One of the things I enjoy most about painting is that time becomes a non-factor. There is no sense of it. It’s a wonderful thing just allowing yourself to become immersed and enjoy the process you’re engaging in, with no consideration of how long it takes. Yes, indeed.

That level of comfort with something lends itself to a “see what happens” state. And that is exactly what happened with this piece. I started with an idea that had popped in my head, which was very symmetrical and most definitely the orientation was landscape. Most definitely. The lines were grouped, and the focal point was just off center in the middle. Very subtle. It was all very clear to me so let the painting commence.

The first thing I do when I paint is cover the entire canvas with a background color. I gleaned this tip from the friend who introduced me to painting, and it has become the foundation of every canvas I paint. It sets both a tone and a base that everything builds off of. But I could not do any of this without my palette knives. Boy, do I love them. Brushes and I do not get along. Trust me. We’ve tried.

Next up is staging. I do this by laying large blocks of color that begin to provide some structure. It’s also where the painting begins to perk up and take on some personality.


From there, it’s all kinds of layering—part of the beauty of working with acrylics. I layer the heck out of my paintings. It doesn’t have to be even, and it is often surprising. It is also very forgiving. You can always add another layer. This is why I don’t paint around the edges of the canvas where it wraps around the frame. How could I even keep up with that? There is far too much going on.

Once in a while I bring out the gold leaf. It not only feels fancy, it adds uniqueness to a piece, which is why I use it sparingly. The theme drives whether I incorporate the gold leaf, and this particular piece was a “yes, we do want to incorporate.”

I recommend using gloves at this point because I do not find the glue to be user friendly. For some reason, I still have stencil brushes from the eighties and turns out they are a handy tool for applying this particular adhesive. I do not find the gold leaf to be that cooperative, but we work through. Before you know it, you have fireworks on your art. Stunning.

It’s in the layering process where I really get immersed. Sometimes that includes applying a layer over the top of most of the painting about ¾ of the way through. Risky, I know. But it’s also rewarding, as it always shows something new. And in this case, it happened at the end which was unusual. All set. Almost.


In my mind this was a landscape orientation, but when I stood back, it didn’t seem quite right. I brought in reinforcements, and my husband agreed—its orientation was clearly a portrait. Perspective makes all the difference.

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This was one of my “out of the box” canvas sizes as it is an 18×24.  It looks nothing like what I had envisioned, yet it landed exactly where I would have hoped. I’ve titled it “Be.”