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.

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!


World Turning (Reprise): World Watercolor Month 22/31

Ever since I made this painting earlier this month, I’ve wanted to revisit it in order to create a series.    My painting time lately has been very limited, so I thought I’d show a progress post for this one.   This is 5 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ on Arches 140-lb. cold press watercolor paper:


So far, this one was created in a very similar process to that described in the original “World Turning” post.   It started with a watercolor background in M. Graham Azo/Aureolin Yellow and Nickel Quinacridone Gold, and then once that dried, I went back in with some M. Graham Phthalo and Prussian blues in watercolor.    Added some Winsor and Newton Green Gold and some M. Graham Viridan in Acrylic Heavy body paint.

I really do like the M. Graham acrylics; they are creamy and very vibrant, much like their watercolor pigments, and less expensive than Golden.   However, Golden fluid acrylics (the paint is like silky heavy cream and very richly pigmented) are unique to Golden, as far as I know, and of all of the acrylics I’ve tried, their fluid paints are the ones that call me back time after time.   In my opinion, they are worth the money, because a little goes a very long way, there is a wonderful range of colors, and they can be watered down for watercolor effects, yet you retain the vibrant hues.

For this painting, though, as it is World Watercolor Month, I tried to make this a primarily watercolor piece, and the only acrylic in this at this stage is some Liquitex acrylic gesso and just that bit of Graham Viridian acrylic in the very dark green on the right-hand side of the first circle.   (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site, and a fledgling art business.   Enjoy Free Shipping on orders of $35 or more through midnight Pacific time tonight, plus additional percentage discounts on many items, and thank you!)

I do think this one calls for more depth, so I’m not calling it finished yet, but I’d love to hear your thoughts, and maybe sleeping on it is a good idea too.   Well, we made it to Friday!   Time to shake thy tailfeathers!   Can anyone believe August is almost here?!   I think World Watercolor Month is making it fly by even faster than normal!   Peace and a Happy Weekend to all!

Strawberry Fields Forever (World Watercolor Month 11/31)

This began with a pink cosmos cut from Hub’s garden. I did a basic watercolor sketch of it……and I just didn’t like it. Hence, another abstract painting was born! I think God is trying to tell me not to paint realistically anymore. 🙂    This is roughly 4″ by 4″ on Arches 140 lb. cold-press watercolor paper:


The initial watercolor sketch was done with a sweet little travel palette made by Winsor & Newton with Cotman half pan paints inside.    I then added some strokes of various Neocolor crayons by Caran d’Ache (which would probably be the art supply I would save first if there were ever a fire here, they’re just so darned vibrant, creamy and versatile), liquified them, and refined with a bit more pan watercolor paint, and some Liquitex Gesso.   My old friends, the Golden fluid acrylic paints (vibrant, luscious paint the consistency of heavy cream) rounded out the painting.   Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site and a fledgling art business.   Enjoy, and thank you!

Once again, this was quite a journey, and when it comes to abstract painting, I hope the journey never ends.   I think the biggest thing I’ve learned so far from the first third of the first annual World Watercolor Month is that I may be a realistic artist when drawing, but I’m an abstract painter.   And I’m loving it.   I hope you are, too.    Everybody should have a little “strawberry field where nothing is real” in their life.    Escape with art and recycle stress into strength!    Have a wonderfully productive and peaceful week.

Ripples (World Watercolor Month 10/31)

This was mostly done in watercolor with some help from Golden fluid acrylics and Liquitex Gesso. It’s roughly 5 x 8″ on 140 lb. Arches cold press watercolor paper.


One thing I really appreciate about painting in watercolor every day this month is that I know without a doubt that there will be no shortage of watercolor fails hoping to be turned into abstract paintings!    And I am happy to grant their wishes.    Would I have posted this without a monthly painting challenge? Doubtful. But it was a fun journey, and I’m learning a lot in the process, so it’s all good.   (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site and a fledgling artist.   Enjoy and thank you!)

Pensive thoughts while painting today. Our lives become so much more impactful when we consider the ripples we leave in our wake. Peaceful Sunday to all.

Times Square (World Watercolor Month 9/31)

This one began as an abstract floral, and wound up morphing into one of my grid compositions.   It’s a mix of M. Graham watercolors and Golden fluid acrylics, plus gesso.  It is approximately 5 x 8″ on 300 lb. Arches cold-press watercolor paper:


Because it’s World Watercolor Month, I began with a background wash of M. Graham watercolor paint (azo yellow, quinacridone gold, bit of yellow ochre).   After it dried, I went back in with Golden fluid acrylics (they’re the consistency of heavy cream, and oh, so vibrant; my favorite of all of the Golden paint formulations) and Caran d’Ache neocolor crayons.     And then several layers later, we have this!    I never know where these abstracts are going to go, and I’ve learned that making a plan ahead of time isn’t the way for me to work.     I may sleep on this one and see if I need to lighten some areas, but I like where it’s headed so far.

Happy Saturday evening to all.   May your skies be sunny, your breezes be warm and comforting, and your palette be full and welcoming.   Peace.

Trash to Treasure (World Watercolor Month #6/31)

Yay for watercolor and double yay for gesso.   And acrylics!   This is 5 x 8″ 140 lb. Arches cold-press:


Now that I’ve learned a few ways to recycle watercolor fails, I enjoy painting with watercolor more.    Throwing good paper away just doesn’t make me happy.   This began as a crazy attempt to do something in watercolor, not sure if I even remember what, but no matter.   Just add gesso, and it’s all gone!    I like the dry brush effect, especially with gesso, as it is so “white”.   This way, it adds texture while still covering up the painting behind it.

After covering the old,  it was back to my solid old friends, Golden fluid acrylics, to make things right again.    Quin Crimson, quin violet, Indian yellow hue, quin burnt orange, quin magenta, quinacridone nickel azo gold, burnt sienna, I just love these colors.   Particularly the quinacridones.   I love them in every medium!     And Kerfe.    Every time I work with a grid composition, or even think about grids, I think of you.     And you will too, when you check out that link!   (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links will help to support my site.   Enjoy, and thank you!)

Not sure if I should leave this one as is, or try and add more punch.   I may just stew on it awhile before deciding.   We’ve already made it to the middle of the week!   It’s all downhill from here.   Wishing you a colorful Wednesday.   Peace.

World Turning (World Watercolor Month, #2/31)

The beakers are bubbling over here! I was browsing YouTube and came across a video explaining how to do a gesso resist with watercolor.   I’ve never tried that!    And an idea for last night’s painting (finally!) was born.


As most of my abstracts are, this one was a journey. I started with a watercolor wash in Azo yellow (M. Graham). Once it was dry, I used a bunch of re-purposed vitamin and spice bottle lids to stamp Liquitex Gesso on my surface.  Then went back in with M. Graham Prussian blue and phthalo blue……and finally journeyed to Winsor and Newton green gold and M. Graham quinacridone gold. (When looking for a punch, always think quinacridone!) I couldn’t get Fleetwood Mac’s “World Turning” out of my head about halfway through – a journey all its own hehe.    I finished up by pushing back a bit of the dark blue and dark yellow areas with Golden Open Zinc White acrylic paint, as described in this post from last month.    (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links will help to support my site.   Thank you!)

I hope you enjoyed it.   Hopefully, I’ll be posting a painting in watercolor every day this month to celebrate World Watercolor Month, courtesy of Charlie at Doodlewash!  Peace and Happy Independence Day weekend to all! *insert fireworks emojis here*

Bluebird of Happiness in Inktense Watercolor Pencils (and 100 Face Challenge #67)!

In yesterday’s post, we took a look at Derwent’s Graphitint line of water soluble pencils, which is ideal for subjects in the natural world, because water-soluble graphite is included along with colored pigment in every pencil. Welcome to Inktense, Derwent’s vibrant line of water soluble ink in pencil form!    Thanks once again to Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd, for her lovely bluebird image that allowed me to sketch this beauty’s head closeup, using only three colors from the set!


I find watercolor pencils a quick, fun, and easily portable way to enjoy art anywhere.   Simply sketch your subject as you would with a pencil, liquefy with a brush, and you can be on your way in no time.    Pigment lifts much like watercolor, with a dry brush or a bit of paper towel.    The interesting thing about Inktense pencils is that they are made with water-soluble ink.   This means that once they are liquified and have dried, they are now permanent on your surface.   So if you’d like to layer on top of them with more Inktense or, for that matter, any other medium, the underlying layer will not move on you.   This is a nice bonus when you’re used to working with watercolor!

Inktense Tray One

For a better buy per pencil, the sets start at 6 to a pack and go all the way up to the full range of 72 pencils.   They are also available open stock, so if you’d like to try them without buying a whole set, browse my color charts for colors that look good to you and build your own set with singles!    The best per unit deal of all of the sets at Blick right now is the set of 24 for about $26.    The colors are very vibrant, so a little goes a long way!

Inktense Tray Two

These pencils work well with so many different kinds of subjects, and I find the ink in these is often more vibrant than watercolor paint.    They are also a lot of fun to use in mixed media work, art journaling, etc.   They also come in block form, and are ideal if you’d like to color fabric, or if you need to cover large areas quickly.   The blocks are also great for mixed media work, and come in roughly the same color range.   (There are a few small differences.)    Are we getting ready for World Watercolor Month?     I’m starting to get pretty excited!   I hope you are too!    I would love to encourage anyone and everyone to come and join us.   Remember, for less than $20, you can pick up a watercolor journal and a small watercolor palette box, which includes paint and a brush, and three mixing wells too!   It does not have to be expensive or complicated to have fun and to sketch in color.    Check out Monday’s post for details!    (Note:   As a Blick affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site.)

Can anyone smell a barbecue??   I can hear the band starting to warm up for a lovely Fourth of July weekend and weenie roast!    Who’s with me?   Peace and paint puddles to all!