two big fails, two possibles, and finally think I’ve found what works(ish) with housepaint. .

well, Saturday saw me using black, white, red, yellow as Nathan did so well earlier in the week. Too much black though, and on the rectangular one I ended up swiping over with acetate. Both are just awful so will be base for incarnation two….

4 x 4 inches

Sunday I tried again, first one had more colour than I wanted but…maybe it’ll grow on me, second was disaster, tilted too much and colours just ran together. Added more colours dotted over and swiped with spatula, better but still not good, so added white to each end and swiped with acetate. Still hated it so scraped off and tried again with what paint was left. still ended up swiping with acetate. I quite like the grey lacing effect but overall its one that I need to think about. Might end up keeping both , might just paint over 😉 You know how it goes, sometimes there’s a run of unsuccessful paintings. these had liquitex PM, but I think it was simply user error, paints wrong selection, too heavy handed, too much colour, too thickly applied, too much fiddling. All and any of those.

My experiment with just water and dulux seems to have worked, there’s a little splitting but none of the cracking when i used it with floetrol or LPM. I think though I’m sticking with artist white, use the dulux for priming canvas and wood. and maybe in the house if i need it….

section of painting showing splits, but these look as though they mean to be there, where the cracks don’t.

Links to materials I have used.


I’ve used all of these, some with success, some indifferent and some not really working for me. I’ll be adding to this page constantly as I find new things to try. Click on images for links or on words where I’ve managed to work it out…tech and I aren’t best friends so apologies now for where I’ve got things wrong!!
These are mostly Amazon and eBay sites, other stuff tends to come from small independent shops or materials I’ve had ages and can’t recall where from. I do get a small commission from the Amazon affiliate links and you may find products cheaper elsewhere. Mostly I look for cheapest I can get delivered as I don’t drive so amazon with Prime works for me.

This is Alcohol, and here supposed to help with cell formation. I’ve been using this, TBH sometimes I forget and its been fine, but depends on what look you want. I’ve also just received a higher % alcohol that I’ve not yet tried ( second image). I’ll report if it’s any better after I’ve used it.   


 Liquitex pouring medium. I bought the small size one to start, didn’t find much dif to Floetrol, but have just bought bigger bottle to try more.

Owatrol 1 Litre Floetrol Waterborne Paint Conditioner

This also comes in 2.5 ltr which is what I now use, and I think the last one I bought was from ebay which was a little cheaper but prices change quickly there sometimes.

 Windsor & Newton flow improver. tried this before I could get Liquitex, and before I tried Floetrol. It works but this tiny bottle doesn’t go far if you use lots as I do…..


 Spray silicon. the first one I tried but I found getting it into the paint difficult. I’d spray into cup then put my hand over but still seemed more in air than in paint. It is useful to spray into cups before pouring paint in, helps it tip out. I tend to spray the dirty cup before adding paint. On the plastic cups it works well, but as I kept tipping them over I now use paper ones and it isn’t quite as good there. maybe the paper absorbs it? who knows? I’ve seen US folk use Blaster silicon, but couldn’t find it here and others use WD40 but I haven’t tried it.
Cymethicone silicon. I found this left thin patches in the paint but others use it without problems.

Kingfisher KC100CUP Disposable Plastic Cups 7oz Pack Of 100 plastic cups I used these sometimes, but use paper cups more as I knock the plastic ones over. I also use small shot cups

Paper Towels

Butane torch. I found this a little small so bought a bigger one, but again, quite often i don’t need to torch at all, or torching doesn’t make any difference so its not essential.


Bigger torch  


This  is the second one I bought, first from another seller had no working piezo so I had to light with matches, no response from seller so I left a one star review and bought this one which is perfect. Keep torch away from canvas, I aim for about 8-10 inches as paint will steam and burn, and that’s not a good look!  Gas canisters are here. A fire extinguisher is a good idea too, as with alchohol, silicon and varnishes etc in one place its safer to have something to hand to put out fires. This one I have comes with wall mount and a fire blanket. I have it right next to where I’m working. Its a powder aerosol one so not a single use one but can be reused. That makes it cheaper. actually I’m off to get a second one for indoors as I can’t find my one I’ve had ages and do have a habit of setting light to things accidentally….Its currently on special offer at £10.99 – much cheaper than others I’ve seen, but I don’t know how long it’ll be at this price.
Lolly sticks for mixing. these jumbo ones are great with bigger cups, and I’ve smaller ones for the shot glasses.

Masking tape  

 Polythene sheeting. this is the thin stuff, and I tape everything then roll it up and dispose when its really grubby. I’m messy, I need easy (ish) clean up.

Disposable gloves, great for us messy folk! I use loads. Tip: handcream is great for removing dried acrylic paint, rub all over and wipe with kitchen roll.










I use canvasses from lots of different places, but bought some on amazon, and I’ve old ones from places like ken bromley. I also use pieces of board, canvas board and wax art paper and acrylic art paper. Ordinary watercolour just soaks up the paint, it needs to have a coating of some kind.

Set of 6 Artists Blank Canvas - 15cm x 15cm Flat Canvas






I’ve been using a lot of these R&L paints as they come in 500ml pots. I do find the lids tend to flip back as I pour though so have to hold them back with my pinky finger, otherwise I end up with big lump paint in the lid and then it dries and won’t shut (oops, just put an i instead of the u….) properly.

This is R&L white, in 500 ml. I’m currently trying Dulux white housepaint as I use so much white, and it makes it much cheaper. Initial results look good. I wouldn’t use t for more expensive artworks but these are around £20-40 depending on size so anything to keep costs down and hopefully sell more is good. More money for new “stuff” !! R&L is around £8 for 500ml while the Dulux is currently £10 for 5lt. big difference. (Edit: I used the Dulux too thick and its cracked – at least I think that’s the reason so take care)
W&N white. Ran out of white and couldn’t get R&L, but these two are pretty interchangeable IMO

Mars Black. a lovely rich inky black

Cadmium Yellow

 R&L primary yellow. I like to have a range of colours and this is a nice bright yellow

Primary Magenta – gorgeous rich almost fuschia pink

Windsor & Newton. I wanted an alizarin type red, this crimson is pretty close to what I wanted.

Cadmium Red, a nice bright red

Cobalt Violet, a very blue toned purple

Cerulean, a colour I use lots. Makes some fun greens.

 W&N Gloss varnish. I’ve used it a couple of times, its OK, not particularly glossy, quite a subtle shine. Maybe if I added more coats, I’ve only done two. I prefer others, the triple thick deco or the miniwax

Triple Thick. this only needs one coat but is quite “gloopy” so you need to be careful when using

 Pebeo Resin. My favourite finish but very expensive especially if like me you find cocking things up very easy……I’ve tried a cheaper marine varnish but that’s a 1:50 ratio instead of 1:2 as this is and far easier to get wrong, leading to poor finish or even not curing at all. So far I haven’t got it exactly right ;-(

Cells, Cells at last!

The first two here, the blue mix ones, I did a few days ago, one with and one without silicon. Did a couple more that way but could not get any cells, though I’ve some lovely subtle marbling.

Oddly the cells in the first one came without silicon! Bit trying to replicate it just brought these. I do like them, they’ve gold in so when tilted they ave a subtle shimmer.

Then on Thursday  I tried mixing the silicon on when I add the floetrol/liquitex medium and stirring really well, and that seems to have sorted the lumps and divots I got adding silicon last. And finally I got some great cells.

I used the same colours for all of these, but not all colours on all canvasses. I’ve got three 8 x 10 ins and the smaller ones are 3 x 3 inches. These i did by adding colour direct to canvas instead of via cup dirty pour and then soft swipe over the top. Before I’m convinced I’ve finally cracked cells though I need to see if I can replicate it 😉 or if it was just a lucky accident. The paints changed incredibly as they dried, you can see on the last two the shine as they’re still wet. I’ll take dry photo’s later today.
I had some large cells but as the paint moved they shrunk so that’s my next task, once I’m sure I can now actually Get cells…trying to keep larger ones. I think too I may still be getting the paint a little too thick. I used much more floetrol than I have been, after watching some of Danny Clark’s videos. He and Anne-Marie Ridderhof both do some excellent ones if you’re interested in learning more.
This does use lots of paint, I’ve just ordered more and I’ll soon need more floetrol, nearly used my litre bottle……so fingers crossed I can sell a few. I also really, really want to try resin sometime, but that’s very expensive so for now its got to wait but I love the effect that has on these.
I did try resin on two small ones yesterday, looked at them after about 3 hours and clearly my table wasn’t level and its run off on one side so today its try adding a second coat to fill the gap. I do love that effect, really want to work it out. My new paints came too so today hopefully its more playing!!

Liquitex pouring meduim

I really wanted to try the Golden one, GAC800 but it seems to be out of stock everywhere in the UK, so a few weeks back I ordered Liquitex pouring medium, which arrived yesterday, so the afternoon saw me back in the studio/art shed playing.

I mixed up some paints and did one 10 x 12 without silicon and one with. I can show you the one without, while its wet, but the silicon seems to make lots of lumps and divots soon as paint settles so can’t show you a good version of that – you won’t get a great idea of what it really looks like! I don’t know whether others have this issue or just me. I’m using a cosmetic silicon, as the spray seems to go everywhere but in the paint, and maybe I’m putting too much in. Its kind of hard to judge when quantities depend on how much paint your mixing. I’m aiming for a few drops in each colour and enough to cover a 10 x 12 canvas. I’ll maybe try the spray again although I got some great cells without any with the liquitex, and if I can replicate that I’d like to drop the silicon out. I’ll take some photos later now they’ve dried and show you but for now first one without silicon, second with. same colours but I think I used more black in second and its too dark, may change as it dries though.
Here’s all the ones i varnished, second coat for a few of last weeks plus the ones Alesha, my 9 yr old granddaughter, and I did on Sunday

Its amazing how the varnish brings up the colour on the darker ones, you can see on this little one where I haven’t applied varnish what a difference it makes. I’d still like to do some with the resin varnish, set like a glass coating even on canvas,  but that’s really out of my price range for now….
This is a 3 x 3 inch canvas so though the bit where you can see canvas, the thin paint, looks huge its not really noticeable in real life. that seems to be what the silicon does though, most of the “holes” close on drying but there are a few thinnish spots.

Its fun playing with all these new things but it costs…I have lots of paint from my painting days, bought each time I sold a painting, but this uses so much I’ve had to buy more of some colours and also some cheaper canvas. when you’re using 3 or 4 a day instead of 2 or so a week it adds up. I still need them to be a decent quality though, no stapled edges etc. and for paint to be not all filler as some student ones are, and to last as house paint doesn’t. I’ve a bit of a thing about good quality materials even though it does cost more. Each to their own, and loads of people are happy with house paint, pound shop canvas and PVA. Room for all of us 😉