Usually when I teach a workshop, I get so involved that I forget all about taking photos. For the recent Layers & More Layers workshop I made a concerted effort to try to record the way in which the tables were set up before the workshop, the information pinned to the wall, the work in progress and the participants. Admittedly, the photos are not so hot, but I hope they give a sense of the buzz of excitement and the creativity that went on during this two-day workshop.

The tables are set up with supplies, just waiting for students to arrive.

Included on each table are: a bucket of water, a container with brushes & palette knives, scissors, a sharpie, and a pencil,  5 prepared panels, paper towels, empty 2 oz cups and lids, a palette, a plate to use for piles of paint colors, a spray bottle and last but not least, a folder full of information and prepared surfaces.

Information on the wall

Here is some of the information I’ve put on the wall


Supplies are laid out by category for student use


The group is putting gels, pastes & paints on their palettes, getting ready to start experimenting


I can always tell people are working hard by the state of the tables. Refer back to the first photo to see the change!

On the drying table—skins, surfaces with pastes, tar gel decals on the left side

You probably aren’t familiar with what acrylic skins are. Well, it’s a bit hard to describe, but I’ll try. First you spread an even coat of gloss gel medium across a piece of HDPE plastic. Let it dry. Paint on top leaving open areas. Let dry. Next comes the exciting part—you can peel the whole thing off like a big piece of skin and then apply it to a painting or collage with gloss gel. If you only like part of the skin or you want to use parts for different projects, you can cut it apart with a regular pair of scissors.

More things drying. On the upper left is a chart prepared by one of the students showing some of the properties of gloss gel and matte gel mediums. More skins. The round items are tar gel decals. They are like the skins, only thicker. In the front middle and just behind are two gel transfers in the works. They are drying (what you see is the back). When the gel is dry, you wet the back and then rub off the paper, leaving the image from the other side. Hard to describe, but magical when it works. On the lower right is the start of a painting with two layers so far. The blue and green were applied first. The red and gold lays on top, creating a new layer—this was an acrylic skin.

Below are a series of in-progress paintings from this 2-day class. The intention was to have students leave with a good understanding of the materials, how to use layering and to have 4 panels started.  I hope I’ll have a chance to see the finished products at some point!










Quite a bit more didn’t get photographed, but you get the idea. Pretty impressive for 2 afternoons of intensive work!

Many thanks to Golden Artist Colors for including me in their Golden Artist Educator program, Mary Beth Shaw (aka Stencil Girl) for the great tree branch stencil, to Patti Brady for teaching me so much neat stuff during the Golden training in New Orleans last fall, to Patti for her book Rethinking Acrylic and for Nancy Reyner for her books, especially Acrylic Innovation and her newest, Acrylic Illumination. I’m amazed that every time I need information or am looking for new ideas or inspiration, I keep finding it in one of these books!