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5 Reasons I Love Catalyst Blades

5 Reasons I love Catalyst blades when painting by Carolyn Dube


5 Reasons I love Catalyst blades when painting by Carolyn Dube

Just playing around with my new Catalyst blades on scrap cardboard.  No pressure. Just random marks.  Maybe it will end up in an art journal? No idea where it would end up.

I came back later that night and my great grandma appeared to me.  Not a ghost, but in the painting.  I remember her apron, she was amazing in the kitchen and a traditional very hug-able grandma frame.




5 Reasons I love Catalyst blades when painting by Carolyn Dube


I added all sorts of colors and layers with Catalyst blades.  The big strokes made the main color areas.  It wasn’t looking complete in any way to me.  It needed more but what?  I wanted to add little subtle hints and streaks of color.  At this point I turned on the video camera- wish I had it running for the whole painting.  Next time I will remember…



Here’s a video showing how I added the subtle layers of color.

 5 Reasons I love this tool!

5 Reasons I love Catalyst blades when painting by Carolyn Dube

1.  It is the first time I have been able to add hints of color consistently to create those painterly layers.  Whenever I do the same type of thing with a brush, I end up adding lots of color from the brush.  The blades are precision coloring layering tools for me.



5 Reasons I love Catalyst blades when painting by Carolyn Dube2.  I don’t waste any paint.  The paint goes directly from the tube to the blade- none on the palette.  None wasted in the bristles of a brush.

3.  No clean up.  I just wipe off any excess paint- usually on a random journal page.  Dried paint does not stick to these.  That means no more ruined tools because I’ve left a paintbrush or two loaded with paint for hours because of a friend in crisis phone call, the smoke detector going off when the kids were cooking, the sudden realization that I was supposed to at an appointment 10 minutes ago, you know, life.



5 Reasons I love Catalyst blades when painting by Carolyn Dube4.  Finally, a good tool to spread on gel medium that won’t be ruined.  I don’t want to admit how many brushes have been sacrificed to the gel medium.  About the only time use the handle is when I am dipping it into jars of gel medium.  Removable handles are so handy!



5 Reasons I love Catalyst blades when painting by Carolyn Dube


5.  I use my fingers less in the paint because the blades are so flexible.  If I can learn to keep my fingers clean maybe I will get a manicure one of these days!



Supplies used

Catalyst Blade ToolsLiquitex Heavy Bodied PaintGolden Heavy Body Acrylic





Catalyst tools         Liquitex               Golden

Linking up to Paint Party Friday, Creative Every Day and Art Journal Every Day.

{ 41 comments… add one }

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  • Corrine February 20, 2013, 6:50 pm

    Oh these are different, never seen them before….You have some interesting paint moving on that piece. I will be curious to see where you land. Sticking to fingers for now though, just have to get the body in! Love you videos….xox

  • beverlyg February 20, 2013, 11:01 pm

    Now what would be the fun if not having artist fingers?

  • Maria McGuire February 21, 2013, 1:10 am

    This painting is really wonderful–I can’t wait to see the finished piece. Lots of depth and texture and beautiful colors. Now you have me re-thinking my purchase of all the large catalyst tools which I love. I think I may need to add some small ones 🙂

  • Consie @ Atop Serenity Hill February 21, 2013, 9:58 am

    I just had to complete a series of 8 paintings in my art class at school with a palette knife. Having these would have been a lot more fun because of the variety available!

  • Terrie -Creative Explorer February 21, 2013, 12:37 pm

    Just when you think you’ve seen it all……these look like a blast! I clicked through to Blick to check pricing and they’re even affordable. I’m adding them to my wish list right now. Thanks for sharing and sharing your reasons for liking them…that helps a lot when thinking about whether to try one out.

  • Valerie-Jael February 21, 2013, 2:47 pm

    Lovely painting and great catalyst blades. But you don’t want to get your fingers painty any more?? Valerie

  • Susan Tidwell February 21, 2013, 2:54 pm

    What fun! Love how your painting is coming along. The layers are fantastic. I’m putting those tools on my wish list!

  • Kay Wallace February 21, 2013, 4:51 pm

    What a fun break from a stressful day, Carolyn! I loved seeing your video and getting the inside “scoup” (so to speak) on this tool that you mentioned in our “Use Your Words” online class! I am intrigued! Thanks for this informative “eval”!

  • Wanda Hentges February 21, 2013, 4:52 pm

    Very cool!!!

  • diane morris February 21, 2013, 5:01 pm

    brillant!!!! finally a way to apply gel medium without having to stop and clean up …..or end up throwing away the brush! never would have thought of dipping the catalyst brush head into the paint tube. thanks so much for sharing!

  • Judy Shea February 21, 2013, 10:34 pm

    I must get some of thingies. I love your marks and scratchings.. so subtle, but so impactful.

  • giggles February 22, 2013, 7:20 am

    You painting is lovely and those tools amazing… love all the reasons you love them!! You are a great advocate!! Happy ppf!

    Hugs Giggles

  • ann at whimsyville February 22, 2013, 7:40 am

    I have been eyeing these blades – have a birthday coming up so I might ask the kids to ‘get mommy some toys’. I adore the layering and the colors you have achieved. Happy PPF !

  • froebelsternchen February 22, 2013, 7:40 am

    great painting.. I love the colors and I always enjoy looking your workdesk videos Carolyn!

    so many great textures with this! AWESOME!

  • artmusedog and Carol February 22, 2013, 9:09 am

    So creative and colorful ~ love how adventurous you are to explore and think ‘outside the box’ with your creativity~ Bella! ~ Happy PPF ^_^

  • ann @ studiohyde February 22, 2013, 10:26 am

    What a great idea with the catalyst blades and tools. How much better they must make life. I’ve ruined brushes in the past too >< Enjoyed the video of your work, which is lovely. Happy PPF!

  • Marjie Kemper February 22, 2013, 10:40 am

    Gorgeous! Hey I don’t know if it’s just me but the video froze for me at about 2:20.

  • Madeline Rains February 22, 2013, 10:58 am

    Thanks so much for the info. I am sold!

  • Rinda February 22, 2013, 11:36 am

    i like the light green accents.

  • Dawn Jones February 22, 2013, 11:40 am

    Awesome painting!! I got 3 of the wedges for Christmas but have yet to use them. I think I need to add some tools to my Blick shopping cart! Thanks for the nudge Carolyn!

  • Linda K February 22, 2013, 1:02 pm

    well now Carolyn you must know I’m going to give these tools a try -I too haven’t done my nails or gotten a manicure in ages because of all the finger painting!! Fab art as usual too-happy PPF!

  • Annette G February 22, 2013, 1:30 pm

    wow you achieved fabulous results with these blades, had never heard of them before, but definitely a must have. Happy PPF, Annette xx

  • Anne February 22, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Love what you do with those blades, just delicious, awesome tool! Very inspiring!

  • Dianne February 22, 2013, 4:31 pm

    Love the texture these tools create…and of course your painting is delightful!

  • gloria February 22, 2013, 5:30 pm

    Those blades are great. Nice painting. I may be looking for those blades soon.:) Thanks for the info.

  • Gina Sismilich February 22, 2013, 6:04 pm

    I have some of those and need to use them more. Love to see how you have used them. HPPF

  • EVA February 22, 2013, 6:29 pm

    Lovely painting and wonderful to hear how you use those brushes. I got a few for Xmas and use one in my abstracts but was not quite sure how to use them. Thanks for the discussion!

  • Tracey Fletcher King February 22, 2013, 6:30 pm

    they do look like fun to use… it seems that every time I visit I end up adding more tools to my wish list…xx

  • Faye February 22, 2013, 7:22 pm

    Looks like great fun, Carolyn. This is something completely new to me. Thanks for the video.

  • Pauline Leger February 22, 2013, 7:29 pm

    you know ALL the tools, Carolyn!! i always brace myself before i come here, cause i just KNOW i’m gonna blown away with something cool! Love the ‘messy’ look of those blades… your colors are always awesome too. Have a great weekend! xox

  • janice February 22, 2013, 7:40 pm

    Those catalyst blades look really handy, Carolyn. Thank you for the great info and the video. our painting is beautiful…great color and texture! Happy PPF! – janice

  • Bev February 22, 2013, 8:27 pm

    Love the colours and the effects of these new tools! What fun to use! Great piece for sure!

  • sharon February 22, 2013, 10:11 pm

    Wonderful painting those tools look fascinating, sigh it would be so nice not to have rainbow stained fingernails.

  • denthe February 23, 2013, 1:34 am

    This looks like a lot of fun! thnx for sharing!

  • Barbara Ford February 23, 2013, 12:35 pm

    I’ve been to the Dick Blick site, but for the life of me I can’t make any sense out of what I should order to start–I’m not much on big, huge tools, but I would like to have 3 or 4 of the ones you used in the video. Would it be too much trouble to recommend exactly 3 or 4 of the blades/wedges that would be good for starters? LOVE your work!

    • Carolyn February 23, 2013, 12:47 pm

      For painting like I did in the video I would recommend shape 1,5 & 6 in the 15mm size. I really love the 50mm size in shape 6 for spreading things like gel medium and gesso. The 50mm size of shape 6 is fabulous on the Gelli Plate. Hope that helps!

  • Ritu Dua February 24, 2013, 3:38 am

    Wow Carolyn…I am in love with your blades…and the way you appreciate them makes gives me the urge to hunt for them !! I really like the various textures that you have created in your work 🙂

  • Melisa February 24, 2013, 9:01 am

    These look like fun and I bet they’d work great with oils, too. I may have to have some. 🙂

  • Lynn Cohen February 24, 2013, 6:44 pm

    Thanks for the intro to these new to me tools! Cool tool! Grandma looks cool too!

  • JKW February 25, 2013, 1:23 am

    Great new tools and how to use them. Love the vid. Blessings, Janet PPF

  • Corrine March 6, 2013, 4:38 pm

    I just got me some catalyst wedges, juicy, can’t wait to try…..xox