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Category: Inspiration

5 Pigment Qualities

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Confused when selecting paint?

Several paint qualities you’re looking for happen at the pigment level. Here’s a few qualities that may help you make more informed decisions when it comes to selecting paint for your painting projects. They are qualities that aren’t specific to brands of paint, rather the pigment themselves. So this is general information no matter what brand you use.

NOTE: Generally the name of the paint tells you what pigment it is. I’m talking about artist paint, not something like fabric paint where the paint name could be “Unicorn Princess.” Although that does sound like an awesome color 😉

  1. Level of smoothness – (this quality is really more about the kind/brand of paint I just realized) I suggest getting paint the consistency of heavy cream or soft butter.
  2. Insoluble in paint binder/vehicle – paint is made up of pigment, binder, vehicle, and fillers (lesser quality paints have more fillers and less pigment which makes them “less expensive”). Your paint will dry and you want the pigment to stay on the canvas/paper and not “stick” to the binder/vehicle (I also just realized you really don’t need to pay attention to this unless you’re making your own paint from scratch, but FYI).
  3. Lightfastness – the ability to withstand fading in light or air. I think of some photography exhibitions at museums. They’re put in rooms with low lighting due to the prints being more light sensitive. The same concept can also be present in certain paint pigments.
  4. Opacity or Transparency – is it see-through or opaque?
  5. Unaffected when mixed with other things – I sometimes make uncommon paint mixtures (mixing my paint with things like glue, joint compound, coffee, etc.). Mix media mixtures might have an affect in how your painting wares over time.

What are some things you look for when selecting paint?

Until next time,


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Color Temperature | Recede vs. Pop Out

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Are you still using black in your paintings to create shadows? Here’s a better color choice that will make your painting look more realistic.

I’ll just give you the answer straight up if that’s all you want to know: you’ll wanna use a cool color, like blue.

If you want to know a little more why blue works better than black read on. It all has to do with color temperature.

All colors have a wavelength on the visual spectrum. Cool colors have slower wavelengths than warm colors. Objects that are red is a visual cue that it might be hot to the touch. Objects that are blue is a visual cue that it might be cool to the touch. While looking at a painting warm colors reach our eyes faster than cool colors.

It all has to do with the speed of the wavelength.

For example, take this still life by Paul Cezanne. I visited The Getty Art Museum in 2015 and saw this painting in person. I took a guided tour that was very interesting. In fact, the whole museum is awesome and if you find yourself in L.A. sometime I highly recommend it.

The last 30 years of his life Cezanne painted nothing but still life after still life using the same objects. One reason was for color study purposes. He was very meticulous with his use of color.

In Still Life with Apples (1893-1894) you’ll see the whole composition is painted with desaturated blues and greens with just a little red and yellow for the apples. Even though he used just a little amount of warm colors this directs your eye very clearly to the apples. Cezanne understood warm colors will reach the eye sooner than cool colors. The rest of the composition seems to recede behind the apples because of this.

A better color to use when you’re wanting to make objects recede or not be as noticeable to the viewer use blue. I say blue in general and not just any cool color because green I view as more of a neutral and purple contains red which makes it on the warm side. Of course, this depends on if you are wanting a warm shadow or cool shadow, but that’s a discussion for a different day.

What’s your favorite color to paint shadows with? Let me know in the comments.



Paul Cézanne (French, 1839 – 1906)

Still Life with Apples, 1893 – 1894, Oil on canvas

65.4 × 81.6 cm (25 3/4 × 32 1/8 in.)

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Visual spectrum wavelength image:

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When the Muse Has Left the Building

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What do you do when your artwork bores you?

How long do you work through the boredom? Maybe you’re unsure about how to handle the fact that you’re bored, but don’t completely chuck out or destroy it all. Hang on, calm down, read this post first. I’ve got some tips to try first. If these don’t help… I give you permission to destroy your work. It may be cathartic anyway. 😉

Tip 1: Change your routine

A lot of creators tend to create alone – I’m included in that group – but go too long without social interaction or thinking too much in my head I usually run out of creative energy sooner or later. So, go have some fun on Pinterest, read a book, watch a movie, talk to a friend on the phone, or (my favorite) go people watching! Have a notebook with you to write down ideas (if you’re like me and forget things quickly).

Tip 2: Walk away

Put everything down, step back and look at your artwork from literally a fresh perspective. Turn your canvas upside down. This is a very important step in the creation process. It’s possible to get really deeply into your work that you get lost in the work and this can distort your view. Sometimes when I walk away from a work I stay away for a few days or even weeks.

Tip 3: Start over

I can’t tell you how many paintings I’ve painted over or made into something else. It often happens what I start working on goes nowhere or better idea comes along. Paint over what you do. It may turn out to be better than you initially intended.

Tip 4: Destroy it.

Your muse may have left the building. Maybe you were given this really great idea or inspiration, but you took too long to finish it or you just down’t jive with it. The idea has most likely moved on to someone else or it may come back around to you, but that may not be for awhile. Use this time as a sort of therapy session and shred it, burn it, tear it up, move on to a fresher idea.

If you have other ideas of what to do while in an artwork burnout, share it in the comments.


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“Golden” Affirmation Portrait Process

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Today I’m going to walk you through a full-blown Affirmation Portrait. This one I made for myself while working through a Desire Map workshop (by Danielle LaPorte).

There are 4 general steps I use to make an Affirmation Portrait.

First is a meditation to get clear on the purpose or feeling the painting will represent. In this case I was currently taking a Desire Map workshop to develop what I needed. This painting was to represent how I wanted to feel in my life in terms of lifestyle and livelihood. I wrote down some thoughts in my journal and identified 3 words that evoked the feeling I was after. My words (or core desired feelings which they’re called in the Desire Map) were Golden, Invigorated, and Eager. The main word I focused on in this painting was Golden.

Next, I developed a color scheme. All I did was plug the information from my core desired feelings into my Affirmation Portrait system. My final color scheme was on the whole analogous – blue, green, and yellow. My primary color was blue and I used gold as my yellow for an accent to emphasize my composition.

Lastly, I identified weather this feeling of “Golden” felt round or angular to me, which it was round. And if the feeling felt rough or smooth, which it felt mostly smooth but with a kind roughness, but nothing aggressive. This helped me develop the form and texture of my composition.

Now I am ready to paint!

I used a canvas that I was painting something else on, but I didn’t like it, so I painted over it. I used water-based paints (mainly acrylic) as well as some scraps of paper, ink, various gel mediums, and many layers. I like using a hairdryer to not only quicken the drying time between layers, but to also use it to move the paint around, like instead of using a paintbrush. This works awesome with really thin washes of paint.

While I worked, I kept in mind my particular meaning of “Golden” (since this was my emphasis word) and to me it meant “like a sunrise or sunset.” In this instance, the gold color denoted this meaning and I used a centered composition to emphasize my form (which was round), almost like a whirlpool. My texture was a mix between rough and smooth. I started with smooth under layers of paint, then added localized layers of some scraps of paper and more abrupt painterly gestures to make the surface slightly more texturized.

So this is my finished product. This painting turned out awesome! Honestly, I was surprised of how well it turned out. It described my feeling very accurately and every time I look at it I feel the “Golden” feeling. It excited my desire to live an authentic lifestyle. 
Leave a comment and let me know what you think,


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Art Journal Daily 001 | Kansas Landscape

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Welcome to my new art journal series. I’m calling them “dailies.”


They are basically art journal “entries” that I’ve done in the past on my YouTube channel and will be in the abstract expressionist style, but this first daily is going to be a Kansas landscape painting I did in 2016. I recorded my progress and I figured it would be rude of me not to share.

Going forward, this video series is a once a month post of me explaining my technique and process to inspire your own abstract expressionist works of art. Again, this post is a landscape, but my style is still expressionist. Complete with happy little Bob Ross clouds!

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Until next week,


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Heavy Body vs. Fluid Acrylics

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It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed when picking out paint. There’s so many types of paints to choose from. Ever wondered what the difference was between heavy body and fluids? I’ve only figured this out within the last year or so.

Fluid paints seemed to be more money for less paint. I was totally wrong.

A few similarities of heavy body and fluid:

  1. They both have the same pigment ratio (that is, if they are of the same quality like artist vs student grade)

  2. Characteristics like tinting quality, lightfastness, and reactions to temperature are present in both.

The main difference between the two is their level of viscosity.

Fluids have a low viscosity which means the paint is easier to move with a consistency of cream. You’d be able to pour or drip these paints. Heavy bodies have a higher viscosity with a consistency like soft cream cheese. You’d be able to paint thicker textures and preserve painterly qualities like brush strokes.

NOTE: I’ve noticed that there tends to be more color variety of heavy body paints than fluids (as in available to purchase at a store).

I always mix other things with my paints. I don’t use just the paint out of the tube. Common things I mix with paint would be other mediums, like gesso, gel, even glue, or water.

If you like mixing water with your paint use a fluid. This way you won’t be adding as much water to get to a thinner consistency and you’ll preserve your pigment ratio than if you watered down heavy body paints to the same consistency.

Rule of thumb for adding water to paint is a 1:1 ratio.

NOTE: Adding too much water to your paint will weaken the pigments ability to adhere to your surface (paper or canvas). However, there are ways to get around this, like spraying or sealing over your finished artwork with an acrylic sealant to help strengthen the bond between pigment and surface.

I use a variety of both fluids and heavy body (and a everything in-between) because my work requires a variety of mixed media, layers, and textures. However, if I had to choose one or the other I’d say fluids are more versatile. If you need to make your paint thicker (to simulate heavy body) you can always add a gel medium.

NOTE: You’ll notice most gessos, mediums, or glues (I add glue to my paint a lot) are tinted white. If you’re adding these to any color other than white they will tint your color. The integrity of the original color will not be preserved, but will be lightened. If you don’t want this to happen try to find a clear medium.

I’d love to hear from you!

What do you think about heavy body or fluid acrylics? Did you know the difference?



Sources/Related Articles:

Golden Artist Colors, Inc. | Fluid Acrylic Colors. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2017, from

Golden Artist Colors, Inc. | Heavy Body Acrylic Colors. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2017, from

Good article on tinting strength:

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Visually Manifesting Inner Desires

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“The word ‘abstract’ tends to alarm people, because it seems to imply that a painting will be impossible to understand.”

– Simon Jennings, (The Complete Artists’s Handbook, pg 140)

There’s a couple of reasons why I think a lot of people are averse to abstracts and it has to do with how our brains are wired. There’s a natural phenomenon that reinforces our ability to constantly be looking for faces and patterns in order to adapt to our environment. However, abstracts are very powerful when used as in artwork to express the sometimes un-expressible. Abstract artwork can also help you get to know yourself better or even manifest your inner desires.

So, the concept of ‘abstract’ is defined as denoting an idea, removed from reality or being disconnected from what’s observed. It’s intangible and doesn’t exist as any concrete object. 

I think abstracts remove that level of judgement the mind has on autopilot allowing the artwork to speak differently to each viewer. However, even when we’re looking at an abstract piece of art our mind still attempts to find objects in the chaos.

Pareidolia – it’s basically seeing things that aren’t there. It’s a natural psychological phenomenon that happens in the primitive part of the brain that has to do with survival. We learn to recognize patterns with our senses in patternless information. This is true for visual or auditory.

Example: a picture of a crater on the moon may look like a face, but maybe it’s just a shadow. Or listening to that Beetle’s song backwards you might hear ‘John is dead (that is auditory pareidolia).’

click through to read “Pareidolia: Why we see faces in hills, the Moon and toasties”

These patterns our brains find connect to feelings, then to emotions, then to memories. This is why I think a lot of people have a hard time connecting with abstract artwork. I’ll ask someone for feedback on one of my artworks and they might tell me what shapes or figures they see and what that reminds them of.

Like, “This reminds me of the beach and the white blobs look like clouds over the beach like you’re looking down from high in the sky.” [see abstract on the right]

Now, I’m not saying this is a matter of good or bad, but knowing more about it could help you understand how it can help you in your life journey.

How to use abstract artwork to your advantage:

1. Get to know yourself better (express the un-expressible)

I’m very visual and I’d rather draw or paint what I want to say. Art is it’s own language, but it’s not as widely understood as a verbal language, like say, English is. Creating abstract artwork in conjunction with a meditation practice is similar to writing in a journal. You’re externalizing certain feelings and energies and using it for self reflection or to share for others’ benefit.

2. Manifest your inner desires

* I’m a proud affiliate with Danielle. I may get a commission on any product you purchase from her only when you use this unique affiliate link.

So, there’s this book called The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. One concept Danielle teaches is to create your Core Desired Feelings – You base your life decisions on how you want to feel. But, one thing I had trouble with was making my core desired feelings have a big enough meaning to me to change my life direction. I needed something visual. Vision boards weren’t enough for me.

That’s why I created my Affirmation Portrait system. It was a way for me to visualize my desires through art principles that I could more concretely relate to. It my desires more three-dimensional so that my subconscious mind could better understand how I wanted to improve my life. And since each one is created while I’m in a ‘desire mindset’ they really became visual incarnations of those core desired feeling words.

Let me know in the comments, what’s your view on abstract artwork? Do you love them? Hate them?



Sources/Additional Resources:

Jennings, S. (2014). The complete artist’s manual: the definitive guide to painting and drawing. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

Vliet, R. V., & Vliet, R. V. (2013). Abstracts: techniques and textures. Tunbridge Wells: Search Press.

Voss, J. L., Federmeier, K. D., & Paller, K. A. (2012). The Potato Chip Really Does Look Like Elvis! Neural Hallmarks of Conceptual Processing Associated with Finding Novel Shapes Subjectively Meaningful. Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY), 22(10), 2354–2364.


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Color by Desire: finding a meditative color scheme

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My artwork is based around meditation where my end goal is for each work to bring inner balance and greater self knowledge. I still find it difficult sometimes, when starting a new project, to know exactly what colors to use. Especially since my subjects reflect things that are felt and not seen.

To help me with this, I created two exercises as part of my signature process that helps me select accurate color schemes for each work. Also, I know there’s other people out there, like me, who seek a little structure to get to their end result more systematically – to rinse and repeat.

First exercise: Using the 7 Chakras

The 7 chakras are energy points on our body. They range from the base of your tail bone to the crown of your head. Chakras have corresponding colors that mirrors the vibrancy of each energy point.

As you begin a new work:

Step one: Have a feeling in mind – what your artwork is about (like , gratitude). Meditate and focus on that feeling and ask your heart where on your body that feeling lives (take about 10 minutes).

Step two: Where is the feeling manifesting in your body? Use an image of where the different chakras are to help you identify this, if necessary. Then look at the corresponding color for that area.

[This is part one of your scheme]

* force yourself to think in black and white. Only focus on where your feeling lies in your body *

Second exercise: Linear Scale

This second exercise is a number scale I created that focuses on temperature.

Step one: Again, have that feeling in mind. Meditate, focus, and experience the feeling in your body – is it a warm or cool feeling?

Step two: Use my color temperature scale from1-6. One being the least cool/warm, six being the most cool/warm, circle the number that feels best. Each number will correspond to a specific color.

[This is part two of your scheme]

Side note

The colors that you end up with can and should be modified in most cases. Use different tones, shades, or slight variations of the color(s) chosen. These color exercises are based on the color wheel and do not include brown, gray, or black. The next step would be to create your finalized color scheme and decide which color is more dominant and which more subtle.

Try this method out for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments.





More information on chakras:

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Primary Paint Pigments – Red, Yellow, & Blue

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Light is the source of all color. For example, as light illuminates an orange all colors of the visual spectrum (rainbow) are absorbed into the orange except the colors that make up orange – yellow and red. Those colors are reflected onto our retina and we see orange.

However, there’s a difference between mixing color with light and mixing color with paint. Finding natural pigments that will create a paint can be more difficult, especially when it comes to primary colors. So, why can’t you just extract whatever makes this orange orange and make it into a paint? It’s because as time goes by this orange color will disappear as the fruit decays. In a painting you generally don’t want that to happen. So, you need to find some sort of mineral or compound that is stable and will withstand natural elements like light or won’t blow up when you mix it with something else.

Theoretically, the basic pure hues, red, yellow, and blue, are used to make all other colors in existence. However, this really only applies to light. Pure primary hues in natural pigment form doesn’t exist. We can get pretty close, though.

A lot of the pigments you find in paints these days are pretty much gonna be created or at least tampered with in a lab simply because a natural mineral of that hue doesn’t exist or it’s unstable in some way when it’s combined with a vehicle (binder) to make it into a viable paint. Most paints created in a lab have really strong lightfastness and desirable painterly qualities.

Today I’m going to give you examples of 3 kinds of primary paints to get you started with color mixing.

Pretty much the closest you can get to primary colors in paint would be cadmium red, cadmium yellow, and phthalocyanine (thaa-lo-sigh-uh-neen) blue. These colors are now widely accepted as a standards in the art community and were developed in the early 20th century by chemists.

Also, the information on the pigments I’m talking about in this video will pretty much translate to any type of paint (oil, watercolor, gauche, acrylic), but I mainly work with acrylic so that’s where my frame of reference is.

First of all, cadmium is a toxic heavy metal, but (according to Windsor & Newton) cadmium paints contain a low enough amount of cadmium it’s not considered a health hazard. Now, I wouldn’t go around eating your paint, but you know. If you’re a starving artist you gotta do what you gotta do, I guess.

Cadmium can be used to make colors ranging from yellow to deep maroon. These different colors are achieved by various factors; combining some other ingredients, causing different chemical reactions, and heating it up at high temperatures.

Cadmium red and yellow are both solid choices for primary colored paint because of their ability to hold true when exposed to light (lightfastness), they’re very bright and warm, and will hold its own properties when you mix them with other colors.

{{ As I was writing this, I thought of cadmium colors to be like Samantha Jones from Sex and the City; she’s bright and will hold her own when she’s alone and when you mix her in with a crowd of people she has no problem letting everyone know she’s present. }}

Mixing cadmium red and yellow together will make a strong greens and oranges. A downside to legit cadmium paints would be their price – cadmium red runs a lot more expensive, cadmium yellow a little less expensive than red, but still on the higher end.

Lastly, phthalocyanine blue (also called just phthalo blue) is a synthetic copper centered compound that’s not known to be toxic, at least not yet. It’s made into a pigment in a similar manner to cadmium is; some chemical reactions occur and it’s heated at high temperatures. The color range of this compound can vary from blue to green. Due to its color range, phthalocyanine blue has green undertones, is cool in temperature, but still vivid. It, too will stand up to
light and mix with other colors very well, but is slightly transparent.

Save yourself some trouble and learn to mix your own colors.

a) You’ll have more control of each final color

b) your color mixing will be more consistent when you run out of paint

c) you might save a little money instead of buying millions of different pre mixed colored paint.

It’s just as easy to mix your own. Making a color wheel is kinda self explanatory, so I’m not gonna go into much detail, so watch my video to get the gist.

A “Practical Color Wheel”

If you need something interesting to color instead of a boring color wheel – here’s a FREE coloring page printable from my new abstract coloring book, Fill in the Blot.

Print it, share it, enjoy.

Share with me what you do on Instagram using #FillInTheBlot




Acrylics & gouache: materials, techniques, color and composition, style, subject. (2003). Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s.

Aravindakshan, A. (2005, January 1). Copper Phthalocyanines. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from

Jennings, S. (2014). The complete artist’s manual: the definitive guide to painting and drawing. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

Mollica, P. (2013). Color Theory: an essential guide to color – from basic principles to practical applications. Irvine, CA: Walter Foster.

Robinson, P. (2013, February 6). Spotlight on Cadmium Red. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from

Rodwell, J. (1998). Acrylic workbook: a complete course in ten lessons. Newton Abbot, Devon: David & Charles.

Images used in video:

acrylic paint images from Amazon – , ,

Phthalocyanine blue chemical compound image:

Phthalocyanine blue pigment image:

Cadmium red pigment image:

Cadmium yellow pigment image:

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Hue & Value | Basic Color Theory

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Color theory is something I didn’t learn too much about in all those years in art and design school, so I’m doing all the research myself and sharing my findings with you. The content I’m researching has to do with how color psychology affects our lives in our natural surroundings and how to best select color while creating artwork. Today, I’m starting with the basics. Let me know what you think in the comments.

A color can be measured by wavelength and temperature.

This image from NASA (left) shows the range of the electromagnetic spectrum (wavelengths) and what the naked eye sees (“visible light”). Humans are only able to see a small portion, which is called a rainbow.

Color temperature has to do with the energy of each color. Think of a fire or a hot stove burner. You can feel the hot energy in your body when you’re close them. Things that are red are hotter than things that are blue. It’s the same reason why when your in a room with blue walls you may feel cold just from being surrounded by blue.

However, color and light is slightly different than color and pigment (color mixing). I’ll be using a color wheel to explain the following principles.

Hue – it’s your basic colors in their purist form. Kind of a  fancy term for ‘color.’ They can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Primary – 2 colors cannot be mixed to make primary hues
  • Secondary – 2 primary hues are mixed to make a secondary hue
  • Tertiary – 1 primary + 1 secondary hue are mixed to make a tertiary hue

Value – the lightness or darkness of a hue

  • Tint – adding white to a hue
  • Shade – adding black to a hue (*bonus – a shade can also be made by adding its complimentary hue. Ex: adding red to green will create more natural looking shades).
  • Tone – adding gray to a hue


Now that you’ve got the basics down, get yourself a mixed media sketchbook and paint some gradient scales. It may sound boring (trust me, I’ve made my fair share), but it really will help you understand color relationships and will give you a firm foundation for which to build more advanced color theory principles on.

It’s simple:

  1. Get one tube of each primary color of acrylic paint, a brush, some water, and a mixed media sketch book.
  2. Draw some rectangles on the page. With the paint, start with one color and some white and black.
  3. An easy way I like making gradients is to straight up mix the tints, shades, and tones on my page as I go. You would get a highly more accurate gradient if you premixed everything, but I’m all for just getting the idea across to understand the underlying principle. If you wanna take more time with it, go for it!


The final product should look something like this:

Let me know what you think in the comments. And if you want to know when I make new videos, subscribe to me on YouTube or sign up on my email list.



Suggested Supplies:

  1. Small Pocket Color Wheel (you can buy one on Amazon HERE). I like this brand of color wheel because it has most color jargon defined on it and it briefly illustrates basic color relationships or color schemes (like complimentary, analogous, triad, etc). They come in a small or big size (I have the small size).
  2. A mixed media sketch book (here’s one you can get on Amazon) to practice/experiment with color principles and for personal reference.


color wavelength image: NASA.GOV

Mollica, P. (2013). Color Theory: An essential guide to color – from basic principles to practical applications. Irvine, CA: Walter Foster.

Murphy, A. (2013). Color Essentials: Crisp & Vibrant Quilts. Lafayette, CA: Stash Books.

What wavelength goes with a color. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2017, from

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Time to Focus Your Energy on What’s Important

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Does making artwork really effect your mood?

You know when you do one thing for a long time over and over and it starts to feel mundane like it’s not working or benefiting you in any way like it it used to?

My best friend texted me a picture of three paintings she had made (all in the same day, I might add, which is out of the ordinary for her) with supplies she got for Christmas. I called her back and she told me how much fun she was having making all these paintings. She described what each painting was and the meaning behind each stroke she made. She had even mixed her own colors… I was very impressed! It made me excited that she was so excited. She said the painting was making her relaxed and filled her with energy. Plus she’s had a goal this past year to get more in touch with her “creative side.”

It got me to thinking… Making artwork really does balance us in a way. Especially for people like my friend. She is so smart in most ways I’m not (and maybe this is why we’ve stayed friends for over 20 years). We teach each other and grow to be better people every time we interact. In fact, we’re like an old married couple and we joke about getting married if we’re both still single by the time we’re 40 😉 … I mean just to enjoy the monetary benefits alone, and same-sex marriage is legal in the States now, so…

My point is the Universe reminded me how much I get from painting. It fills a need inside me and keeps me sane. I wish I was part of a culture that valued art making as much as it did doctors and politicians and shit. And I’m not talking about those painting and wine places where you go and “be creative” with your friends and drink wine for a few hours and learn how to paint a giant daisy. Don’t get me wrong, those places are awesome – but there is so much more to creating a painting that not only was made by your hands, but it’s a manafestation of what your thinking and want to communicate at that moment in time. The act of making artwork with your hands effects us psychologically and is a form of communication to our fellow humans just like talking to someone or reading a book.

So, here’s my new inspiration for 2017 – It’s time to focus my energy on what’s important to me. And painting is important to me. Now is the time to do things I think are fun and do them without question. Don’t overthink it, just do it.

Oh, and don’t forget to be grateful. (you gotta say it in a fun accent)

This week I’m working a small abstract painting requested by my mom… I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be an abstracted sky/water scene or non-representational. Honestly, she wanted me to make my own version of an art print that she saw at the store the other day, so… I’ve settled on a nice gradient with Bob Ross happy clouds in the foreground.

I’m using acrylics watered down a bit mixed with a little gel medium with a slight gloss.

Follow me on Instagram to see more progress.

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Sunday Art Journal – “Never gonna’ give you up”

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Loyalty. It’s what we all want.

Being loyal to yourself can be one of the hardest things. I challenge you to be loyal to yourself this week and create something for your right brain. To make this easy and as fun as possible, I suggest listening to your favorite retro song while creating.

This week’s art journal is brought to you by Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna’ Give You Up.” Think of it as never giving up on myself, my desires, and aspirations.

I did, at one point, actually write some of the chorus on the page, but covered most of it up with more paint and charcoal.



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Sunday Art Journal: “Lemon Bowl”

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When life gives you lemons… put them in a bowl and paint it.

Embrace the tart as well as the sweet (and bitter). Enjoy all the elements life brings.

Have a good week,


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Art Journal Sunday: Rothko Inspired

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Do you get confused when attempting to understand abstract artwork?

You’re not alone.

Abstract is a very broad term which is misunderstood as maybe ‘thoughtless’ art.

Au contraire, my friend!

Search on YouTube for ‘how to make abstract art for your bedroom’ tutorials and your results will be practically endless. The sad part is that most of these tutorials further spread the message that abstract work has no thought, rhyme or reason behind it. Of course, any creative work someone wants to make is totally up to them, but I feel the need to defend my profession and help to educate people on the true meaning, technique, and reason of abstract painting.

Looking back into history, around the turn of the 20th century, there formed art movements like cubism, abstract expressionism, and dada. Two main shifts happened within these art movements: technique and meaning. Instead of realistically depicting a person in a painting artists were starting to generalize human forms by breaking apart (or abstracting) the shapes that made up that human form. On top of unique visual techniques that were being used each artwork was starting to stand for something, like going against all boring and traditional forms of art.

Expressionism was an influential style in the abstract movement. Vibrant color and movement that could be seen in brushwork, for example, were added to paintings in a way that had never been seen before

One abstract expressionist artists I’ve been into recently, Mark Rothko, is one of the main influential artists of this style in the mid 20th century. For Rothko, abstract expressionism was his way of evoking certain emotions within the viewer. This is partly my reason behind my creation of The Affirmation Portrait {sneaky plug!}.

Most of his creations were giant color field paintings. They may look easy to recreate, but actually consist of his own process of multiple paint layers of specific colors.

This week’s Art Journal is my interpretation of a Rothko color field abstract expressionist painting… plus a little glitter glue. 😉

Now, it’s your turn.

Do you like this form of art? What would you do differently?

I invite you to make your own Rothko-inspired painting and share it with me on Instagram (@keziacarterstudio) or Facebook. I would LOVE to see what you make.

Sending love,


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