Layers upon Layers

Hello, I hope you’ve all had a fabulously fun, productive and happy week.  I certainly have.  Today I thought I’d share a few tips on my painting style and technique.  Not too long ago a lovely visitor to my blog shared some thoughtful comments on my paintings which was so nice to hear.  I’m really encouraged by all the supportive comments I’ve received from you all, thankyou x  This is a very new path for me and it’s always great to hear what people think and if they’re enjoying what you’re doing.  I really want my art to bring a smile to your faces, take your thoughts away to a beautiful place, and most importantly to inspire you all to follow your dreams and passions.  Anyway, I was asked if I could share any tips on my painting technique.  I’m a self-taught artist so I have no formal art qualifications or a degree.  I would love to have done a Fine Arts degree though.  What fun I would have had as an 18-year-old learning amazing techniques and styles and freely exploring my creative side.   Unfortunately back then I thought art was a leisure activity and not something you pursued as a career.  As a result I have an architectural degree instead.  My paintings however are polar opposites to architecture line drawings, and this is why I love it!

I was lucky enough to enjoy a 2 day workshop with Flora Bowley in March this year and I must say I’m so grateful to Flora for sharing her painting techniques with us there and most importantly for encouraging me to follow my heart, trust within, and believe in myself.  She did also encourage us all to find our authentic voice, our true self whilst travelling our creative paths.  In her words “let it be true to you, you’re own language”.  My interpretation of this was to gather these shared tips and techniques and pop them into that little tool box in your mind, bring them out to play and experiment, but use them as a starting point, to build upon, to learn from, and develop your own unique style that is essentially you.

Having first picked up a paint brush in March with Flora I have since then worked to develop my own personality on the canvas.  I’ve certainly taken on board what I’ve learned from Flora’s class and used them but through this process and over time I’ve developed my own way of working and more recently I have been testing out ways of bringing my illustrative, detailed line work into my paintings which has been really fun and very exciting for me as I think this is the route my paintings will take.

This is actually quite a challenge typing out the way I paint as it is a very fluid and intuitive process.  So it’s not that easy to put into words.  It’s the one thing I literally lose myself in and just go in the direction I feel I’m enjoying and having fun with.  To start with I do the usual things, prep my canvas with white gesso and let that dry.  I then begin by dripping some very watered down acrylics or a fluid acrylic paint on to the canvas.  Sometimes I’ll grab a foam brush and swirl through the colours (working each time with colours that are compatible otherwise it turns to mud).  Or I might simply tilt the canvas in different directions and let the paint dribble down across it.  I’ve even played with dropping big salt crystals across in the pools of wet paint and leaving it to dry which creates a beautiful effect.

Once the background is dry I load up my palette with paint.  I’m not in any way selective about colours or combinations I pretty much put a dollop of everything I have on hand.  I keep trying to work with a foam brush or paint brushes but I more often or not resort to my fingers.  So like a little kid in kindy I use my fingers to scoop up a colour and rub it into the canvas aiming to cover it completely and in no particular fashion.  I sometimes get so engrossed in this process that I think whoops better step back a bit from this and take a look at what’s actually going on! 

Once there’s a fair amount of colour on there and the canvas is usually well and truly covered I do start to look for any forms or imagery that may be emerging.  Sometimes it’s not always obvious and I’ll just work ahead with the shapes I see but other times I’ve seen birds appear, flowers, butterflies and faces.  It’s a real delight when this happens.  When I see a particular form or image that I like I outline it to remind me not to paint over it!!








Recently I’ve been adding another layer of detail to the forms and images by going over the top of them completely with lines, patterns and markings in a white or black pen or with a fine detail brush and watered down acrylic paint.  I’ve really enjoyed merging my illustrative work with my paintings.

Finally I highlight any areas that need a bit of a lift in terms of light, or I add some interesting detail or just a bit of finesse here and there.  I’ll do this with an opaque liquid acrylic paint, sometimes I’ll use a gold or silver paint and I’ve even played with adding another medium.

I hope this little insight into the way I work has been interesting for you all and shares some tips that you can all play with along the way as well.  I’d love to hear back from you all.  Wishing you all a relaxing weekend, have fun!

Liza xxx


13 thoughts on “Layers upon Layers

  1. Love what you say and do Liza….great to be able to see the work in motion…it feels that way, any way…..would LOVE to see you again….last weekend of my exhibition “Capricornia”… The Beaumaris Art Group…11 AM to 4 PM Saturday and Sunday…..
    We are lucky to have some thing that we LOVE doing, aren’t we ?

    • Hi Patsy, thankyou so much for popping over here to take a peak at my blog. I’d love to catch up with you again too and we will, just have my hands full with a toddler who’s not sleeping at the moment, so when we get back on track for sure! I’ve seen your pics of your latest work for the exhibition, great pieces, so much character and colour, you all the way, love them! Sorry we couldn’t make it, again toddler has us in lockdown LOL! Indeed, very very lucky to be loving our lives and what we’re doing, grateful every day for that!! xxx

  2. thanks so much for sharing! They are all beautiful! I visited Flora’s blog a few times recently too, so inspirational … she makes me want to paint BIG! Have a wonderful weekend, Love Shae xo P.S. I finger paint all the time too … check out all the background circles in my paintings!!!

  3. Liza ~ I am so touched by your post today. Thank you for doing this! I love your work, your color palette and your intuitive nature. I can’t believe you just started painting, but it seems it has been in you all this time. I can see that you have a practiced hand and deep knowledge of cultural motifs. Keep up the great work! I can’t wait to see where you soar! <3!

  4. Good stuff Liza. I’d love to take a workshop with Flora someday. Don’t you just love exploring all of the different ways you can manipulate paint? I don’t use my fingers much, but I enjoy the palette knife quite a bit. The act of layering on paint and then scraping over it to reveal the mix of colors below is so much fun. Thanks for sharing your techniques with us. 🙂

  5. I love your work. It is so full of joy and so wonderful to look at. It is funny I am inspired by color I dream in color but my most of my painted work is black and white, something to possibly explore and blog about. Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m with you there Deborah because all of my drawings & illustrations are black and white, but my paintings, my wardrobe, my dreams (love that someone else dreams in full colour, do you also get the full on textural patterns?) are all filled with colour. Every time I draw I think ahhh I should really be adding some colour somewhere in this, I am a colour girl, I love colour, but it just never feels right so they remain black and white. I find it really curious! Do blog about it, I’ll be reading for sure, would love to hear what you think (o: I love your designs, you’re so bold, they’re brilliant. xxx

    • Thankyou Kathleen (o: my close friends know me well and say if Liza isn’t smiling or giggling then you know something’s up! So that’s me and especially when I’m in my creative element. So happy you enjoyed the post xxx

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