Paintober, Day 22 – Worn and Wonderful

Earlier this month, I wrote a very short story about a doctor who suspects she took the wrong path, and tries to make amends to her younger self. That story begins:

When her last patient had gone and the computers were powered down, Elizabeth reached into the overheard locker and squinted at the map, highlighted, worn and wonderful. She could’ve punched the address into her GPS, but that always felt too safe. Safe was for parent-teacher conferences and blacksmithing classes. Exploration, though: that required a MAP.

Today’s project is a cross-section from said map. The base is a mixture of diluted yellow ochre and burnt sienna, with crimson, viridian, black, and titanium white hinting at ancient mysteries.

Original version:

worn and wonderful.jpg

With a patchwork effect:

worn and wonderful after


Paintober, Day 21 – Safety Lights Are For Dudes

For about fifteen minutes, today’s painting was a color silhouette of the greatest character in the the Ghostbusters universe.


I’d painted the surface lamp black. Once that dried, I had used a sponge dipped in bright yellow for her feathery hair, and added her goggles (with crimson and viridian, as I’m out of both orange and darker yellow shades).

I was pleased, but it wasn’t quite right, so I decided to also paint the rest of her face, and that’s when things went a bit off the rails. She now looked like some manner of jelly monster wearing a wig made from bananas. I spritzed heavily and washed off most of her chin, but when I repainted in, her goggles had become part of her facial structure.

And so Holtzmann’s portrait instead became a peek inside the containment unit.

I washed about half her features away, then used the sponge to swirl ghost-like patterns in the remaining paint. I squirted another healthy dose of crimson, bright yellow, and viridian, and spread them throughout the tile, crafting agitated spirit trails.


Original version:

saftey lights are for dudes.jpg

With color burn, lighten, and plastic wrap effects:

safety lights are for dudes after

Slimer contained in a small space can’t be an ideal situation for anyone involved.

Paintober, Day 19 – Wash Away The Rain

For me, no conversation about music videos is complete without mentioning “Black Hole Sun.”  It’s 23 years old now, and it’s still surreal, unsettling, and fascinating to watch all at the same time.

The song is one of my favorites, and certainly the band’s most well-known single. I love the video, although there’s one shot, towards the end, where I STILL have to look away because it gives me the creeps. You can probably guess.

After painting a sun in lemon, I added a black hole that’s equal parts lamp black and crimson red. The piece was soaked, allowing for a bit of chaos to run through it. I used a blend of burnt sienna and titanium white to fill in between the rays.


Original version:

Wash away the rain.jpg

With color burn and color dodge effects:

Wash away the rain color burn and dodge

Paintober, Day 18 – Chosen

I began watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer this summer, something I’d been meaning to do for years. If I’m honest, I suppose I wondered if a weekly monster show on basic cable could really be more captivating than cheesy, having not learned my lesson from The Walking Dead: anything works if done well enough.

I’m halfway through Season 5 now, and I love it. The series is charming, funny, poignant, has great character development…everything you’d want.

Each corner of the card was assigned a color–forest green, crimson, umber, and viridian–and then spritzed with a very liberal amount of water. After adding titanium white, I used a palette knife to create vampiristic tooth and bite marks.

Original version:


With vivid light and sandstone effects:

chosen after.jpg

Long live the Scooby Gang!

Paintober, Day 17 – The Greatest of Calamities

The Hobbit was my favorite book as a child, as well as the first book I picked out from a bookstore (Scholastic Book Club being an entirely different animal). My relationship with the film trilogy is…complicated, but there are parts of it that I unabashedly love.

Also, I’d listen to Thorin read a phone book, but that’s neither here nor there.

I finished my postcard supply yesterday, so I am now working from a series of small artist’s tiles. This one is what I imagine to be a cross-section of Smaug’s skin.

I coated the medium in water, then applied a heavy dose of forest green, yellow ochre, and crimson, with some bright blue for accents.

a scaling.jpg

Paintober, Day 16 – Upside Down

It’s the fin-al post-card. Da da da daaa. Dum de da da daaaaa.

A few hours ago, I finished Season 1 of Stranger Things, which I began yesterday afternoon. Although it’s only 8 episodes, I’d assumed it would take me several days, but it turns out that the show is simply too good, and I am but mortal.

It seemed fitting, then, that the last postcard in the deck should be a view of The Upside Down. Tomorrow, I’ll move on to artist’s tiles.

The base of the card is lamp black, sponged onto an incredibly wet  surface. I added crimson and forest green, washed away a sizable percentage of the evidence, then added much brighter colors for hope. It’s what the residents of Hawkins would want.

Postal version:

Upside down.jpg

With a multiply effect:

Upside down after

Really craving some Eggos for some reason.

Paintober, Day 15 – Escapism

I began today’s postcard by swirling raw umber with a sponge until the entire surface was covered, then added layers of cobalt blue and vermilion. I washed away roughly half the paint, carved out portions with a palette knife, and then sprinkled a thin layer of purple towards the center.

The jagged edges remind me of an egg cracking, of discovering freedom after an extended period of confinement.

Postal version:


With overlay and dry brush effects:

escapism after

Paintober, Day 14 – Embers

I’m nearly though my acrylics set, but there are colors I don’t use frequently. I began today’s postcard, therefore, with several coats of burnt sienna applied with a sponge. The umber spirals in the corners are the most heavily-affected by flame, and the titanium white near the center is still unspeakably hot despite the fact that it’s late in the evening and the fire is dying.

The pink and lime shreds are caught in-between intense rage from the heat and the inevitable stillness only moments away.

Postal version:


With overlay and watercolor effects:

embers after

Paintober, Day 13 – Cloudbreak

Today’s postcard began with wavy, frantic pale blue strokes speckled with titanium white. I used a wide, thick brush to apply the acrylics, then added the crimson and viridian disruptions on the right-hand side with a much finer-pointed brush.

I tried a new technique: rather than wash the paint off near completion and reapply when necessary, I filled a tiny spray bottle and coated the postcard several times while painting, which resulted in a very different pattern of runoff and faded distress from what I’ve previously produced.