Wanna peek behind the curtain?

You see blank canvases for sale at art and craft supply stores. You see finished artwork on cafe and gallery walls, in online marketplaces like Etsy.com, at the dentist's office, and even at Target.

But you don't often get to sneak a peek at the art being made. You don't normally see all the awkward stages a painting goes through—how it got started, how it gets shepherded along, and the many changes of direction the artist might take—before it's declared "finished."

Step behind the curtain, my friends! I'm going to show you what I'm working on...

(F.Y.I. I started with a store-bought canvas that measures 15" x  30" and 1.5"  deep.)

Ok, this isn't the very beginning. First I painted the entire white canvas with "Blue Moon" mural paint.

For no particular reason I chose to take pages from Dewey Decimal Classification, dated 1971. Did you know it was first published in 1894? Talk about a classic!

I use an adhesive called "matte medium" to stick normal-weight paper on a canvas or board. I chose pages that had text about architecture, buildings, houses, etc. to go with the theme I had in mind...

I wanted to add textured lines, so I mixed some blue paint in with some 'light molding paste.'

Getting the molding paste to do what you want takes some finessing... but that's what makes it fun and interesting! I'm using a rubber-tipped tool to "draw" it on.

Ok, so at this point I got a little carried away and forgot to take photos. Basically I was applying thin layers of mostly transparent paints to get the nighttime sky and skyline effect I wanted.

Dreamy thoughts are floating up from apartment windows.

Then I decided that some of the windows should be glowing with golden light.

I decided the sky needed some glitter, because along the way I named this painting "Dreams of the City." I don't often use glitter, but I want this one to be nice and dreamy!

Can you see the title in tiny print there in the "clouds?"

I'm a big fan of the moon. Natalie also thought this painting needed one for sure.

So now I'll look at it for a few days, trying to decide if it needs anything else. This one came together faster than most—in less than a week—but I like the stage it's landed in.

What do you guys think: Does it look finished??

And what about you: Want to play with collage techniques and acrylic paint? Gather your friends together and I'll create a class for you. Here's what people are saying:

"I had done a lot of digital art [so] I became afraid of the more 'tactile' arts like painting and collage. Recently I bought a starter kit of acrylic paints but I continued to stare at a blank canvas. Taking this class got my hands wet and lessened a lot of my anxiety to start painting. Thank you." - Trisha A.

"You are the best kind of teacher—not too pushy and not too passive! Also the studio and materials were top-notch. Thanks so much!" - Michelle B.

To see more of my paintings and collages, which are also for people just like you, look here.