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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mother's Day!

Mother's Day Card!
Hello everyone! Today I'm playing along with Papertrey's Make It Monday #283: Watercolor Wash Backgrounds. I was so grateful for Laurie Schmidlin's tutorial on watercolor background techniques for cards. Her backgrounds are beautiful, but I liked the free-flowing wash you see in my card above and hers below.

I used Fresh Bouquet for my focal point, and stamped the flowers in Pale Peony, Bright Buttercup, Green Parakeet, and Spring Rain. The outline was stamped using Stormy Sea. I cut out the panel using the Noted Scalloped A2 rectangle die. I topped it off with a simple tag and the xoxo from Fresh Bouquet.  There is still plenty of time to play along and see all of the wonderful interpretations for this challenge.

For me, I'm going to make about four more cards: one for Mother, one for my sister, one for my two nieces, and one for my daughter-in-law's mother. Thanks for stopping by!

Birthday Wishes (detail) by Laurie Schmidlin
Laurie Schmidlin's card for MIM #283

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

WCW #8: Depth

Cactus: Jay Lee Watercolor
Happy Watercolor Wednesday to you! This week's focus is on depth. I began my practice from last week by following along with Jay Lee Watercolor's: Easy Simple Cactus Painting for Beginners.  I must have watched the video five times before giving it a try. I like how he models painting the basic shape, and then working between wet-in-wet and wet-in-almost dry to create depth to the shape.  You can see hard edges in my version, but I am proud of the fact that you do see some highlights [although I'm not sure the light is coming from the same direction... :-}]. That said, I did make this cactus my own by selecting my own color, adding a ground and sky, and topping it off with a cactus flower. We have spineless cacti all over our yard, and someday I hope to paint our own cacti. This painting is giving me confidence that I will be able to do that soon!

My own: Berries & Leaves
It's important to know that I actually started this journey to be able to paint leaves, berries, and flowers in a wreath. I see these all over Instagram and I'm amazed at all of the quick-time videos of artists creating beautiful wreaths in seconds flat! :-) While my painting above does not have layers of color, it does have depth due to the leaves and berries having different values. The stems were painted in a greenish Payne's gray ever so lightly to add structure. Then when the leaves and berries were painted, I went back in with a 0.005 Micron marker to add veins to the leaves to add texture and definition to the berries and stems. This is one of my very favorite so far because I feel I'm getting somewhat closer to my goal.

My own: Pink Flower
Continuing on in my quest for depth in watercolor, on Sunday I watched The Mind of Watercolor: Strathmore Artist Workshop: Botanical Rose Part 1. I've said it before...what I like about Steve's instruction is that he breaks down all of the steps. After watching this video, I was able to sketch [okay, not perfectly...working on it] a flower, use watercolor blending techniques to add depth, and left areas highlighted to create a realistic curved shape to the petals. I rushed the 'details' part, but I'm hoping to concentrate on that in the future when I have other skills in place. What I'm most proud of is I actually managed to practice my goals and not have any hard edges! Hard edges are fine if you know what you're doing...but believe me, I do not. So for now, I'm happy with the progress I made this week.

What challenges are you facing? I'd love to hear from please leave a comment below.

Until next time...paint your heart out!

Monday, May 1, 2017

CASe this Sketch #219: Celebrate!

CASe this Sketch #219: Celebrate!
Happy 1st day of May everyone! Hope your weather is sunshiny and pleasant! Tonight I'm posting a very special graduation card for the son of my husband's foreman. Caleb lives in Oklahoma with his mother, but for the past several summers, he has lived in Texas with his dad and has worked for my husband. Caleb is a fine young man, and it is apparent from the invitation that he plans to pursue another degree.

The card above sports the CASe design below which is perfect for the embellishment and sentiment I have chosen. Both are PTI's 2016 Customer Appreciation stamp & die set: Celebrate! The colors are orange and black in honor of Caleb's school colors. It always warms my heart to see another youngster cross this threshold!! Mr. Pat and I wish him well!

Updated 5.6.17

I'm so excited!! This card was a CASe Favorite!!  Thanks so much!