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Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

  • Submit your question to Dina
  • November 12, 2014
    Q: Crystal wants to know: "What is OMS?"

    A: OMS stands for Odorless Mineral Spirits. In everyday terms it's a paint thinner. Artists use a purer grade of OMS as a solvent or blending agent. It has the chemical ability to dissolve the binder in colored pencil - the 'glue' that holds the pigment together - so that the pigment can be moved and blended on a page. It is typically applied to a colored area using a paper stump or a paintbrush. Here's a tutorial on pencil blending using OMS.

    November 5, 2014
    Q: Coral asks: "I bought some Gelatos for the Stamping with Gelatos technique - what else can I do with these?"

    A: Gelatos can be blended with your fingers for fun backgrounds on paper or canvas. They are also water soluble, and can be mixed with water to use as watercolor paints or sprays. I like to scribble them in a palette and add a little water for a quick watercolor wash or some soft splatters.

    October 29, 2014
    Q: Mary asks: "Can I color or watercolor on top of alcohol markers with water-based markers or Distress inks?"

    A: Sure! Water soluble markers and alcohol markers can be layered in either order, because neither solvent affects the other. You can watercolor with Distress markers over alcohol marker coloring, or add details to a watercolor with alcohol markers. Just follow manufacturer's recommendations for your specific products and make sure your base is completely dry before working over it with another medium.

    October 22, 2014
    Q: Kate asks: "I just got my first set of stamps and matching dies and there are no directions. Do I cut or stamp first?"

    A: I stamp first. Cut the die from another sheet of paper to create a template, and lay the opening of the template over your stamped image so that it's perfectly framed. Tape the template in place, and nestle your die right into the opening. Tape the die down for a little more security, and make your cut.

    October 15, 2014
    Q: Shelley wants to know: "Can you use watercolor pencils and Inktense pencils together?"

    A: You can use watercolor and Inktense pencils together. When I use them together I tend to do most of my work in watercolor pencil first, then add finishing touches with Inktense pencils where I want the color and shadows to be darkest. Remember that the Inktense colors are very intense, transparent, and permanent when dry, while watercolor pencils can be a little lighter, more opaque, and will tend to lift and reblend when refreshed with water.

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