Chroma's - Jo Sonja Artists' Painting System

by Jennifer VonStein

There’s nothing like the satisfaction of a well-done, completed art project! Not only have you created a tangible object of interest, but you’ve put a bit of “you” out into the world. In contemporary art circles, there is a saying: “It’s about the process, not the product.” While this may be true, in order to have a beautiful, successful product as your end result, it’s helpful to be aware of the process and the procedures. For example, Chroma’s Jo Sonja Artists’ Painting System was created to be a complete, versatile range of products allowing you to paint on almost any surface. 

Camelot by Jo Sonja Jansen

Understanding the basic steps that are present in almost every project, and the mediums most often associated with these steps, allows you to approach your project with confidence and creativity.


Once you’ve decided what design you’d like to paint, you need to decide on a surface.  You can paint on almost anything - canvas, paper, wood, tin, glass, tile, fabric, cork, metal and more – as long as you have prepared the surface properly. Of course, you want to make sure that the surface is clean, and then you can choose the best medium to seal the surface and provide adhesion for the paint.

·      Gesso:  Useful for wood, canvas, metal and paper.  Provides a smooth, fine-grit finish for maximum tooth but can be sanded smooth for a finer painting ground. 2-4 coats are typically applied.

·      All Purpose Sealer:  Don’t like the tooth of a gesso?  Try All Purpose Sealer, an acrylic medium that seals and promotes paint adhesion on wood, canvas, metal and tin, glass, unglazed bisque, terra cotta, paper, soaps and candles. Can be sanded smooth.

·      Tannin Sealer:  Used on wood or Masonite surfaces where tannin, oil or pitch may bleed through paint.

·      Cork Sealer:  Used to seal most porous surfaces such as cork, burlap, canvas, paper and wood. Ideal for decoys as it reduces chipping and degradation of the cork.

·      Glass & Tile Primer:  Prepares glass, glazed ceramics and enamel, providing additional bonding for the paint. Used in conjunction with Glass & Tile Medium.

·      Ultra Cover:  An opaque primer used as the perfect one step prep for almost any type of surface. It prepares and seals most surfaces including wood, canvas, glass, plastic, terra cotta and metal. Covers with a thick gesso-like coat. Provides superior adhesion and opaque coverage without the chalky feel of gesso.


Now that your surface is prepared, there are a variety of mediums designed to give you the best possible painting experience. Painting Mediums alter or enhance certain qualities of Chroma’s Jo Sonja Artists’ and Background Colours.  If you are looking for a thinner paint, one that dries faster, one that has more body, one that is more transparent, etc., all you need is the proper medium. Some of the most popular Jo Sonja Mediums are: 

·      Clear Glaze Medium:  A matte, transparent acrylic glazing medium.  Can be used undiluted as a light sealer in between layers, as a glazing medium (3 parts Clear Glazing Medium: 1 part paint) or as a general painting medium where transparent colors are desired.

·      Fast Drying Glaze Medium:  Can be used in a similar fashion as the Clear Glaze Medium, but dries much faster, allowing for quick application of multiple layers of glazes or transparent color.

·      Flow Medium:  Used to thin Chroma’s Jo Sonja Artists’ and Background Colours as needed for paint application, fine detail brushwork and airbrushing.

·      Magic Mix:  A light sealer similar to Clear Glaze Medium but with an extended or increased “open” or blending time.  Useful for techniques such as floating, side loading color, glazing and stipple blending.

·      Retarder/Gel Retarder:  These mediums are additives designed to extend the drying time for painting or techniques such as antiquing.  The Gel Retarder is used for delaying the drying without reducing the viscosity of the paint. (Note:  Do not apply Gel Retarder over Clear Glaze Medium or Magic Mix.)

·      Textile Medium:  Allows for permanent non-fading painting on natural and non-synthetic fabric. Fabric containing a minimum of 50% cotton is recommended; heat setting with an iron is required for permanence.


Varnishing is considered the final step in a painting project.  Varnishes will even out the sheen for aesthetic purposes as well as provide a protective coating. 

·      Polyurethane Water Based Varnishes:  Available in Gloss, Satin and Matte, these clear, non-yellowing varnishes are fast drying and suitable for indoor and outdoor decorative projects.  Matte and Satin Varnishes should be shaken gently before use to disperse matting agents. Allow varnished item to cure a minimum of 2 weeks before use.

·      Decoupage Varnish:  A heavy-bodied version of Gloss Varnish, which results in a thick, lacquer like coating.  It has been specially formulated for collage and decoupage artists to hide the cut edges of paper.  Applying 8-10 coats of Decoupage Varnish is the equivalent of 35-40 coats of other, thinner varnishes.

The above Jo Sonja mediums are just the most popular ones used in 3 fundamental steps of a painting a project: preparation, application and finishing. I’d encourage you to explore some of these mediums in your practice. (And always test when mixing products between brands and when first starting out!)  The more you know about your materials, the more you can manipulate them in creative, transformative and personal ways. 

Learn more at:

Song of the Garden by Jo Sonja Jansen



by Erika Joanne

There are so many creative possibilities available within the ADORNit® website; it is an amazing “eye candy” experience you don’t want to miss! ADORNit® offers a huge array of creative products for your every fancy. From one-of-a-kind fabrics and clothing to stitchery, quilt kits, papercrafting, coloring, and yes, even wood crafts for painting!

The “Wood” tab at the top of the ADORNit® website will take you to a page of really fun wood paintables. These specially etched bare wood panels are designed in a way to make them easy for anyone to paint. The example above gives you an idea of how each etched section can be easily painted and adorned with love and color. Head on over to their website to see all their wood paintables and the rest of their darling products!

More About ADORNit®

Social Media:
:  ADORNit, 3419 N Highway 91, Hyde Park, Utah
Phone:  (435) 563-1100

  • Everyday designs that make you happy since 1986.
  • Our goal is to inspire creativity in our customers through user-friendly products for quilting, Paper crafting, home decor, illustrative art licensing and much more. ADORNit will always and forever provide timeless, happy, and innovative products.
  • ADORNit is a family business operated by Carolee and her three daughters, with enthusiastic support from the men in their lives, as well as a talented team of designers.
  • The “beauty of handmade” inspires us personally & professionally as we design unique products that make us happy.
  • We design and sell what we love – from fabric to papercrafting supplies, wood crafts, and do-it-yourself kits.
  • The “Girls” share a love for fashion and added a unique clothing boutique to the mix in 2005.


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