Dead Flat Paint and Ghost Prints

Hey There Friends!

True confession time. I can’t go to Home Depot without checking out the Oops! paints. (If you’re not familiar with Oops!, they’re paints where the color didn’t turn out right and they’re sold at a discount.) It’s like an addiction. I don’t need any more paint, but I have to see what’s available.

I was at Home Depot the other day, and this gem caught my eye. It’s a dusty purple in a “dead flat” finish. Dead flat? What is that? I’d never heard of it before, and was curious to see what it would look like.

I brought the paint home and searched through my collection for other colors that would work well with it, and the result was this painting:



Cassandra Tondro, "Synaptic Connections" painting

“Synaptic Connections,” 24″ x 24″, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

I don’t see any difference between “flat” and “dead flat” paints. Dead flat paint is definitely flat, but I wouldn’t say that it’s any deader than regular flat paint.

I was playing around with the leftover paint from this piece, and stumbled upon the idea of secondary prints. They’re called “ghost prints” because they are created from the remains of the primary piece.

I like the ghost prints a lot! They have a very different look and feel from the original painting. The paint isn’t as thick, and in some places the natural canvas shows through. They’re lighter and more airy, and the sides aren’t painted (except for some drips and smudges), giving them more of a monoprint look.

Cassandra Tondro, "Wishful Thinking" painting

“Wishful Thinking,” 20″ x 20″, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

Cassandra Tondro, "Ravens Breath" abstract art

“Ravens Breath,” 20″ x 20″, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

Click on the images for more details and purchase information.

Holiday Gifts

As we move into the holiday season, I want to draw your attention to the fun and arty gift items available on my website. I have a wonderful selection of designer tote bags, decorative throw pillows, leaf print silk scarves and fine art prints.

Tondro art gifts

Shop early for the best selection, and allow extra time for the pillows, totes and prints, since they’re made to order.

Upcoming Shows

I have two shows coming up the weekend after next.

The first is the Focus on the Masters Holiday Gift Shop, featuring the work of 22+ artists. I will be showing my leaf print silk scarves, leaf prints on paper, leaf print necklaces and inspirational paintings. 25% of all sales will benefit Focus on the Masters educational outreach programs.

Focus on the Masters Holiday Gift Shop
Friday, November 17, 5pm – 8pm
Saturday November 18, 10am – 5pm
Sunday November 19, 12pm – 4pm
83 Palm Street, Ventura

That same weekend is the Roses and Rivets Grand Opening in Santa Paula. Roses and Rivets carries my leaf print silk scarves and leaf print necklaces, as well as a selection of my paintings.

Roses and Rivets Art Gallery and Body Art Studio
Grand Opening Reception
Saturday, November 18, 7pm – 9pm
110 N. 10th Street, Santa Paula

I look forward to seeing you at one of these shows if you’re in the Ventura area, and if not, what are you waiting for? Move to California! Everyone else is.

With love and appreciation,

Why Abstract Art?

Greetings Friends!

Lately several people have asked me why I create abstract art. I thought I’d take a moment to answer that question and give you some background on my choice of style.

Cassandra Tondro contemporary painting

I’ve studied art since I was a child, have taken lots of classes and tried out many mediums and styles. My mother is an artist and created amazing abstract sculptures in wood and stone, which was an early influence for me. You can see her work here.

We had abstract art in the house when I was growing up, and the genre was familiar to me. I remember a Picasso print in the TV room and other abstract paintings throughout our home. And of course my mother’s sculptures everywhere.

I’ve always been attracted to the elegance and reductionism of abstract art. I like that you can see many different things in an abstract piece, and it never gets boring. I see something different in an abstract painting every time I look at it.

Abstract art tends to be emotional, and that appeals to my emotional nature. It’s a way to express my emotions when I’m creating it, and then a way to feel emotions when looking at it later.

I’m also a fan of mid-century modern architecture and decor, and abstract art fits in nicely with that design movement.

In school, I took classes in drawing and realistic painting, and they never appealed to me. When I work in that way the paintings look stiff and uninteresting. It’s just not me.

I’m at my best when I can turn off my mind and let intuition take over. I thrive on serendipity and spontaneity, and I enjoy having fun with the paint.

That is why I have chosen to create abstract art! Abstract art is what makes my heart sing.

I want to share this picture of one of my “Iron Oxide” paintings hanging in my friend Toby’s living room. Doesn’t it look fabulous there? It’s a 30- x 48-inch piece, iron oxide and repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas. It really complements her decor.

Cassandra Tondro Iron Oxide abstract painting

I hope you’re all doing well as we move into the beginning of the holiday season! This is my busy time of year, and if you’re in the Ventura area, you can see my work at the following shows:

Focus on the Masters Holiday Gift Shop
Friday, November 17, 5pm – 8pm
Saturday November 18, 10am – 5pm
Sunday November 19, 12pm – 4pm
83 Palm Street, Ventura


Roses and Rivets Art Gallery and Body Art Studio
Grand Opening Reception
Saturday, November 18, 7pm – 9pm
110 N. 10th Street, Santa Paula


Unitarian Universalist Arts And Crafts Fair
Saturday, December 2, 9am – 2pm
Sunday, December 3, 11am – 1pm
5645 Ralston Street, Ventura

With love and appreciation,

ArtWalk Ventura Pictures and Recap

Hello My Friends!

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, culminating in ArtWalk Ventura last weekend. Thank you to everyone who came to see me at this event. It was great to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, and I was delighted to see so many of you there. Very fun!

Here’s a brief recap of ArtWalk from the small perspective of my venue, for those of you who couldn’t make it to the event.

Each year the ArtWalk committee selects a photographer to photograph each of the ArtWalk artists, and these posters are hung all over town to advertise the event. Here I am standing next to my ArtWalk poster that was hanging on the mirrored windows outside of The WAV on Ventura Avenue.

Cassandra Tondro ArtWalk Ventura 2017

This was the inside of my PODS container, with my artwork hung and ready to go. The City of Ventura rents these PODS storage containers for the artists to display their work, and parks them in clusters around town.

Cassandra Tondro ArtWalk Ventura 2017

And this is my whole set-up on California Street with the PODS container and my canopy in front, to provide shade.

The PODS containers work really well for art exhibits. At night all I had to do was put everything inside the PODS, close the roll-down door, and lock it. Very easy.

The designer tote bags, leaf print silk scarves and framed inspirational paintings were a big hit, and there was an enthusiastic response to my larger paintings, too.

Cassandra Tondro ArtWalk Ventura

Doing an outdoor show is a lot of work, and now that it’s over, I feel like I can breathe again. I often create my art in a vacuum, and I never know how it will be received. ​It’s good to get out into the world every now and then and show it, but I’m eager to get back to my painting now!

With love,

ArtWalk Ventura 2017 Preview

Hey Friends!

I’m super busy getting ready for ArtWalk Ventura, but I thought I’d take a moment and give you a quick video preview of some of the work I’ll be showing there, including my tote bags!

Watch the video, and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Links to work mentioned in the video:

Small Paintings — use discount code ARTWALK for 30% off through Friday, October 6th.

Totes Bags printed with images of my paintings.

Leaf Print Silk Scarves.

If you’re in the area, come on down to ArtWalk and say “hi!”

Art Walk Ventura
Saturday, October 7th 11am – 7pm
Sunday, October 8th 12pm – 5pm

I’ll be in a PODS venue at California and Main Streets, in the heart of Downtown Ventura.

See you there!

Pillows and Totes

I’ve been having a lot of fun creating new paintings for a line of decorative throw pillows and designer tote bags.

The totes bags are are available in three sizes ranging from 13″ x 13″ up to 18″ x 18″ and are made of soft, durable polyester poplin fabric with a one-inch black strap. The artwork is printed on both sides of the bag.

Cassandra Tondro Designer Totes

The throw pillows are available in six sizes ranging from 14″ x 14″ up to 26″ x 26″ and are made of spun polyester poplin fabric. The artwork is printed on both sides of the pillow with a concealed zipper and removable insert for easy cleaning.

Cassandra Tondro Decorative Pillows

These same images are also available as prints on canvas, acrylic, metal, paper and wood in sizes ranging from 8″ x 8″ up to 48″ x 48″.


Cassandra Tondro Canvas Prints

You can see all of these colorful new pillows, totes and prints on my website.

Learning Curve

Do you ever have those times when nothing seems to be working out? I’m in that phase now!

I’m developing a new body of work, and I thought the first two paintings in the series turned out quite nice. Not perfect, but a good start.

Cassandra Tondro, "Magnetic North," abstract painting

“Magnetic North,” 30 x 30 inches, iron oxide and repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

Cassandra Tondro, "Biosphere," abstract painting

“Biosphere,” 30 x 40 inches, iron oxide, graphite and repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

Maybe it was beginner’s luck. Since then everything looks awful, and I can’t seem to bring them around and make them look OK. Here are my two most recent disappointments.

Cassandra Tondro, painting in progress

Painting in progress, 30 x 30 inches, iron oxide, graphite and repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

Cassandra Tondro, painting in process

Painting in progress, 30 x 48 inches, iron oxide and repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

They’re not similar, but they have a similar problem — not enough contrast. In the first painting it’s the overall contrast — everything is an even gray. It’s because the painting wasn’t working out, and I decided to see what would happen if I put a thin layer of gray paint over the whole thing. Not such a good idea, but then you never know until you try it.

In the second painting it’s a problem of not enough contrast between the two large circles on the sides and the background. Also, the two large circles are too busy, but if I bring them down and make them less busy, it’s going to be a problem of not enough interest.

There’s often a large learning curve when developing new work. You see the finished paintings, and they look fabulous, but what you don’t see is the many rejects that led up to those few good ones.

Onward! I haven’t given up, but I’m definitely in the throes of frustration. I may have to set this work aside and focus on something else for a while. Sometimes it helps to put it away and then come back to it later with fresh eyes.

Leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been struggling with lately.

Art From Scrap

I was up in Santa Barbara today, and I stopped by a fun art supply store called Art From Scrap. They sell everything from leather scraps to fabric remnants, yarn, beads, wooden pieces, used canvases, frames, kitchen stuff, and scientific equipment as well as all sorts of things I couldn’t identify. The store is packed with interesting possibilities. It’s all there to be repurposed for art, and it’s very inexpensive.

Art From Scraps

Art From Scraps

Here are some of the fun things I found there. Old slides. I’m sure there must be some use for these.

Art From Scraps

Old maps. I’ve seen people do some interesting artwork on maps.

Art From Scraps

Old cards. These would be great for collage.

Art From Scraps

Old National Geographic magazines. Also good for collage.

Art From Scraps

Lots of wine corks.

Art From Scraps

Brilliant yellow plastic bottle caps.

Art From Scraps

They also have a gallery upstairs where they show artwork made from the leftover stuff that they sell. And they do children’s birthday parties in this room, which sounds like it would be really fun!

Art From Scraps

Check it out if you’re in the Santa Barbara area. They’re only open Thursday-Sunday. Art From Scrap, 302 E. Cota Street, Santa Barbara.

Vote for Your Favorite Art!

There are big changes happening with my art, but I don’t know what they are yet. I feel the inkling of something slowly bubbling up inside of me. More to be revealed!

In the meantime, I’ve been doing some experimental paintings, and I’ve started on three very different series of work. I thought it might be fun to share them with you, and let you vote for your favorite.

Look through the paintings, and then vote for your favorite series using the link at the end of this post. You can add additional comments, if you’d like, and I’ll let you know the results of the vote in my next newsletter.

The first group of paintings is the “Chaos and Comfort” series. This highly expressive and emotional work explores the feelings elicited by challenging times. Click here for more information about these paintings and to see them larger on my website.

Cassandra Tondro "Chaos and Comfort" art

Next up is the soft and sweet “Trending Now!” series of work, which reflects the hashtag trends I would like to see on social media. Click here for more information about these paintings and to see them larger on my website.

Cassandra Tondro "Trending Now!" paintings

The last group of paintings are unfinished and in progress. I call them the “Unearthed” series, and they are created by sanding through many layers of paint and adding geometric designs to raise vibrational frequency.

Cassandra Tondro "Unearthed" abstract art

Cassandra Tondro "Unearthed" abstract art

The size of the “Unearthed” paintings shown above are left to right, top to bottom: 30 x 24 inches, 24 x 24 inches, 24 x 24 inches, and 40 x 40 inches.


I hope you’re doing well and enjoying a fun summer! Thank you for participating in this experiment, and for your support of my work.

Partial Pushed Painting Technique

Here’s another idea for the pushed abstract painting technique. On this piece I’m going to show you how it looks when you let some of the underpainting show through. I started with a reddish-brown latex underpainting on an 18 x 18-inch canvas.

Cassandra Tondro DIY painting project

The color palette of leftover house paint I chose for this piece is reddish-brown, rust, gold, yellow, light green and grass green.

Cassandra Tondro painting color palette

I poured each color of paint onto plastic on the floor, but not as much paint as I would normally use. Notice that the paint doesn’t completely cover the 18 x 18-inch area I have marked off on the plastic.

Cassandra Tondro abstract painting

I laid the canvas face-down onto the paint, and I DID NOT press it into the paint. I just laid it down gently and then pulled it back out of the paint, pulling from the top of the canvas. This will leave air pockets between the canvas and the paint, which is where the underpainting will show through.

Cassandra Tondro abstract painting technique

Here’s the finished painting. The large dark brown areas are the underpainting showing through.

Cassandra Tondro abstract art

If you’re not familiar with this abstract painting technique, check out my Create Your Own Original Abstract Art tutorial available for immediate download. This is a fun and easy technique anyone can use to create amazing abstract art. No art school training required!