I finished the painting I showed you yesterday and I am SWOONING over it. It includes some of the Schminke Galaxy super granulating paints I mentioned, too, and they do NOT disappoint EXCEPT that, unlike other watercolours I’ve used, they go *very fast*. I’ve had to refill the pan twice already, and that’s kind of a bummer because these paints are *not* cheap!
I’ll be saving them for special occasions, I think.
I love granulating watercolours. There’s something so magical about the randomness that happens when they dry and the pigment disperses. There are a lot of Daniel Smiths that granulate beautifully, but if you’ve got paints that don’t granulate, there’s something you should know!
Windsor and Newton has something called “Granulation Medium” and it makes your watercolours even more magical than they already are. It’s not terribly expensive, either! I bought my last bottle for $9 CAD at a local art supply store.
I use it with my Prima palettes, which don’t granulate like the more expensive brands do. These palettes are *gorgeous*. My favourites are “Currents”, “Woodlands”, and “Odyssey”. They also have a “Complexions” palette which includes a variety of skin tones and “Decadent Pies” which are metallics. I did a search on Amazon so I could link the page here.
I didn’t always, though. When I first started art journaling, watercolours felt too fussy to me. They aren’t waterproof, I found them too unpredictable, and I didn’t know how to layer with them without making mud. Over time, though, I discovered Workable Fixative, which is another must-have tool in my toolbox. There are a couple of brands I like – namely Krylon and Blair – both aerosol sprays that when applied to your work “fix” the layer so it doesn’t smear or get reactivated when you add new layers. The word “workable” is key here because it means that you can continue to add more mediums once you’ve sealed the painting. I get Krylon Workable Fixative from my local art supply store, Bijan’s (which also ships!), but you can also find it at Michael’s (don’t forget your coupon!), but I haven’t been able to find it on Amazon in quite a while.
There are other brands – Windsor and Newton and Grumbacher but I can’t speak to how well they work since I’ve never used them.
Once I discovered how well workable fixative prevents smearing and reactivation of mediums like watercolours, sprays (like Dylusions), Stabilo All pencils, Neocolor II crayons, etc., I became a “kitchen sink” mixed media artist, which you already know if you’re in any of my classes. I am never limited by how one medium might react with another because I can seal between layers and that means I’m totally free to do whatever I want with very few limitations.
Speaking of “Kitchen Sink” mixed media…
I made this as part of my offering for Make Create Express (which will include three lessons from me – one for the free tempter session and two for the year-long e-course – this is for one of the main lessons) and it is packed with mediums and techniques. I used watercolours, india ink, acrylic ink, black gesso, charcoal, acrylics paints, stencils, markers, paint pens, and collage in this baby, which would not have been possible without workable fixative!
As I grow as an artist, I do find myself less dependent on it, though. There are times when I know that the palette I’m working with can take a little reactivation without making a mess, but learning how to judge that has taken time and practice. If you’re new at “kitchen sink” mixed media, I recommend playing around with how your mediums work together when they’re not fixed vs. when they are.
If you’re working mediums that are all waterproof, you won’t need a fixative at all, though, and just a note that this stuff does not work with oil-based products. If you’re using oils (eg pastels), save them for your final layer since you can’t use anything over them except wax or more oil.
And that’s me on this fine Saturday morning! I hope you’re having a gorgeous weekend.
I. Yesterday, I made myself a pot of echinacea, turmeric and ginger tea and settled in to do the thing.
II. What thing, you ask? I peeled all the seals off this monstrosity of a Jelly Gouache collection.
Y’all, I am not lying when I tell you that this took an hour and I was *covered* in gouache and my hands were cramped into arthritic little claws of omgdoom by the time I was done. But! It was so worth it!
Today, I’m going to organize them so the blues live with the blues and the pinks live with the pinks and the greens live with the greens etc. Yes, I am a Libra with Libra rising and a Cap moon. *Giggles*.
III. A lot of today is going to be spent doing something I call “Sandboxing”. Sandboxing is putting together all the content for a lesson in a behind-the-scenes spot on my class website that no one ever sees since it’s where I beta test things and make sure they’re all spiffy before you lot file in to enjoy the content. I enjoy this part of my work because I get to see everything I’ve created, curated or collected coming together into one cohesive offering, and that makes me ridiculously happy.
It’s definitely work, but it’s fun work. Kind of like icing the cake.
IV. As soon as I’m sufficiently caffeinated, I’ll be launching into that bit of action for the day, but I wanted to get my ten things done and dusted since I’m enjoying the way they give some structure to my day. It makes me a bit nostalgic, since way back in the day when I first started blogging, I literally poured myself out of bed and into my blog every morning without fail. This was back when Xanga was a thing (and also Livejournal) and the whole world kept an “online diary”. Remember? I loved that. I loved reading my “blog roll” with my coffee and leaving comments and “eprops”. It was like having a little village to wake up to every day where we’d all visit the neighbours “over the fence”.
V. I keep wishing blogging would make a comeback but I get that our collective attention spans just aren’t up to it anymore. No matter. I’mma blog anyway, and like those of us who are opting out of fast food and fast fashion, maybe some of us will opt out of fast socials – or at least, incorporate some slow socials into our routines.
My bank account isn’t happy with me at the moment, but my heart is all aflutter over the anticipated arrival of a bunch of new stencils, which I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed. Honest. I also needed the two books of wallpaper samples I bought from Etsy. I SWEAR!
VII. I’m paying a lot of attention to the little things that will bring me a sense of the good life even while Omicron burns through Ontario, and because I believe that art is magic, I made a spread that included some of those things.
All this stamping took FOREVER but like most things that require me to get still and focused for a little bit, it was well worth it.
I have some whipped cream coming in my grocery order today, by the way. Because, of course.
What would you put on your list?
VIII. My kitchen is an absolute disaster and there are a bunch of flat-packed furniture things lying about in boxes waiting to be built. I still haven’t put together the little table I keep going on about, and when that’s done I have two cabinets & two cube bookshelves to build AND a teal accent cabinet that I’ve been meaning to put together since 2019. Yup. Still in the box.
I *will* get to it at some point, but I think I’ll keep the list “work-focused” for this weekend since it is month-end, and getting distracted by things like building flat-packed furniture is not going to help me get month-end done. Just please pray for me that I don’t trip over boxes and break my neck before I finally get them all sorted.
IX. Renee sent me this, and I *cackled*.
X. Since my eyes went all borked and I can no longer enjoy reading actual books, I am thinking about decluttering my bookshelves and that makes my heart ache a little bit BUT I am going to make a list of all the ones I want to read again or use for research and get them as e-books. I will get these cataracts sorted eventually, but in the meantime, the only way I can enjoy reading is if I can adjust the font size to something my borked eyes can handle. I like the look of shelves full of books, but I don’t like dusting them and I’m asthmatic and they never leave their homes in the shelves anymore anyway, so…
…I’ve always had this battle between having a cluttered collection of bookshelves and witchy knick-knacks and craving a temple tidy environment that’s easy to keep clean, and I’m leaning hard toward the latter these days because my space is soooooooo tiny…
…but I *love* every little thing I display on those bookshelves, and I love love love my books – so much so that some of them have traveled with me for decades from country to country to city to city to house to house…
…can you tell this is a bit of a conundrum for me?
Maybe I need a storage unit so I can go visit my books when I get to missing them.
Hoookay. That’s enough of a brain dump for me for now.
I. I am absolutely loving season four of The Great Pottery Throwdown. It’s so wholesome and just what the doctor ordered. Here in Canada, I watch it on “Cottage Life”, which is an Apple TV add-on. I also binged season one of Relentless, which I watched on Discovery+. It’s a mindfuck of a documentary about an independent filmmaker’s search for a missing woman. Gripping! Also, The Gilded Age, by the creators of Downton Abbey, which just started this week. I’m watching it on Crave. I turned Renee onto it and she was immediately sucked in. I love watching series with Renee because she texts the best commentary.
All the streaming services I mentioned above are the ones I have access to in Canada. If you’re elsewhere, I’m sure Google will help.
What are you geeking out on lately?
II. Wordle is fun. I start every game with the word “adieu” so I get a sense of what vowels I might be working with. I like firing it up first thing with my coffee as a way to nudge my brain awake and firing on all cylinders. Today’s was pretty easy.
Wordle 222 4/6
III. The news is heavy. More unmarked graves. Russia and Ukraine. A new variant – though that seems to be good news since there’s a theory that it’s more contagious but *less* dangerous, and if we keep getting variants that are contagious enough to take over its predecessor while being less severe, that’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m pretty sure we’re on our way to this becoming endemic.
BUT. The immunocompromised and those who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons will still be super vulnerable so wear your damned mask and get your booster. I’m not liking the “everyone is going to get it” rhetoric because while it will probably not kill you, it could still kill whoever you give it to.
I know. I’m preaching to the choir.
IV. I have an art crush. Have you met Froyle Davis yet? She is *amazing*. I have never really been able to wrap my head around collage, but watching Froyle work fascinates me. She’s got a YouTube channel and a bunch of stuff up on Skillshare. She inspired me to get some wallpaper sample books (I got mine on Etsy) and order an inspiration pack from her. I still haven’t dug my Gelli plate out of storage but once I do, it’s game on.
LOOK! LOOK AT THIS!!!!!
V. Once winter is over and I can set us up on the front lawn with a folding table and some lawn chairs, my friend, Julie, is going to grab my other friend, Sal, and a stack of old Nat Geo’s and I’m going to get some Citrasolv and we’re going to have a Froyle Davis inspired collage party.
VI. I’m thinking about what I want to teach in my next weekend retreat. So far we’ve done Sweet Trash, Journal Jam, and Out Of The Shadows. I am thinking I’d like to do a lip-up girl immersion – one girl, created on a Friday evening to be scanned or photographed and used as a template, and then four projects – maybe earth, air, water, and fire inspired, over Saturday & Sunday. Yes? Lemme know in the comments.
VII. Arteza has a selection of opaque, matte “craft quality” fluid acrylics and they’re lovely. Perfect for art journaling because they’re super easy to write over + use coloured pencils over without having to fuss with clear gesso. I’m not an affiliate – just a fan – because when you’re just throwing paint around without a plan, and/or you want a matte finish that dries super quickly, these are fantastic.
I’m definitely getting over that these days, though, because craft paints are fun, and having some budget friendlier paints to suggest to students feels good.
VIII. I also tried the Golden SoFlat Matte paints and they were – well. Just okay. I tried mixing colours with them, and the experience was meh. They’re fine for pops of matte colour here and there, though.
X. And that’s me, today! No DRAMA DOTS because, lo, my life is currently drama free. HUZZAH!
Sneak peek at my lesson for February’s Book Of Days 2022 for tax. This spread features some of the Arteza craft paint, the Decoart Dazzling Metallics, and a bunch of Golden Fluids as well as some Liquitex Acrylic Ink.