Thursday, December 12, 2013


Finally got around to watching Dion Dior's tutorial in my 21 Secrets class, which was about how to use Silks and Twinks, by Lumin Arte. Silks are an acrylic glaze paint with mica flecks in it, to make your work sparkle, while Twinks (short for Twinkling H2Os) are a water color paint with mica flecks.

For this first project, we used plain watercolor for the background, and Silks for the flower. The sparkles don't show up all that well online, but you can kinda see them here.

I learned two very important lessons from working on this project, neither of which had anything to do with using sparkle paints.  The first is something that almost every single art teacher I've had has mentioned at one time or another. "Don't give up!" They all say that they start out pretty optimistic about how a painting is going, but midway through they reach a point where they feel like they've just gone to far, added to much, and totally wrecked the painting. That was sooooo true for me with this one.

You see, in the original project, we were supposed to do mostly collage with an overlay of paint, and I didn't have any of the Chinese paper with sparkly threads which we were supposed to start our background with. So I just did the drizzled, primary shades of watercolor which gave the background a bright tie-dyed look. The flower was supposed to be a simple daisy shape, covered with tiny bits of plain red tissue paper, then shaded and highlighted with the Silks. But, yeah, I don't follow instructions all that well, do I? I decided I had to have a poinsettia, with just a few bits of bleeding red tissue paper on the petals, which were mostly paint. Well, as you can imagine, busy flower on top of busy background? Absolutely horrible! I was so ready to give up on it, but then I remembered what everyone says. "Walk away for a bit if you have to, when you hit that wall, but don't give up. Something will come to you!" And it did.

First I started layering some dark blue paint over the background, which turned those bright reds and yellow-oranges to deep purples and greens, and really made the sparkly poinsettia leaves pop. Walk away. Come back. Splatter white "snow" over the page. Walk away. Come back. Notice the flower is floating in outer space. Do some white journaling around the page to frame it and ground it. Et, voila! Suddenly, I love it!

That brings me to lesson number two, which I read/heard from two different respected artists this very week, and now am a firm believer in. They both said they try never to work towards a certain image they have in their head, for that makes you more of a technician than an artist, and you usually end up being disappointed with the results. Instead we need to learn to just listen and feel where the art wants to take us. Remember, it's about the journey, not the destination!

No comments: