Zippity Zoo

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I did it. Finally tore into the good watercolor paper. Could resist no longer, after seeing a class on Artist’s Network TV today, on top of an inspirational post from Sand Salt Moon a few weeks back. The long and short: Work small! It’s less intimidating, fun, and a great way to play with your colors and get to know what different papers can do.

The largest paintings here are business-card sized.  Most are about 1.5″ x 2″.

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What I learned:

  1. I really enjoy working small!
  2. Arches paper may indeed be worth it.  The paint is easier to control, and I love the texture.
  3. The el cheapo I live with (inside my own head) may need to find good watercolor paper on sale.    Anyone have a better source than Blick?
  4. Really love Cobalt Turquoise, Prussian Blue, and of course Ultramarine and Cobalt Blue, too.   I love the way they harmonize together.
  5. Oh!  I could make these little paintings all day and never get tired of it.

Are we warming up for the dance?   April has just knocked me over with her beauty this year.  Is anyone else feeling the spring love?   The tulips are blowing me away.  I think I’m feeling a tulip reappearance here tomorrow!  Peace, everyone.

33 thoughts on “Zippity Zoo

  1. Zippity, my favorite are the ones with sun/moon. And the colors react differently on good paper. Good for you, working small and seeing all the different effects you can create – every way, every day. Having fun! Love your new Zippy name too. Do-da!

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          1. I haven’t used it yet – the Arches. I am working on composition, sketching, subject matter and being as effective as I can be using the materials I have yet and building confidence before I use the higher quality paper and paints. I’m pretty much in my mind still “student” level, developing my style, etc. I do so want to get some new paints and colors and better pigments; my reward by maybe Christmas time. The tulip painting, the girl in garden, and butterfly are all on Kids Made Modern paper from a $2.99 pad I bought (it IS 140 lb paper – that’s why I bought it) that I made into a block with Elmer’s glue. : )

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            1. I hear you on the waiting but IMO you are way talented. Seriously. Your work is going to explode (in a good way) with the other materials. Were you an artist in a past life? I think your skills are extraordinary! Are you brand new to art, or just to watercolor?


  2. What fun little pieces! You can hand print your personal information on the back and actually use them for business cards. What a wonderful way for others to remember you!
    I’m so glad to hear that you have gotten in to the good paper! Watercolor paper seems expensive – and it is if you buy it off the rack at a store. Cheap Joe’s, Blicks, and Jerry’s Artarama usually have a good sale a couple of times a year, and I stock up then. I bought 80 sheets (22″ x 30″) last winter and paid $4.00/sheet. Seems like a lot of money, but that amount of paper should last me all year (until the next great sale!) I take the sheets and divide them into the size I want. I get 13 – 6″x8″ pieces for doing 5″ x 7″ little paintings, which works out to about 30 cents apiece (15 cents if I paint on the back), or 6 – 9″x11″ for 8x10s plus a fun little strip that’s good for little paintings like you’ve done here.

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    1. Thank you! Great idea, to use them as business cards. $4/sheet sounds like a really good deal, Ruth! And thanks for the tip re: using the back. I’ve painted on the backs of some that I didn’t like as well yesterday, and I see no difference. Bonus! 😀 Is there a “right” side to Arches WC paper? I’ve been scratching my head over that.


      1. Yes, but the difference between the front and back is hardly noticeable. If you have a full sheet, you can tell the front from the back by the watermark. Some of my students use Arches pads, and the texture on those seems a little different from either side of the full sheets, but I haven’t investigated that a lot.

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  3. How fun, and I love to work small too. You can just keep going at it (like you said). Your paintings remind me of the ocean… not sure if you were going for that, but they are so peaceful and beautiful. Our tulips are finally up and blooming and I have a few creations in the works. I look forward to possibly seeing more tulip illustrations from you. Have a lovely day. – bb

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    1. Thank you so much! I was thinking of the ocean. I’d love to do seascapes and skyscapes, especially. (Oh, who am I kidding, I wanna do everything.) I’m looking forward to your tulip art! I’m sure they’ll be lovely. It is so wonderful to have all of the tulips in bloom.

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  4. Hi Laura! These are really small in size, wow! I like your moonlight scenes really well. When I was first learning to paint in watercolor, I painted on a large sheet of paper – just played with the paints and brushes – so fun! Then I cut my painting up and sewed the papers to a quilt wall hanging. I will try to post my quilt on my blog so you can see it. As for watercolor paper, I purchase Arches in the big sheets in large quantities at Dick Blick. Best price and reliable. I then tear my sheets to a smaller size. I have also purchased Arches in blocks which is nice so you don’t have to tape your paper but not as cost affective. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OOh, I never knew you were mixing paintings with quilts! Neat, I’d love to see! Yeah, looking around, only Utrecht beats Blick’s price, and only by a little tiny bit – today, at least. (They’re both owned by the same company.) Thanks for the info, as always, Jill! I appreciate it.

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  5. Those are wonderful!!! Love the colors! Watercolor is so much fun – and just some months ago I hated it because I was not able to control the colors… You really seem to have also lots of fun with it! Happy 1st of May to you!!! 🌷🌞

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