Watercolor on Aquabord, Take Three: May Madness Day 19

Playing with blues and greens and puddles of water on another 4 x 4″ Aquabord by Ampersand. I’m finding this surface lots of fun for abstract work, and wondering how it would be if I wanted to paint realistically in watercolor. Has anyone tried it for that?   I don’t mind staying in abstract mode one bit, though, having loads of fun with it!    This kind of reminds me of a tree, I’d love to know if it makes you think of anything in particular.   I may go over it, give it a bit more zing!   Maybe even in acrylic, haven’t decided yet.


Not sure if anyone noticed there is a new button on my site.    After mulling this over for many months, I’ve decided to become a Blick Art Materials affiliate.   I’ve been singing their praises for almost a year and a half, and none of that is going to change, so I figured why not?   If you find my art supply experiments helpful, and you’d like to support my site (and please, only if you’re planning to buy art supplies anyway), consider clicking the button on my sidebar to the right, and ordering from Dick Blick.   A small percentage of your purchase goes to support what I’m doing here.

Here’s why I’ve dealt with them almost exclusively since becoming an art addict almost two years ago:

  1.   Their prices are usually the lowest, and if on some item they aren’t, they will price match any major supplier.   Simply put a link to the better deal in the delivery instructions box when ordering online, and you’ll get it.
  2.  They have a “no questions asked” return policy.    I have placed many (maybe too many hehe) orders, and I’ve returned things that I don’t like.   It doesn’t have to be defective.   It doesn’t have to be unopened.   And you don’t have to explain why.    They just credit your payment method, and you are done.    This is why I’m so adventurous with supplies.   What have I got to lose?   If I don’t like the paper, the brush, paint, whatever it is……I just send it back.    Defective items?   Doesn’t happen often, but when it does, they get a replacement out to you right away.
  3.  When you call them, you will speak to someone in the US.   I love people of all nationalities, races, etc., but when I need to get information to make a buying decision, or I have a problem with something I’ve ordered, I really prefer speaking to someone for whom English is their first language.   It saves me time.     So many companies are shipping jobs overseas, and I vote with my dollar, or at least that’s how I see it.   So I really love to patronize companies who hire people here.   It makes me feel good.
  4. I’m still new to art.   I’ve learned a lot, but there’s a ton more I don’t know.   Any question at all, not sure what to buy?   All you have to do is call 800.933.2542 and you will talk to a Blick product specialist (artist) who can help you out.    They’re very knowledgeable and extremely helpful.   And they send free samples!   What’s not to like?!
  5. Friendly, courteous customer service.   Always.   I have never had a problem with anyone at Blick, ever.   Very efficient, and great attitudes.    (Can you imagine working for an art supply place?   I’d probably be bankrupt, but I’d be happy, lol!)

I could go on and on, but I’ve taken up enough of your time.   I do love them, I’ve dealt with them long enough to know that I always will, and I’m proud to advertise for them.   I would do it for free, actually.   And that’s all I have to say about that.   🙂

Well, it’s Friday Eve and I hope we are getting ready to dance!    Let’s keep those brushes armed and flinging!   Peace.

Draw a Bird Day May: Bird Art Roundup (and Face Challenge #59-61)!

DABD May JayI want to thank Michael at A-Wing and A-Way for telling us in April 2015 about the holiday for drawing birds, which falls each year on April 8!    Some of us like to celebrate our fair and feathered friends each month on the 8th by posting our bird art on our blogs and encouraging each other in our work.   It’s fun, and we hope you’ll join us next month!

Here is a round up of our May participants:

Moon in Capricorn at Artistcoveries contributed her lovely colored pencil work of a snowy white egret

Jodi at Life in Between posted a joyful watercolor of a goldfinch after taking her own photo, which she used for inspiration

Charlie at Doodlewash wins the prize for most creative post this month with this watercolor of chicken drumsticks (and they look scrumptious!)

Sharon at Monday Tuesday Wednesday painted a Say’s Phoebe that was a new sighting for her, and illustrated it also as part of a lovely watercolor painting

Deborah at Circadian Reflections painted a delicate Anna’s hummingbird in watercolor

Michelle at Michelle Kogan Illustration painted a lovely Cotorra volando

Judith at Curious to the Max posted her whimsical “Irritated Birds” in mixed media with a haiku

Kerfe posted an incredibly intricate stitched parakeet while her blogging partner, Nina, posted a sweet painting of a turkey

Jill at Jill’s Art Journal posted an amazing piece of collage art of a woodpecker

Cavepainter of Too Much White Paper contributed a wonderful killdeer painting in acrylic

Corinne at Corinnebekker contributed a lovely mixed media bird painting

Beverly at The Art Prescription also added a sweet mixed media bird, a blue-gray gnatcatcher to the mix

Stephen J. Quirke contributed his watercolor painting of a guinea-fowl feather as one of a collection of daily paintings he is creating this year

Susan of Susan Feniak’s Art added a wonderful mixed media painting of some chickadees at a feeder

Myriam at Myr’s Bites contributed a lovely bird illustration, also in mixed media

Snehal Kank posted a gorgeous watercolor cardinal surrounded by flowers, inspired by Kathy’s photo at Backyard Bird Nerd

A round of applause, please, for all of our participants this month!   I hope you all enjoyed them.   If you posted bird art and do not see a link to your work here, then I did not have a link to you or your work underneath my May 8 bird post in the comments section.   Please add a link in the comments here, though, and we’ll add you to the flock!

I’m going to take some artistic license and add a few other links as well:

Lance Weisser at Weisser Watercolours posted this junco a few days before the 8th this month – and please check out his site for more adorable bird miniatures in watercolor.

Cynthia at Sand Salt Moon painted her neighbor’s chicken in acrylic paint a few days prior as well

J. M. Landin of Red Newt Gallery created an amazing picture of a young gosling at a recent carbon dust workshop, and you’ll find that artwork here

DABD May grumpy bluebird babyKathy at Backyard Bird Nerd posted the sweetest collection of photos of a bluebird family from her yard and I couldn’t resist these photos.   I stayed up much too late sketching them, and wanted to include a couple quick sketches of my own (apologizing in advance that I do not erase while drawing, as practice for working in pen, so they’re far from perfect).   Please check out her blog if you love birds as we do; her skills are top-notch and her commentary is always amusing!    I also want to thank Kathy for the terrific photo of the “too cute” blue jay with personality plus that I couldn’t resist drawing that appears at the top of this post.

If you’re interested in waterbirds, Donna’s site at Bay Photos by Donna is always a wonderful place to visit.   You’ll find birds of all kinds, but if you’re interested in waterbirds, you’ll find tons of them in her prior posts, and more variety in the upcoming months, as she begins her new life as a roving wanderer!  😀

robins robins finchRobin at Robin’s Robins is always posting delightful photos of birds, and I tried a recent photo of a house finch from this link.   (I’ve been drawing birds like crazy recently!)


I want to thank my very talented artist and photographer friends for helping WordPress fly once again in May, and stay tuned for June 8, when we will open all the cages and let the birds fly free once more! Peace.

All We Need is Love (and Art!): May Madness Day 12

Our daughter surprised us on Mother’s Day with a visit! Since love was especially on my mind that day, this painting somehow bubbled up. It was my first experiment using Ampersand Aquabord as a surface.

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Aquabord is supposed to be good for any type of water media, particularly watercolor. You can easily scrape back to the surface, or rinse off the painting under the sink to get (most of) the white surface back. (I rinsed many times, hehe.) I’m not sold on the surface, but I guess it wasn’t bad for a first try, huh? Was fun to try this surface with acrylics.

The end of the week is waving a hand at us, ushering us in to the weekend! I hope everyone enjoys a lovely spring (or fall) day today. Peace.

Autumn View: May Madness Day 11

What I’m loving about acrylic painting is that you can completely wreck something in every way: colors don’t jive, composition is all over the place and the texture products you tried so that a certain effect would happen sort of … didn’t. And yet! The surface has a new life, thanks to the power of covering it up and starting again!   This was painted on a 6×6″ piece of acrylic canvas paper.


Do my trees in every medium I’ve tried need lots of work? Sure. But in this case, its past life, and all of that texture and depth underneath this painting actually helped it seem like more of a completed work.   Perfect background?   Far from it.    But hey, it was resurrected from the trash!   So I am saying yay today, even though my trees still wanna leaf.

And so art, once again, is a metaphor for life:    We may have layers that aren’t perfect, or even pretty, but the lessons learned add layers of depth, understanding, warmth and compassion, making us more beautiful, even as the years go by.   I hope your Wednesday is wonderful and that you and your trees are dancing like they mean it! Peace.

Fresh Energy: May Madness Day 10

I went to the surface (5 x 7″ canvas panel) with a dilemma on my mind last night, and some luminous Golden acrylic paint on my brush.


I find art to be tremendously powerful from a therapeutic standpoint when I can begin with something less than great on my mind, add a color, swish, rinse, repeat…and transform those feelings into something I will be able to smile at in the morning.   You know?    For some, it may be baking a fresh loaf of bread, or cutting up fabric to sew into a quilt, or taking a walk with that camera, whatever it is.

When we create, we transform.    It’s a powerful thing. This may not be a finished painting, and it may not hang on a gallery wall, but it was my partner through that mind ramble. I’m finding many of my abstract paintings are like this, almost like visual journals, taking me right back to whatever I was thinking about, celebrating, learning, watching, doing at the time that work came to life.

I hope your Tuesday brings a fresh burst of transformative energy your way, like a fresh spring breeze at 72 degrees.   Peace.

Yellow Bird of Happiness Returns! May Madness Day 8

Happy Mother’s Day!   Happy Draw a Bird Day!    Some of us like to take the annual Draw A Bird Day celebration, brought to our attention here on WordPress by Michael Emberson of A-Wing and A-Way just over a year ago, and make it a monthly event.   We help WordPress fly on the 8th of each month by posting our bird art, and by encouraging each other’s progress in drawing and painting birds.     A special thanks to all my artist buddies who joined in today!    This little painting is on a 6 x 6″ (notice I’ve graduated from 5 x 5″, yippee!) Gessobord panel.


I will post a round-up of all of the bird artwork in a few days, so if you would like your work to be included, please leave a comment with a link to your post below.     I want to thank Kerfe & Nina over at Method Two Madness for graciously hoisting the Draw a Bird Day banner for the last several months while work clipped my wings for awhile.

I’ve returned with the Yellow Bird of Happiness!   You may remember this little guy from back in September.   (I’m slowly working my way toward some type of realistic acrylic painting, hehe.)   I really enjoyed playing with Golden quinacridone magenta, hansa yellow (medium and light) and transparent pyrrole orange, and a few Caran d’Ache neocolor II crayons helped me out with this little birdie as well.

It’s not always easy to make time to create a painting each day, but I relish the opportunity to sit down and bring something to life.    There’s something special about that!  I’m learning a lot, and having fun.   I hope you are too, and I hope all of the moms out there have a fabulous Mother’s Day today!     Hug your little chicks today, everyone!

Peace: May Madness Day 7

This was a wonderful escape painting to sit down and create at the end of the work week.    It is acrylic (mostly M. Graham, with Golden too) on 4 x 6″ stretched cotton canvas.   Painting every day in May is a challenge, and a fantastic learning experience.    I am enjoying it.    I hope you are too.


I hope this picture carries peace into your spirit today.    And I wish for all of the moms, of both four-legged and two-legged babies, past and present, to have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend.

Abstract Acrylic, Take Two!

I decided to experiment with a grid composition, molding paste and Liquitex Basics acrylic paints.    This was done to cover up a Bombay ink experiment gone wrong in the watercolor journal I made last summer.     I just love how molding paste changes the picture so fast!


Having lots of fun with this! Loving that metallic gold. Chris Cozen’s classes on Artist Network TV are so informative and inspirational!    She knows just about everything you’d ever want to know about most any product Golden makes, having been a Golden Working Artist, and now Educator, for many years.   Here is a link to her author page on Amazon, if you’re interested in checking our her work.    She’s truly a gifted teacher.  Bonus!

It is wonderful and warm here and I hope you’re enjoying the season where you are today. Peace.

Happy Draw a Bird Day (March): Wood Stork (#55/100 Face Challenge)

Happy March reprise of Draw A Bird Day!  Time for art is running short these days, but I was recently inspired by a photo of a wood stork by Donna at Bay Photos by Donna and had to try a quick sketch in Neocolors after work last night.   Thanks again for the inspiration, Donna!   I also want to thank Kerfe and Nina at Method Two Madness for hosting DABD once again this month.


I hope everyone is enjoying an early spring with warm breezes and the promise of tulips just around the corner.   Peace.