All in how you look at it

Gel Print plate with acrylic painting, post-printing.

I’ve wanted to create on bigger canvases for a while now, and made my first 16 x 20 print using a large gel plate. I wasn’t sure how it would go, as I had only printed on paper, and never paper as large as this canvas.

As with my other work, I wanted to keep it loose and a little abstract. I enjoy it when the piece tells me where it’s going. But where was this going? For a while, it was hard to tell. Maybe nowhere good!

I added layers and pattern until I was happy with it. But as I became happier with the flowers, I realized there was still a lot of space to fill. My flowers looked like they were floating in space! Not the look I was going for. And yet, I knew if I wasn’t careful, I would overwork the piece.

I walked away for a few hours, then came back and started to rotate the canvas, something pretty easy to do with these more abstract pieces. I also added some marks, which I admit are not my best work. 😀 But, that’s okay, that’s why we experiment!

I turned it on its side, and found the perfect spot for a vase or pot to go. So, that balances out the painting a bit more, and now I can begin adding the finishing touches and fix the marks that I don’t like as much. This is still a work in progress, for sure.

The lesson here is to look at your art from all angles! I stared at this painting for a while before I realized I could turn the actual canvas. It was that easy to change perspective and find a solution. Especially in more abstract works, don’t forget to use ALL of the tools in your box, even the ones that in hindsight, seem pretty obvious.


Working on a larger piece is fun, and poses new challenges to overcome. My biggest challenges were filling the space, and balancing enough definition to make it look “finished” at that size, while keeping it in my loose style without going too abstract. In general, I like the piece and think it’s a great start. This is more for practice and won’t be for sale, but I plan to have at least three large canvases available when I open my art shop next month.

Green Thumb

I bought a *Gelli plate and *brayer to experiment with printing techniques, and had some leftover test papers. I especially liked the way these bright rainbow colors turned out, and decided to work them into a new collage piece.

I used plain bubble wrap to make a dot texture on her skirt.

Leaping rabbits thanks to a stamp set. (TBH I’m not stoked about how the rabbits look. I think I should have used a thinner acrylic or ink vs. thicker ink. Ah well, that’s why I test and learn.)

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Travel Art Archives

In the spirit of consolidating and simplifying my digital platforms, I’ve moved my “Have Paintbrush Will Travel” content to this site. Click here to see past posts, and stay tuned for new travel content as our travel season picks up again. We do most of our traveling from April – December, to coincide with James’ work travel schedule and tag on sightseeing to the places he goes. On the 2019 agenda so far: Houston, New York City, Palm Springs (Fingers Crossed!) and Washington, DC.

Tacky Party

This painting was inspired by a photo of my great-grandmother, auntie, grandmother, great-great-auntie and their church lady friends. I grew up in a small, unincorporated community outside a marginally larger town, so the people who are your friends as children are usually your friends your whole lives. These ladies were no exception, and neither am I. We are lucky like that.

We’ve had to say goodbye to most of these ladies over the years, and the ones still with us are in their late-80s, so time is a gift. I, like many in my generation, left home at 18 and only return sporadically. This gives time the illusion of stopping, then speeding up in fast-forward. I feel that the “Tacky Party” days were just yesterday, not 30+ years ago.

One of my favorite poets, Faith Shearin, articulates this feeling perfectly in her poem, “My Grandparents’ Generation.”

If there is a consolation prize for having so many wonderful people in our lives only to lose them, then it is that they are together wherever they are.