Posca patterns


In my last couple of posts, I was fooling around with Akashiya Sai brush pens. The pens produce transparent colours. This time, I wanted to try opaque colours on a black background. I think the effect is quite vibrant.

I used Strathmore artist tiles for the black paper and Posca paint markers for the coloured circles. Posca markers are made by the same people who make my favorite white pen, Mitsubishi Uni. The markers are water-based, odorless and opaque. They are fun to work with, the colours pop and produce a graphic look.

In this pattern, I used the white pens to accentuate the jellyfish look of the circles. I usually paint jellyfish motifs with transparent watercolours. It is interesting to illustrate them in this opaque manner as well. It kind of looks like an underwater nightscape.

In others news, I wanted you, my dear readers, to know that I will be on holidays until September. This holiday is long overdue and I am very excited to go. This will be my last post until then.

Wishing you a great summer!



A little while ago, I went kayaking for the first time in my life. Above is a picture of where we paddled and what it looked like in my mind, afraid of the unknown.

While I wouldn’t consider myself an ‘outdoors’ girl due to a fear of bugs, but I do appreciate the beauty of nature. However, I am scared of being on the open ocean, even though I know how to swim. The vastness of the open water, and being in the middle of it, freaks me out. So when I promised my husband that I would go kayaking with him, I made a promise with good intentions.

In reality, I was scared, but I never go back on a promise (except for the time I promised my brother I would bring him a dinosaur toy from the museum when I was in grade 5, I still feel guilty about it to this day). So I HAD to go.

When I actually bit the bullet and went into the kayak and onto the sea, I was so stressed. My husband did everything he could to calm me down, as I tried to I paddle frantically to reach the nearest piece of land. Soon, I realized I wouldn’t sink sink. We tried some manoeuvres like squaring up against the waves created by the wake of powerboats, and didn’t sink or tip over. After a while, I began to relax.

As we paddled further, we came upon a formation that was like a little cave, and my husband asked if we should paddle in. Somehow I felt a sense of adventure and agreed. It was so wonderful, I felt like a kid discovering something new. Below is a picture of the ‘cave’ we paddled into and how beautiful it was with the light at the end:


You might be wondering about what I am trying to say in this post. I am merely reminding myself not to forget the sense of adventure in life once in a while. There is a lot to discover if you allow yourself.

Patterns II

The other day, I had a lot of fun making patterns. Today, I painted the same watercolour circles again, but this time I used white outlines instead of black ones:


This change to white outlines does give the piece a different look and a lighter feel. The white was done using my favorite white pen, Mitsubishi Uni Signo. I found that the same patterns can look very different depending on lighting and colour.

Below are examples of my patterns after they have been put through different digital filters:


There are so many different looks and possibilities!

Wishing you a great weekend.



I am sometimes inspired by patterns and illustrations. In this case, I was inspired by the patterns in the work of Lisa Congdon. Patterns are a great way of making creative marks when you don’t know what to depict. In a lot of cases, the motif develops naturally and it is often interesting to see what the final product turns out to be.

On my journal page in the picture above, I used my new favourite Akashiya Sai brush pen to paint the coloured circles. I used a waterbrush to dilute the coloured circles to have a watercolour look. For outlining and applying linear patterns, I used my trusty Sakura Pigma Microns. I like the contrast of the black lines in its many variations on the watercolour circles.

I think it’s interesting to see how many variations of patterns you can come up with. I was exploring the circular-segmented motif that seems to look floral. I like the overall look of the patterns that make-up the big picture. It is bright, colourful and whimsical but it also has a bit of edge from the black lines.

Next time you don’t know what to draw, try a pattern.

Lightness of heart

imageI have decided that one of my personal goals is to have a light heart. This realization comes from thinking about my emotional well-being for everyday living.

It is my personality type–if there is such a thing–to take things too seriously. I don’t mean that I can’t take a joke, ’cause I can, but I take life and responsibility very seriously. Taking things too seriously does take a toll on my ability to enjoy life. I tend to be a worrywart and it has gotten a lot worse since I had kids.

When I was young and single, I was pretty fearless. I was only responsible for myself and I could handle anything that came my way. Since having a family, I have started to feel vulnerable and have become fearful of losing them or having something bad happen to them. I suddenly felt out of control, so I started worrying about everything. Now, I realize that my worrying does not change anything and, in fact, it changes how I interact with my family, for the worse.

Having a light heart, to me, means creating a separation from recognizing the issues that need to be addressed and understanding when there’s nothing that can be done at the moment. So, while there’s nothing to be done, instead of worrying about it, enjoy the moment that is in front of you.

Wishing you a lovely day … I’m gonna try to keep it light 😄

Akashiya Sai


I think I mentioned before how strongly I feel about using archival art materials. I usually use only acid-free, better yet lignin-free, and lightfast art making supplies.

The only exception so far is Akashiya Sai brush pens. These Japanese dye-based coloured pens have synthetic brush ends that are finer and more supple than regular waterbrushes. They are also a dream to work with. They blend with water so easily and the colours are so beautiful, vibrant and transparent. I mentioned them before but I had to bring them up again because they are sooo nice to work with.

Since they are not archival (the colours will fade with light), I use them only in journal pages or doodles that will not be sold or displayed:

If you like watercolour effects in a brush pen and do not need something archival, give these pens a try. You can find them at Jetpens and other online stores like Amazon.

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

P.S. I can never remember how to spell the name of these pens. 😆

Ceracolors (part III)


I just got around to conducting more experiments with Ceracolors. Again, these are very quick experiments, no more than 30 mins each (except for applying gesso). I am still pleasantly surprised by some aspects of Ceracolors, while other aspects have me perplexed.

First, the perplexing part: my application of Ceracolors on wood cradle board. In my previous post, I had trouble with the Ceracolors cracking. I thought it was either the heat applied to soon or the untreated substrate of the raw wood on the cradle board.

This time, I prepared the cradle board with 2 coats of R and F encaustic gesso. The result is that it still cracked! And it started to crack even before I used the heat gun:


It was great to paint with and I did use thick impasto applications of the paint. A couple of heavily worked parts lifted off. Which tells me that adhesion wasn’t secure. And I also feel that if my paint was extended with medium rather than water, it would be better for adhering multiple layers as well.

I can think only of couple of things left to try: see if the paint adheres better to a substrate coated with watercolour ground, or try using a commercially prepared board for encaustics. Other than that, I can’t think of anything else.


On the other hand, Ceracolors on ragmat works beautifully. I didn’t do any preparation to the matboard at all. And painted in impasto and any which way I wanted. You can see the paint did not crack:


Matboard is cotton and absorbent, and this is the only difference. Wood cradle board and matboard are both rigid enough, but the wood is not as absorbent as the cotton “paper” of the matboard. It would be great just to paint on matboard, but it would need to be framed.

I like to paint on the deep cradled wood panels because they do not need framing. If the matboard is a larger size, it would have to be doubled-up to increase rigidity for framing but does not need glass. I’m speaking as an ex-picture framer.

I’m going to try again with a substrate coated with watercolour ground and a commercially prepared board, probably Ampersand. They do make quality products. So stay tuned for the results in part IV.

Enjoy it now!


I’m unfortunately one of those people who lives in the past and future. Even in the beginning of summer, I’m worried that it’ll end too soon like it did last summer and the one before. I know this about myself but I haven’t found a way to “fix” this kind of thinking until… now.

It may be old news to some, but to me it’s kind of a step forward: enjoy it as much as I can now! The more I make an effort to enjoy NOW as MUCH as I can, my mind will have less time to dwell in the regret of the past and the fear of the future.

It’s a matter of changing the amount of energy spent on one thing to another. And before I know it, it’ll become a habit and a way of being. This will be my way of having a say on how and what kind of person I want to be.

I must enjoy it now!



Journal page with Golden High Flow

Lately, it’s been hot. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to do much when it’s hot. So I’ve been just fooling around with my journal pages.

I’ve been trying Golden acrylics again. I don’t know why, but the Heavy Body and the Fluid ranges of the Golden acrylics underwhelm me. But the High Flow and the Open ranges I like quite a bit. The random blobs were done with the Golden High Flow ‘Drawing’ set:


The paint was squiggled on and sprayed with water. The paints are pretty much acrylic inks and I love the applicator bottles they come in. It’s much easier to get small amounts of paint and also easier to transfer into other bottles if you need to.

The High Flow ‘Drawing’ set comes with a nice assortment of colours including three metallics: gold, copper and silver. They are quite fun but needs to be shaken vigorously like many liquid metallic paints.


I decided to add a little doodle with my favorite white pen, Uniball Signo. This time I was able to get more of the thinner version that I was out of.


Wishing you a wonderfully balmy summer weekend!

Watercolour and summer

I wanted to post some summery images to offset the grim events of the fires and to cheer myself up. To me, summer is about sun and sea, and watercolours are great for light and colourful paintings. In this case, a small starfish painting on a piece of rag watercolour paper:


The watercolour is decorated with white acrylic inks by Daler-Rowney, FW inks. They are very nice quality inks applied with a dip pen (the kind with holder and nib). I think I would have liked the nib to be finer in this case.

The decorated aquatic specimens are my way of celebrating and appreciating nature by observation and adornment.