Monday, September 15, 2014

From the Pages of My Sketchbook

Geese are definitely not my favorite bird. We have a pond in our neighborhood, and therefore, a lot of geese. They are loud and leave a mess everywhere, and when they land on your roof it scares you half to death - you wouldn't believe the noise! But in the wild, they're not so bad.

 Regardless of my feelings towards this fella's (or gal's) kin, he (or she) was fun to sketch.

Supplies: Moleskine Sketchbook, Koi Watercolors, Water Brush, Sakura Pen-Touch paint marker, Faber-Castell permanent marker.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Building a watercolor palette.

Up until I painted these cards I had been using student grade watercolors, which are great for sketching, but not for art that will be displayed. Student grade watercolors usually fade over time. Before painting the cards in the above link, I set up a watercolor palette with artist quality paints. I searched the internet for tips on creating my own palette, and while there is some information out there, it wasn't as much as I'd hoped for - so, I thought I'd add my own process to the mix of what's online. 


I needed to keep this as cost effective as possible, so I selected a fairly inexpensive palette. The quality seems to be pretty good, but the palette, including the mixing tray does stain, which is not ideal for mixing transparent color. I may purchase a non-staining mixing tray in the future.



Thankfully, I still had many tubes of artist quality watercolors from about ten years ago when I dabbled in the medium for a few months. I did have to buy a few colors to round out my palette. Many watercolor artists use a more limited palette, but I love having a lot of colors to choose from. I'd actually like more than the thirty-three that this palette holds. I'm sure once I've used these colors a while I'll find ones that I'm missing and will create another palette of color.


I started by roughing the palette up a bit with a slightly abrasive cleaner. I used Soft Scrub. I read that this will help the paint stay-put in the wells and keep your paint from beading up when mixing it in the tray. I rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed the palette to make sure all the cleaner was off - Soft Scrub laced paint - not good. Once the palette was dry I started filling the wells with paint. As I filled the wells I noted what color was in each well on a sheet of scrap paper.

Once I had filled all the wells with paint, I left the palette open for a few days so the paint could dry and harden. Some paints may not dry completely, so if you want to travel with your palette you should research what brands and specific colors will dry hard and which ones will not.

With the paint dry, I created a color chart on watercolor paper to keep inside my palette, stored under the mixing tray. The colors are laid out on the chart the same as they are in my palette. I started by laying down three, thick, waterproof black lines with a brush marker. I then used a 1" flat brush to lay down a swatch of each color over the black lines. This shows the opacity of each color and how it will react when painted over a darker color.



Once dry, I lifted color from each swatch below the black line. To lift color, simply rewet the surface with clean water and blot with a clean rag or paper towel. This will show which colors stain. Most watercolorists use lifting regularly in their painting, and staining colors will not lift completely which is important to know when working on a painting.

Finally, I added the color name and brand to each painted swatch.

I love my new palette!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments. I'll leave you with the aftermath from building my palette. ;-)


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Crochet Coasters

Last week I shared this card that I painted for my sweet friend, Amy's birthday. I also made her these coasters. 

There are a lot of crochet coaster patterns online, and while I did a lot of searching, I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, so I improvised.

Simple rounds of single crochet are the base of my coasters, topped with two rounds of top stitching inspired by this pattern, and wool stars inspired by these coasters.

You might have already guessed it, but with the top stitching and wool stars, these coasters make a slightly wobbly surface for narrow based glasses. They are, however, perfect for wider based vessels, such as coffee mugs.



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mixed Media Daffodil

This summer I have probably taken hundreds of flower photos. Yep. Hundreds. I see a beautiful bloom and I want to paint it. I'm just drawn to them. The colors, shapes and awesome textures get me every single time. Allan is constantly having to wait for me while I take another flower photo. Thankfully he doesn't mind. He's awesome like that. I'm saving most of these photos to paint from this winter when it's gray and gloomy here. I think that's a pretty good plan. ;-)

This daffodil, however, demanded to be painted right away on a greeting card for my dear friend Amy's birthday. 

Supplies: Watercolor card, artist watercolors, opaque watercolor, acrylic paint, and waterproof pens.




Monday, August 11, 2014

A portrait for my mister.

I'm taking a quick break from the fun and sun to share some of my summer artwork.

To celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary I painted this piece for Allan.

Supplies: Watercolor paper, watersoluble pencil, water brush, pencils, and acrylic paint.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Watercolor Greetings

This year, rather than purchasing or paper crafting Mother's Day cards, I decided to paint them.

This Goldfinch for my mom.

And butterfly for my mother-in-law.

Supplies: Watercolor cards, artist watercolors, opaque watercolor, and waterproof pens.

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