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.

Golden Fine Pumice Gel and Inktense Pencils! (Acrylic August, 1/31)

I’m so glad we’ve turned the page to August! A new theme for this month: I’m going to be playing with acrylic paints and acrylic texture mediums.   I’ll be throwing in watercolor, Inktense blocks and pencils, Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay Ink, gesso, collage, fabric, Paperclay, and everything else under the sun as we celebrate the last month of summer and prepare for wonderful Autumn.  I’m also working on improving my animal and bird drawings in graphite and ink to complete my 100 Face Challenge for 2016, and so those will be sprinkled in as well.    Looking forward to it!


This painting has had a couple of incantations already, and I’ve never been happy with it, so I decided it was time to give it another life.   I have fallen head over heels for Golden’s fine pumice gel, so much so, in fact, that over the weekend, I ordered a 32 oz. container of it from Dick Blick.   I’ve never ordered a 32 oz. container of anything art related, but I just love this stuff (and it’s 65% cheaper per ounce than the 8 oz. jar; quite a difference, I find most Golden products run that way.)   It is like extremely fine sandpaper in gel form.   It is an off-white color and dries translucent.   It can be colored with acrylic paint or ink before applying, but I like to leave it as is, as I usually paint my surfaces anyway.

I spread it on my 5 x 7″ canvas panel, and with my palette knife, made numerous lines into the surface.   It takes several hours to dry, so I left it overnight before painting.   I think what I love most about it is the way it gives texture.   It’s not too thin or too thick, it is just right.  Once dry, it accepts watercolor, as well as ink, acrylic, you name it; I imagine it would be a good surface for pastels as well.    It is also a drawable surface for pencil, pen, charcoal, anything pointy at all, including my Inktense pencils, which is where I went with this piece next.

I drew against the textured lines with various pencils, then used a damp brush to spread the color around and blend.   Inktense pencils are actually ink in pencil form.   (Click here for a color chart and more info.)   They are very vibrant and usually permanent once liquified and allowed to dry.   One thing I noticed when working on the fine pumice gel with them though is that they can still be lifted from this acrylic surface and adjusted once dry, something I have never been able to do with Inktense before.    It was quite helpful for me in this case, as I looked at the painting again in the morning and decided it was much too dark or bright in some areas, and I was able to lift the color back with a damp paintbrush.

(Note:  Blick Art Materials has extended free shipping for orders of $45 or more through 1159pm Central time today, August 1!   Purchases from Blick links will support my site.    Enjoy, and thank you!)    I’d also like to recommend a book I finished reading this weekend:    “The Creative Edge – Exercises to Celebrate Your Creative Self” by Mary Todd Beam.  If you’re interested in mediums of all kinds, including Golden acrylic products, this will give you lots of ideas to run with.   Lots of great inspiration from many artists in there as well.

I enjoyed reviving this painting so much that I’ve decided to do a series of these, so there will be lots more “mad scientist” experiments to come!    I hope you have a wonderful week, and thanks so much for your visits and comments!   Peace.

Gessobord and Light Molding Paste by Golden (World Watercolor Month, 31/31)!

Have we reached the finish line of World Watercolor Month?   Wow!   Was it indeed a challenge to paint in watercolor every day? Yes, it was. If I hadn’t had gesso and/or acrylic paint, some days, I wouldn’t have had anything to post lol. But it was fun, and I learned a lot. I want to thank my friend and WP bro Charlie O’Shields at Doodlewash for making July World Watercolor Month an official “thing”, and for inviting us all to join him in painting in watercolor daily. Charlie, you rock at it, and it is so much fun to see what you create every day. You inspire us all, my friend!


I really had fun with this piece.    It began with a 6″ square Gessobord by Ampersand.   This is a hardboard panel with a textured toothy clay surface.    It is easy to correct, requires no taping down or stretching, and can be scratched into and otherwise abused.   (Gessobord and Aquabord are my favorite of the Ampersand surfaces, and I’ve not even tried Pastelbord, Scratchbord, and many of their others yet – but I plan to)!   First, I painted the white surface with M. Graham acrylic heavy body paint in Viridian green.   Acrylic paint dries pretty quickly in the summer time when you don’t add retarders or gel mediums to slow down the process.

Once that layer dried, I used a palette knife and Light Molding Paste by Golden (which is kind of like Marshmallow Fluff, light and fluffy and wonderful) and spread a layer of this texture medium on my Gessobord.    This layer is like a playground; it can be as smooth or as textured as you’d like to make it.   I could have colorized it first with acrylic paint, ink, probably even watercolor paint, as this surface absorbs watercolor!   I have been saving lids, corks, buttons, bottle caps, all kinds of round stuff that would otherwise be tossed or recycled for months, and had fun impressing them into the molding paste.   I shortened an old comb and ran that along the side.  (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site.   Enjoy and many thanks!)

Once that layer was dry (about 2 or so hours in a warm location), I had a surface that could absorb watercolor paint!   If you dampen the surface with water, the paint will stay within the damp area, just as though you had used watercolor paper.   You can also easily keep color to one section by painting the inside of one of the circles, for example.   (I encouraged the color to go outside the lines, cause I’m an outside the line kinda girl, but if you want to use lots of different colors and not make mud, using the impressed areas and rinsing the brush in between is an easy and fun way to do this.)   Of all of the products I’ve tried, I think Light Molding Paste is my favorite.   Very easy to lift color, too, if you decide it is too strong or the wrong shade.   I just love it.   I hope you enjoyed it too!

Sunday is a great day to relax, recharge, and get ready for the week ahead.   I hope you find time to do something that really makes you happy today.   We have to take care of ourselves if we’re to take care of anyone else.   Peace and Happy Sunday to all!


Fun Watercolor Doodle with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Ink (World Watercolor Month, 30/31)

This could be a cool background for a mixed media piece, or it could stand on its own as a fun watercolor doodle.   I started with my 8 x 5 1/2″ Strathmore Visual watercolor journal (a bargain at under $5.50), an eye dropper, and clear water.   I drew lots of squiggly lines on my paper with the water.   Before the paper dried, I dropped some color into the wet areas with my Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Ink (I have set 1, which includes (12) 1-oz. bottles) and squiggled some more, so I had areas of dark, medium and light tones.


Once I was finished with the ink, and because this is World Watercolor Month after all, I dropped in some M. Graham watercolor in Phthalo Blue and Hooker’s Green.  Is this art?   I don’t know, but I like it.   Maybe you do too!   If so, you’re one of my kind lol!  😀    Sometimes, we have to stop taking it all so seriously and just have fun.   When we have fun, hopefully our viewers are having fun too!    That is why art is such a healer, and such a great way to express feelings and release stress.    Yoga and meditation are great, but we all need a little color in our lives, right?   (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site.   Blick extended its Free Shipping offer for orders of $45 or more through 11:59 pm Central time today, July 30.  Enjoy, and many thanks!)

Can anyone believe July is almost behind us? Shall we dance and sing a “Come on, Autumn” song?   Soon I’ll be painting lovely fall leaves again.   Can’t wait.   Peace.

Geometric Abstract Call to Autumn in Watercolor and Acrylic (World Watercolor Month, 29/31)

I follow a few quilter’s blogs, and one of my very favorites is Tierney’s at Tierney Creates.    She showed us some quilt blocks and projects she is working on in a recent post, and suddenly I had my inspiration for today’s painting:   I would paint my own quilt block!   And I would call refreshing autumn breezes and gorgeous leaves to mind as I paint.   This is roughly 5 x 8″ on Arches 140-lb. cold-press paper:

I do enjoy working in watercolor, but I’ve been missing my lovely Golden acrylic paints a whole lot here lately.    Color that glows from within, easy to apply, dries quickly or slowly depending upon what you mix it with, and whose vibrant opacity covers a multitude of issues…what’s not to love?    I even got some metallic copper in there, oh, it is so much fun!    Once I got the initial watercolor wash in, I wasn’t really happy with all of the color choices I’d made, so I turned to my friendly Golden acrylics in hansa yellow medium, quinacridone magenta, quinacridone burnt orange and Golden acrylic glazing liquid to turn these paints into a glaze that I could use over large areas to help unify my painting.   (As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site.   Enjoy Free Shipping until 11:59 pm Central time on Friday 7/29, and thank you!)

Well, the weekend is almost here and I hope you make the time to do a few things you really enjoy this weekend.   Savor the moments!    Peace.


Semi-Abstract Watercolor on Aquabord (World Watercolor Month, 28/31)

This is another painting I put to the side when I had a run of decent painting days, in case of a drought like the one I’ve run into lately.   🙂    I always enjoy painting on Aquabord by Ampersand, because it is such a forgiving surface.   You’re painting on what amounts to a textured hardboard surface, so you never have to worry about buckling or curling paper when you hit it with the water, which is great when you like to work wet into wet, as I do.    This is M. Graham watercolors on a 6″ square of Aquabord:


I painted this on a good watercolor day, which is to say I knew when to put the brush down and stop fiddling.    I could correct some things about this one that still bug me if I had more time.   Which is something else I love about this surface:  no matter how long ago it was painted, you can always go in with a damp Q-tip or a damp paper towel and gently “erase” areas you don’t like (usually) back to the white surface and have another go.   This can sometimes be very useful when working in watercolor, a transparent medium, particularly for a beginner such as myself. I’ve even been known to run the board under a running faucet and gently rub the paint off with my thumb. Although Ampersand doesn’t recommend this. 🙂

My fellow art supply addicts will be happy to know that orders of $45 or more will ship for free at Blick if ordered through 11:59PM Central time tonight!   (Purchases from these links will help support my site.   Enjoy and thank you!)   I can already hear the weekend whistling a happy tune.   I hope you are too, and that the breezes are refreshing in your part of the world today.   Peace.




Yo, Gesso! (World Watercolor Month, 27/31)

It was one of those days with Lady Watercolor; the lady doth stomp on the toesies at times.   Some days, she leaves bruises.     Ah well….


Thank God for gesso and its ability to “white out” the situation and bring it under control. I have enjoyed this month of watercolor, but my lovely acrylic paints are calling me…….and I will most likely be riding off into the sunset with my other beau come the end of the month.   Oh, and pencils, pens, and all manner of other pointy things besides!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, and I wonder how many “little me”s are out there praying for the cool, refreshing breezes of autumn. Only one big bad hot month to go, y’all! Peace.

Sharing Some Love (World Watercolor Month, 26/31)

I feel the need to share some love today. I think if two colors as different as red and blue can come together effortlessly and make purple, then the world can come together in love and unity, and drive out hate and division.

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As an artist, I see my role as a recycler: taking negative events, emotions, etc. and using them as fuel to create a fire inside of myself which allows me to transform it all into a painting or a sketch that can touch someone’s heart, bring them a smile, or a peaceful moment.

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We are all creators. We all have this ability. Some turn out a beautiful story or verse; some produce a lovely photograph; some grow flowers; some, a meal; some make music; and still others make a child feel comforted and loved. We are all recyclers. We have work to do, but we are up to the challenge. Peace.

Modified Geometric Abstract (World Watercolor Month, 25/31)

Boy, working in watercolor every day this month has been quite a journey! I’m definitely enjoying it more than I thought I would, so it’s been a pleasant surprise. This is 5 3/4″ x 8 1/8″ on Arches 300 lb. cold-press watercolor paper:


This one began by painting clear water in random criss-crossing lines on the paper, and then dropping in M. Graham watercolors in Phthalo and Prussian Blue, Quin Gold, and Quin Rose, and allowing the colors to mingle and dance.    (The Quin Gold makes the most gorgeous greens when allowed to mingle with those blues.)   The (now) multi-colored lines looked cool, but they needed a focal point, which is where the red areas came in.   M. Graham Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Quin Violet came in to play here in addition to the other colors, and I finally added a touch of Winsor Orange (a nice, mid value transparent orange) per Hub’s advice (good call, I thought) to those areas at the end.  (Note to my fellow art supply fans:  Enjoy free shipping at Blick Art Materials with orders of $45 or more through midnight Central time on Tuesday 7/26.   Your purchases help support my site and a fledgling art business.   Thank you!)

I dry-brushed Liquitex gesso in here and there, then went back in with the original blues and a bit of M. Graham Viridian green to round out the background.   It still feels geometric to me, but more like the impressionistic version(?) compared to some of the other hard-line geometrics I’ve painted recently.     This is definitely more my style, although I’m looking forward to experimenting more with geometric and grid compositions.

I would love to know what, if anything, you see in this painting.    Sometimes, that is the best part:   hearing what you, the viewer, bring to the piece.    I thank you for stopping by and taking a look, and I hope you all have a peaceful and productive week!