Monday, June 19, 2017

#100 Days #9

Life can get monotonous, but break the monotony,
and a desire for the routine returns!
Here's hoping you are having a wonderful first day of the week. Like Watercolor Wednesday, this week's #100daysofwatercolorexercises post is late as well. Last week, I spent time with teachers in developing best practices for teaching reading. This week, I'm the learner with my own teachers learning best practices for teaching writing. When I'm home, however, I'm putting as much time as I can into watercolor. The painting above was born out of shear exhaustion and an appreciation for the daily routine I had developed for practicing watercolor.

Just a few berries and leaves
The next two paintings, above and below, are catch-up paintings for Instagram. See Watercolor Wednesday #14 for the details, but both of these were inspired by Introduction to Floral Watercolor by Jenna Rainey.

Practiced layering leaves and color to add depth and complexity
I will leave you all with this last image...a favorite of mine. I attempted to add layers of leaves in this painting as well as add distinct centers to the flowers. I did follow Jenna Rainey's composition on page 25 of her book. After following her expert example, I am left with more questions than answers. Nonetheless, progress is being made each day, and I'm glad I have time to catch-up and practice. Next week will be busy as well, but not nearly as busy as these two weeks have been.

My question for you is, what do you do when you cannot paint? How to you keep the creativity flowing, if you don't have the time?  Please share your thoughts and ideas with me. Until next time, paint your heart out!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

Card for my Hubby
Happy Father's Day everyone! Today's post is a tribute to all of the hard-working dads who devote their time and attention to their families. Above is a card that I painted for my husband. Simple is best for a masculine card, I always say! I hope you all are enjoying burgers, hot dogs, and family fun today.... Stay cool!!

WCW #14: Flat Brush Practice

Analogous Colors and Flat Brush Marks
Happy Father's Day everyone! Yes, that should read 'Happy Watercolor Wednesday,' but last week was a monster of a week. It was hard finding a moment to breathe, must less post. Some weeks I will have to be okay with 'better late than never.' Because it's been hectic, I decided to work with a book by Jenna Rainey at Mon Voir. The book is Introduction to Floral Watercolor. I cannot seem to get enough inspiration or practice! Her book is definitely for the beginner, but there is something for everyone. She is also coming out with a book in the fall called Everyday Watercolor. You can pre-order on Amazon, and now is a great time to do so because it's only $15.17!

Introduction to Floral Watercolor

In addition to working with this book over the past few weeks, I've been dabbling with some galaxy painting. I decided to use a flat brush technique for the 'galaxy' below, and to achieve the tri-color effect, I swiped my 1" flat into red, yellow and orange.

Tri-color wash

To finish my galaxy, I added some Copic white splatters and 'stars'. This is not your typical galaxy by any means, but I had fun watching the colors mix and meld together!

Tri-color Galaxy
Until next Wednesday [which will be on time], paint your heart out!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

#100 Days #8

In art and in life, it's always important to take time to play...
Good Saturday morning to you! This post will center on those lovely Hot Colors of Summer. I have a lot of work, work to do today, so my art time has been cut drastically. When that happens, the only thing to do is strengthen the basics. So this week, I spent a lot of time with analogous colors and brush stroke practice. I also decided to scan my art in to see if the colors come through more true to what I actually see. Let me know what you think! Until next week...Paint your heart out!

Warm Colors with Cool Purple...Concentric Circles
Summertime Galaxy...looks like taffy!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

WCW #13: Hard Edges

Keeping edges soft...
I am finally learning to either wet the paper first--or--blend out hard edges.
Happy Watercolor Wednesday to you everyone! Today's post is dedicated to hard edges, or the lack thereof. Being a watercolor newbie, it is easy to guess what I've struggled with most...the vehicle for the pigment or water control. Watercolor teachers, hobbyists, and YouTubers have all said the same thing: keep practicing, you'll get the hang of it. While that is good advice, I stumbled upon an artist that helped me fast forward the trial-and-error phase of my journey.

I introduced Louise De Masi in my previous post, WCW #12: Layers. Her care in explaining each move she makes with water and pigment truly helped. For the larkspur painting, I started with a 'shiny-wet' application of water. Then I dropped in pigment to watch the petals form. While I'm always mesmerized by the movement of the pigment, I was even more amazed by the lack of hard edges when it dried. That was one lesson learned.

For this painting, i took care to blend hard edges before they dried.

Another favorite YouTube watercolor instructor is Steve Mitchell with The Mind of Watercolor. I have mentioned him in previous posts as well. He, too, takes great care to explain each and every minute step he takes when watercoloring. The first painting represents weeks of study...not only painting the flowers, but controlling the water to achieve the look I desire.

I'm sure in the weeks and months to come, water control will continue to be a concern of mine as I know I haven't fully mastered the balance. But seeing some progress certainly helps me stay motivated to experiment and not worry about mistakes...especially when hard edges are unwanted.

I hope this post is a little helpful. Let me know how you learned water control while painting, or even what you are still struggling with. Together, I'll bet we can figure it out! Until next time...paint your heart out!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

#100 Days #7

Inspired by artist, Victoria Johnson. I recently
took her Skillshare course called Gestural Florals
Hello and welcome to June everyone! My husband and I finally booked a condo for our vacation this summer, so things are looking solid in that department. Now, I have to focus on a ton of work during the month of June in order to earn that one short week of rest! Oh, well! In looking through the journal this week, it seems I was stuck on a flower theme. That's okay. What I think that means is, I'm becoming more comfortable painting them!

A simple bouquet
I think it was Wednesday when I realized that May was over, so this was a nod to the month we associate with flowers. Then...I guess I couldn't quit with the flower thing motif! This painting was inspired by Instagrammer @myartsituation.

Most popular image on Instagram this week
I had a lot of fun with the 'Floral Arranger' picture. I drew inspiration from Instagrammer @georgiousdraws.

My favorite this week
This painting was inspired by Jenna Rainey of Mon Voir. She is an amazing artist, and last night I broke my #30dayswithoutspendingmoney pledge [by the way, that pledge has been broken about 20 times in the last ten days] and ordered her Floral Watercolor Booklet. They are still available as of today's post [June 3, 2017]. I cannot wait to get mine. I will do a feature post in the near future.

So, today's question is: What is your favorite flower...or...favorite flower to paint? Please leave a comment below. Until next week, paint your heart out!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

WCW #12: Layers!

Earl of East London's Storefront @earlofeastlondon on Instagram
Happy Watercolor Wednesday everyone! It's the last day of May which means school is out, and my busy season of curriculum writing and presentations begin. I had so much to do this past weekend that I decided to scrap all of those plans and commit to a detailed watercolor interpretation of a storefront! That gets the job done, right? This piece required patience, sketching, and layering to come remotely close to the photo. To see the inspiration, head over to @earlofeastlondon on instagram.

Sketch and first layer
I intended to take photos of the process along the way, but I got so wrapped up in this project that I only ended with the two photos. The photo above contains the first steps of  sketching and light washes for the window panes, brick mortar, sidewalk, window sill, and the top of the window. I was working with a 1/2" flat for the window panes and that worked well, but I knew that the brick would require finesse with a small round or buy a 1/4" flat. Since it was Saturday when I worked on this painting...I bought the 1/4# flat. I'm glad I did, because that made the brick process much easier. 

Garden Leaves
Earlier in the week, I followed along with Louise De Masi on Skillshare. She teaches a fantastic course called Herbs in Watercolor. She is an excellent artist and educator. She breaks each step down and clearly talks you through what she is doing and why she is doing it. For example, she always starts with a yellow-green wash layer for all of her leaves working from light to dark. Okay...I do know that is what we're supposed to do in watercolor, but I've worked with acrylics most of my life, and the opposite is true. So, I'm having to retrain myself a little 😃! The veins of the leaves are a little heavy, and I think I have a fix for that after Louise's feedback.

Working in Layers
Thanks for taking the time to stop by today! Please leave a comment below and let me know your processes for building depth to your watercolor paintings. I'd love to hear from you! 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

#100 Days #6

Most popular post last week
Good Sunday morning everyone! I have been a busy painter this week, and one thing I've noticed is now that I'm approaching 50+ days on this journey, I'm beginning to plan my paintings more, sketch more, and study my subjects more. While this is a good also means that I'm spending more time on my art...again, this is a good thing...but now I'm heading into the busiest time of my work season. Ugh! This simply means I may be stepping back to work more on skills and less on 'art' so to speak. Here are a few of this week's favorites--

Vitex from my garden
This painting is of a favorite flower in my garden. I've admired this flowering shrub/tree in other people's yards, and I finally have one of my own.

Pink Flowers
A friend gave me a brochure of a florist, and on that brochure was a black-line drawing of the flowers you see above. So I sketched them out and painted them the color I wanted them to be!

My favorite this week
And these cuties were inspired by a vase my Mother's Day flowers came in. The vase has a white background with all sorts of circles and whimsical flowers painted all fun to paint!! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Papertrey May Blog Hop

Papertrey May Blog Hop: Gran's Garden
Hello everyone and Happy Papertrey Blog Hop! There are about five things I cannot believe this evening...but I'll only share two: #1) I cannot believe May is almost over...and #2) I cannot believe I actually finished a card for this Blog Hop! To be honest, the end of school is likely worse than the beginning of school simply because there are so many loose ends to be tied up, awards, and making sure kiddos are set for graduation! Sooo....I debated whether or not I had time for a post today...but I remembered a challenge I set for myself several Blog Hops ago, and that was to create an 'all-over' pattern, single layered card. Well, my card isn't perfect, but my self-inflicted challenge has been met!! I do think it comes quite close to the inspiration for PTI's May Blog Hop Challenge. Take a look at the gorgeous inspiration photo:

Blog Hop Inspiration
Papertrey's May Blog Hop Challenge by irtsya
I am in love with the whimsical pattern and the florals. I tried to capture some of the colors using Stormy Sea, Pale Peony, and Berry Sorbet. For my card, the Gran's Garden stamp set was perfect as was the sentiment from Cutaway Tags: Spring. While I should get back to 'schooling,' I think I'll take a peek at all of the other awesome cards! There is still time to play get Hoppin'!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WCW #11: Using References

Modern Florals
Happy Watercolor Wednesday everyone! This week's post begs the question: Is it better to use a reference or not to use a reference? I would imagine for the more experienced artists, either one would likely be a personal preference. While I like the painting above, I did not use a reference for the composition. Perhaps that's why when I was painting it, I felt like everything was going well until I started adding the pink blooms in the upper left corner. As more elements were added, the composition began shifting for me, and I felt as though I was losing control over the piece. I think one thing that helped me most has been my experience with card-making. That's when I added some interest with smaller flowers of a different color, and then all was well...or at least better...again.

In my Blueberries composition, I was looking at a photo, and I found it was much easier and comforting to have a guide for the placement of the berries. Once that was accomplished, I used the photo to get a feel for the leaves. I then added those as I saw fit since the photo only had one or two leaves displayed. It does seem odd to have only a few 'blue' blueberries, but the photo was taking by a person I follow on Instagram, and the blueberries are only now beginning to ripen.

Yellow Flower Wreath
This painting is a combination of a watercolor wreath on Instagram and the yellow flowers I painted earlier in my journey. It was nice to be able to repeat a flower I had learned earlier in a different form or composition. So, for now, I think I do much better using a reference. For the next week, I'm going to focus on using references to help strengthen my composition skills.

In the meantime, how do you like to paint? With a reference or without? Please comment below...I'd love to hear from you! Until next, paint your heart out!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

#100 Days #5

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope your weekend has been restful. We were expecting some rain this morning, but it passed us by. Nevertheless, it is a cool and overcast day...a great day to paint and relax! The "Tiles" painting above was inspired by tiles at a local Mexican food restaurant. Mine are a little more colorful than the inspiration, but I had fun practicing wet-in-wet and glazing.

Purple Flowers
I enjoyed painting this piece. Still working on composition, balancing colors, and floral design.

A Hot Mess
I believe the title says it all!! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WCW #10: Wet-in-Wet Technique

Child's Play
Happy Watercolor Wednesday everyone! I hope this week is treating you well and you are enjoying the springtime weather. Honestly, I started a different topic earlier this week, but yesterday, I decided to work on my wet-in-wet technique. I wanted to give it a go again because I realized there were two things I was doing wrong prior to this attempt:

  1. Previously, my lighting was not at the right angle so I could not tell how wet the paper was before dropping in color.
  2. While I am still working on this, for this painting, I know I do not have quite enough pigment on my brush in order to get that nice swirl of color I see so many artists achieve in the videos I watch.
That being said, what I focused on in today's painting was not so much to drop color into a wet wash, but rather to wet a section at a time and then 'edge' the color in and let it swirl to the middle. I was working in an art journal, so I did not tilt the paper all that much. I didn't want the watery paint to slide outside of the 'borders.' I think I'll try it again and be a little more daring :-)! Below is the painting prior to adding the black line detail:

Child's Play--Step One
In this photo, I think it is easier to see how the edges began, but because I was in a hurry, sections did not dry completely before adding in adjacent color. That did not disappoint me, but I do know that I want to try this technique again and let each section dry well or almost dry before adding adjacent color to see how that changes the composition.

Why go through this practice? Eventually I hope to strengthen this technique so I can paint 'watery-almost-realistic-but-not-quite-so' florals. The best part of this exercise was taking a pencil and drawing squiggles and swirls just like I did when I was a school girl. This truly was a lot of fun, I learned a few things, and I cannot wait to try it again.

Thanks for stopping by...and until next week: Paint your heart out!!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

#100 Days #4

Triangular Comparison
This journey so far has been the best challenge I've ever designed for myself. I've started many projects only to feel frustrated at one point or another and give up. 

Yellow Flowers in Wreath
I really do not know what the difference is this time. It could be due to the fact that at least 10 or more people seem to like my work on IG. Or, it could be that I am seeing progress, and my study and research is yielding some results. 

Whatever the reason, I am now 33% through the 100 day challenge and I'm looking forward to 50% and beyond. I hope you all are inspired to do the same for matter what challenge or goal you set. 

I'd love to hear from you and please leave a link to your favorite social media platform so I can follow your journey, too!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

WCW #9: Brush & Paper Matter!

Painting with Jay Lee: Yellow Flowers
Happy Watercolor Wednesday everyone!! This week's post is all about brushes and paper. Trust me...I don't think spending a lot of money is necessary for art supplies. I definitely know that if you gave me a $300 brush today, I wouldn't paint any better or worse than I am right now. On the other hand, artists recommend purchasing the best quality brushes, paper, and paints that you can afford. I am beginning to believe them.

I started this journey painting in student-grade watercolor journals. The spiral binding is convenient because I don't have to worry about the pages flopping around while I'm working. I use a binder clip for the hard-bound journals, but I prefer the flat surface of the spiral-bound journals. 

While I like the cheaper watercolor journals because they are spiral-bound [$8 to $11 range], my pricey watercolor journals [about $25] feel like I am painting on artist-grade paper. The painting above is a student-grade journal I purchased from Amazon. It's a Strathmore journal with 140# paper. Sometimes when I paint in it, the paint will glide easily over the paper. At other times there will be skips or slick spots when pigment is applied. While this is noticeable during painting, it does not seem to affect the final outcome.

Bleeding Hearts: My Design
The Bleeding Hearts and Salvia florals were painted in a hard-bound Strathmore Watercolor Journal, #467-5 and it costs around $25. I can definitely tell a difference when painting in this journal. The paper is consistent and grabs the pigment nicely. The binding is premium quality and the papers are stitched. I really love this journal, but I reserve it for those times when I have a good idea of what I want to paint. Otherwise, I use my cheaper, student grade version. 

Salvia-Purple Velvet: My Design
As far as brushes are concerned, for now, I really love the Master's Touch line from Hobby Lobby. I have three brushes from that line. They all hold water and pigment very nicely and I have great control. Recently, I noticed a big difference with the round brushes. The #16 round comes to a precision point, and after use, it dries to its original shape without feathering. The cheaper version has not 'bounced' back after cleaning, and while painting, I cannot seem to get the fine line as I can with the more pricey version.

The brush on the left does not dry to a clean point.
The Masters Touch brush dries to a point every time.
Unfortunately, when I tried to look for the Masters Touch brand online, I couldn't find a source...not even Hobby Lobby online. I'm thinking my favorite brushes are a line of Windsor and Newton, because they have a similar 1" wash like I have. As I save my coins and purchase more brushes and paper, I'll be sure to update this post with versions of papers and brushes that out-perform the cost.

Please comment below about your favorite 'reasonably-priced' brushes and paper. I'd love to hear from you. Until next week: Paint your heart out!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

#100 Days #3

A few of my favorites from this past week. Enjoy!
Total Abstraction: Color First!

Rose Painting with Jay Lee

Inspiration drawn from Texas artist, Jan Heaton

Yellow Flowers with Jay Lee

My favorite flowers...Salvia