Wednesday, September 21, 2016

painting on photo paper

When it comes to making art, I'm all about the process. While I love working on a project from start to finish, I've found that it's in the "journey" and the time spent experimenting that I grow the most. There are days when I will spend hours playing with a technique, supply or process simply to learn! Lately I've been having lots of fun painting on photo paper. Photo paper has a slick surface which means the color that you apply to the surface moves and slides around creating some really amazing and beautiful effects.

All you really need for this process is photo paper and color. 

PHOTO PAPER: Just about any photo paper will work and by photo paper I mean the paper that you use for printing photos. The surface of photo paper is typically glossy and comes in a variety of different finishes from low gloss to high gloss to luster. I found in all of my experimenting that the shinier the paper, the more your color will move and change.

COLOR: You can use pretty much any type of ink or paint for this process but I found the more fluid the paint (or ink) the better results. The materials that I like to use are liquid watercolors, ink sprays, acrylic inks and fabric dye. All of these supplies are really really fluid which means they will slip and slide around on that glossy paper.

RUBBING ALCOHOL: Isopropyl Alcohol is my favorite supply to use with this process because when you drop it onto your surface, it will react with the color and repel that color leaving an area of the surface exposed.

There are so many different ways to work with these materials! Here is a peek into the  process and a few of my favorite ways to work with photo paper.

pretty paper from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

Drop color on the surface. Use a brush and blend that color. You will notice immediately the color blends and moves on the top of the that glossy surface (instead of soaking into the paper) which allows you to hold onto the movement of those brushstrokes.
Using a dropper, drop a little bit of rubbing alcohol into that color and watch all that color move around!  I've found that the color will continue to change, blend and bleed for quite some time while it dries.

I like to work back and forth with a lot of colors by adding color on top of color and then adding alcohol on top of all that color and then repeating.

The result is all those colors moving and blending together. Keep in mind too much color can result in making mud.

You can also start with a really light layer of color where you let your bush strokes show through and then add that alcohol. This will result in a lighter surface with more of the paper showing through.

Start with a wash of water or even a wash of alcohol and then add your color to the surface.

That color will blend and bleed into each other and will create a really beautiful marbled effect.

You can even create a painting of something specific on the surface of the photo paper but because this paper is not absorbent, the painting will be really loose. This is a fun way to create expressive and abstract art.

I like to let my surface dry overnight.

Once they are dry, I like to use these colorful surfaces as pages for my art journal, backgrounds for collage and as a background for drawings.

I even like to trace over the top of the shapes in the color and turn them into abstract and unique drawings and doodles.

With a few of these simple supplies, the creative options are ENDLESS!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

a batch of messy pouches in the shop!

I am happy to announce that I have a fresh batch of messy pouches in the shop HERE.  Each pouch is hand painted, made from canvas and one of a kind! They always sell out fast so get em' while you can!

Monday, September 19, 2016

NEW class inky blooms and a GIVEAWAY

Hello Friends! My next online class Inky Blooms goes live today and today I have a tiny peek and I am giving away 5 free spots in the class. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a chance to win!


There is something so simple and beautiful about creating with ink. In this class we will use my favorite subject: flowers, to explore a variety of expressive techniques.Using brushes  we will experiment with creating dynamic and bold floral ink brush paintings.

This class is what I like to call a "micro class" it is structured into 1 LARGE lesson.

All of my classes have unlimited access- once the class goes live you can create and access the class at any time and work at your own pace. There is no deadline or pressure to create.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SUPPLIES: This class like all of my classes, does NOT have a required supply list. Instead I will be sharing the supplies that I like to use and then give you a variety of options and inspiration to use supplies that work best for your process and your budget.

You can head on over to the shop HERE for all class details and registration!


Leave me a comment
Tell me your favorite flower
I will randomly select 5 winners and announce them at the bottom of this post tomorrow! 


Email me at and I will get you access to the class!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

color me coloring subscription now available!

Hey Friends! I am happy to announce that I've got a fall/winter coloring subscription now available in the shop! While I will continue to offer free coloring downloads here and there on the blog, my coloring subscription was created for all of you coloring enthusiasts out there! 

So here is how it works:

"Color Me" coloring subscription is a coloring subscription for 6 months of digital coloring downloads.

Purchase a bundle for $25 ON SALE NOW FOR $15 and you will receive 5 coloring pages each month, for 6 months. That is a total of 30 pages!

The subscription begins October 1, 2016 and ends March 1, 2017 

You will receive access to a private website where you can download 5 new coloring pages fresh from my sketchbook on the 1st of each month.

Purchase the bundle at any time within the 6 months and you will receive all monthly pages and future pages until March 1st, 2017.

Design are all hand drawn by me and they the subject matter will vary throughout the months.

Designs have been scanned at a high resolution for crisp and clear printing. All of the coloring page downloads are PDF's.

Coloring pages are designed to fit on a 8.5 X 11 piece of paper.

Use your favorite paper and print out as many as you like!

Grab your favorite supplies- markers, colored pencils, crayons or watercolors and have fun filling the pages with color. Frame them, cut them out to craft with or add them to your art journal! Just remember they are for personal use only.

Sign up HERE

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

frequently asked questions- how to put your work out there


intro from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.


a body of work from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

Once you have a good body of work, take time to photograph everything. These photos can be used for your portfolio, media kit, your online shop, business newsletters, social media, etc.


create a brand from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

I feel lucky to have always known that I want to be an artist but along the way I've had to do a lot work and reflection about who I am and what makes me unique. Regardless of the place you are at, I think it is so important to take time to "quiet the noise" of what everyone else is doing and really connect with things that make you special and unique. 

Try taking time to answer these question: What is your unique story? What drives or inspires you? What brings you joy? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What makes you different from everyone else out there? What do you want your life and business to look like? What are your short term and long term goals?  

Keep in mind that we are always growing and changing (especially if we are creative) which means the definition of who we are, the direction, our goals and brand will likely evolve with time and experience and that is ok.


network and community from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

While I've never had a giant network of friends and mentors that have helped me along the way, I do have a handful of really important people in my life that I reach out to for advice, brainstorming and general fellowship.
Take a risk and try reaching out to like minded artists and crafters. Shoot them an email and see if there are any ways that you can work together and market each other. The worst that can happen is they say no!
Utilize social media. Social media is a great way to market your work but it is also a really powerful way to connect with like minded people. Some of my closest creative friendships have started online either on Facebook or Instagram!
Start your own group! Put yourself out there and reach out to people in your community or online and find ways to connect and gather. Share ideas, support and opportunities with each other. 


find your people from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.


It is so important to identify your audience (or your customers) when you are trying to share your work. While your audience may evolve and change with time, you really want to have a good understanding who is reading your blog, taking your classes, looking at your social media or buying your products. This will help you make decisions about what things you put out there. 

Take time to do research- what might work for one business may not be right for you. Doing your research and really understanding "your people" will help you decide what works for you and your goals. 


utilize free resources from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

Instead of feeling pressure to spend money sharing your work, look for free services or consider the things you already have at your fingertips.   

Social networking is probably one of the easiest (and free) ways to put your work out there and spread the word about the products or services that you offer. It is also a great way to connect with other people. 

I've found that taking the time to figure out what types of information/photos you want to share helps the process of using social media go smooth. Take some time to make a little social media plan. I like to create a simple plan regarding the things I will share via social media throughout the week- typically it is centered around my blog content, class announcements and then I keep a lot of flexibility and room for things that happen are more personal.  

Share your work on multiple platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc) this will drive more traffic to your site and get more eyes on the things that you post. 


start small from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

Small steps can definitely add up to big things! Here are some of my favorite ways to put your work out there. And keep in mind, you don't have to do these things all once! Pick one things or things that fit with you, your goals and your schedule.

Don't be afraid to give away information, useful tips, inspiration and even free products and services. Business is not just about sell, sell, sell- it is also about connecting with the people that believe in what you do. One of the best ways you can thank those who support you is by being generous through the things that you share. 

Share photos of your latest products or artwork everyday on social media.
Start a blog! It is a great place to share what you are up with your customers or audience. While blogs might not be as important to a business as they have been in the past, I think if you are offering services (online classes, consulting, coaching) a blog is a great way to reach "your people".

One the the quickest easiest ways to get your work out there and sell your handmade goods (or even services) is by opening an online shop. The internet is such a great resources for connecting with customers all over the world. 

Selling work at craft shows isn't for everybody but it is a great way to gain experience making, preparing, selling and interacting with the public. Start by doing a little research to see if there are holiday arts and crafts shows in your community.

Trying to get your work into galleries, small boutiques or even selling wholesale is  another route to take when putting your work out there. Often artists will take this route after gaining experience selling online. It is not for everyone and it is a lot of work but another great way to build a creative handmade business.

Have a question you want me to answer? Feel free to leave a comment or email me

To read more about my journey as an artist-

jump start a creative career- HERE

taking a leap into full time artist- HERE

coping with creative burnout- HERE

coping with failure- HERE

how to keep your work authentic- HERE

the art of chasing a dream- HERE

managing life and a creative business- HERE

the art of setting goals- HERE 

the art of blogging- HERE and HERE

the things I haven't shared- HERE

stronger than I ever knew- HERE

Monday, September 12, 2016

ice dyed dress

I love getting creative with fabric dye and one of my favorite techniques is ice dyeing. The process only requires two things- ice and powered dye. What I love so much about this technique is that you are able to get color that has a more ethereal and watercolor look to it. 

First, grab something white! I used a cotton dress.

I like dyeing fabric that is wet so after washing the dress, I started the dye process.

Using a large container crumble up your fabric and place it inside. At this stage you could also use tie dye or shibori folding techniques but honestly, I love the look of crumbled fabric!

Next, completely cover the fabric with ice cubes.

Using powdered dye (I used Tulip One Step Tie-Dye Kit in a variety of colors), begin sprinkling dye over the ice. When working with powdered dye, it is recommended to wear a dust mask.

I used a variety of color in different locations. TIP: Be thoughtful about where you sprinkle the dye, if you layer too many colors on top of each other they will blend together and make the color brown.

Now it's time to sit back and let that ice melt!

As the ice melts, the dye will drip and soak into your fabric. I worked on this project on a sunny day so it took about 3 hours in the sun for my pile of ice to melt.

Since I wanted a lighter, less saturated look to my fabric, I removed and washed my fabric after about 4 or 5 hours. The results will vary depending on the dye that you use but typically letting dye soak into your fabric longer will create deeper, darker color.

Next, wash and dry your fabric.

I love this technique because it is so easy but I really love that the result is a little more subtle than your traditional tie dye look! 


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