BLOSSOM: A New “WILDISH SPIRITS” Painting for 2023

BLOSSOM is the latest painting on my “WILDISH SPIRITS” series. She is a celebration of spring and loves to play in my flower beds! She was inspired by my love for wildflowers and my longing for spring sunshine.

Blossom, 11×14, acrylic on canvas

Have a wonderful, creative, joyful day! Janell

Posted in Art

Acrylic Paints: Opaque vs. Translucent/Transparent

I’ve been asked what the difference is between transparant and opaque paints and how you apply them to the canvas to get a variety of effects. It is also challenging to tell if a paint is opaque or if it is transparent (translucent) by just looking at the paint on your palette.

I have used Titanium White vs. Zinc White to illustrate the difference in opaque and translucent Acrylic Paints in the picture above. Titanium white is an opaque paint and zinc white is a translucent paint. A good way to think of this is opaque paint is not see through and translucent/transparent paint is see through. In the photo you can see the blue paint peeking through underneath the zinc white, but the titanium white hides all of the blue paint underneath it.

I also painted in with gesso to show how it is in between transparent and opaque. This is why I always paint two to three coats of gesso when preparing a painting surface.

Definitions of the two pigments or paints:

Translucent/Transparent Paint: When an object is dyed to be translucent, it allows more light to pass through, reflecting off the objects behind the surface and allowing them to reflect their own color wavelengths, increasing their visibility. When applying translucent paint over the top of another color of paint, it allows the lower color to show through creating an “mixed” color of the two different colors.

Opaque Paint: A paint color is said to be opaque when it hides what’s underneath it. When you can’t see any or very little of what’s painted beneath the color, it is an opaque paint. If you can see a color that is underneath, then that paint is just the opposite of opaque, it is transparent.

Semi Transparent and Semi Opaque Paints: And just to confuse all of us, there are also may paints that are in between. They are classified as semi transparent (more transparent than opaque) and semi opaque (more opaque than transparent.)

I made a list of the transparent and opaque paints I use regularly as a reference sheet in my studio. I have shared it below. These are my personal favorite colors I use the most, there are many other colors created by paint manufacturers. I use Grumbacher, Golden and Liquitex acrylics.

Transluscent/Transparent Paints (includes semi transparant)

Zinc white, alizarin crimson, dioxazine blue, ultramarine, pthalo blue, Prussian blue, viridian green, terre verte, sap green, burnt sienna, raw sienna, raw umber. Even though raw unber is on this list, I think it covers really well.

Opaque Paints (includes semi opaque)

the cadmium’s: yellow, red, orange. Lemon yellow, yellow ochre, burnt umber, Vandyke brown, Paynes grey, ivory black, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, chromium green, Indian red, and titanium white.

I have found that using semi opaque or semi transparent paints in my painting process is the best way to get familiar with how transparent/opaque they appear.

Color Mixing

Mixing a transparent paint with an opaque paint can make it more opaque. As an example, I mix sap green which is semi-transparent with a tiny bit of cadmium yellow and it covers more like an opaque paint.

Some brands of paint have begun using a chart from 1 to 8 to determine the opaqueness of each paint. Most paints have a transparancy/opaque reference on the tube, but if you don’t see it, refer to their website for that and more information about each type of paint.

Water Based Mediums

There are also all types of water based add ins and Mediums that can change the density of your acrylic paints, too. But that’s a huge topic for later!

Let me know if you find this helpful!

Have a wonderful, creative, day filled with joy! -Janell

P.S. Yes, I am back to blogging after taking a couple of years off. I so enjoy talking about art and painting and sharing my processes and experiments that I decided to get back to blogging. 😊

Another New Chapter in My Art Life – Update 2022


My website is All of my shops will be accessed from this website under shops. You can purchase products with my artwork on them for different print on demand sites, the links to them are under the Shops heading. I update artwork and new POD sites regularly, so check back often if you are interested in products with new artworks. I fyou are interested in original art, please contact me.

Thanks, Janell

2021 update

I have also decided to focus all my writing, teachings, and art news information into my newsletters, so I no longer blog. I will occassionally write a news announcement and post it here. If you are interested in continuing to follow my art journey, please subscribe to my Enewsletter.

I have enjoyed this journey and getting to know everyone in the WordPress and blogging community! Thank you all for your encouragement, advice and friendship over these past ten years!

I wish you all a wonderful, creative, day, filled with JOY! -Janell

Janell Mithani with her recent paintings, April, 2021

Memory Dress Tea Bag Paintings in Honor of my MOM

After my mom passed away in May of 2019, I started painting a tea bag a day as a relaxing therapy in the mornings.  Once I painted one, I knew this was going to be an ongoing project!  I had been working on a series: “Every Size, Shape, Color, and Age” so I decided to paint dresses to continue this series as well as flowers and whimsical creatures from the fairy realm.  I have titled the dress paintings after women I admire.

I have really enjoyed continuing with this series and exploring more collage techniques, using multiple recycled tea bags to create texture and interest. Here are two of my most recent paintings in this series.

“Carmen” 6″ x 6″ acrylic, recycled tea bags, on canvas (SOLD)

“Carmen” was inspired by my love of pink and green and my love of fairies. I love February as I think of it as the month of red and pink!

“Ashley” 6″ x 4,” Acrylic, recycled tea bag on canvas, $48

“Ashley” is a celebration of my love for vintage blue and white. If you saw my kitchen, you’d know I’m a bit obsessed with this color combination. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed these two paintings. You can see more paintings and read more about this series on the Tea Paintings page of my website.

I wish you a wonderful, creative, day filled with joy! –Janell

January Art Planning and Review

Happy New Year! January is always a fun month for me as I start the year off with a new planner and I set time aside to plan paintings for the new year. Do you do any type of planning in January?

I begin the process with a review of the paintings I created the year before. I always ;earn from this and am often surprised at how much and what I have created. Reflecting on why I chose to create certain pieces always inspires me, too. I do some commissions every year, but I created the rest of my art based on what inspires and interests me. I was surprised by the amount of paintings I created, 2020 was very productive! It seems being at home so much this past year did have one benefit! 🙂

I usually start this process by going through my pictures on my phone. I try to take professional photographs of each painting with my Canon 20D, but sometimes I am rushing to get the piece to my collector, so I only get a quick photo on my phone. I have also started using an art inventory system to better track my artwork.

Here are a few grids I made from the 2020 paintings.

These are some of my paintings on my recycled tea bags. I am really enjoying this memory series and I’ve recently started exploring collaging multiple teabags into one painting and increasing my canvas size. I love texture and the tea bags mixed with heavy body acrylics is giving me some interesting backgrounds.

These are some sweet animal paintings I created for an exhibit I had in February, before the pandemic. It was the only in-person exhibit I was able to have in 2020.

This grouping is a mix of floral commissions and other paintings I sold last year.

I am off to plan what painting I want to create this year. I hope you are off to a great start for the new year and I would love to hear about your planning process.

Have a wonderful, creative, and joyful day, Janell

Happy Holidays!

Wishing all of you a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

I hope to do more blogging about my art process next year and I am really looking forward to creating, teaching, and collaborating in the new year! I am hopeful I will be able to teach some art workshops in person next year as well as share my art in-person. I have missed that in-person human connection! 🙂

This is a sweet painting named “STAR.” She reflects my feelings of simple hope that I have for the new year. I created her for a Holiday challenge on IG the first week of December and I wanted to share her with all of you.

I hope you are finding safe and fun ways to celebrate this holiday season. We are having a very quiet Christmas and New Years. I am so looking forward to 20201! As I am sure many of you are, too! 🙂

Happy Holidays and I wish you a wonderful, creative, day filled with JOY, Janell

Tzompantli Art Exhibit

Fall Greetings!

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few days away! Fall has slipped by so quickly!

In October I was honored to be asked to join 75 artists in creating a piece of art for a “Tzompantli art Exhibition.” I was especially thankful as I am not Latino and this was a wonderful opportunity for me to create a piece of art outside of my genre.

“En Memoria de mi Madre,
In Memory of My Mother”

For this exhibition, the figure of the pre-Hispanic Tzompantli (row or wall of skulls) and the Day of the Dead, was to be taken as a starting point for the artists.

I created this piece in memory of my mom who passed away in 2019. Since it was a new genre of art for me, I enjoyed the challenge of creating the piece but staying true to my artistic style.

Below is a Curatorial statement that Professor Denise Lugo has been so generous to write about my painting.

The international art exhibition entitled “Tzompantli:  Reflexión Artística 2020” (or,  in. English)“Tzompantli:  Artist’s Reflections 2020” was coordinated by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico City. This international exhibition was videotaped and dispatched to all Mexican Consulates globally.  Janell Mithani is a Southern California artist featured along with other international artists who are featured in this unique exhibition.

Janell’s painted “Catrina” Calvera entitled “In Memory of my mother, 2020″ displays her personal colorful aesthetic and creative lens. This canvas’s symbolic foundation is found in ancient Mexican skull symbolism historically tied to the “Tzompantli” (Aztec Skull rack, symbolizing the eternal cycle of life and death), which is reflected in the title of this exhibition. 

Historically speaking, the ancient Aztec-Mayan “Calaveras” (skull) imagery epitomized the spiritual, cultural, and fertility ancestor rituals. At the beginning of the 20th century, the artist Guadalupe Posada recycled such skeletal images to represent the everyday Mexican “magical” reality.

Janell Mithani’s Catrina Calavera is positioned in a frontal pose and painted within a colorful and bright palette outlined within a tightly linear fashion–Janell’s Catrina looks directly at us, the viewer. This linear painting also interweaves ancient Mesoamerican symbolism, depicting the ancient Mesoamerican hairless dog, a spiritual figure that guides the deceased into the underworld. This Catarina figure is beautifully depicted in symbiosis Monarch butterflies, another spiritual motif depicting a journey back to the heart of Mexico.

The artist’s ethereal painted brush is a loving paid homage to her mother and manifested by adding decorative mushrooms. This very colorful canvas functions as a visual embrace created with compassion, empathy, and love that is much needed and highly appreciated in 2020, with our world in the grips of life and death challenges.

Professor Denise Lugo
California State University, Channel Island
Art History Department

Seventy Five pieces of art were created by artists internationally including 24 art pieces from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara artists.

The project was sponsored by the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE-Mexican Embassy) and Institutos de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME.)

The Exhibition was propsed and directed by Claudia Montero and Fernanda Alva Ruiz Cabañas, and organized by poet and artist Enedina Castañeda.

Also, Professor Denise Lugo wrote a beautiful curatorial statement for the exhibit which is at the beginning of the video. The website for the project is

Here is a link to the video on YouTube:

Proyecto Artístico Comunitario Internacional: Tzompantli Reflexión artística del año 2020. International Community Art Project: Tzompantli 2020 Artistic Introspection

The Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores and IME (Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior) in Mexico City have sent the video to Mexican embassies all over the world.

Prints of all of the artwork were assembled into an exhibition at the Mexican Consulate in Austin Texas and at the Mexican Consulate in Oxnard, California.

Consulado de Mexico en Austin, TX (Mexican Consulate in Austin, Texas)
Tzompantli Exhibition, Mexican Consulate, Oxnard, CA
Tzompantli Exhibiton, Consulado de Mexico en, Oxnard, CA

And here is my painting as it appears in the video.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my art journey!

I wish you an wonderful, creative day filled with JOY, Janell

New Tea Bag Dress Paintings

I have two new tea bag paintings I wanted to share with you.

“Kate,” 4″ x 4″ acrylic, recycled tea bag on canvas.

A gold and white dress painted on a tea bag, My process on this painting was painting on the teabag and then collaging it into the painted canvas.

gold and white dress painting on recycled tea bag
“Goldie,” 4″ x 4,” acrylic, recycled tea bag, on canvas.

On this painting I collaged multiple tea bags in layers as I painted on the canvas. Then I painted the dress over the entire canvas.

If you are interested, I have added these paintings to my online gallery store.

About my Tea Bag Paintings:
I love tea. My mother-in-law taught me to drink tea shortly after I met her. I usually have a cup as soon as I wake up and an afternoon cup between 3 and 5 pm. And maybe a few in between…:) I also love to recycle, so about a year ago I started saving my tea bags to use in my art.

Shortly after my mom passed away, I started painting a tea bag a day as a relaxing therapy in the mornings. Once I painted one, I was totally hooked! My subjects are mini dresses in “Every size, shape, color, and age,” fairy dresses, and other whimsical subjects that move me. My dress paintings are named in honor of strong women in my life who made an impression me and suffragettes. Once I have finished the tea bag painting, I paint a canvas to match, including all four sides of the canvas, and add the tea bag. All my paintings have a final UV protective coating. Each painting comes with an easel or you can easily hang it on the wall for display.

Thanks so much for your support and interest in my art.

Have a wonderful, creative day filled with joy, Janell

New Musical Mermaid Painting

WooHoo! I finished my mermaid painting!

The title of this piece is “Viola,” 24″ x 36,” acrylic on canvas.

This is one of my large scale paintings and it took me about three months to complete it. It is the first painting in my new series, “Musical Mermaids.” 

A close-up view.

I have been working on sketches for a while, and decided on this one for the first painting in the series. I was inspired from a discussion I had with a sweet little four year old girl who came with her mom to one of my fairy garden classes. After we discussed fairies for a bit, she asked me if I believed in mermaids. I said Yes! And I whispered to her that I think I AM one. Her reaction was priceless. 💖

I’m so excited to finish this painting!

I got started with painting the background .

I made a few changes through the process of sketch to painting as well as some changes mid-painting. Below are a few pictures of my painting process and the different stages of the painting.

I add pastel chalk to the back of my sketches to transfer the drawing into my painting once I have the background painted.
I transferred the sketch with light pink and white pastel chalk so I could see it on the dark ocean.
The beginning of blocking in the shapes of the mermaid.
I had fun with the sea shells in her hair. 😁

I am excited about this new series. I love music and listen to all types when I’m painting. I even played the violin for a few years in school. Fortunately for everyone’s eardrums, I gave it up in high school to have more time for visual arts. 😁

I worked on the sky and ocean more and changed up the waves.
I have to admit I’m loving turquoise skin!
I paint the title on the sides of my large paintings that are on gallery wrapped canvas. My daughter (my word girl) helped me with the title. I use one word titles most of the time.
A last look at the finished piece.

Thanks for sharing my art journey with me.  Are you a fan of mermaids?  Are you going to wear sea shells in your hair today?

Here’s a quick little video of my sketch and finished painting in my studio.

Have a wonderful, creative, day filled with joy! Janell

Happy International Fairy Day!

I just had to paint a fairy today of all days!


I hope all your fairy friends are treating you well today. If you watch closely, you may see them out celebrating.

I’ve left a few tiny treats around the studio for all my fairy friends to celebrate today. 🧚‍♀️

I hope you have a wonderful, ✨magical✨ day, filled with joy, Janell