Grow where you are planted

I think it’s important to do what your soul craves.

We often think “if only I had this or that” or “if only I had more time” or any number of reasons why we can’t do what we want to do. I am certainly guilty of this kind of thinking.

Below is a picture of a beautiful and delicate poppy I saw growing in the midst of a desolate construction site:


In reference to making art, I think it’s important to do as much as possible, even if the circumstances are not ideal and the art does not end up perfect. It feeds your soul. Your soul needs food like your body.

Next time your soul craves to do something, you gotta let it eat.

Collage with washi tape

Collage does not come naturally to me. But fooling around with washi tape makes collage really easy.

Below is a white on black piece I did for fun. This is a rare occasion where I used black paper. I bought a little pad of it recently so I can try it out.


The lines were made by using Uni Signo white pen. However, I am not too happy with it in this application. The lines are a bit too thick for my liking for such a small piece. For larger pieces, the lines are much better in scale. I applied gold gouache for the sun and the rest is washi tape. It’s kind of whimsical and totally improvised.

Using washi tape is a great way to create fast collages because you can just tear it off from the roll and it can be repositioned.

Have you tried washi tape?

Wishing you an official summer weekend!

Journal doodling

Lately, I’m enjoying fooling around in journals. For me, journals are more forgiving. The things in it don’t have to be works of art. Normally, I try to use all archival materials but in the journals I allow myself to fool around with non-archival ones as well.

Below is a little doodle of a face using Akashiya Sai Japanese brush markers. They are water-soluble and have beautiful, blendable and transparent colours. Here, they were applied on the journal surface and blended with a water brush:


The eyes and mouth were accented by Sakura Pigma Microns on wet surface and applied dry on the head. I love the bleed of the pigment from the microns and the subtle radiance that the Akashiya Sai produces.

Guilty pleasures

Hello dear readers, I hope everyone had a good Father’s Day weekend. I had a good and busy one, which meant not enough time to make art. So I tried to get a bite-size art snack in by doodling and sorting washi tape.

Guilty pleasures, everyone has them. Mine is art supplies, craft supplies and stationary. So I sorted washi tapes and fooled around with them in my sketch book:


The page was previously painted by testing out different acrylic paints. I find that they make good backgrounds. After that I applied bits of washi tape and white paint pen to make line drawings on top.

Sometimes you just have to fool around and do something just for fun!

Digital painting

I don’t discriminate when it comes to art. I have my opinions and tastes but all things in love and art are fair game.

I don’t do a lot of it, but sometimes I make digital art. Since I spend a lot of my online time on my iPad, I started using one of the apps on it called Paper by Fifty Three a while back. It is a sketching and painting app that is ingeniously simple and clean. Below is a quick sketch I did with it:


The app has great watercolour like brushes, pens, pencils and simple colour mixing tools. It has had many updates and added a lot of new features since it was first released. It’s a great way to get a little art and doodle in quickly when you don’t have aceess to your supplies.


If you have an iPad, I highly recommend this app. The only thing I don’t like is using my finger to paint and draw with. And I don’t like any of the styli out there available for the iPad. However, I have high hopes for the Pencil stylus (made by the same company) which I ordered. I can’t wait ’till it arrives!

Ceracolors wax paint (part II)


As promised, I am continuing my review of Ceracolors wax paint. Above is the completed test painting done on an untreated cradled wood panel. In my review part I, I tested the paint on some acid-free mat board. I really liked the way it handled and had no problems adjusting to its characteristics.

Today, my review continues with how the paint handles on the untreated wood panel. I applied Ceracolors in Titanium White straight onto the small scrap panel with a palette knife as a background. It kinda looks like vanilla frosting and it spreads easily like it, too. 😋


Afterwards, I applied heat with a heat gun while the paint was still wet and noticed some bubbling.

When working with hot wax (encaustic) on untreated wood, there is always some off-gassing. This is because wood is always in various states of fluctuation, adjusting to the moisture level in the atmosphere. This fluctuation causes little pits to form in the molten wax and is inconsequential with regard to the structural integrity of the encaustic art work.

In the case of Ceracolors, I am working with a water miscible wax paint. As the paint dries and moisture evaporates, the paint forms cracks and flakes off slightly. This is bad news regardless of how cool the cracked texture looks in some parts. I’m hoping this problem will be resolved with the application of encaustic gesso (keeping fingers crossed and I will do another review that includes the results). The application of gesso on a substrate is standard practice in oil and acrylic painting.


Now onto the good part. As you can see with the little abstract test piece, you can get some really neat effects. You can apply the paint thickly straight out of the tube for impasto. You can water it down and get light watercolour effects. And you can use sgrafitto technicque and scratch into the paint without waiting a long time for paint to dry. The sgrafitto technique produces white lines or pointillist effects in my piece. The little white dots and lines were made by just scratching in with a sharp metal wire. I love the fact that you can do this, and in some of my watercolour paintings I have used white acrylic paint to get the same effect.


Below is another detail in close-up:


I am very excited and look forward to discovering many more things that you can do with this versatile paint. I’ll keep you posted.

Watercolour face on mat board

You know I like to experiment.

One day, I had some rag mat and wondered how watercolour would look on it. So I painted a face and whatever else came to me. Below is the result:


The effect was interesting and watercolour on mat board will work for limited techniques, but had its limits. For example, there’s not much room for scrubbing: the cotton fibres kind of pill up. But if you wanted to do a quick painting, it’s perfectly fine. It doesn’t take heavy washes and it’s not suitable for too much wet-on-wet since there is no sizing on the board.

I like to experiment and explore art medium in different ways. Do you like to experiment?

Wishing everyone an enjoyable weekend. 🌾

Ceracolors wax paint (part I)

I’m trying a brand new medium. I mean a medium that’s not only new to me, but pretty much new to modern art supplies. I say ‘pretty much new to modern art supplies’, because there have been recorded formulations since antiquity that were similar. I am here referring to Punic wax.

Within the scholarship about the Fayum mummy portraits, it is undecided whether cold or hot wax was used, but the wax I’m talking about today is a water-soluble cold wax paint.

I only know of two water-soluble wax paints in modern formulations available today: one is Cuni paints from Spain and the other is Ceracolors made in the U.S.A and sold by Natural Pigments. I’m going to be testing out Ceracolors:


I started to play around with the paints on my trusty pieces of mat board:


The paint comes out of the tubes well, much like traditional paints, and the most wonderful thing is they don’t have any odor, not even a slightly oily smell. You can see that the titanium white I’m testing out is thin like a regular paint, not like the molten wax of hot encaustic. Ceracolors can be heated to speed up drying and curing, but if heated when wet, the heat will cause bubbles to form.

image I mixed up the paint with a spatula on my glass palette. They mix really well. The consistency is different in that it’s slightly lumpy and light but in a good way. Usually if paint is lumpy it has hard bits that don’t dissolve, but in this case the paint feels a little mousse-like. It’s hard to describe and I don’t know if this description makes any sense.

The paint application is smooth and has great coverage. One thing though, the paint dries very fast. If you’re painting with a brush and doing glazes it will be difficult for you. As along as I can adapt to the characteristics of the paint, the fast drying time can work for me. For example, I like doing glazes, but with oils it takes forever. With Ceracolors, the paint dries quickly so as long as you work in thin layers scumbling. Your progression is much faster. The fast glazing possibility is very satisfying to me.


The paint is great to work with using the palette knife and mixes very well with water. The compensating factor for the quick-drying paint is that it re-wets pretty well. Here’s a closeup of the face I did in about 30 minutes. It has about 5 layers of paint.

Surrounding the face, I just used a flat brush to paint one-stroke quick stripes so you can see how the paint goes on. This paint is very versatile and I’m exited about the many possibilities. And like any wax-based paint, you can polish it to a lovely sheen when it’s dry.

I will post further experiments with this paint as they happen.

Abstract watercolour: When I was a Child

Oftentimes, I feel downtrodden by life. I crave the innocent wonder and natural acceptance of the world I felt when I was a child. I don’t think I would be amiss to say everyone treasures those feelings they had in childhood.

In art and life, I sometimes strive to achieve ‘the beginner’s mind’ or to see things with fresh eyes. This was the goal for my piece ‘When I was a Child:


I started this watercolour with the motivation of the feelings I just talked about. I wanted to express a carefree, playful and innocent feeling, but there is another element in the painting as well. There are opposing rectilinear symbols that look foreign to a child’s mind; much like how the world would seem from a child’s eyes. But even these foreign elements of the adult world coexist naturally in the child’s world.

The child’s world reflected through the painting is colourful and vibrant with fluididity and movement. Transparent colours intermingle and the cryptic incised symbols are just there. I guess my metaphor of this piece would be: to be fully engaged with wonder, curiosity and beauty in life despite the unknowns and uncertainties.