Solve the mystery of the BOOGERS and win!

Boy do I feel stupid!

The other day I went into the studio to paint – in fact, that day was the day I did my “hand job” work.

What I didn’t tell you about that day is that the hand job didn’t go as smoothly as you might believe.

Oh, no. That hand gave me quite a bit of trouble, and not for any obvious reason (couldn’t see the shadows correctly, couldn’t make the fingers look like anything but hotdogs – you know those nasty little problems that crop up when you’re trying to depict flesh and muscle on bone?).

No, the reason that hand gave me a nasty case of the “really??? Is this what painting in Hawaii is like?” blues was for a MUCH more technical reason.

Tell you what. I’ll describe the problem, and the first person that comes up with the correct answer wins one of my mini prints.

No, I’m serious. Really. Read what I have to say and if you leave a comment naming the reason for my frustration and it is the correct reason, AND the time stamp on the comment shows you as the first person with the correct answer I will send you your choice of my “Surf and Sand” series mini prints.


So — I arrived at the studio and had to completely scrape off the old gobs of paint that had been sitting on my palette since the last time I painted – like, maybe, two years ago? No, ok, it was a couple of months. I know, I know, I should have made time to get into the studio but I was busy with things like cancer and stuff, ok?

Not that I’m bitter.

Anyway – I scraped off all the old paint, and luxuriated in the placing of fresh, new gobs of paint on my palette. Oh yes – the same order every time: white, lemon yellow, cad yellow, cad red light, cad red medium, cad red deep, yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna, raw umber, burnt umber, alizarin crimson, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, sap green. Always the same, every single time.

On that day my paints were somewhat scrambled into a heap in my tiny taboret, so rather than just being able to reach for the correct paint, I had to scramble a bit, except for the whites, which were all on the top shelf of the taboret.

(I’m giving you a big hint here – please appreciate it.)

Once the palette was filled I proceeded to start work on the infamous hand. Things were going rather well, considering I hadn’t painted in over two months. I always “forget how to paint” on these back to the studio days, so I actually was pleasantly surprised to note how well things were going.


I noticed when I reached for my familiar flesh tone formula (lemon yellow, alizarin crimson, and white) that the paint had dried on the palette.


Huh? I kindof looked around to see if there were a reason – perhaps the fan was too close to the palette.

I moved the fan.

Paint still dried in minutes.

Never had this happen before – how strange!

I added a little oil, this being the third or so layer on the canvas, and noted something even more strange.

boogersThe paint was balling up into little, well, I can only call them boogers — on the canvas. Argggggh!

This wouldn’t do, no it wouldn’t do at all!

I added a bit more oil and tried again. Boogers!

At this point my studio mate Taryn came in and I told her about the little problem I was having, and she offered to loan me a bit of slow-drying medium, to see if somehow the weather was making the paint dry faster.

I tried it. Same result.


So I took a break. (Fast forward running out for BBQ chicken at the local Hawaiian BBQ place, coming back, eating said chicken, all the while studying the canvas and noting the presence of even more little rolled up balls of paint. Or boogers.)

That’s when I realized something.

I looked at my palette carefully, and realized that ONLY THE COLORS I HAD MIXED WITH WHITE were drying on the palette.

That is a HUGE hint, folks. I mean really, I am practically GIVING away the print for nothing!!

But that’s all the hint you get.

What was causing my paints to dry so quickly on the palette, and what was causing all those boogers (I love spelling that word) on my canvas???

Leave your answer below – I can’t wait!!!


17 thoughts on “Solve the mystery of the BOOGERS and win!

  1. Maureen Sharib

    Uh…okay let me guess. The tubes of white (are they oil?) are on the top of the other tubes on the top of the cabinet. Were they exposed to light/heat? Did they dry out in the two months you were away from them? (I hope I win!)

      1. Gini Lawson Post author

        Hahaha Genie – good guesses. Reminds me of the time I brushed my teeth with my dad’s Brylcream. A little dab did do me. But guess again.

  2. Mark Davis

    Hi Gini, This is a common problem in warmer climates. When I moved to Idaho, my acrylic paints would get a skin on them between dips of the brush because not only is is warm, it’s dry. I called a couple of artist friends to discuss the problem. The solution? Switch to oils. I know it’s a big step, but you can paint your technique with oils, it just takes longer to dry. So now, I may start two or three paintings at a time so I can let them dry when needed, and I just switch to a different painting while the other is drying a bit. Now I love oils because of the blending and slow drying time. It gives me more time to contemplate, plus you can break for lunch and not even have to put your paints away or clean your brushes.

  3. Christy Link

    A misplaced tube of Preparation H (hemorrhoid ointment). From Christy Link, a neighbor and friend of your sister Joyce James.

    1. Gini Lawson Post author

      And the print goes to DAN Toloudis!!! You got it partner!

      The last time I was at the studio I was painting the edges of my paintings white, and I always use acrylic paint to do so because it is fast drying.

      That was about three weeks ago (I know, I know, I should have been in the studio far more often and this never would have happened).

      Anyway – when I eagerly filled my palette with paint the other day I grabbed the white from the top of my taboret. After the BOOGER thing happened I was scratching my head and wondering “WTF?” when I looked over at the taboret and noticed that awful word, “Acrylic” on the tube of Titanium White.

      Mystery solved.

      Lesson? Store your acrylics far away from your oils, and then after you use them, put them away!!!

      Dan, choose your print. All of the “Surf and Sand” series are available. And please send me your snail mail address in an email.


  4. Pingback: And the winner is… | Gini Lawson

  5. Maureen Sharib

    Which raises a question for me.
    Do you consider the long lasting effects of different paint types on a painting before you paint?

    In other words, Gini, 300 years from now, when your stuff is hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will having two mediums on your canvases affect the quality of the work?


  6. Pingback: FAIL! | Gini Lawson

  7. Pingback: Catching up …. again! | Gini Lawson

Leave a Reply