Hello Everyone! It’s my joy to welcome back one of The Art Spectrum’s own, contemporary artist Melissa Mary Jenkins for a giveaway of one of her paintings! Melissa appeared on The Art Spectrum back in June of 2017, you can read the interview here. This month you have a chance to win the painting below! Followers of The Art Spectrum also have access to this exclusive coupon code to use in Melissa’s Etsy shop: ARTSPECTRUMCOUPON for 15% off.
“Beneath the rust and grime which dulls the shine of our weathered hearts, joy patiently waits to be rediscovered.”
John Mark Green
Joy has been resting patiently for years under the weight of chronic illness but I have rediscovered the shininess of joy underneath the rust of fatigue and pain. As I continue to heal, I have been able to snowshoe and cross-country ski around our our farm yards and forests, and I have been struck by the rusty-burgundy colour of the dogwood trees surrounding me.
This painting began with layers of rusty-burgundy-pink with bits of white and grey. Pastels, charcoal, India Ink and pigment liner form the final layers.
*Paper is cold pressed 140 lb watercolor paper
*Painting measures 5×7 inches
*Signed and dated on the back
*This is an original painting, NOT a print
*Frame not included
Here is an update from Melissa:
This past Autumn I began to heal from Chronic Lyme Disease and a co-infection called Bartonella. As I feel the “fog” lifting, I have had a reawakening of sorts. I am completely and utterly inspired by my natural surroundings and have rediscovered the vibrancy of color in the farm fields, forests and pine trees surrounding our old stone farmhouse. I have begun to sketch outside and take daily adventures with our puppy Mylo. I have learned to pinpoint the lines in nature and translate this movement into abstract landscape paintings. I feel as though I have finally “come into my own” as an artist. Instagram still plays a very important role in my art journey, but I feel that it plays a different role in my life. The connections that I have made have taken precedent over looking for inspiration in other people’s artwork. This has been a turning point in fighting off the ever-invasive “imposter syndrome”. I feel as though the perfect way to describe my work is as follows: Inspired by natural surroundings, my paintings reflect the fluidity of the seasons and the movement of my soul in nature.
Some reviews of Melissa’s work:
“The canvas is just stunning and the customer service was impeccable, beyond expectation! Melissa sent me previews and snapshots of her progress which made me appreciate the hard work and care she puts into each custom creation! It was wrapped so nicely and securely, and even included a personalized note and gift tag. Really special! Highly recommended! Thanks Melissa!”
“Melissa was a joy to work with. She began to paint immediately. She answered my questions quickly and cared that the finished product was what I wanted. My beautiful, original painting now hangs above my bed.”
“SO IN LOVE WITH THIS PAINTING! Melissa is a unique artist and is very gracious to returning customers. Thank you again!!”
“I am soooo pleased with the service I received from the boutique owner. This was sincerely above and beyond! The package was soooo nice. A lot of attention to details! And the piece of art is gorgeous! Thank you so much!”
I make a small commission if you purchase something after clicking on links in this post. Thank you for your support!
I remember the day that I started my first Etsy shop to sell my art prints and originals- I had no clue what I was doing! I just jumped right in (which is sometimes the only move many of us make!), and I didn’t know how to run a business or how to keep your books for a small business. Bookkeeping and accounting basics were like a foreign idea to me. Being disorganized, though, can lead to disaster, and it’s so important for small business owners to keep track of the financial goings-on of their business throughout the year. Failing to file your taxes properly is definitely a scary thought, but on top of that not keeping your books can lead to losing your business money and being unable to pay bills or for materials.
Here are a few points to remember when keeping your books for your small business:
Keep receipts for every payment to and from your business. I would recommend starting a physical file folder of your receipts per year, and if you have a lot of electronic receipts, printing them or start a complementary folder of receipts on your computer. Separate business and personal expenses.
Keep a ledger of these receipts to keep track of everything. I keep mine in a Google Docs spreadsheet, but there are accounting platforms out there that you can use as well, such as FreshBookswhich I recommend below. This makes it easy for me to access my records from my phone or any computer. In this ledger you will want to record each transaction that passes to and from your business, so that you can balance it like you would a check book.
Balance your ledger on a consistent basis. You may not want to or have time to do this every time there is a business related transaction, but you can schedule when you’ll be balancing your ledger – whether it be weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc. This will give you a sense of your cashflow and perhaps areas that you can cut back on to save money. It will also give you a sense of when your busiest, most successful times of the year are for your business so that you can know what to expect and set some goals. Balancing your books will help you respond in smart ways to unexpected changes as well.
Understand that it’s ok to pay a professional! Professional accountants or bookkeepers will know about potential deductions that you might be eligible for, or other loopholes, and they’ll make sure everything is up to date and accurate in case you’ve missed something.
Paying taxes for your small business, its revenue and services or products bought from others that support your business, is important.
I recommend Freshbooks because they are very small business friendly! FreshBooks was designed specifically for small business owners and the self-employed to save them time and money. They also have a Free 30 Day Trial currently running – click here to try it out!
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your business?
I have pretty much been making art since the beginning – my mom and I like to joke about how I once wrote the tooth fairy a letter asking for “more practical things than quarters, like crayons!” Although art was always a true love, it was never a big school thing for me. My high school barely had an art program and I hated the idea of being graded on art anyways. After high school, I went to college to study Sociology. After school I was pretty unsure of my future. I ended up being a swim coach for a few years and bought a super fun 100 year old house, I was really trying to be a grown up. But I was stuck and not happy with where I was going. After some pep-talks with my parents and the realization that I could change my direction, I applied to art school, sold my house, and moved back to my college town to study photography.
I fell in love with pinhole photography and still hope to get back to making those images again someday – but that practice is very darkroom reliant and I didn’t have any access after school. It was very important to me that I keep making, in some way, after I graduated and I ended up ordering a loom online just to have something to keep my hands busy. I made one or two projects on the small loom and immediately knew I wanted to try it on a huge scale! Jonny built me a 5 foot wide loom (and now a couple others) and I was hooked. Jonny and I started The Eddy Line Co. together with the dream of me making art and him making furniture. I have the privilege of getting to try and see if we can make a space out in the art/maker world while he keeps his big boy job for now. He is a huge support for me though, making our looms, creating custom boxes for shipping and doing our post office runs. While I make the fiber art pieces, there is no doubt that this business is a team effort for us both.
What drew you to fiber arts?
After school, I went through a period with a lot of anxiety. I needed something that could keep my hands (and mind) busy while I figured out my next steps. I had learned some of the basics of embroidery in a textile class I took in college so I started a few small stitching projects for friends and wedding gifts. That one class “Intro to Textiles” I think it was called, was a huge inspiration for me. I’m definitely that person who just needs a few of the basics and then I’m off figuring out my own direction. Both my embroidery and hand dyeing basics came from that class.
I think I was drawn to weaving because of the color and texture and just experimented with my little loom until I taught myself some basics. I was determined to make things that I wished were out there, while at the same time not making something you could already find.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your woven wall hangings?
Finding inspiration is one of my favorite parts of making! I am a huge collector of images. I can get stuck in the Pinterest world for hours and I love it, but I also take a lot of pictures wherever I go. I look for color combinations in everything, as well as different textures, shapes, and compositions. I can see future projects in architecture, fashion, nature hikes, paint colors, plants, paintings, everything.
What is the creative process like behind making one of your pieces? How long does it take to finish a larger piece?
The process behind a piece can vary as much as the piece itself. Sometimes they start with just a color palette and a size, sometimes I just know I want it to be round and neutral, sometimes it is completely based off a photo – the same colors and composition. The less rules I place on my work process, the more freedom I have to mix it up and make new work.
I recently was commissioned to make a piece that was 5 feet wide and 6 feet long – it took me about 45 hours of actual weaving time to complete.
Do you have any recommendations for those looking to get into fiber arts, weaving, or selling online?
If you are interested in getting into fiber arts, my recommendation is just to go for it! (Same with selling online – I had to just hit start and figure it out from there or else I never would have begun.) If you are someone that works best with rules, find a class or book that can teach you the basics. If you don’t necessarily like coloring inside the lines – I think fiber art lends itself to experimentation and it can be really fun. You don’t have to make a huge financial investment to try it out, and, except for dye projects, you can pretty much pick them up and put them down for any amount of time you have. No pressure, just enjoy it. If you aren’t enjoying it, try something else.
I’m so excited to introduce everyone to artist and adventurer Deanna Jensen from Dear Summit Supply Co.– Deanna creates durable gear for adventurers, and you can follow her blog and Instagram for the inside scoop on what’s new!
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, your business, and your blog? What does it take to run a handmade business?
I’m a full-time mom and wife from the Midwest with a healthy addiction to mountains and the outdoors in general. I own Dear Summit Supply Co. – a brand with which I’ve made leather journals and sketch books for over eight years, and more recently began adding in vinyl stickers and hand-printed shirts with my designs, all aimed at inspiring and equipping outdoor adventures. I also write the occasional blog post about my National Park shenanigans or sharing tips on creativity and journaling.
Running your own handmade business is not an easy thing to do, but it is incredibly rewarding. It takes a lot of hard work, self discipline, and follow through. I think people imagine me sketching and painting away all the time, but the reality is that the business side of the work (paperwork, emailing, planning, marketing, etc.) takes up a lot more of my time than the creative work.
But whenever I start to feel overwhelmed with the business end of my work, I remind myself that those parts of the job are what allow me to pursue the creative work I’m truly passionate about, and that’s totally worth all the struggle along the way.
What are your favorite national parks and why?
I am a huge fan of America’s National Parks system and the amazing natural landscapes they preserve. My favorite national parks right now are Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains of California. My husband and daughter and I spent several days hiking there last summer and it was just magical. The Giant Sequoia trees are so huge and majestic, and will take your breath away. Hiking among them made me feel like I was in on some grand, enchanting secret.
And of course, that trip was also a goldmine of inspiration for my art!
If I could, I’d love to go on an extended road trip someday, visiting as many national parks as possible and staying a week or two in each one.
What are your thoughts on adventuring?
I define adventuring as just about anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you – but ideally outdoors. That could mean a two-week backpacking trip, far removed from civilization, or it could mean a walk around the block in the rain. This is something I’m really passionate about because I believe that getting outside and seeing new landscapes and trying new experiences is one of the best things we can do for ourselves as humans. Study after study continues to confirm the stunning array of ways in which spending time in nature positively affects our minds and bodies.
We spend so much time sitting down and staring at screens that I think we forget what it feels like to have dirt between our toes or to listen, really listen, to the music of birds calling to each other. There’s something about walking through a forest or hiking on a mountainside that reminds us that the world is much bigger and more beautiful than our own worries!
What is the process like creating one of your stickers versus one of your handmade journals?
The process for creating a journal is quite different from the process to create a sticker. Making a leather journal is very time and labor intensive, requiring hours of precise work for each individual journal, even if I’m making multiples of the same design. I start with blank paper and hand-tear the pages down to the proper size, then fold them and punch the holes for stitching. The leather has to be cut and carefully punched as well before I stitch the two together with waxed linen thread.
I made journals for over eight years and even developed my own method to screen-print my mountain design onto the leather covers, but I’ve recently decided to retire my journals because of some shifts in my personal and business priorities.
With stickers, I draw out the design on paper and then edit it in Illustrator, where I might smooth out edges and play with the arrangement of words or other elements. This process feels really free and fun for me, plus, once a design is done, it’s done. I can send it off to the printers and I don’t have to repeat the process over and over for each sticker I sell, freeing me up to create more new designs (or just spend more time outside with my daughter).
Can you tell me about your Tiny Pages Project? Do you have any other projects in the making?
A while ago I challenged myself to fill up a teeny tiny sketchbook I had made, whose pages were about 3/4 inch tall and 1/2 inch wide, and I called the series of sketches and paintings that ensued the Tiny Pages Project. It was a great exercise in figuring out which details to focus on in order to make each tree or mountain or bear recognizable in such a tiny size. I learned a lot from it and had a lot of fun with those tiny sketches!
Currently, I’m doing a daily sketching challenge in a Baron Fig planner (inspired by my friend Jonny of @drawntosketching on Instagram). Instead of tiny size, this time I’m challenging myself with all sorts of subject matter I have never attempted before, in addition to my usual landscapes. Each week, I’m alternating between black-and-white and color illustrations, to hopefully improve in both. I’m only a few weeks into this new project, and I’ve already learned quite a bit with both methods.
Watch Deanna’s Thoreau Quote Sketch Timelapse: “We Can Never Have Enough of Nature”
I’m so excited to introduce Annie Tarasova from the DreamyMoons Etsy shop. Annie is 21, from Australia, and has a beautiful and successful shop. You can follower her on Instagram and watch her videos on Youtube.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with your art and business?
I have been drawing, reading and creating ever since I was very little. All throughout high school I knew I wanted to go to university to study either art or design, however at the very last minute I changed my mind at the fear of too much competition in the art and design businesses. Instead, I went on to study health science. It was wildly interesting, however after two years I realized something was missing. I didn’t have any time to express and explore my creative side – the side I treasured the most since childhood. I felt like it was leaving me.
I took a break, started traveling, and opened my Etsy shop DreamyMoons which very successfully took off and filled my life with more purpose than ever. I made a difficult decision to leave Uni to follow my heart and intuition. I knew that I needed to pour all my energy into creating.
How has social media impacted your business?
Social media made a huge impact on DreamyMoons. Before opening my Etsy shop I already had a following as I absolutely loved expressing myself through photography and videos. I am so thankful for the audience I already had on Instagram that followed every bit of my journey and supported my business from the beginning. I feel like nowadays there is no better way to promote your business other than on social media – it is what we check if not every day, then most days.
I draw my inspiration for my art from our beautiful Universe. Through my art I am exploring the divine connection between us and the world around us. I am very interested in astrology and celestial bodies – I find it unbelievable that we live on a blue ball rotating around a star in nothingness. My artworks often contain stars, planets and moons.
I wanted to create something more than just a calendar. Year of Growth is a 2018 lunar calendar which shows what phase the moon is in every day of the year. Most importantly, the reason why I chose to call it “Year of Growth” is because every month has it is own goal and/or intention, whether it is meditation, spending more time in nature or writing. Each monthly goal is designed to help your journey to opening your mind and heart.
I travel. That is just as important to me as painting. I can not stay creative and productive if I am home for a long time. I have this crazy urge to travel. It is the best feeling coming back home from a trip, feeling fresh and inspired and motivated to make things happen. It really helps that my partner is a photographer – if he is away for a job overseas, he is able to take me. Travel is a break from expressing myself on paper, however not a break from creativity. I still love to take photos and film videos and share them on my social medias.
I’m excited to share these 10 awesome Skillshare classes with you! I have partnered with Skillshare to offer all of my readers a free trial of their Premium account, for an entire month! Imagine how much you can learn in that time! After that, a Premium account is only $10 – that’s cheaper than a Netflix account at this point.
“Thank you Ana for creating such an informative and helpful class. I’ve watched this class several times ….as every time I watch it, I learn a bit more about the brands and types of watercolors (I’m still a newbie to this medium in many ways). You inspired me to purchase Jess Greenleaf’s Explorer Watercolor panset which you designed with her (Greenleaf and Blueberry). I can’t wait to start using them ! Always looking forward to your next classes Ana. A pleasure to watch and learn from you !!!” – Sharon Rego
“I learned so much from this class, mostly intuitive, and hard to find information. Ana is an excellent teacher; watching her and listening to her talk about the different paints was so informative.” – Meg Cupman
Sandra Bowers is a Freelance Illustrator and Surface Pattern Designer based in BC, Canada. In this class she covers basic techniques to help get you started with watercolor painting. You have the materials down, now to the techniques!
“Ana Victoria is a super talented artist but she´s also a huge teacher. I´ve watched so many online art classes and she is the only one who made it looks like the easiest thing to do in the world and I really got it. I´m so happy I found her. <3” -Carmen M.
“Fantastic class and teacher, clear and unhurried explanations and a lot of real time examples. You do not feel she is rushing to get the class over with like some teachers. I have learnt so much from this class.” -Caron S.
This class is taught by Melissa Lee Shaw, an illustrator and watercolor painter from Northern California. It’s the perfect class for beginners who’d like to start painting portraits and need to learn how to mix colors for skin tones. Here is one of her sample projects where she asks students to paint a portrait using the techniques they’ve learned in the class:
“I think this class does a great job of breaking down how to mix skin-tones with watercolor and how to color skin-tones in general. Before this class, I had no idea how to color skin, despite looking up several sources before this, but now it is starting to make sense to me 🙂 It is not overly complicated at all and I think this class gives you a great tool-set to experiment and play with coloring your own skin-tones in your drawings :)” -Mikayla K.
“Very helpful, I have been trying to master skin tones in watercolor for awhile now. The instructor shares the best colors to use and demonstrates step by step how to get the desired finish. I highly recommend this class.” -Karen E.
This class is taught by Elisa Choi Ang, a drawing and painting teacher from Singapore. She enjoys sketching and painting her life, as well as teaching others how to do the same. Her class teaches students to narrate their life through watercolor and ink sketches.
“Just what you need to start sketching right away! Not too much information for a beginner to get scared to draw, not too much instruments needed to make it harder to get and take everywhere. I’ve dreamt of such a course for ages! Thank you!” -Elena D.
“This is a really great class for anyone who is nervous about starting a habit of sketching from life. I took this class because I want to do this more, and I am going on a vacation this summer that I am really hoping to capture in a trip sketchbook. With the tools that I have learned in this class and the confidence from Elisa’s kind words, I’m sure I’ll have a nice sketchbook from my trip (as well as before and after 🙂 ).” -Sarah D.
This class is taught by Olga Shevyakova, a graphic designer, part-time illustrator, part-time styled photographer. She takes her students step by step through the process of how to scan their watercolor paintings, edit them in Photoshop, and vectorize them in Illustrator. Very helpful for artists who would like to make prints of their work, or sell on platforms like Redbubble or Zazzle.
“This was a very simple and very helpful technique on how to give your own artwork new life in digital format using Photoshop and Illustrator. Great Job. Well worth watching and taking notes.” -Mary T.
“Easy to follow and gives step by step instructions. The transcript is much appreciated. I’ll need to look at it when I actually open Photoshop and give it a try. I learned new techniques although I’ve been digitizing my watercolors for sale on Etsy for months now! Thanks, Olga! I look forward to taking more classes from you.” -Anna K
This class is taught by commercial illustrator Amarilys Henderson. In the class she goes over the basics of brushes to use in watercolor painting so that her students will be confident in approaching their work. Amarilys’s cheat sheet for brushes:
“Thank you for the short and very informative class. As someone who is starting with watercolor painting, I found the descriptions and practical demonstrations very helpful. Looking forward to watching your other watercolor classes. Cheers!!” -Atul K.
“Super useful class to get acquainted with your material. One size doesn’t fit all! knowing the performance of the brushes make for better choices when painting. Thanks Amarilys!” -Diana S.
“Peggy Dean is a phenomenon! Her skills are awesome, her positive energy is contagious, and her teaching style is fun and practical. I’ve taken every one of her courses, and can’t wait for the next one! I highly recommend following her on Instagram as well, as she post so many inspiring works of art.” -Greer D.
“This was a great class! I’ve taken several of your other classes but this is the first lettering class using an actual brush that I’ve taken. It was very instructive and I like to see your examples in real time. It gives time to actually see the letter formation. Thank you for an eye opening experience!” -Sharon M.
This class is taught by Julia Henze, a freelance illustrator, letterer and urban sketcher living and working in Bergschenhoek, The Netherlands. Her class is for artists who aren’t sure where to start with urban sketching in ink and watercolor, or want to continue to practice. Some of Julia’s work:
“Love her breakdown of how to get the proportions right. I always forget to do that or it never really crosses my mind when I’m actually making the attempt to sketch something. It’s easy to follow and very encouraging.” -Grace T.
“I loved that we got to watch you draw/outline/paint along with us. Drawing buildings has always been such an intimidating task for me, but the way this class broke it down made me feel much more comfortable and confident about giving it a shot!” -Katie M.
“I think this was the most amazing class. It was hugely inspirational and changed the way I thought about mixing colour. It made me far more experimental.” -Lesley G.
“This class was so much fun! It’s really practical and the projects are so colorful and encouraging for beginners and for anyone who might be a little intimidated by watercolors. The Intuitive Mixing Exercise is very practical, fun and yields incredible results. I’m gonna make a habit of doing it whenever I feel stuck or un-creative, it’s sure to get you out of the dumps! Thank you Yasmina! You are a wonderful teacher and I’m looking forward to taking all your other classes.” -Lucia S.
Many artists struggle to get their art out to their desired audience – finding a publishing platform, whether it be WordPress or another, is the first step, but many people question which hosting site they should run with. Because WordPress is free, open source software, and 20% of all websites are run on WordPress, this makes it the ideal publishing platform, but in order to have your own storefront and domain address you’ll need a hosting platform to host that site.
Whether you choose WordPress or another publishing platform, here are some recommended web hosting sites for artists:
My favorite thing about WP Engine is that they’ve built their platform on over 30 open source technologies, and they’re one of the best hosting sites to integrate and optimize Google. Their team is on call 24/7, so whenever you’re working on your blog or website, they’re available to help you with anything you need. Also, if you want your site to be able to handle high traffic, WP Engine’s hosting is close to seamless when it comes to making sure your site loads quickly. Some bigger sites that they host include National Geographic and PBS!
WP Engine offers a generous 60 day money back guarantee. If you’re unhappy with their service, you can cancel your account within the first 60 days and receive a full refund. This should give you plenty of time to figure out if they’re the right fit! You can read testimonials here.
If you’re looking for a great hosting site that also has amazing WordPress themes, StudioPress is impressive. One of the features they boast is HTML5 designs that are optimized for smart phones, and in a 2017 independent test, StudioPress sites beat all major WordPress hosting options on page load speeds. This is impressive and would be helpful for the artist hosting very high res images on their site.
Another really great pro about StudioPress is unlike most hosting sites, you can choose to be billed monthly instead of paying for an entire year at once.
You might be wondering at this point – why should I even start an art blog or website, especially one on a paid-for hosting site? Here are some top tips for why you should start one:
So that you can brand yourself as an artist.
Break the barrier between yourself and the masses, who could be prospective clients or fans.
Have control over the design of the space your art lives in online.
Your website name should be all about you and your art, and not have another brand’s .com tacked onto it.
You’ll be able to measure the volume of traffic coming to your site and seeing your art.
Increase your art sales.
Have a place to share your creative process.
Make connections to others in the broader arts community.
You can place your bio, CV, and artist statement on a website so that anyone can access it.
So that your work can come up in Google search results.
Showcase photos from exhibitions you’ve been in.
Showcase press reviews or blog features.
Send a newsletter to your subscribers so they can follow along with your progress and milestones.
A few weeks ago a friend was telling me about this crazy new paper called Yupo paper – I know, sounds like a dog-sitting service or something – but really, it’s so fascinating! Yupo paper is actually a 100% synthetic paper that’s waterproof and recyclable!
So, I decided to walk into the local art store this week and grab myself a 5×7 pad of this stuff to try out. The first thing I noticed was how strangely smooth it was – it didn’t quite feel like plastic, but it also didn’t feel like paper either. If you have as much fun touching different materials as I do, you will love this stuff!
I also learned just from my own research that Yupo paper doesn’t tear, which is awesome! It means for the clumsy person like myself, you don’t have to worry as much about your expensive piece of watercolor paper tearing after you do that clumsy thing you’re so good at doing. It’s also supposedly very durable, built to last lifetimes, and you can wipe it clean if you need to during your artistic process.
You can also:
Die cut with it.
AND it comes in different gradients of translucency, or super hard white.
Use virtually any medium on it.
Some things I learned from trying it out myself:
Ink sticks REALLY well to it.
Watercolor takes awhile to dry (I mean, it takes awhile to dry on regular watercolor paper too, so that’s nothing new), but when it does dry, the colors are insanely vibrant.
Watercolor looks a little different then it does on regular watercolor paper – it’s got inky, cloudy quality that I’m finding hard to explain.
It doesn’t buckle at all, like watercolor paper does.
So, without further terrible explanation of what the stuff is and how much I loved it, here were my results!
Yupo paper can be purchased in most art stores, and I would definitely recommend buying some if only just to test it out for yourself! Because I love Amazon Prime, and I know there are a lot of people out there that love it as well, that’s probably the top pick I would go with if you’re just wanting to test the waters. You can buy a pad of Yupo 5×7 paper for only $6.79 on Amazon! Here are some other options you can find on Amazon – these are all Legion brand (that’s the one I tested) but there are other brands out there:
If you’ve ever used Yupo paper please leave a comment about it! What mediums do you use on it? Do you ever use the translucent one, and why? Is it better to get a pad or one of the large rolls? If you have pictures or a shop, please leave your link with your comment!