Your Unique Painting Techniques – Secret to Life as an Artist Series

My last post in this series was about intuition, trust in the process and having faith all will turn out the way it is supposed to turn out. Yay! I truly believe in that.

Today’s post is about unique painting techniques that make up your style of painting. Or as Ariane Goodwin from says, your unique painting “fingerprint.”

Your fingerprint is what makes your painting unique to you. It’s what makes people able to recognize your work. It’s something I think artists need to develop as they continue to paint and progress in their career. Of course these techniques and the look of your work can develop and change.

The look of my paintings have changed over the years and I’m glad that they have. One of my goals is to see growth in my artwork and I think I’m accomplishing that.

It’s not been without some frustration though but I’ve kept at it. To develop my fingerprint, it took lots of experimenting and playing with different mediums until I found something that I liked.

For me, it’s using acrylics on paper, wood and canvas. I’ve found certain techniques that make my work recognizable as mine.

Foremost is the vivid color with black outline. This is one of my newest paintings below.

Colorful Aspen Tree Painting
© Lindy Gaskill, “Yellow Moon on the Rise”, 12″ x 12″, acrylic on wood, 1.5″ black painted sides, $345

I like to create pattern in the underpainting which looks like this.

The pattern may be in black or different colors like this green leaf pattern.

I also like to use thin cotton string dipped in red or black paint which I use to splatter squiggle marks over the painting. I like the texture it makes. And I’ve also been using white ink to create patterns in the background and in the trunks of the trees.

These are just a few painting techniques in my process. What makes up your fingerprint?


The Secret to Life as an Artist Series

I like to add inspiring quotes to my monthly art newsletters. I’ve been a collector of sayings and quotes for quite a while. I’ve filled up a bunch of empty books. (You can read about my empty books here>)

My search for a great quote led me to one by Antoine de Saint-Exupery from one of my favorite books, “The Little Prince.”

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This got me thinking about the Secret of Life. Or rather,  what are the principles I live by? And this led me to thinking about what is the Secret to Life as an artist.

At that point, about a million questions ran through my mind. How did I get here? Where am I going? What principles have I adhered to? What do I stand for, stand by, or stand with regarding my art?

So I decided I’d do a series of blog posts about this and I’ll call it the Secret to Life as an Artist series.

My birthday is coming up next month and birthdays tend to nudge me into looking at my past and looking ahead to where I want to be and this always brings up questions.

One finds after living 53 years that some things work and some things don’t. So this series will be about those things that have worked for me, a little about what hasn’t and I’ll tie it into my creative journey as an artist.

So, back to the saying, what is essential is invisible to the eye.

For me, that would be intuition. To me, painting from intuition leads to a more soulful painting. I like to think I tap into my intuition when I paint.

And this is how I do it.  When I first start a painting, I just put paint down randomly. I don’t think too hard about it. I have fun with it and play with color and pattern.

how to start a painting

I use some textured cloth to stamp into it. I start layering cool colors onto warm colors.

My other essential item is Trust. Trust in the process. Trust that this swirling mixture of color is going to turn into a finished painting!

It takes a tremendous amount of Faith as it goes through the changing chaos of line and color, texture and pattern!

changes in a painting


Faith that images will appear and lead me down a path. This particular painting is a commission piece and it began to turn into a tropical garden.

tropical garden painting in process


So the principles I follow are intuition, trust in the process and have faith that things will work out exactly the way they are meant to work out.

Rumi's Tropical Garden painting


And so they do.

tropical garden painting

Rumi’s Tropical Garden, 12″x12″, acrylic on paper, sold

What are some of your essential items?

Update on what I’m working on in the studio

These are the peace tree paintings I worked on yesterday in the studio. They still have more layers to go but this shows a good start.

I build up layers with the black. I especially like the way it looks like aspen markings in the tree trunk.


I mainly worked on the two on the left yesterday. Today the one on the right is calling to me. I like watching them progress by taking the photos.


My art videos are inspiring others

I have some art videos on youtube and they’ve been inspiring others! I think this is wonderful and I love it when people share their art with me.

One Etsy artist, Christina Colwell, at helixartandglass wrote me this nice note.

Hi Lindy,

I just wanted to share with you and thank you for making available some painting demonstrations on You Tube. I’ve been playing with some of your techniques which I just love. Anyway…here is the end result of most recent. Photo doesn’t really do justice to the layers and texture but it is what it is.

Thanks again.



Below is her colorful image. It features a quote by Chesterson; “Angels Can Fly Because They Take Themselves Lightly.”

Christina has used the texture technique that I teach and the swirls using string. She also used the less dominant hand  technique to create the angels. Love the whimsical, fun imagery!

Angels can Fly
©2012 Christina Colwell (used with permission), Angels can Fly, acrylic on wood

Thank you Christina for sharing your art!

Purchase this Angels Can Fly painting at Christina’s Etsy Shop>

Development of a painting – Protecting the Nest III

I was painting about a dozen canvases and pieces on wood while I was taking the Bloom True e-course by Flora Bowley. I’m still working on some of the pieces and they are developing and changing and don’t look anything like the way they started.

It’s always interesting to me to watch a painting develop. In the future I’ll be posting some of these pieces to show you.

What I love about the Bloom True e-course is you can take what you would like from it, what resonates with you, and leave the rest. Many of the things I was doing are things that I have learned in previous experimental drawing and painting classes but I had fallen away from them and this e-course got me back on track! Love that! One needs that as an artist to keep growing. And taking workshops is inspiring for that! And this one is amazingly inspiring! It is unique in that it combines more than just painting techniques. There is a whole mind, body, soul element to it. I highly recommend enrolling for the next e-course in June.

Letting images come spontaneously and intuitively, letting my own marks and color palette fill the canvas was a joy!

Below are some of the images of my painting, Protecting the Nest III, as it developed.

Some of the first layers and adding lights and darks.


more layers, keeping the raven shape, adding in the feathers


This is the awkward teenager stage where the painting looks yucky!

Protecting the Nest III, Acrylic on Wood, ©2012 L. Gruger

The final painting has some of my signature marks in it.

The marks I use with string, making spirals and swiggly marks with red and black paint. And the marks I use by scratching into paint on wax paper and pressing it into the painting. These marks are what Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D. from the smARTist Telesummit calls one’s fingerprint aka one’s artist voice with painting. The marks that make your painting yours. These are my marks and they are the one’s that a person can recognize an L. Gruger painting has. That and the black outline. I  love using the black outline and currently I’m experimenting with white outline too.

What are the things that make up your fingerprint?

What I'm Learning in the Bloom True e-course

my work table
my work table today

I am really loving the Bloom True e-course by Flora Bowley. It’s such a nice mix of video’s, instruction, interviews, sketchbook time, gratefulness, yoga, etc. It is truly a mind, body, spirit type of class and it is just what I had hoped it would be.

I understand why it is titled the “brave, intuitive you” e-course. It definitely takes being brave to push oneself to make authentic paintings based on the symbols, and marks from one’s intuitive and true self.

There has been a level of frustration though with my painting. But no more than what I usually feel as I delve into the painting process. There is a point where my work looks pretty ugly! But I know from experience that they will get better as I continue to work on them. Flora calls this the ‘akward teenager phase”. Most of my paintings are in this phase right now. Yuck!

I know when I’m not trusting my intuition too. And that is when I start judging or comparing or analyzing what I’m doing.That’s when I get out of the flow but it’s a process of discovery as the paintings develop and I love it!

Flora talks about the artist being a vessel, allowing the creativity to flow through our hands onto the canvas. I like this idea of the the artist as a conduit because I often feel that way. When I’m painting, I’m not thinking too hard about what I’m doing. I try to let my intuitive self take over and be the channel to let the creative juices flow!

My Studio
My studio today

So I am learning a great deal about process and pushing the limits. Things that I knew before but often have let slide. So this course is a great one to get me back on track.

I’m learning about trusting my intuition and being bold. I’m learning about making my own personal marks. I’m learning about building layer, after layer, after layer and being okay with all this paint I’m putting on my canvas. I’m learning to trust that a painting will emerge from these colorful, textured layers.

There is a point when one starts to see things in the painting and I’m learning to not force it, to let it emerge slowly. I think in the past I was starting too early in my process with imagery. Now I am working slower and making more marks in the under layers which allows more variety for me to see things emerge. I love this!

And I’m learning that it is okay to cover up things with more marks because maybe something even better will emerge. And that definitely takes being brave! To cover up an image that I like for something else. But the beauty is, as Flora reminds us, if you mess up you can always keep building up layers with more marks and more paint until you start seeing things you like.

Meanwhile, as I work on my paintings for the e-course, I’ve been working on some other paintings. Here is a sneak peak of some of the detail from them.

Title of my new painting is Big Sun, Little Moon
Title: Big Sun, Little Moon
Title of this piece is The Wishing Bowl

Title: Where Dreams are Born

Happy creating!

Learning new approaches in my art

As I wrote earlier, I’m taking the super awesome painting e-course by Flora Bowley called Bloom True. But it’s not just about painting! It’s about intuition, meditation, playfulness, yoga, letting go, not judging, trusting the process, being open and a whole lot more!

I just love it!

I’m painting on 2 canvases (actually wood boards) for the class but then I have a bunch more pieces I’m working on too.  I’m incorporating what I’ve learned from the course with a mix of what I already know about painting. A lot of what Flora is teaching us incliudes things that I learned from Peggy Zehring a number of years ago but with a slightly different take. This e-course is just what I’ve needed to grow and further my path as an artist. I’m so grateful I signed up for the Bloom True e-course!

We’re using lots of different kinds of tools and brushes as well as our fingers and thick and fluid acrylic paint.


This is a large painting I started but since I took this photo it has changed. One starts with an undercoat of personal mark making.

Large painting

It transformed into this


and then this


Check back later for more of the progression on this piece.

It is so fun to play with paint and make different and unusual marks. Here are a few more I’ve started. They also have since been transformed since I took this photo.

Bloom True Paintings

Here’s some detail of early mark making.



Having fun with color is an artist’s dream! So I am really enjoying this!





Trust is a big part of this course. Because all the different mark making can feel chaotic and bring up different emotions, I have to trust that every mark I’m making is meant to be there and it’s all okay. It’s okay to cover up the different areas with new marks and experiment and try different things. There is no right or wrong and that is a good thing to remember as an artist.

Art is about creating and not about putting judgements on myself about whether I am doing it right. And that thought is very freeing. It allows me to just create and let the marks come from my intuition and feelings. Allowing the brush in my hand to stay loose and free flowing is something I need more practice on and I’m so enjoying this practice!

Check back later for more about my painting sessions.

Happy creating!

~ Lindy

How I got inspired by lanterns

This lantern below was made by my fiancé Greg Gaskill. I’ve been watching him create beautiful raku ceramic lanterns.

raku-lanternRaku Lantern by Greg Gaskill, sold

We’ve talked about how they illuminate and cast shadows. We’ve talked about the other lanterns we have in our home. The hanging one’s we have on the back deck that are made of punched tin from Mexico. I love the star pattern on them. Then there are the solar lanterns we have along the walkway. And the red paper lantern I have hanging in my art studio and the delicately thin white papered one in our kitchen with the black, spaghetti thin wire handle. I would have to say we are lovers of lanterns!

So all this talk of lanterns is what inspired me to create my first painting with a lantern in it which I titled “Touching the Light:  One Danced with the Fireflies.” It is an acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 40″, and sold a few weeks ago at the Tumalo Art Co. gallery.

Touching the Light: One Danced with the Fireflies

yellow lanterns

And I’m painting more trees with lanterns in them. The one I’m working on at the moment has a number of colored lanterns in it. Here is the first layers of paint.


Then I put a black, patterned texture over it and this is the phase where it can look pretty bad. I usually have to tell myself that I know this painting is going to get better! It is these in between stages of my paintings that I do not like and get frustrated with because there is a tiny side of my brain that thinks it is not going to turn out the way I envision it. I know I have to push through this stage.


And it is getting better….it’s changing everyday and I can’t wait to see where it leads me!


I’ll post the completed painting after I finish it. Stay tuned.

Art with Texture

I love texture in a painting. I thought you might like to see my work up close and see some of the texture I put into it. I’m often asked how I get the pattern in my paintings that you see in the background.


My process involves using wax paper that I paint and then scrap into with my fingernails, and then press onto the painting. I let it dry for a bit and then run it under the faucet to take some of the paint off with water.


It involves many layers of paint.


I use embroidery thread dipped in paint to get the swirls patterns like you see above. And I like putting the white dots in my work too. They show paths of swirling energy.


To see a video where I’m demonstrating my art process, see my youtube channel. Below is one of my art videos.

To see more of my art, visit my website.

Painting and Making Whimsical Recycled Garden Art

One way to bring a little color into your home is to make colorful garden planters using paint and recycled washing machine drums.


I painted the one above last year. It’s great for cactus because they don’t need much water.

I made a bright flower motif one this year.


I’ll show you the progression of one I decorated with a cactus design below.

I started with an empty washing machine drum that I cleaned up to look like this.


Next I added a layer of color using oil paint and let it dry.


Then I used black paint and sketched out my design from some drawings I made beforehand.


Then I started filling in with color what I’d sketched.




I’m able to get different shades of color by adding white or other colors together. For instance, the green is made with a yellow and blue mix. One shade has more blue in it and one has more yellow and white in it.


I tried to add a little dimension to it by layering some lighter shades over the darker shades.



Then the fun part comes in when I get to add the details. In this case the needles on the cactus and the border along the top.




I especially liked the little cross needles on the below cactus.


This one was a fun one to paint and I especially like the way it came out.


While I was painting whimsical garden planters, Greg was making this rustic chair. The back is made from palm stems that he recycled when he trimmed the palm trees. He had to cut the barbs off each stem or else one would get their clothes stuck on them.


The stems will eventually turn brown as the wood dries. We like the green color though, so he’s thinking of staining the legs and arms a green tint. We’ll see. Either way, I think it came out really cool and it’s comfy to sit in!

Have you made something lately? Would love to know what you’ve made.

Happy creating!

Creating colorful, whimsical paintings in the studio


I unplugged last Friday and tried not to use my computer except for email so I could spend all my time in the art studio working on six new paintings on board. I have some minis and medium sized paintings in the works as well but I put those on hold to concentrate on the six.

I’ve accomplished a lot! I’ll share a bit of what I’ve done and then I’m back to the studio to keep working on them.

The first layer on my paintings is about getting some color down.

And working with creating texture. I use a ribbed t-shirt pressed into the paint to get some of the lines and layering of color. (See my art video on my youtube channel where I talk about creating texture.)


I knew I wanted to paint more birch tree paintings.

My imagination envisioned trees leaning into each other. Trees living near water or with animals. So I started seeing in my mind the trees in their surroundings and started laying down their white base.


I  really love painting these whimsical worlds because I can add anything I want to them such as organic forms…

detailsand horses and moons…


and water,

trees2hearts and homes


and birds.

birdAnd color. I love adding color! I can’t wait to get back to working on them!

They’re in that in between stage right now and I know after today they will look more the way I want them to. So check back tomorrow and I’ll share more of their progression. I’ll show you what is living in that pond of blue water and what else lives with this bird.

Until then, enjoy the colors of your life!

First phases of a painting

I thought I would share what my paintings first start out looking like. They’re not too pretty. Mostly just a bunch of color. I use a brush or my fingers and spread the color around. I’m working intuitively and not thinking too much about it…it’s rather fun and messy.

Then I use a rag from one of those white muscle man t-shirts and dab the paint around and create some texture from the ribbed pattern on the t-shirt. It’s hard to explain in writing. If you want to watch a video of me doing a demo of how I start a painting, you can check out my youtube channel where I show how it’s done.

I know that I want to paint more of my aspen/birch tree paintings. So that is what I’m thinking about as I start these.


I like to put in some black pattern as an under layer so it is at this point that I add the black line.

I’m working on a large one as well as the two smaller ones.


I’m not sure I like the larger one. There might be too many trees in it. It’s feeling a little busy but maybe I just need to keep working on it. I think more layers of paint and pattern will soften it…atleast that’s what I’m hoping.

My paintings almost always go through a phase where they look really ugly! It’s the early stages before more layers are added. They often look stark and rough. I’ve learned it’s a phase and if I keep working through it, the painting gets to a point that it starts looking like what I’m aiming for.

Isn’t that true of so many things? How if we just stick with something, we will be rewarded? It is often hard to see it when we’re right in the middle of something. Sometimes we just want to give up. I’ve learned that what is on the surface is not always what it appears in the end. Sometimes we need to sit still and let the Universe reveal whatever it may be to us. Or in this case, with my painting, I need to keep moving with it, working on it, to see what is to come.

I love that about painting. The process, and how it can feel like a mystery. The “I wonder how this is going to turn out” feeling. Sometimes the painting feels like it is painting itself, easy and flowing, and other times, it is a struggle, a push to reveal itself. I don’t know why one may feel one way and another, the other way. But I do know, I have to go through the rough undercoats before I am rewarded with the final layers of beauty.

After these paintings are finished, I’ll show you the end results. Stay tuned.

Painting Rocks and Garden Walls

When was the last time you painted rocks? It always reminds me of my childhood. We had a family beach cabin and in the summer time once in awhile we would collect beach rocks and sit and wile away the afternoon painting rocks. I always remember it as being fun! So that is what I did yesterday. Paint rocks. When they’re finished, I’m going to put them in what we are calling the “circle garden”. See below.

This is an old cement container that people would throw garbage in and burn. It sits right off the road in front of our property. But since we put a palapa roof right above it on the garage, we don’t want anyone burning because it could catch the palapa on fire. So we decided to turn it from an eye sore into something pretty! A garden. We put a few desert plants that don’t need much water in it. And I’m going to paint the sides soon with something colorful. Hopefully it will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood as people drive by.

Painting Technique Videos

I’ve had people ask me how do you do that when they’re looking at my paintings. Sometimes people think my paintings are prints. Other’s think I’ve used airbrush on them. So I decided to make some videos to show some of the techniques I use in my paintings. You can view them at The first one is on how I start a painting and the second one is on using my less dominant hand (left hand) as a painting technique. On the video though it looks like I’m using my right hand cause for some reason it records it the opposite way than reality. There are three more videos that I’ve uploaded on creating texture and swirly lines in a painting. If you have some other ideas for videos, let me know!

Painting technique video and whimsical paintings

I made my first artist videos yesterday. I’m going to be posting a few videos regarding my painting technique. They are short and a little rough around the edges but they were fun to make! The first one will be about how I start a painting. The others are about how I get the texture and line work in my paintings. I’ll post a link to my youtube videos after I get them finalized – so stay tuned. Also I’d like to know what kinds of videos you would be interested in seeing in the future? Please leave your comments and let me know.
The paintings I’m working on in the videos are my “lyrical world” paintings. Below is the very first stages of one of them. I just love the whimsical, jewel colored shapes. These paintings are my favorites to make! I’ll be posting some more images of them after they get a little further along.