Tricks I learned at the Art and Soul retreat

Some of the tricks that make life easier might be old hat for you, but they were old brand new to me, so I thought I’d share them here.

I had found out earlier that there is life beyond the silly tiny plastic palettes with the holes. Those are sooooo limiting, unless you’re making postage stamps, I guess. My friend Jill shared with me that she uses a sheet of glass. Plain and simple glass. The beauty of it is that once your acrylic paints dry on top of it, it’s easy to clean it up with a window scraper that you buy at the hardware store for a couple dollars, and you always have a brand new clean palette.

But what do you do when you travel to a workshop? You can’t really bring your glass with you. Thanks to Traci Bunkers, here’s a clever idea. She uses plastic placemats!!!! The sturdy ones are better. She cleans them up regularly with a baby wipe, but I found out they scrap off pretty easy too.

The next wonder is baby wipes. I’m sure everyone has been using them forever. Well, we didn’t have baby wipes in France when I lived there, and maybe because I don’t have kids, but the magic of baby wipes had completely escaped me. THEY ARE WONDERFUL!!!!! They take the drying paint off my hands, they can be used to clean the above mentioned placemat. They can be used to rub on paint or extend the acrylic on a canvas. Wow!!!! Great stuff.

Another trick I learned over there is the magic of freezer paper. I’d been recycling my deli paper from the grocery store, but this stuff is so cheap, why wait?

The next wonder is part of a class I took. Sandwich paper. It is not waxed like freezer paper, and it comes under various names. It’s basically freezer paper WITHOUT the tacky part. You can get it for a really low price at stores like Costco. Sorry, it’s really yummy , but pretty hard to photograph….CIMG3211

If you dilute your leftover acrylic paints, and apply them to your sandwich paper, you get this amazing translucent paper. If you mix them with some metallic paints, you get the most amazing, rich effects. If you want to go one step further, and cover THE BACK SIDE of the paper with gel medium, you will have the most gorgeous looking translucent paper, to put between your pages in your journals, or to use in your collages. Try it at least once to see what it looks like. It’s to die for.

And about this getting ideas from other people. I did a Wabi Sabi workshop with Serena Barton. She’s a hoot. Very fun to be around. I did 8 paintings during the 6 and 1/2 workshop, so after a while, I didn’t know what new color combination to play with. I walked around, looking at what others were doing. I found one painting that I adored, and loved the color combination. I went back to my table and started to paint. Was I copying her? Probably. Yet the end result was nothing like what my muse friend was painting, and it got me unstuck. I think it’s worth remembering as a neat way to get inspiration.


So… did I have a great time at the Art and Soul retreat? You bet! Did I learn something new? Tons of new skills. Do I recommend it? Absolutely. There is one Art and Soul retreat near you in the US at least once a year. I say it’s well worth the money.


  1. I don't know how I overlooked this post with all these great hints, Sox, but I just noticed it now and I'm glad I did. Thanks for posting it!! xo-teri

  2. Very interesting post! I know I have used a glass palette before when I was oil painting, but not so far for acrylic painting. Now plastic placemats are a great idea! I would not have thought of those. I do use the freezer paper a lot both as a palette and also as a protective covering for my desktop when I am working. The baby wipes I have just started using recently after having read about them on various mixed media websites and blogs.

    What you shared about the sandwich paper is totally new to me too! Intriguing!

    Thanks for sharing about your experiences.

  3. I like the plastic placemat idea also. Good Idea. Sandwich paper is really great--I've only used it once or twice--no Costco here to buy it from.

  4. I have a plastic Care Bears placemat that was my daughter's when she was little that I use under my work. So durable, and after 19 years it is a little worse for the wear, but it serves its purpose lol! Your tips are great - I want to try the sandwich paper one.

  5. Love theses techniques and ideas. Thanks for posting them. I love my baby wipes, great for wiping up paint and overspray. Let it dry and a great background too.

  6. Only had time to skim, but I'll be back! I always wanted to go to ART n SOUL!


  7. Oh, how I wish I could go to Art & Soul! Maybe next year...thanks so much for the tips. Your art is lovely and the abstracts really grab me.

  8. I really love baby wipes. I don't think i can do that, to use it on my artwork. But it's a great idea shared by you.


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