Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2016


photo, how-to, mixed-media-manic
Scratched first, then the color was enhanced with markers.
Got any old processed prints that just aren't the best? Did'ja go through old albums with relatives at Thanksgiving (or maybe you WILL, at Christmas), and found or will find some duplicates or just plain bad shots? Here's some ways to have PHUN WITH PHOTOS! Even with kids (see my caveat below)! One or two can even be done with inkjet prints, while a couple of others require commercially-processed pics.

First, for the scratching activity (the photo above with the leaded glass), dip a processed print in lukewarm water about a minute, blot, and use scratch tools or even sandpaper on the parts you wish to lighten or remove. If the emulsion hardens too quickly, just run warm water over the picture again.
If you want, add color back in with markers, watercolors, or inks. This project is a great way to re-work photos that contain distracting elements! Here's a link to another scratched example.

Next, bleaching the print is best done on a commercially-printed photo, since rinsing afterward is a good idea. Inkjet prints would run with a water rinse.) Try a bleach pen if you want to write words or numbers or symbols. Then wipe with a damp paper towel, rinse under water, and dry. Young children should not attempt this project.
tute, how-to, mixedmediamanic
Shot inside an old house to "frame."
In the photo above, there was just too much dark and my view wasn't great anyway.
BUT, here's another way to use household laundry bleach with photos! Mix a solution with half water, half Hilex in a tray. Dip part of the photo in and watch the colors change! You can even protect parts of the photo with a wax resist product first if desired, and then dip the entire thing into the tray of bleach solution. See example below. Also see "Dodg" at this link.

tutorial, photos, Guhin
Partially bleached in a tray.
Cutting and rearranging the parts is nothing new, but it IS easy and sometimes the results are striking. I've also previously discussed stretching two similar pictures into one, discarding the most boring strips. (See another example here.)

how-to, photo, art
Of COURSE it works with either
horizontal or vertical strips, even
angled pieces!
Finally, coloring photos the easy way, with markers: Try buffing or smoothing out the streaks with cotton balls. Go for unreal colors and psychedelic effects.
tute, photography, how-to
Markers are just so easy!
Thanks for viewing this post! I appreciate it.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Today's post is about some of the things that I, as a visual arts educator, believe in. You may not agree with everything here, and that's okay, but I feel each of the following.
  1. If at all possible, don't trace. You'll learn with drawing practice...the more the better. Tracing is often a crutch.
  2. DO substitute materials and use what you have on hand. Save our resources, don't waste. Such experimentation with media, tools, substrates and more may lead to some pleasant surprises!
  3. Don't rely on reference photos if you can help it. Draw from life or your own imagination.
  4. Pretty or cute aren't necessary in an artwork. Nor is "whimsical."
  5. DO explore outside your comfort zone. And play, play, play!

Monday, October 31, 2016


I've raved about Bombay colored India inks before (click here)...j'adore all the great colors they come in! But today I explored a couple of others: Holbein drawing inks and Sennelier shellac-based inks.
The 13 Holbein drawing inks are waterproof and come with droppers in the screw-on tops. Some are transparent, some opaque.
Sennelier shellac-based inks have a transparent, satin finish and thin with water, if you can believe that!

For the first example shown below, I worked on acrylic paper from a pad, spraying a little purple fluid acrylic from a spray bottle. Then I used the applicator tip of the Carmine color of Holbein ink. It's a powerful pigment! Then I let that dry.

tute, tutorial, how-to
I actually liked this first step better than the result later.
Next, I created a few puddles of rubbing alcohol and added alcohol ink, but didn't love the effect, shown below:
Guhin, blog
I do like the colors together, though!
The next exploration was done on Cachet 101 Mix Media Black paper, which they say is "environmentally friendly." Bonus! I wet the paper with clear water, then added white acrylic in places. When it was dry, I used alcohol with the shellac-based blue and yellow Sennelier inks. Not my favorite experiment result, but I had to try, right? The inks are gorgeous anyway.

This will make good collage paper.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


MASKING with flat paper cut-outs enhances this
first technique, monoprinting. I usually roll
water-based printing ink onto a sheet of
Plexiglas and draw or scrape designs directly
on that surface. I used rubber tips and many
other scraping tools to make lines, shapes,
and patterns.

TIP: Work quickly so the ink doesn't get too

 Then add the paper masking shapes, which                            
you could prepare ahead of time if you know
what your theme or motif is.
Lay the paper shapes on top of the still-wet
ink, wherever more white is to be preserved.
Place the sheet of printing paper onto the
inked, designed surface. Press all over the
back with the flat of your hand. Peel the
Guhin, copyrighted, blog
I used oil pastels on this monoprint.
print off, let dry.
While the black-and-white
prints have graphic appeal,
they’re even more delightful
when partly colored. Use
dry media when the print is
thoroughly dry: colored
pencils or pastels (oil or chalk).
However, if you printed with oil-based ink or acrylics,
the print is not water-soluble and you can colorize
with inks or watercolors!

Guhin, art, blog, tute
This page spread appears in the November issue of Arts & Activities
Magazine, which any visual arts educator should have!

IMAGE TRANSFER with waxed paper is exciting. 
Computer images that are graphic and black &            
white work best on the waxed paper.                                 
The final print will be reversed.

First, the computer image must be no larger
than 8.5” x 11.”  Cut both smooth watercolor
paper and waxed paper to that size, too.
Then dampen the watercolor paper with
water and wipe it off, because too much
water will make the print blur terribly.
Set that aside but don't let dry too much.
To prevent wrinkles or jamming the printer,
scotch tape the waxed paper smoothly to a                                                
sheet of printer paper at the top. 
how-to, tute, tutorial
Image transfer on waxed paper.
Or use repositional adhesive spray at the top end.
Either side of the waxed paper works.

Feed the sandwich into the printer and print.
TIP: Definitely use an inkjet printer.

Don’t be alarmed by the “faint” print you get
on the waxed paper…it’s supposed to look like
that! Gently lay it ink-side down onto the pre-
dampened watercolor paper. Holding the
waxed paper firmly down so it doesn’t move,
press all over with your hand. Then carefully
Guhin, art+blog
Watercolors on sealed print.
lift the waxed paper. It will still have ink,
so be careful not to drag it.

These prints are water soluble,
so colorize with dry media only.
Or spray the print with
clear acrylic when dry,
let that dry too,
then add watercolors or inks.
Both techniques are easy and fun to do,
so I hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


 Today’s post is an addition to or further exploration of my last post, where I used Future floor polish (now called Pledge Floor Care with Future shine), basically a clear acrylic emulsion about as viscous as vegetable oil. I learned that it was a great extender or flow improver. Future floor polish is also both a great clear coat on finishes (especially on Yupo!), and a barrier between two different kinds of finishes.

Thin, flowy acrylics can be used to drip, spatter, pour, as an ink in pens, airbrushes, and squeeze bottles. They also make great glazes, especially when added to clear acrylic medium. But thinning acrylics can be tricky! Your paint MUST be like skim milk WITHOUT any lumps! I thinned and creamed the tube or craft paint with a little water first.
Many of you may already know that isopropyl alcohol can be splattered into wet, fluid acrylics to create a cool effect.
Well, it can also be used as an acrylic paint thinner! But this time I will discuss another unconventional, unexpected thinning medium. 

Guhin, blog
This stuff works great to liquefy acrylic paint!

Thinning Acrylics with Glass Cleaner
In its usual form, glass cleaner is a blue tinted liquid. Unlike the floor polish, glass cleaner has no acrylic binder so it cannot extend the paint, merely thin it. Glass cleaner has a tiny amount of detergent and some alcohol to reduce surface tension of the water. Most glass cleaners also have ammonia which helps to keep acrylic emulsions liquified.

TIP: Next time you finish a painting session with leftover paint, make some of it liquid and pour into a clean spray or squeeze bottle. Be sure to label the bottle as "fluid." 
Hey, thanks for viewing this post...I hope you try this stuff, as well as
the floor polish and the alcohol!
And have fun, fun, fun till your daddy takes the T-Bird away!

Monday, September 26, 2016


Y'know how expensive fluid acrylics can be? Or acrylic airbrush colors. Even the tiny little bottles aren't cheap. I made my own with the method explained below.

tutorial, mixed-media, manic
A fun experiment!
First, I mixed Liquitex tube acrylic in Prism Violet thoroughly with acrylic floor shine.

Guhin, art+blog
Go more opaque or
more translucent, as desired.
Be sure to get the mixture
as smooth as possible.
I should have strained mine, but didn't,
and it turned out okay!

Next, I poured the now-fluid acrylic paint into a clean,
empty eyeglass cleaner spray bottle.


Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay India inks come in many colors, in a convenient dropper-stopper glass bottle. These highly pigmented India inks not only remain lightfast and permanent, but are also totally waterproof when dry. The colors are brilliant and transparent (except black and white).

My support was white Yupo, which I first sprayed with clear water. Then I added violet India ink in places. While that was still wet, I sprayed my homemade liquid acrylic in some areas. Silly me, there wasn't enough difference in the two colors (duh), so I grabbed orange airbrush acrylic to add a few accents.   

mixed-media, tutorial
I also splattered pure floor shine!
Adding droplets of clear floor shine at the end, but before the India ink is too dry, will create some cool effects.
I'll include this example, below, using Teal Bombay India ink diluted with water on Yupo. Then spattered with clear acrylic floor wax (the liquid). Then I used the ink bottle's dropper to add dark accents back in.

Guhin, how-to, tute
The India ink is repelled by the acrylic wax!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


My gratitude to those who entered last week's contest...please stay with me even if you didn't get lucky this time!
The random drawing was done by my impartial, totally uncaring husband. Okay, he cares about me, but not my blog.
mixed-mediaHe chose Meera's name from the hat, so MEERA RAO, please send me your mailing address privately. You won the art book prize!