I'm newly in love with the following items:
1. Molding Paste. I'm not an acrylic artist, so adding texture is new to me. In order to capture the sculpturalness of rebar in the Robert Irwin Getty Garden bougainvillea "trees," I basically took this thing the consistency of frosting and frosted the panel using a special tool.
2. Pigment. Some say it's toxic to breathe. The Italian guy I bought it from in Venice assured me I could just add water and it would magically function like totally safe paint. I add acrylic gel medium because I have zero faith that that is true. And I am very careful with it! I used a burnt red, light yellow, and dark green to capture the colors/light of my source photo, and I really love how those colors mixed.
3. Artisanal Papers. Blick (formerly Utrecht), the art store, sells these packets of artisanal paper scraps for about $3 a pop, and I pick one up almost every time I go. For this piece, I cut out leaves from one type of paper, and mulberry paper dogs to capture the bokkeh. How did I make those perfect circles with limited resources in my Airbnb? A wine cork, of course!
Can you see how I got the final piece out of this source photo?