Veiling With Acrylics Mini Tutorial

photo-12Every artist has their own unique process or technique for painting.  Mine is crazy.  I am serious.  Most of my paintings go through multiple stages and layers before finally landing at a good place to stop. I hesitate to say finished, because I don’t really know that they every really are.  My process mirrors my life. It is a continual cycle of change, learning, holding, experiencing and releasing.

One technique I use often in my process is veiling. I add a ghostly layer of paint over top of work that is already laid down to obscure it somewhat but not entirely.  I have had questions about veiling through my Facebook page. So I thought I would share a little tutorial on a couple of ways to veil with acrylics. Hope you enjoy it.  Would love to hear from you if you found it helpful.

I am Rooted, But I Flow

I feel a thousand capacities spring up in me. I am arch, gay, languid, melancholy by turns. I am rooted, but I flow. -Virginia Woolf


It is Thursday. The beginning of this year started out with Thursdays being MY DAY. The kids normally go to a full day of homeschool classes with another mom on Thursday, and I get the entire day alone. I don’t schedule anything on Thursday. It is just my day at home by myself to work. It has been a really long time since I had an alone Thursday. Weather and illness have meant that classes were cancelled several weeks in a row. We were gearing up to go to class this morning when I got the email that my Mom friend is still very sick and has to cancel again. I was very surprised to find that I am totally okay with this.
It used to be that I was very ritualistic about my art making. My studio was separate from my home. I felt like I had to be in there for long stretches of time with no interruption in order to be at all productive. I had to have a cup of coffee and the right jams playing. It was even better if the whole family was out of the house.


In the new house, I have a tiny room right smack in the middle of the life of things. It opens to the kitchen and the main room. It is exposed to everything that is happening. I thought I would hate this. On the contrary, it has been fantastic. Without going into a long story just yet, I will just say that my art making has totally shifted this year. It has really become integrated into my everyday existence. I am in and out of the studio flowing from housework to helping with math to cooking and back again to make a mark on a canvas or a swipe of paint on the paper. I am flowing. Art is flowing. Life is flowing.
So, when I learned that the kiddos were going to be home all Thursday long again, it just enfolded right into the flow. I had planned to get outside this morning before the rain to explore. I ushered the kids out too. Adam is working on building a campsite in the woods. Messa and I wandered to the swamp and the creek. It was a perfect way to start a day of creative play, to fill the well before pouring it out on the canvas.


Mapping 2015

I have been resistant to mapping out this year. I think it is because last year went so far off the rails with dealing with aging and ailing parents, my husband was in a bad accident and is permanently injured, and we moved to our dream home. Last year was nothing like what I thought it would be. This year I am very firm in my resolve to go with the flow and not “should all over myself,” so making a map of the whole year seemed like trying to get too tight a grip on it all.

I was feeling terribly guilty, because I committed to my friend Jill Berry that I would participate in Mapping 2015. I just couldn’t’ come up with anything. This morning, however, I realized that my daily morning doodles are a sort of a map, and I believe they are expansive and far reaching enough to apply to the next year, and probably beyond. I do these doodles as a part of my morning meditation and prayer. Most recently, I have been asking God to show me what he wants me to see, and I have been just closing my eyes and letting my hand take the pen where ever it wanted to go on the page. What I am getting from these doodles is that I am in a safe and very good place, that I have grown, but there is much more expansion to come. There is a promise of new adventures and fresh revelation. That sounds like a map to me! Maybe a treasure map really.


Who I Am

Life has gotten to be a little nuts for me lately. It is all good stuff. I am just having to re think my time, my priorities, my schedule. I have started assisting with the online promotion for the Graceful Artist Online Event. I will be doing the majority of the blogging, and online promotion there. It really is a part-time gig, and I am having to carve time out from each day to attend to it. This is new or me. I have not worked for anyone outside our home for almost fifteen years. I am excited about it, and welcome the challenge. The kids are at an age where they need me less, so it is old to begin something new.

I have been giving a lot of time in the past month plus to filming my own class for the Graceful Artist. My Prayer Pouch Necklace class begins May 16. It has been fun. I really enjoy the process, but other things have been pushed aside. One of the things I have let slip is my Documented Life Journal.


That has been a bummer. I have really been enjoying this project. So, I have been trying to carve out time to get caught up. Just last week, I was able to complete the challenge that was given for the week of March 1. The challenge was to “make a list of the things that make you YOU.


I had fun with this one. I have begun to learn to be honest with myself about who I am and who God calls me to be. I have spent a lot of years wallowing in who I used to be, an lies about who I am still.

Another thing that is happening in the Smith home recently is that we are trying to prepare our house to go on the market for sale. The reasons are something to tackle in a separate post. So, I must declutter! In the process, I found a list I wrote about myself several years go in a class I took with my then Worship Pastor, Ben Kennedy and his wife, Lori. This class was a turning point for me in understanding that my art was not just a little side thing that I do when I should be giving time to my family and ministry. My art IS my ministry.

(The flip side of this page has notes about prophetic things that were given about me during the same class, I will share those someday soon too.)

It was so cool to come across this list after doing the work in my Documented Life Journal. Remember the old cigarette ad, “You’ve come a long way, baby”. Well, I really have. I remember the dawning on me at that time of how I had really been hiding my light under a basket. I was called and gifted to do this art thing. Now, I am living fully in that and pursuing it daily. I am so grateful for God speaking to me at that time, and to Ben and Lori for being here to facilitate that. I am so excited to realize that it is bearing fruit right now, even if the fruits are making me have to rearrange and shift and stretch and grow.
It is all so much goodness!


Prayer Pouch Necklace Online Class

I am super excited to invite you to join me for my first online class. I will be teaching my prayer pouch necklaces over at The Graceful Artist. The Graceful Artist is a new format for online classes that puts faith in Christ front and center. The environment offers students a place to learn and grow artistically while also sharing authentically about their faith. I am very pleased to be a part of this new venture. Elizabeth Johnson is our host for the event.

My prayer pouches are designed to carry written prayers or verses so the wearer can keep them close by to meditate on. The pouches are made with painted canvas. I will teach you a variety of different techniques for getting interesting color and pattern onto your canvas. We will learn how to design and assemble all the pieces and stitch them by hand or machine. You do not need to have a sewing machine, as I will share a hand stitching method of construction in addition to machine stitching. I will also show you how to make your own necklace cord out of a variety of materials. We will cover some basic jewelry construction and wire wrapping to finish off the necklace.
The class opens May 15 and runs through July 11. The cost is $55. Our wonderful sponsor, Jerry’s Artarama is offering a 20% discount on supplies for the class to all registered students!
I hope you will join me. Have a look at some of the other class offerings. There is a great variety!

The Documented Life Project Week 8


I have been playing along with The Documented Life Project since January. The project is the brainchild of five artists who are friends and decided to share their excitement about a method of arting up a Moleskine planner. The idea is to add a “tip-in” page to every week. The leaders give a challenge each week and the participants follow the instructions. The group has grown huge! The number of posts on the Facebook site are overwhelming to me. With my busy schedule, I fall behind on occasion, but I have been managing to catch up. I love looking at all the different interpretations artists have for each challenge. I have been able to stretch a bit myself.

I wanted to share my efforts on my week eight contribution (even though we are on week nine already) because I am excited about something new I am playing with.


That there is a roll of stickers. They are long and narrow, 4″x13″. I found them at one of my absolute favorite places to discover wacky art supplies, the Scrap Exchange. They are a “creative reuse arts center in Durham, NC. It is basically a warehouse full of donated stuff. Much of it is manufacturing cast offs, or excess supplies from businesses. They have every kind of office supply, fabric, paper, plastic, frames…. On and on. I will have to do a post on that one day.

Anyhow, I found these rolls of stickers and thought ” those would be cool to art all over. Omygosh, I was so very right.
Of course, I had to collage on a couple of Spirograph doodles first.

This is acrylic ink, and acrylic paint mixed with airbrush medium. Yum!

Stamping and doodling and so forth.

And I got carried away and forgot to take photos. This is actually a whole ‘nuther sticker. you can see I started with some stamping with a hand carved stamp, doodling with a pitt pen and went over that with acrylic inks too. I added fluid acrylic dots and moreairbrush acrylic all over.

I added orange acrylic on my circles, a little doodling and teeny dots with Liquitex paint pens.

Then I cut the sticker to fit, peeled it, and stuck it in.


The challenge for week eight was too add a flap to your page. I was inspired this week by a wonderful adventure I took with my two kiddos. They are getting older and needing mommy much less. We used to take off on grand adventures together all the time. I wanted to recapture the magic, so we took off to Durham. I will spare you all the details, that may be yet another blog post. Suffice it to say, the trip was a huge success and mommy was thrilled.
So, I decided I would document the way that felt in an artful way. I added number stencils as my flaps. 1, 2, 3- for the three of us. I painted them with latex wall paint. I adore the sample bottles of Valspar colors for a couple bucks.


I wrote “we belong together” on the stencil flaps because that is how I felt all day.


I know I won’t always have them with me, but we three had a great time on our Friday adventure.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my process, and can get how utterly cool these stickers are. I will be playing with these much more!

Free day!


I have the rare gift of a day at home alone today. I am going to spend it playing in the studio. The house is a mess but I am ignoring it. I have been sidetracked and interrupted so many times this week when I intended to be in the studio. I am beginning to feel dry and un-creative. Don’t get me wrong, my interruptions and sidetracks are the best kind because they are all about my family. But, a Girl needs a little space and time to do her thing. At least this girl does.

Yes, the picture at the top is my work table, one of them anyway. That is about as neat as it gets.

Imagination Versus Realism in Amy’s Brain


I can paint a bird that looks exactly like a bird, I have done that. I don’t want to, though. It does not make my heart pound. I want to paint what I see in my mind. No one has ever seen those creatures before. That is something new I can put out in the world that really says what I want to say. I think I want my art to say something about how imperfect we all are, but how beautiful we are in our brokenness and imperfection. I think that is at least part of the message God wants me to share through my artwork.

That is not to say I don’t find value and beauty in realism. I absolutely do. It just isn’t my calling.