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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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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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