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The above two paintings were painted on toned masa paper. It is one of my favorite supports to paint on.  If you would like to learn more about how to prepare and tone masa paper and some of the things you can do with it click here and here.

This painting was painted on a different support that I made with gesso juice. You can learn all about how to prepare and paint on this surface here. I have improved on creating different effects with this surface by sometimes adding white craft sand to the mix and sometimes torn pieces of rice paper.


The second technique we worked on in Watercolor Plus class was painting on Masa Paper. This is one of my favorite surfaces to work on. I have a tendency to be very edgy and the toned paper seems to help break that up a bit. If you would like to try this technique, I have a tutorial here.  …or type masa into search box below and view many more examples of this type of painting.


This lion was painted on masa paper, a rice paper that can be crinkled, soaked in water, toned, dried and glued to the surface of watercolor paper in order to provide a watercolor artist a different surface to paint on. The textural possibilities are varied and, oftentimes, very interesting. They, generally, take me longer to paint, but the extra time spent is well worth it. I have several tutorials. The first one is located here. The update is located here.

If you would like to view a selection of the paintings I have completed on masa, just click the tag, masa paper, under the title of this post.


This week I returned to painting on masa paper. I found a wonderful reference photo of this old tree on wet canvas and it drew me in to want to try it.

Those of you, who have followed my posts, know that this is my favorite watercolor surface. I have a beginning tutorial here if you are interested in trying this yourself. I have posted multiple masa paper posts and you can view them by clicking the tag called masa paper under the title of this post. I paint and lift and paint and lift on this surface. I work until I like what appears. There is waiting time in between because the pigment soaks through the toned masa paper to the coldpress watercolor paper I have adhered it to.

I welcome any questions you may have in the comment section below and will answer them as best I can.


There was no other reason for trying this image than to see if I could paint these detailed shapes and capture their reflections. This was painted using a reference photo from “Artist’s Photo References Buildings and Barns” by Gary Greene.

The most difficult part of this entire piece was trying to decide what to include and what not to.

The above painting was painted from a reference photo taken by Michael Yates and posted to Paint My Photo. It is a site where artists can share their photos and their artwork of others’ photos offered on the site. I learned of this site while reading a post on Nicola’s blog, Pointy Pix.

I was attracted to the bits of light and shadow in this photo and wanted to see if I could paint it.  PLUS!  With the heat we are having this summer, standing in a cool stream seems just the best thing!  Smart horses.

Painting by John Kelty

Painting by Robert Einhaus

The above paintings are two examples of masa paper paintings that were created by students who recently completed my watercolor on masa paper class. There are more examples of their incredible work on the Student Art 2 Page (click here). Everyone did an incredible job! Thank you to all of you who participated. I hope to see you again in the future.


I found the above image in a reference photo book for artists. I wanted to try a silhouetted image on masa and this one caught my eye.  The most difficult phase of the piece was the drawing. The rest was just a study in painting believeable values. The light is the original tone of the masa paper I selected for this. As I painted around that area, it became lighter and lighter.

The above image is the drawing on the toned masa paper prior to my painting on it.

The above was another attempt to experiment with a figure on masa. I am discovering that this surface is adaptable to any subject matter. I painted a Westhighland Cow here,  a cat here, and a tiger here.

I had several challenges with this particular piece due to the colors of the stained background starting out. I was using oranges, burnt sienna, prussian blue, aureolin and sepia to render her form. She was appearing more and more colorless as my painting progressed. I then remembered something Don Andrews taught in a workshop I took. He said the midtone colors were the brightest and what brought “color” to a watercolor painting. The only midtones I had used were neutrals that tend to appear flat and lifeless. As soon as I began to use fire engine red in the coat of this orangutan, the color popped forward.

The photo reference for this came from the wet canvas library and the background was made up of some insignificant zoo shapes. I decided to complement the oranges and reds with a green and blue background and repeated the stringy shapes of the orangutan’s hair in the grasses behind her.

Information about the orangutan can be found here.

I have painted this West Highland before, here. This painting was painted on toned masa paper. Due to the toned surface, I used white gouache for the whites on the nose and horns. The whiskers were painted in with the use of a rigger brush and white acrylic.

More on West Highland Cattle, here.