August Artwork (Draw a Bird Day Roundup)

Better late than never, right? Life and work get in the way sometimes, but I wanted everyone to get a chance to see the amazing bird artwork so many talented bloggers posted in August for the Draw a Bird Day celebration!   A special thanks to Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd and all of our WordPress photographers for their beautiful work and reference images! In case you missed anyone’s post, here are the links to our participants’ bird celebrations from August:

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Michael of A Certain Line contributed whimsical mixed media artwork

Jill at Jill’s Art Journal contributed a brown-headed nuthatch in watercolor

Charlie at Doodlewash contributed a macaw in watercolor

Kerfe at Method Two Madness contributed a flicker in paint and collage

Jodi at Life in Between painted a pink flamingo in watercolor

Dawn at Brush of Dawn painted a crow in acrylics recently (I couldn’t find the artwork at your August link, Dawn, but love your crow too!)

Marcy Erb at Illustrated Poetry contributed some stork artwork

Cave Painter contributed a bald eagle in watercolor

Birgit Winter at Winter Art Blog painted a crow for us

Michelle Kogan painted a watercolor turkey

Carrie of Carrie Cordero Designs painted a tailorbird in watercolor

Jeanette Clawson at Lunanista contributed some mixed media swallows

Snehal Kank contributed a watercolor cardinal

Carolina at Yesterday After contributed a watercolor bluebird

0806 2Arsty Birdy of The Leaf Diary contributed a bird drawn in ink

Teri of Teri’s Sketch Journal painted in watercolor a very colorful painted bunting

Beverly of The Art Prescription contributed some crows in brush ink

Annie of Annie Draws Things contributed a sweet bee hummingbird in watercolor

Carol of Carol’s Creative Papers painted a pileated woodpecker in watercolor for us

Alison at East Witching contributed watercolor cardinal art and at this link, you can purchase a print if you like


I hope everyone enjoyed creating and viewing my talented friends’ creations this month! If you posted bird art in August, and do not see a link to your work here, then either I made a booboo, or I did not have a link to your work underneath my August 8 bird post in the comments section. Please add a link to your August Draw a Bird Day post in the comments here, though, and we’ll be sure to add you to the list!

I am taking a blogging break, although I hope to return soonish.    Are we all celebrating September and the advent of autumn’s flaming colors and cool breezes?    You know I am!   Peace and Happy Football Sunday to all!

Mixed Media Collage (Acrylic August)

I got a wild hair the other day and decided to tear down a full sheet (22 x 30″) of watercolor paper in quarters.   Which is working pretty large, for me, as I usually stay right around 5 x 7″ or so.   I had fun working out some “stuff” on the surface, with lots of color and using many different mediums.     I created that piece to use as collage fodder….and here is a collage on 11 x 14″ watercolor paper, made solely from that original work:

Materials used to create the original piece, which was posted here:

I haven’t glued the pieces down yet, as I feel it may need a tweak or two.   I’m gonna let it cogitate for awhile.   The original piece was so saturated with color, while this collaged piece leaves lots of space for the eye to rest, something it really needed, I think.   It feels restful and peaceful to me, even with so much vibrant magenta humming through it.   I’d love to hear what type of feelings this might bring up for you.   Maybe it makes you feel like dancing, hehe.   :)   We can only hope, right?    Have a wonderful week!

Draw a Bird Day, August issue! (100 Face Challenge, #71)

I want to once again thank our friend Michael Emberson at A-Wing and A-Way for letting us know about the annual Draw A Bird Day celebration, which happens April 8 each year. We’ve been celebrating with bird art on the eighth of every month since!     I also want to thank Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd for this tremendous bluebird reference image.    Kathy regularly shares amazing shots of birds, blooms, butterflies, you name it, even poetry on her blog here on WP.   Please check her site out, if you haven’t already.

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I grabbed a few quick minutes with a pen from the office (the Signo 207 by Uniball used to be water soluble, so have a try if you have one of the old ones, it’s great fun) and my Strathmore Visual Watercolor journal.   This journal is a great one to choose if you’ve always thought you’d like to try watercolor.   It is very inexpensive at $5.29, and you can pick up a really nice starter travel palette, which includes a brush, 12 colors, and 3 mixing wells for under $15.    This is pretty much all you need to begin watercolor sketching, and this time of year is a perfect time to get started! (affiliate links)

FYI, Blick Art Materials is offering Free Shipping for all orders of $35 or more through 11:59 Pacific Time this Friday, August 12!

I’ll be posting a roundup with links to all of the artwork of everyone participating in August’s Draw a Bird Day celebration in about a week.    If you’d like your artwork to be included, please post a link to your work in the comments below.    Thanks so much, and have a wonderful week everyone.    Peace.

Working Larger (Acrylic August)

This is mixed media on 1/4 sheet of watercolor paper. Yes, 11 x 14″, the largest I’ve gone yet!    I had some angst in my spirit, and so I folded a large sheet of watercolor paper in half both ways so I could swing my arm and fling some paint.   I’m working around the color wheel.    And having lots of fun!

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I hope you enjoyed, as there will be more to come!    I originally created this to go into a collage or other mixed media application, but when I was finished……oh, who knows, maybe I’m not finished.   Not sure if I should call this a painting or cut it up for something else.   I’d love to get your thoughts.   Peace and happy Sunday to you!

Graphite Bunny (100 Face Challenge, #70)

We have a pet wild bunny who escaped a run-in with a fox or some other predator. We’ve been leaving carrots and lettuce out for him daily, and he’s slowly learning to trust us, and plumping up nicely.     The reference image for this pencil sketch came from Brianna at Gold Hearts Blog; thank you, Brianna!     This was done in Faber-Castell 2B graphite pencil in my 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ Canson Universal sketch pad (which, IMO is the best bargain in sketchbooks out there for pencil and pen work at under $5 for 200 pages/100 sheets, and it even takes a light watercolor wash) (affiliate links):


Our cameras aren’t super high-tech, but I may be able to share a photo if one of us gets close enough to snap one.   Ours is a precious Eastern Cottontail rabbit.   So I’ve become a bit obsessed with rabbits lately, and hope to improve on them in the next couple of months.   Speaking of furry critters, I really need to give a shout out to Rebecca Evans at Rebecca Evans here on WP.   This link is to her Hares page, and she is a magnificent artist, rendering mostly animals and birds, but other subjects too, in all mediums:  oil, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, acrylics, mixed media, collage, 3-D art; you name it.    You owe it to yourself to check out her site.   Her horses are spectacular too, but honestly, everything she does is incredible.   If I were ever to render an animal, any animal, the way she can, I would consider myself “arrived”.

I’ve decided to take a break from news headlines, particularly those about small men embarrassing my country on an all-too-regular basis, take a step back, and set my mind on things that are above, and that will fill up my peace tank, like God, nature, birds, bunnies, sunsets, flowers, trees, and beauty, wherever it lies.   So, not a break from art, but a break from pretty much everything else.   I need to really clear some space for prayer, yoga and meditation, things that will relax me and bring me to a healthy and more balanced place.    You may see me here and you may not, but hopefully I’ll have a post for Draw A Bird Day on Monday, the 8th!   I’ll be doing a roundup post, as well, with links to everyone’s bird art about a week or so after the event.

I hope everyone has a peaceful and restful weekend.     Go make the world beautiful, people!   Please.   We need you.  🙂

Art Therapy: In the News (Acrylic August, 5/31)

Yesterday, I read this post from Lucy’s Coloring Book where she describes a therapeutic (and beautiful!) experience she had with her art journal.   Well, the news headlines have been getting to me lately, so I decided to take a page out of Lucy’s book (so to speak) and see if I could turn some of that trash to treasure.    This is M. Graham watercolor and Golden fluid acrylic paint on a 4 x 6″ Blick studio canvas:


I started by digging into the recycle bin, grabbing the front page, and flipping through to one of those headlines.    Ripped it out of the paper and tore it in strips, and collaged it to my canvas with Golden soft gel medium.  It doesn’t take long to dry in the summertime with no retarder added, so I didn’t have to wait long before throwing paint at it, to cover it up.   “Make pretty, make pretty” I said to myself…..and it just wouldn’t be made pretty!    So I covered it with Golden Titanium White fluid paint.   Very opaque, totally covered in no time.

But I needed more texture.    So I grabbed a sheet of white rice paper, crumpled it up, spread it out, and grabbed the Derwent Inktense blocks and started rubbing blue, red, magenta lengthwise on the paper.   Hit it with a damp brush and took another look.   Gave it a few seconds to dry a bit, shredded that one too…..coated my surface with more Golden soft gel, and started laying the strips in.    Still wasn’t thrilled with it, so I dripped some Yellow Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India ink in, and hit it with a spray bottle of water so it would travel.   Let that dry….and picked it up again.

And it started talking to me.    The yellow ink had created a sun, and there were so many nice wrinkles below it, so I went after that area with M. Graham Quinacridone Rose and Phthalo and Prussian Blue, Burnt Sienna watercolor paint, and just let those colors mingle.    Dampened the sun area and added some M. Graham Quinacridone Gold watercolor.  There was a bit too much distracting activity from the prior layer outside my focal point, so I faded that out with more Golden Fluid paint in Titanium White.    Voila!   (Blick Art Materials is offering Free Shipping on orders of $45 or more through 11:59 Pacific Time tonight.  Your purchases from these links help to support more mad scientist experiments.   Enjoy and many thanks!)

And boy, was this therapeutic.   I encourage you, if those headlines bug the heck outta you like they do me…….tear them up and turn them into something happy.   You might be surprised at how the day (and your mood) turns around afterward.    Happy Almost Weekend to all!   I hope you paint like you mean it this weekend!    Peace.

Grids on Grids with Golden Molding Paste (Acrylic August, 4/31)

Oh, I’m addicted to texture products! It took me awhile to understand what gel mediums do, what texture mediums do, and how the different paint formulations behave….I guess now that I understand, I want to keep experimenting!    If you’d like more information about this too, I can highly recommend Chris Cozen’s videos on Artists Network TV, as well as her books.   Also, Nancy Reyner has a terrific book called “Acrylic Revolution” that I believe Jill from Jill’s Art Journal told me about.  Jill, you nailed it; it’s a wonderful book, with lots of techniques and great illustrations too!   Chris and Nancy are both Golden working artists and educators, and they know their stuff.


This is another painting do-over.    It was a texture experiment gone wrong on a 5″ x 5″ Ampersand Gessobord and so I needed even more texture to wipe the slate clean, so to speak.   I spread a layer of Golden molding paste on the painting first.    This product dries opaque, leaving no show through from the painting underneath.     Next, I embedded a scrap of 1/2″ grid hardware cloth from Hub’s wood shop into the painting, lifted it up, and then turned it and impressed it again.   This gave me all of those great texture lines.

After it dried (several hours), I dripped some Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay India ink in, sprayed it with water, and moved the painting around, allowing the ink to follow those grid lines, highlighting them.  Where the ink was a bit too strong or became soupy, I sopped it up (on paper towels I will save, thanks to Kerfe’s great inspiring post yesterday), and wound up refining with some Golden fluid acrylic paints.   I think I may have gone a bit too far with Quinacridone Burnt Orange, but I can always go back, add Titanium White, which is very opaque, and have another go with the colors.   Or I may leave it as is.   What do you think?

Blick’s Free Shipping offer for orders of $45 or more is extended through 11:59pm Pacific Time tomorrow, for anyone interested.   Purchases from these links support my site.   I hope we are all having fun with our art supplies.    For too long, I saved them and didn’t want to run out.   So I rarely used them.   Boy, that is just not part of my vocabulary anymore.    Art supplies are the jungle gym and the art world is a playground, and I am gonna enjoy it.    How about you?   I can smell the weekend!    Happy Thursday!  Peace.


Homemade Spray Ink in Golden Molding Paste (Acrylic August, 3/31)

The mad scientist is having lots of fun breathing new life into painting fails recently!   This is acrylic texture product, paint and ink on a 6 x 6″ piece of Gessobord by Ampersand:


This one started out as a painting fail from several months back that I almost wanted to remake as soon as it was posted.   I fished it out of the pile the other day and added some Golden Molding Paste to it to cover what was below, and then drew swirls into the paste with the back end of a paintbrush.   I really love the Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India ink set I bought, but it is extremely strong.   I decided to make my own homemade spray ink by adding drops of it into mini mister bottles partially filled with water, and adjusting the mixture until I was happy with the strength of the spray coming out.

This turned out to be an extremely inexpensive way to make wonderfully vibrant spray ink!    And you can see how strong the colors are.   It also gives you the opportunity to mix up your own colors.    (I recently bought a box of 50 small spray bottles very inexpensively on Amazon (only 32 cents per bottle), and plan to make lots more little bottles of spray ink, as combining the colors and watching them mix on the painting was so much fun.)   This is not only inexpensive, but a fun and easy way to custom make a spray ink (in this case, multiple colors to play together) especially for your project.     I do feel this painting needs a stronger focal point, so I may add a blackbird or crow in the lower right corner.   Speaking of which, the August issue of Draw A Bird Day comes to your WordPress screens this Monday, August 8!    I hope you will help us make WordPress fly by posting your bird art then!    I will do a roundup mid-month with a link to everyone’s beautiful artwork.

Note to my fellow art supply addicts:   Blick Art Materials has extended Free Shipping on orders of $45 or more through this Friday, August 5!    Friends don’t let friends pay for shipping if they can avoid it.   :D   Purchases from these links help support my site.   Enjoy and thank you!

We made it to the halfway point of the work week!   Blessings to all for a wonderfully productive rest of the week!   Peace.

Golden Fine Pumice Gel and Fluid Acrylic Paint (Acrylic August, 2/31)

I experimented awhile back with Liquitex Glass Bead gel, which is one of the first acrylic mediums I bought months ago. I think I fussed too much with it, and wasn’t happy with the result. The painting needed a remake rescue.

Enter Golden Fine Pumice Gel, which is my favorite of all of the acrylic mediums I’ve tried so far. If you look closely, you can still see some of the tiny glass beads from the bead gel underpainting scattered around, giving texture to the finished piece.   I couldn’t resist adding Golden fluid acrylic paint in Iridescent Copper light fine.   I just love a bit of metallic paint here and there, love the depth and pop those paints create.    And I love all of the lines I see from using my palette knife in the wet Fine Pumice Gel.    This is such a wonderful medium, I am in total love with it.   I hope you will be too, because I bought a 32 oz. jar, and plan to make good use of it!

I still see fine tuning to be done, and perhaps too much of the underpainting shining through here and there, but considering where this painting started out, I am happy with the progress so far.    Plus, it gave me a chance to use my favorite Golden Quinacridone Crimson and Quinacridone Violet Fluid Acrylic paints!    Such depth, especially with a bit of that Iridescent Copper light mixed in.  Dreamy and creamy!

Note to my fellow art supply addicts:   Blick Art Materials has extended Free Shipping on orders of $45 or more through this Friday, August 5!    I don’t know about you, but this makes me very happy.   I love to pay rock bottom prices for art supplies and pay no shipping.   With a no-questions-asked return policy, even on open items…..for one year.    You just can’t beat it!   Yes, I am a paid affiliate now, but I would say the same things, paid or unpaid, about Blick.   Their service, prices, and selection are top-notch!

Yes, I am having a love affair with acrylic paints and mediums.   Hub is aware of my two-timingness, as I did a sanity check with him before ordering a 32 ounce tub of the Fine Pumice gel!    I had completed yesterday’s painting, and then had a nice little makeover with this one, and decided to go a little hog wild!   Looking forward to more mad scientist experiments with Fine Pumice + loads of other textures, media and everything but the kitchen sink!    Peace, and have a great week.