Friday, June 20, 2014


What thoughts dance behind those silent, quick eyes that miss nothing?
Do you dwell on galaxies, the orbiting of planets around suns,
of suns around other suns in one giant universal waltz?
Do you focus on the universe of a cell and the smallest particles of life within?
Do you write scripts for full-length movies comprised of well-rounded characters
surviving and thriving through intricate and adept plots?
Or novels of equal complexity and quality?
Do you create a world yet unseen except in that brilliant brain of yours?
A world where justice reigns and inhabitants live in peace and harmony?
Do you plant a fairy garden of magical flowers and trees?
Paint a four-foot by six-foot canvas with thousands of intricate, colorful strokes?
Find a cure for cancer or AIDS or heart dis-ease?

Others may say you "obsess," but you know better.
You were made for this.
And the very world that judges you?
Well, you may save it one day.
So, let your thoughts run free.
Let them play and frolic in the sun.

The above is my offering to the 2014 #NZGAW Blog Tour.
Thanks to Mary St. George for inviting me to participate!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Gesso: What It is and Why I Love It

When I post about playing with gesso, I end up fielding a few questions about it. Since it's an art supply I use frequently, I figured I'd write an ode--or a blog post--about it.

Gesso is an acrylic-based surface preparation. I use it to prepare all kinds of items for paint and/or decoupage. Coating a surface with a layer or two of gesso makes it ready for all kinds of media: watercolor, acrylic, decoupage, collage, pen work, etc.

I love gesso for at least three reasons:

  1. It can make almost any surface paintable. Just a coat or two, and I can make paints of all kinds glide across canvases, book covers, papers, the cat, etc. (Just for the record, I don't have a cat.)
  2. Smearing it all over a surface feels great! Now, if you prefer, you can avoid a mess by painting gesso on your surface with a foam or bristle brush. Painting it with a brush can feed meditative. But if you're like me, you get a tad impatient with that delivery method. Plus, smearing it all over a surface with my hands is a tactile experience. It reminds me of finger painting as a child. I remember starting preschool classes approaching the painting table, a little pile of silky tempura paint powder sitting atop a glob of starch on a piece of paper, just waiting for me to dive in with my fingers. I couldn't get my smock on fast enough to begin my masterpieces! Applying gesso to my painting surfaces brings some of that childlike joy back into my heart.
  3. Applying gesso is a fairly mindless yet mindful part of the creating process. Putting gesso onto a surface takes little strategic thinking. So I can really feel the gesso, the surface, and the rhythm of smoothing it out. I can be in the moment.
Gesso is available at most hobby stores in the acrylic paints section. It comes in white, black, and clear. I recommend it highly for both the product and process of your creating!