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Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

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  • August 8, 2018
    Q: wavejumper wants to know: "I keep seeing people flicking white paint on galaxies and night skies and so on... what white paint do you like? I am just thinking about flicking right now but am totally open to hearing other techniques."

    A: I use either Liquitex white gesso or an inexpensive matte white craft paint. I'll either dilute and flick it with a brush, or use a stylus for dotted highlights, stars, or snowflakes. A local artist friend also recommended Daler-Rowney Pro White, so I keep that on my desk as well - it's an opaque watercolor that can be used in a variety of ways, and you wouldn't need to water it down much for flicking. He uses it for highlights in his watercolor paintings; it can also be used in a pen or airbrush.

    August 1, 2018
    Q: sedg asks: "When using dies, do you cut out your image before coloring it or after?"

    A: I usually color an image before cutting it out - it's easier to hold on to the wider border, and it prevents smudging.

    July 25, 2018
    Q: Jeanne asks: "I like to use eye shadow to put a soft, pastel background on some of my cards. However, it tends to come off easily. Is there something I could use to "fix" it so it doesn't rub off?"

    A: When I work with chalks or pastels I spray my work with a workable fixative (I use the Krylon brand) to keep it from smearing. I've heard that hairspray can work as well, but it may yellow over time.

    July 18, 2018
    Q: Erin wants to know: "What masking paper or fluid do you use?"

    A: I have a roll of clear removable contact paper which works great on cards and is easy to cut with scissors or dies. For smaller images that won't be taking on a lot of ink, sticky notes work fine. For super tiny areas and details, I use a Sakura glaze pen. When I watercolor, I use the Winsor-Newton masking fluid, and the only problem I have had with it is my own impatience in not letting things dry completely before removal. Instead of a brush I use a silicon "color shaper" - they come with different shaped tips, and my favorite for applying the fluid is an angled chisel. The fluid just peels right away from the tip when it's dry - so much easier than cleaning it out of a brush.

    July 11, 2018
    Q: msdrip asks: "I've seen you use wooden stamps in your MISTI before. Can you do a tutorial to explain how you do it? I still have some wooden stamps that I'd like to be able to use successfully that way. Thanks!"

    A: Sure! I had done a video a couple of years ago, so I built a tutorial from that so we can refer to it in our Resources section. Thanks for the suggestion - it's a great little hack! Click here for the tutorial: Wood Mounts in the MISTI

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