DIY Watercolor Journal

0907 1

I watched this YouTube video from artist Cathy Johnson a few weeks ago. It explains how to quickly make your own no-sew, inexpensive, yet high-quality watercolor journal using a sheet of watercolor paper (but you could use any paper you like). I finally had a chance to go ahead and make it yesterday.   This top image is the “cover” of my new journal, which will give me 32 pieces of 5 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ watercolor paper for my art journaling delight! Can’t beat it for the price of about $4/sheet at Blick (for Arches 140# cold-press).

0907 2

I did this ^^ painting in my store-bought art journal (which isn’t “real” watercolor paper) the night before last as kind of a warm-up to the top one.   I kind of think this one is better, with more empty space and no water-soluble crayons in the background.   A little cleaner, I guess.   Hub likes the busier one best.   Which do you like better?   Or maybe you prefer neither one.   hehe.

Looking forward to doing some plein air paintings this fall…..really gotta get my tree painting on. If anyone can recommend any books/videos on painting watercolor trees, they’d be most appreciated.

Eek!   I almost forgot Draw A Bird Day is tomorrow!    Better get flapping on that…..Happy Labor Day Monday, and peace to all.

Floral in Fineliner

I was watching a demonstration of an artist doing a pen and watercolor of a gorgeous building. Instead of using a waterproof pen for the initial drawing, she used one of these.

0818 1

Many people buy these and use them simply as pens. Not I, said the fly. These are water-soluble, making for beautiful effects once water is applied.  In today’s post, I used the brown pen for my drawing and went back in with a bit of water.    On the rose, I added a touch of red from my travel palette to the flower and a bit of green to the leaves.   In the vase and flowers (sorry it’s crooked, I do all my art journal stuff on my lap in front of the TV), I added water only.   And I actually love it with no other color at all.   What do you think?

0818 2

For the flowers in yesterday’s post, I drew them in pen, went back with water to blur the lines a bit – then once the ink dries, it is apparently set. Went back in with watercolor paint on top. The underdrawing didn’t move.   Just gave a very cool effect to the flower as a whole.

Just wanted to share this with all of you, since these pens are a steal at Blick and elsewhere. Maybe it’s just me – but I love the effect it gives! Peace and happy Tuesday to all of you. Enjoy!

Water, water

Water and skies are what I’m working on.   Rolling waves are something I’d love to try, but I feel like I need a larger block of time to attempt it…..maybe this weekend.

4 1/4
4 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ Arches 140# CP

Anyway, I’m enjoying the journey! One thing I will say is that Arches 140-lb. cold pressed paper (I’ve not tried the 300 lb. yet) makes the road a LOT smoother and more manageable for this beginner.   I feel like “allowing” myself to paint on good paper really accelerated my progress to the point that it was well worth the cost.   (There are real bargains to be had at Blick.)    We’re worth it! (I’m thinking of that old L’oreal commercial….)  Colors brought to you by M. Graham:  quin rose, cad yellow, alizarin crimson, perm. green, phthalo blue; bit of wn rose madder

I also think that working without a fixed end result in mind really helps with watercolor. I’ve learned to expect happy accidents and twists in the road, instead of being surprised or put off by them.  I think that painting every day is helping my confidence so that when those twists and turns come, I have a better idea how to manage them.    I’ve also learned to really be happy with what the paint decides to do on its own (it’s often much better than whatever I had planned anyhow).    The best part is that I may love watercolor painting now, halfway through my July “challenge” month of painting every day, more than I ever did before.   A nice bonus.   And that’s the last of my pre-torn small pieces of paper!

What’s that Rod Stewart song from the early 90s?   I’m thinking of the line:  “Where the ocean meets the sky, I’ll be sailing….”   Happy Friday Eve, fair skies and refreshing cool breezes to all. Peace.