August Artwork (Draw a Bird Day Roundup)

Better late than never, right? Life and work get in the way sometimes, but I wanted everyone to get a chance to see the amazing bird artwork so many talented bloggers posted in August for the Draw a Bird Day celebration!   A special thanks to Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd and all of our WordPress photographers for their beautiful work and reference images! In case you missed anyone’s post, here are the links to our participants’ bird celebrations from August:

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Michael of A Certain Line contributed whimsical mixed media artwork

Jill at Jill’s Art Journal contributed a brown-headed nuthatch in watercolor

Charlie at Doodlewash contributed a macaw in watercolor

Kerfe at Method Two Madness contributed a flicker in paint and collage

Jodi at Life in Between painted a pink flamingo in watercolor

Dawn at Brush of Dawn painted a crow in acrylics recently (I couldn’t find the artwork at your August link, Dawn, but love your crow too!)

Marcy Erb at Illustrated Poetry contributed some stork artwork

Cave Painter contributed a bald eagle in watercolor

Birgit Winter at Winter Art Blog painted a crow for us

Michelle Kogan painted a watercolor turkey

Carrie of Carrie Cordero Designs painted a tailorbird in watercolor

Jeanette Clawson at Lunanista contributed some mixed media swallows

Snehal Kank contributed a watercolor cardinal

Carolina at Yesterday After contributed a watercolor bluebird

0806 2Arsty Birdy of The Leaf Diary contributed a bird drawn in ink

Teri of Teri’s Sketch Journal painted in watercolor a very colorful painted bunting

Beverly of The Art Prescription contributed some crows in brush ink

Annie of Annie Draws Things contributed a sweet bee hummingbird in watercolor

Carol of Carol’s Creative Papers painted a pileated woodpecker in watercolor for us

Alison at East Witching contributed watercolor cardinal art and at this link, you can purchase a print if you like


I hope everyone enjoyed creating and viewing my talented friends’ creations this month! If you posted bird art in August, and do not see a link to your work here, then either I made a booboo, or I did not have a link to your work underneath my August 8 bird post in the comments section. Please add a link to your August Draw a Bird Day post in the comments here, though, and we’ll be sure to add you to the list!

I am taking a blogging break, although I hope to return soonish.    Are we all celebrating September and the advent of autumn’s flaming colors and cool breezes?    You know I am!   Peace and Happy Football Sunday to all!

Independence Day (World Watercolor Month, #4/31)

Happy Fourth of July to my friends in the States!   World Watercolor Month, in which I and a bunch of crazy artists paint in watercolor each day through July 31, continues!


This began as a pure and simple watercolor abstract using red, white and blue, the colors of the US flag. And then it became my interpretation of fireworks. Nope, not even tipsy. It just looks like I was!    🙂

I’m enjoying a long weekend with the holiday today, and I hope your Monday is looking cheery wherever you are rising and shining this morning. Peace.

Pear-Shaped (World Watercolor Month, #3/31)

Rolling along with the first annual World Watercolor Month!    I hope you all are enjoying the watercolor artwork here and elsewhere.    This is roughly 8 x 5″ on Arches 140 lb. cold-pressed paper:


I can’t seem to resist bringing an abstract aspect to my paintings, so here you have my abstract-ish pear, and I hope you enjoy.    I went into this monthly challenge a bit on the nervous side, as I had got used to the warm wading pool of acrylic work, where it is oh so easy to cover up mistakes.    Not as easy in watercolor, but I’m going with the flow so far.   I sketched this little pear from life, and it was actually leaning toward me on the table, as sometimes pears do, but looking at this again from a compositional standpoint, I kind of wish I had drawn him a bit flatter.   He definitely wasn’t standing on one tippy-toe, as he appears to be here.   hehe.

Some notes from my third painting of (hopefully) 31 this month:

  1. I really enjoyed the wet into wet aspects of this painting, both in the background and in the colors of the pear itself.   It’s why I fell in love with watercolor nearly two years ago now, and I love to be able to incorporate it into my work in a realistic sense.   When it works, which I think it did here, in the pear itself anyhow.
  2. I found out M. Graham permanent green and azo yellow combine to make that beautiful light green that I really love about this little painting.   Winsor red and Winsor orange helped me out in the base of the pear, along with a little M. Graham burnt sienna.   I believe Graham Prussian blue and phthalo blue played the background roles.
  3. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’m surprisingly enjoying this watercolor excursion so far.
  4. I painted my first pear last July (when I coincidentally did my own challenge to paint in watercolor every day that month) at this link – and this one is my second pear, lol.   I don’t usually paint food, or objects, as I prefer living things.    But a pear is the fruit of a living thing, so there you are.    I thought I would prefer this second pear, but not sure about that, after looking back!     Is the first one better?   Wait, don’t tell me.   🙂
  5. Good paper makes a huge difference in watercolor.   140 lb. paper buckles no matter how high the quality is, when you paint wet into wet, as I like to do.  Arches is still a really nice experience though.   But 300 lb. Arches paper is wonderful.   It is like painting on thick, velvety cardboard.   It is much easier to make a painting look good, especially as a beginner, with 300 lb. paper.     It is expensive, but it’s one of those things (like Golden acrylic paint) that is worth the extra money to me.    I want to thank Jodi for trying it and sharing her lovely results, because she is the reason I decided to try it for myself.    She is also the reason I abandoned Strathmore watercolor cards and went to Arches 140 lb.    Thank you, Jodi!   (Note:  As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site.   Enjoy, and thank you!)

Blick is offering free shipping on orders of $59 or more through midnight Central time on July 4!

I’m planning to sketch some of Hub’s flowers from life today.   So stay tuned for more watercolor happiness as we join Charlie for World Watercolor Month!   Enjoy your Sunday, and thanks for stopping by and sharing the love.   ❤

Aquabord Rinse and Redo #2: Bluebird in Watercolor (and 100 Face Challenge #68!)

I thought I would make another attempt at Kathy’s beautiful bluebird photo used in yesterday’s artwork done in Inktense watercolor pencils. This time, I used my full (mostly M. Graham) watercolor palette and a #2 round Isabey Kolinsky sable (this is a well-made, affordable line of sable brushes that I really enjoy.)    I began with a painting I had done previously and didn’t love, and was (happily!) able to rinse completely back to the white Aquabord surface. (As a watercolor beginner, I really love this very forgiving surface!)


I tried a few things with this painting that I’ve never tried before:

  1. I didn’t draw the bluebird on my surface first, just went right in with the paint, as I’ve worked with this reference photo recently.
  2. I began with a dry surface, which I have never tried yet with the Aquabord (and rarely try even on paper).
  3. As mentioned, I began by rinsing off a painting I’d created over a month ago, and was still able to rinse back to the original white (wasn’t sure if that would work after so much time had passed.)

Aquabord is a very forgiving surface, and after this experience, I think that every watercolorist should try it at least once.   Here’s why:

  1. I got a phone call in the middle of this painting.   If I had been working with paper, I wouldn’t have been able to take that call, because I would most likely have lost the ability to blend colors, would have had hard edges, etc.    With Aquabord, I had those problems, but they were easily corrected with a damp brush.
  2. If at any time, you’re unhappy with the results, just rinse off the painting.    Ampersand, the manufacturer, doesn’t recommend submerging the surface (because you risk warping the hardboard surface underneath).  They suggest taking a damp brush or rag (and damp Q-tips work great too) to lift off mistakes.   Personally, I have rinsed Aquabord under running water multiple times without a problem.   I was listening to a video on Artist’s Network TV recently (can’t remember the artist, sorry) and that artist does it as well!   I just use my thumb in gentle, circular motions under the running faucet, and in about five minutes, I am back to a clean, white surface.    Yes, even with staining pigments!   Not sure how you can beat that in the world of watercolor.
  3. You don’t have to even think about it buckling, warping, etc.   It will remain flat as a board (ha ha) no matter how much water you throw at it.
  4. For the artist working outdoors, here is a surface that won’t blow away, and doesn’t have to be stretched or taped down.
  5. For the artist on a budget, no more worries about wasting expensive watercolor paper when the results aren’t what you were aiming for.   All you have to do is rinse the surface, or correct it with a soft, damp Q-tip, paper towel, etc.   Very easily corrected, I might add.
  6. If I were a skilled painter, I think it would be much easier to get dynamite results with Aquabord vs. watercolor paper.

Those are my thoughts, and I would love to get your feedback about this surface!    (Note:   As a Blick affiliate, purchases from these links will help to support my site.)   World Watercolor Month starts tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it!   I hope you are too.    The July edition of Draw A Bird Day is Friday, July 8!  I hope you’ll join us!  Peace and puddles of paint to all!

Hey Peeps…..Draw a Bird Day May is on the Way! (58/100 Face Challenge)

It’s now been more than a year since our friend M. R. Emberson at A-Wing and A-Way let us know that there is an actual holiday for drawing birds (April 8). Many of us have been celebrating our wing-ed friends on the eighth of every month since.


Sunday, May 8 is only a week away, and we would love it if you joined us! Let’s keep WordPress flying! If you post a link to your May bird artwork either here or on my May 8 post, I’ll post a round-up with links to all of the participants’ work when the dust settles.

I want to thank my friends Kerfe and Nina at Method Two Madness for hosting Draw a Bird Day during my busy season. They did a wonderful job, and from them, I learned a few tips that will hopefully help me to manage this month’s wrap-up a little more smoothly.

I am joining my friend Margaret Parker Brown at Yuba Gold (and I think Debi Riley is hoping to join in too) in painting every day this month! You won’t want to miss the work those two ladies will be posting, that I can promise! I am still a baby artist and out of practice with watercolor, but I could not resist this amazing photo of a goldfinch my buddy Jodi at Life in Between shared recently.

Goldfinches are one of my very favorite birds, so full of sunshine, and so I just had to try a little painting on a sample piece of 3 x 4″ 300 lb. cold press Saunders Waterford watercolor paper kindly provided to me (for free!) by Dick Blick.    I was aiming for something I didn’t quite achieve, but I find that often is the case with watercolor, and I’m learning to be pleased with what the medium (AKA the watercolor gods) is up to at that particular moment.

A few other things I learned:

  1.   Having less time can sometimes work in my favor, at least with watercolor (this really helped with a bluebird I painted recently)
  2.   Cadmium yellow and dioxazine violet do not make the strong black I was hoping for (thus, neutral tint to the rescue, thanks Charlie)
  3.   I’m not sure if I’m a gouache girl (forgot to save the whites and used my zinc white gouache for the first time this go-round)
  4.   It is what it is, and “it” will get better if you just keep pressing forward and showing up!

My goals for this month include becoming more familiar with acrylics, experimenting with all kinds of different surfaces, expanding my color palette, particularly with my abstract work, and getting used to waking up very early to an alarm clock so that I can keep painting every day this month (just keeping it real)!   I’ve also set a goal to get back to a daily yoga practice and incorporate aerobic exercise into my life again.   After sitting in front of a desk for lo, those many hours during busy season (and yes, cheating with chocolate bars), I need to lose a few pounds and stop creaking so much when I move (only slightly kidding).   Wish me luck on all of these goals, and pray ’em if you got ’em!

I do hope that you are enjoying your Sunday, and that you get time to play with your art supplies (or whatever thrills you the most) today.   Shake a tailfeather or two, it’ll do your body good.  Peace.

Draw a Bird Day February (#41): 100 Face Challenge

Happy Draw a Bird Day! Jill of Jill’s Art Journal inspired me to make this when she remarked on my recent whimsical circles painting that it made her think of peacock feathers. Great idea, Jill!   Gave me an excuse to break out those Neocolor II pastels once again.   (Like I need an excuse!)


I decided to draw this in ink with a very fine Copic 0.1mm pen and then highlight the circular feathers and the eye only in color. Hope you enjoy.

Have a terrific week!  Please visit Kerfe and Nina over at Method Two Madness for more bird art, and a compilation with links to all of the artwork in a few days! Peace.

Circling Back Around

Tried the painted circles technique again with Neocolor II crayons in a little journal I made a few months back from a sheet of Arches 140# cold-pressed watercolor paper. Added a bit of black acrylic paint, and then after it dried overnight, went back in with some Polychromos colored pencil here and there. Really enjoyed it!

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This makes me think of eyes, which I’ve become particularly attracted to since starting my 100 Faces Challenge this year. People who enjoy this technique have made pages and pages of them…..and I start to see why! I could’ve gone on and on. I’ve got some more ideas to try with this technique, too.   Stay tuned for more wacky wildness!   And thanks for stopping by and joining in the fun.  What a great way to multiply the arty goodness!

Happy Almost Friday, world! Peace and happy, beautiful colors to you!

The Perfect Couple (#37 & #38): 100 Face Challenge

This post from Robin at Robin’s Robins really caught my eye a couple of weeks ago, and I finally found a moment to quickly sketch this pair of mallards.  Aren’t they sweet?


This was done in 2B graphite with a touch of Derwent Graphitint pencil added.   I’m finding I like those Graphitint pencils as much to simply draw with as when they are activated with water.   (They are basically water-soluble graphite pencil with a touch of color in each.)   The tones are muted, so they’re particularly suited to nature and landscape work.    Do check out Robin’s blog.   He takes lots of wonderful bird photos, and I think you’ll really enjoy them!

I don’t have as much time for blogging as busy season cranks up, so if I’m not in here daily posting, I didn’t disappear, and won’t be away for long.   Take care and enjoy your Wednesday.   Quacks and peace to you.

Painted Circles (and MM scraps)

I was experimenting with a technique I found on YouTube called painted circles.  I wasn’t overly thrilled with it, but I do think it has promise for another time.   When I was finished, I glued it into my humble Canson sketchbook and called it a night.


This is the result.   It’s acrylic paint, Neocolor II crayons, a torn book page (I hate to tear books, but this one was reallllly bad, so it was actually gratifying)….and that’s about it.    There’s some scraps from the painting I just cut up in there too. I’ve been in a “play with color” place lately, but I’ll be picking up my faces challenge again soon!

Enjoy your Tuesday. I hope you find time to play today. It’s good for you. Peace.