Sgraffito and scumbling to create texture and interest

Recently, I found myself in a bit of a rut. I started feeling like all the backgrounds in my art journals were the same – some drips, a bit of stenciling and gesso. Ho-hum! To try and switch things up a bit, I’ve been researching some techniques, including those that haven’t necessarily been used exclusively by painters. Two that really piqued my interest are sgraffito and scumbling.


This technique, which is widely used for wall decor, involves the application of layers of plaster in different tints or colors that is then scratched to reveal the underlying color. A similar technique is used in pottery and stain glass. Sgraffito on walls and as murals or frescos was especially popular during the Italian Renaissance; Raphael, Polidoro da Caravaggio and Maturino da Firenze were particularly sought after to paint palace facades in Rome.Continue reading

Release your fear: create art with wild abandon

release fear comparison create wild abandon

Fear of paint, of art, of creativity is something I’ve come across over and over again. People constantly say they can’t paint, or they can’t draw. But I say that everyone can paint. Yes, everyone.

Think back to your childhood – chances are that painting and drawing were your favorite pastimes. But as you grew older, you suddenly started thinking that you cannot paint.

Why?Continue reading

Quest for the process: Process art and using the philosophy in an art journal spread

While researching the various art movements through the centuries, I came upon the concept of process art.

“Process art is an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment where the end product of art and craft, the objet d’art (work of art/found object), is not the principal focus. The ‘process’ in process art refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, patterning, and moreover the initiation of actions and proceedings. Process art is concerned with the actual doing and how actions can be defined as an actual work of art; seeing the art as pure human expression. Process art often entails an inherent motivation, rationale, and intentionality. Therefore, art is viewed as a creative journey or process, rather than as a deliverable or end product.” Wikipedia

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Plein Air painting + my travel art journaling supplies

When I think of plein air painting, I think of the impressionists and my absolute favorite artist in the whole wide world, Claude Monet.


Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge, Claude Monet

Plein air is nothing but the act of painting outdoors. Artists would typically scope out the landscape, find an area of interest, set up their easels and start painting what was in front of their eyes. The colors, quality of light, interplay of shadows, everything was as true to the time of day and season in which they were painting.Continue reading

{O} Adding Organic elements to your art journal

There’s something about the fleeting life of a flower that makes me want to stop and capture it and freeze it in time. I used to have a lot of them pressed between the pages of various books. I went through a phase when I was obsessed with taking macro photographs of flowers at various stages of life – bud, bloom, decay, death. And now that I’ve been creating art journals, I’ve been thinking about ways in which I can capture them on the page.


That’s one of the reasons why I am drawn to encaustics – they can be easily trapped behind layers of wax, which would further enhance their ephemeral beauty. But since I’m still a bit scared to venture into encaustics, I’m thinking of other methods.Continue reading

Nail those paints: the wonderful world of acrylics

Acrylics are my absolute all-time single favorite art supply. If I ever had to pare back my supplies {gasp!}, I would keep all of my tubes and bottles and jars of acrylic paints. And inktense pencils and gesso and….but, I digress. Let’s talk acrylics.

All about acrylics in depth primer to acrylic paints

I can spend a couple of hours just going over the variety and minute differences between the acrylic paints and brands available on the market, and all the ways in which you can manipulate acrylics with different mediums to achieve slightly different effects. But I’m going to distill it into the most usable and comprehensive guide geared towards art journaling.Continue reading

Mad about mediums: a primer to acrylic mediums

When I started art journaling, my paint of choice {i.e., what I had lying around the house from my previous art experiments} was poster paint. But I soon realized that these paints are water-reactive and that you cannot layer on paint colors without it all turning into a gloopy mess. So, I went out and bought myself a set of acrylic paints.

As I started playing with acrylics, I knew I had found my art soul mate – except, there was no way to blend these well, because they dried so damn fast! Then started my research – and soon, I was lost in the world of mediums.

There are SO MANY acrylic mediums, and mediums from each company act slightly differently, that within minutes, my head was reeling with too much information. But if, at any point, you want to move beyond the art journal page and on to canvas, you really need to know your mediums so that you can achieve the effects you want without pulling all your hair out.

So, let’s get right into it!Continue reading

Luscious glazes to make your art journals pop

Ah, glazes! So much changed for me the day I understood glazes and how to use them – and I still have a lot more to learn. But here’s the skinny on them: at the most basic, glazes are thin layers of paint that you use to either deepen colors and/or to bring a page together to make it look cohesive. When you use it with a glazing medium, you can blend colors together so the transition between two colors looks seamless.

You can create glazes with thinned down acrylics or acrylic inks, or by using glazing medium. I’ve also used glazing techniques with Inktense pencils.Continue reading

Know your substrates: guide to paper and canvas

As your artistic horizons start to expand, it is natural that you will want to explore the different substrates on which you can create art. And as you explore different substrates, you will eventually settle on your favorite surfaces to work on.

While there are plenty of surfaces on which you can create, this post focuses on paper and canvas.

Choosing the right paper for your art projects

160 gsm paper – good for sketching; not recommended for use with water-based media

The kind of paper you will choose for your art projects is determined by what it is that you aim to create. If you’re going to do charcoal sketches, for example, you don’t need to buy fancy acrylic paper. So let’s dive into the world of paper so that you can be better prepared when you walk into the art store looking for your next art journal or sketch book.Continue reading

Just print: Printmaking made easy

Printmaking is a beautiful, though complex art. You have to first design your print, then etch or engrave it on metal plates; or use blocks of wood to create woodcuts and wood engravings; or linoleum to create linocuts. These are then inked and printed onto paper or fabrics. There’s also the screenprinting process, where screens made of silk fabric are used to create a print.

Red Fuji southern wind clear morning

All of these methods produce some beautiful works of art, and the results of each vary slightly. While we cannot recreate these exactly, there are a number of ways in which we can create stunning prints much more easily. These prints can be standalone works of art, used as a foundation on which we can build up a larger piece, or a part of our original library of printed papers that we use as collage elements in our art practice.Continue reading