Wip work in progress Water Geisha

I decided this painting needed to change its direction. The kimono in red was fighting with everything in this painting. I changed the reflective light in the face to blue and painted over the red kimono, now I’ll try to put some of it back in but this time it won’t be red.


Adding texture to the ply wood (step 2)

When preparing your wood for panting, you may wish to add texture. Sure you can add texture with paint but paint is a bit expensive and Gesso is usually less expensive.
Here are just some of the tools I use to create texture with Acrylic Gesso. A cake decorating spatula, (or a large palette knife) paint brushes, plastic lids of various sizes. Anything from a butter container to a coffee container will work fine. Your hands, rags, rubber shapers, (you can make your own from ink erasers) & various types of nap rollers, smooth to rag, it all depends upon the effect your looking for. Really anything you have around the house can add texture, just look around and find things you would like to introduce, such as lace, screens, webbing, fabric,  & stamps, etc.

In the two examples you can see the variety of looks you can achieve. The first is my pencil box which I have painted in watercolor on textured gesso and sealed it with a clear gloss, the other example is a block of wood covered in gesso, sanded lightlyt and also painted in watercolor but this time sealed with a matt seal coat.

It would be a good idea to try both and see what combination fits your style.

This is a close up of gesso on the spatula doesn’t it looks like frosting?

You may want to put the gesso on the reverse side of the spaula, it makes it easier to apply.

Below is a rubber shaper, you can push the gesso around before it dries or use it to pull gesso off the surface.

Palette knives can put small lines of gesso on the canvas or wood panel if the gesso is applies from the side.

Scumble anything over the surface and it will skip making some really great texture.

Here I’m going for  the look of water..

Using the very smooth roller I’m making almost no texture I want this area smooth for  the figure.  Too much texture can be distracting,  try to find a bit of balance in your piece.

Here I have applied tape to the wood and after painting gesso over it, pull it off to leave a negative shape

In the photo below, I’m using a small butter container lid to put the gesso on in large swaths. You just have to cut the roundness off of one edge and create a nice curved or straight edge so the gesso will roll onto the wood.

This is the final photo showing how the Plywood looks. When it dries it will be ready to paint on or draw if that is your choice.


I named this Koi Caravaggio he is a beautiful yellow and white Koi that is scale less. Unlike his name sake he isn’t a fighter but the sweetest Koi in the pond.

A little about the Artist, Caravaggio

Even in his own lifetime Caravaggio was considered enigmatic, fascinating, rebellious and dangerous. He burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600, and thereafter never lacked for commissions or patrons, yet he handled his success atrociously. An early published notice on him, dating from 1604 and describing his lifestyle three years previously, tells how “after a fortnight’s work he will swagger about for a month or two with a sword at his side and a servant following him, from one ball-court to the next, ever ready to engage in a fight or an argument, so that it is most awkward to get along with him.”   In 1606 he killed a young man in a brawl and fled from Rome with a price on his head. In 1608 he was involved in another brawl, and yet another in Naples in 1609, possibly a deliberate attempt on his life by unidentified enemies. By the next year,he was dead.  


I name all my Koi after Artists,  to name a few… Picasso, Cezanne, Monet, O’Keefe, Degas,  and Van Gogh

Next year when I’ll be able to figure out if their male and female  I’m sure to find a few are female but we’ll figure out what to do do when and if…

Colorful Koi

I love this painting, the depth of color is very much as you see it here.  Usually I work with a cruciform under painting but here I used the bulls eye, this threw me at first and I had to tell that little voice who is always there reminding me of the rules of good design… that I was going to paint it anyway so shut up. 

Sometimes we have to break the rules to create good art. 

I wanted to get a better picture of this painting before I frame it, I still need to flatten it out as some of the bottom area is pretty wrinkled.    If you have any questions about this piece let me know, I’ll explain anything and try to help you understand this process.  My style is one where I allow the painting to dictate where the painting is going next so that is actually the hardest thing to explain.

The technical stuff I can help you with anytime. 


BTW…it will be for sale for $700. plus S&H. I may enter it into a fall show before I release it to a buyer. 

Heres how I flatten out a large painting.

I use a large table top where it can sit for at least 24 hours undisturbed.  This in itself can be difficult when you live in a house that is 1260 Sq feet.  So after dinner, I will usually use the Dining table which sits six.  


I place paper towels ( or any absorbent paper) on the table and lay the painting face down onto the towels.  I don’t use real towels because they are too thick and won’t allow the painting to get really flat. After I have the painting laying face down on the paper towels, I spray the back of the watercolor paper with water and rub the water into the paper with my hands. I make sure no water goes over the side and onto the actual front of the painting. I get it wet enough so that when I press the painting down the water can evaporate into the towels and leave the painting flat. I cover the BACK of the painting with more paper towels and make sure every part is covered.  Then I lay a  piece flat foam core ( you can use wood make sure it won’t bleed if wet or anything that is flat and larger then the painting) which is slightly larger than the painting. I then put weights ( usually books and heavy pieces of marble)on the foam core making sure not to leave any spaces between the weights. I line the books up edge to edge.  The tiles of marble go on top for added weight.   Make sure the weight is evenly distributed.  I leave all of this as is for at least 24 hours often 48 hours. When I take off the weights the painting is totally dry and usually completely flat.  If its humid I may have to put the weights back on if  I see that the Watercolor paper is still damp. Its OK if the paper towels are damp.  I of course use these towels over and over.  For the smaller pieces I have a press which works great and pictures of my press are on my other daily painting blog.  http://shantimarie.wordpress.com

check it out there is a search box you can use to find the post.