulate it, the worse it gets. After laying down the color for this piece, I made ONE gestural stroke with a fine tooth comb through all the colors and that was it! I then set it aside to dry until this morning. And that's the secret of pouring medium. It sounds so simple, but I have now taught this (3x) and the number one problem is that everyone in the class continues to want to manipulate the outcome. The outcome can only be controlled up to a point and then it does its own thing. It's a spontaneous process.

It does help to pick a light, medium, and dark color. And it is also mandatory to have the paper very wet. The color will stop moving and create a very hard edge if it is not thoroughly wet. If you have done these two things, you will probably have a good success.

With pouring medium pieces in particular, I always wait until it is dry and then I study it from across the room to see where the piece is taking me. This particular piece has a lot of iridescent bronze (Golden) and part of that color veered off of the page and created a shape that looked like an angel wing to me. I added a few lines and then came the quote. I chose to do copperplate because it has a heavier weight, but this surface is difficult for creating a downstroke with pressure so I wrote it on another paper and printed it on silk tissue paper. And there you have it...a few more things to think about.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


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

"Put your life in neutral to calm chaos." There is a contrast in this piece between neutral colors and chaotic texture. In life we must all find ways to put our life in neutral in order to stay sane and keep from spinning out of control. Whether it's taking a walk, sitting with a friend, or reading a book, we all need to put our life in neutral for part of the day.

This piece was created much the same way yesterday's posting was created. I simply chose to use neutrals. After the solid acrylic color is placed over the entire surface of textured gesso, it is important to start thinking about creating shapes.

All of the other layers of colors after the dark turquoise were Speedball Printing Inks. They were applied in this order...white...brown + black....orange + brown + lots of white and a bit of turquoise. The very last color was turquoise added to the peach mixture.

what makes this and all other types of layering work is the ability to break up the surface tension in a convincing way. Thinking in shapes will help, but then you must break up the surface in some way to reveal the previous layer. In this piece, I used a pointed pen, a ruling pen, and water, followed by blotting.  The initial raised texture of the gesso and several places where glass bead gel was applied also helped achieve the revealing of a previous color. The shapes give it the structure and without that structure, the human eye does not know where to look.

Other ways of breaking up surface tension could be sanding, gouging, transparent paint or collage elements, blotting, etc. The most obvious way is simply to leave a portion of the previous layer untouched. However, this is not as subtle or convincing and may create too many hard edges and if all your edges are hard, your work will be very difficult for people to view. So there you have it...a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


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

"If something doesn't work...quit doing it!" It sounds obvious, but I am still amazed at my own ability to continue doing something for a long time before realizing that it's not working. Maybe today will be the day that all of us quit doing at least one thing that no longer works.

This piece is layering and texture to the max. If the colors are too bright for you, this look can also be achieved with neutrals.

The first layer was gesso applied to Rives BFK with a sponge brush and applied much thicker in some areas. An old credit card was used to make gestural marks that you can still see after several layers. The key is to have the gesso thicker in some places and then to let it dry overnight. (Drying with a hair dryer does not get the inside of the thickest gesso dry and you will find this out when you try to paint over it.) I also added some Glass Bead Gel (Golden) to several areas. You can see it at the top in the persimmon color.

The persimmon color is acrylic and was applied with a sponge brush over the entire surface and then a brayer was used to remove the excess. After the acrylic was thoroughly dry, I switched to Speedball Printing Inks for the remaining layers. The first layer was black and applied with a brayer, not bothering to cover the entire surface. The glass bead gel created enough of a raised surface to leave a larger area of the persimmon untouched. Before sealing the black ink, I took a point pen and wrote into the ink and then blotted it to create some of the texture you see. After sealing the black with Acrylic Spray Coating, I added the turquoise color, being mindful of creating shapes. I wrote into this color with water followed by blotting before sealing it. The last color was the dark yellow, also written into with water and sealed.

The last bit was the collage element in the lower right hand corner which gives the piece more shapes,  form,  and a touch of Mexico. The quote was written after the surface was prepared for lettering. And that's how it's done! Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"The Apex" (sold)


"Good books are at the apex of a wise person's life." The apex is a place where important things come to a point or good conclusion. I have a friend who has more books than me and she is a very wise person. It is a blessing to have a large library on your bookshelf or on your iPad.

This piece was cropped from a larger version of gestural strokes created with acrylic paints, glazing medium, and applied to the support with foam brushes and shaper tools. The entire process is all about laying down paint and then removing some.

It does help to spray the paper with water first and then use a concentrated amount of paint mixed with glazing medium to dip your foam brush into. The removal of paint was done with shaper tools and old credit cards. To achieve the solid smooth background first, the paint was brushed over the entire surface and then a brayer was used to smooth out the paint and also remove the excess. Wipe the brayer frequently and keep going in all directions over the entire surface until it is even and smooth. There are a few faint gestural makes created in this background before drying it completely.

After the background is dried, spray the paper with water again and create the bands or block of color and remove portions of the paint until you're satisfied. (Google Carol Pickle for tons of inspiration applying and removing paint.)

I did add just a bit of collage from some practice lettering I did some time ago and a portion of an old book page. With this type of background especially, it is important to use removable tape and play around with the placement of the collage until you are totally convinced you have it in the right place. I knew the collage element was in the right place when the corners were touching the background color in two places which totally grounded it to the background. There is also a lower case "b" in the upper left hand corner that fit in with the color and provided an echo of the main collage element. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Deep Longing"


"Solitude is a place of deep longing for the only One who can satisfy." Many pursuits can give temporary satisfaction and take up hours of our time, but we were created to have an intimate relationship with God. That is the only thing that can truly fill the deepest longing of our soul.

This piece is another venture into contrasting opacity with transparency. A good rule of thumb is to choose equal pieces of opaque collage elements and transparent elements. By arranging them various ways, you will eventually find the right overlap and placement for each piece. The wonderful thing that happens is that you can see every layer in the piece. It is one of the most effective ways of achieving depth with layering.

The initial background was begun with gesso with some areas having a lot of texture. That, too, will add another dimension to your collage. Cadimium Orange was painted over the entire gesso surface with a solid application. Speedball Printing Ink came next, leaving some of the orange peeking through. At this point, you must spray with acrylic coating because the printing ink is water soluble. Silver leaf was then adhered one section at a time over gel matte medium straight from the jar. If the silver leaf looks too solid and static...simply apply some gel matte medium to your brayer and roll over the surface. The stickiness of the medium will pull more of the silver leaf from the surface.

All in all, this is a wonderful way to create a collage. It also helps to have some silk tissue paper (the most transparent paper I've ever found) and be able to print it on your printer. Simply make a copy of the image on regular paper...watch how it exits the printer...use removable tape to tape the transparent paper over the image...and send it through the printer again in the same way it went through the first time. Spray with acrylic coating and you will be ready to adhere it to your surface. And there you have it...a few more things to think about.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"Wild Applause"

($200.00......9" x 12".....mounted on a 2".00 depth clayboard)

"The music in my heart and the exuberance of the crowd brought me to my feet in wild applause." There is nothing quite like an accomplished musician and a crowd of people filled with excitement to bring you to your feet. It's a moment shared with people you may have never met. Tonight might be a good time to go to a concert!

This piece was created with acrylics and palette knife on Rives BFK. My process began by practicing drawing the cello with gestural strokes many times before committing it to the final paper. After sketching it in with pencil, I mixed up my paints with some retarder to give myself a longer working time. I did consider Open Acrylics which perform much like oils, but I like the full body consistency of acrylics in the tube when working with a palette knife.

There was basically three mixtures of paint. The gray was created by mixing Raw Umber + Unbleached Titanium (Liquitex) and adding some white to a portion of this mixture to create a different value. The second color was Titanium White. The third color was Quinacridone Magenta + White. So if you ever need a very good gray, this combination is quite lovely.

Gestural strokes also played a part in the background by using the corner of a credit card (rounded edges cut off) to make some expressive marks in the background paint. Also notice that the magenta color was repeated in a couple of places which adds a bit more drama and helps the eye "connect the dots" in the painting. Remember that the eye is always looking for connections.

I prepared the surface for lettering after the acrylics had thoroughly dried....for days actually and then wrote the quote with a pointed pen and Moon Palace Ink. Notice the division of space and the slight variation of values in the background that create another color block. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, July 6, 2012



"Texas is my home." There are a few images that have a direct association with our fine state. One of those images is one head of cattle or an entire herd. Ever so often, I must return to those images in some form or fashion since I am a native Texan. If your birthplace doesn't happen to be Texas, then I extend my deepest sympathy and regret. But I am glad you got here as fast as you could!

This is not a complicated piece, but it does require several steps with drying time in between. The first layer is gesso on Rives BFK paper applied with a sponge brush and texturized with a credit card and gestural writing. It has to be applied moderately heavy to receive the texture.  This was left to dry overnight (or all day).

On the thoroughly dry surface, I painted a substantial layer of Cadmium Orange straight out of the tube. This was allowed to dry all day. In the evening, I applied Black Speedball Printing Ink with a brayer. Complete coverage was not my goal since I needed some of the orange to be peeking through. The ink was dried with a hair dryer and sprayed with Spray Acrylic Coating.

I then applied the silver leaf one section at a time. Be sure to purchase the kind that has a backing attached and cut each page into four sections. Brush Gel Matte Medium (straight from the jar) on one small section at a time and lay the leaf down. Press over it with your fingers and allow to set for about a minute or two before removing the backing. Leave some space between the sections. By the time you're through, you will have formed a grid like pattern over the entire piece.

The surface was prepared to receive more paint by brushing on (2) parts water to (1) part gel matte medium. I mixed up my acrylics for the "steer" with some retarder to extend my working time. The "steer" was then painted with acrylics and a palette knife. This was allowed to dry overnight. Lettering was added this morning. And that's how it's done! Just a few more things to think about.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Recurring Memories"


"Recurring memories form the rhythm of my mind." The only part of this quote appearing on this glass work is "memories". However, the quote and the image reference my fond memories of living most of my life in Texas. I see this image everyday in the hill country landscape. Recurring memories can be very soothing or very troubling. It all depends on which ones become the focus.

As I have mentioned before, my mixed media work influences my glass work and vice versa. Creating a glass work like this is very much the same as cutting up paper and reassembling them to form one piece. The separate pieces of glass are texturized with glass powders and glass line paint and then fired at a full fuse. The pieces then become part of your selecting process. Solid opaque colors were also included to create a contrast of opacity and transparency. In the end, there is three layers of glass and then the glass is fired again at a full fuse.

The mixed media equivalent of this is determining how to texturize your papers and then reassembling them on another piece of paper which would be referred to as your support. It is wise to paint the support with solid paint, Speedball Printing Ink and a brayer, or using silver leaf to be part of the support. And there are many other ways to begin as well. One book I would like to recommend is Acrylic Innovation by Nancy Reyner. (Not to be confused with Acrylic Exploration which was her first book.) This one is superior and includes some of the top artists in the field of mixed media. Each artist goes through a part of their process with a step-by-step analysis.

No matter which medium is chosen...the same principles apply. The artist must think about division of space, edges (straight and erratic....hard and soft), corners, values, texture vs. no texture. It is also wise to remember this quote..."When in doubt, leave it out." And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012



"Persons who forfeit responsibility are not free." There is a difference in truly needing help or simply forfeiting responsibility. Those who forfeit responsibility are enslaved by their own apathy. I choose freedom!

This is probably the simplest composition on the planet. I did vary the horizontal bands that look like a cropped version of the American flag. They aren't absolutely straight or the same width. Those slight variations and the scratching through the silver leaf add more textural interest to something that could look very static. (The paint was applied over a textured gesso base.)

It also helps to add a focal point with a contrast of line such as the word "freedom" as well as the quote written in spencerian. The final touch was charcoal powder brushed along most of the edges.

So whether you're composition is simple or complex...it still boils down to division of space, designing the corners, breaking up the surface tension, transparency, and lots of contrast of line, values, and color. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"A Complete Picture"

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

"The edges and fragments of our lives come together to form a complete picture." It can be very easy to think about one disappointment or setback and think that everything we've done in life is negated. However, one event does not constitute our entire lives, but it's a series of fragmented parts that come together to make a complete life (or picture).

This piece could be called a study in "green". The piece began with gesso over the entire sheet of Rives BFK and then texturized with gestural marks and drips of gesso. (The raised circle in the upper left hand corner.)  When beginning a piece in this way, it is best to leave the entire thing to dry overnight or at least for several hours.  It takes a long time for think a thick area of gesso to dry completely.

The initial colors were applied with a brayer and acrylic paint. (Lime and Olive Green) I then switched to Speedball Printing Ink and applied several different greens making sure to allow some of the previous layer to show through. It could also be referred to as breaking up the surface tension. Speedball Printing Ink is very easy to modify and will give you the printed look that you will not get with acrylics or gouache.

To add more surface texture, I added some rice paper collage that had been mono printed with a deep green that was almost black. The last bit of collage was the butterfly...printed on silk tissue paper.

One of the key points in creating a layered and textured surface is to allow the previous color to break through the surface in some way. It also gives the illusion of transparency. Failure to do this will result in a look that is contrived and the pieces look like they're just stuck on and totally unintegrated. So it is very instructive to pay attention to the techniques that help break up surface tension. And that's the beauty of mixed media. Just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, July 2, 2012

"A Distant Melody"

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

"Hope is a distant melody that becomes louder and more distinct with time." Hope is essential to survive the difficult places in life. This quote is dedicated to several of my dear friends and family members who are going through a hard place. May hope work its way into the deepest recesses of you soul.

The foundation of this piece was created with large gestural strokes on a prepared paper. All of the acrylic paint I used was first mixed with a bit of molding paste, retarder, and glazing liquid. This allowed the paint to stay wet longer and have a smoothness and more body than simply applying acrylic paint out of the tube. The ability to make gestural marks into the paint was also enhanced by mixing this combination.

So the paper (Rives BFK) was toned with Raw Umber + Unbleached Titanium by brushing on with a sponge brush and then rolled over with a large brayer until the color was smooth. After that dried, I created the gestural strokes with a sponge brush followed by the removal of some of the paint with various sizes of shaper tools. Gestural marks were also included at this stage. The fun part was cropping this piece from a larger sheet...paying close attention to the division of space and having the color blocks touch at least two sides of the design space.

It is a wonderful surface to write or draw on because the paint has been applied thinly in most areas. My desire is to hone this in such a way as to create a look of transparency. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Enter In"

($200.00.....12" x 12".....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

Today's posting is a 12"x 12" piece created for an exhibit at Hill Country Bible Church NW. The verse is from Psalm 100...a favorite of many Christians. It was inspired from a similar layout in one of my "6"x 6" postings. (June 10) Enjoy and have a wonderful day!

It is a good practice to work on a smaller piece and then take that same piece...expand the concept and translate it into a larger work. Going from a 6" x 6" to a 12" x 12" is good because the proportions are the same. So it is wise to use the same proportions going from small to large.

It is very easy to figure by drawing a diagonal line from the left bottom corner to the right upper corner. You can then figure out a proportional size by selecting a size where the upper right hand corner lands on that diagonal line. It may sound confusing, but is really very simple. (e-mail me if you can't figure it out)

Another way to work on a composition is simply to divide a space into black and white shapes or divisions in a thumbnail size and create as many variations as you can possibly create. It doesn't require placing in all the details, but gives you a strong direction for a foundation of your value arrangement. Then when you actually begin your piece, you will at least have a strong beginning and then you can place intermediate values and details such as imagery or lettering where you choose.

Today's posting was made much easier by having a smaller version first. The lettering was different, but the main elements were the same. And there you have it...a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.