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!

Watercolor Doodle (World Watercolor Month, 21/31)

I don’t think this one is finished yet, but I like how it looks so far. I keep wanting to see the word “fly” in here, and so I’m thinking I may add those letters in the light blue areas.    This is roughly 5 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ on Arches 140-lb. cold-press paper:


I used only two colors on this one:   M. Graham Phthalo Blue and Aureolin/Azo Yellow.    I have fallen deeply in love with Phthalo and Prussian Blue!    As wonderful as Ultramarine Blue is with the granulation and the wonderful darks that can be made with it, I’m loving even brighter and deeper blues right now.    And I just love watching Phthalo Blue move around in water on the page.    Does anyone else like watching these colors run around in water, or is it just me?      (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site, and a fledgling art business.   Enjoy free shipping on orders of $35 or more through this Friday, and thank you!)

I hope everyone can smell the weekend round about now.   🙂    Peace.

Awash in Geometric Watercolor! (World Watercolor Month, 20/31)

OK, so Charlie may have something with this “paint every day” thing. I’m definitely getting more out of it this go-round than my first time trying this last July (pure coincidence, I was doing a solo watercolor challenge after finally buying some good paper.   It was almost like starting from scratch, as I’d been compensating for the other paper without realizing it).  This is 5 3/4 x 5 1/8″ on Arches 140 lb. cold-press watercolor paper:


I am starting to gain confidence with watercolor now, and these daily paintings are really helping. Limiting my palette to two or three colors (M. Graham watercolors in Phthalo Blue, Aureolin/Azo Yellow, and a bit of Winsor and Newton Green Gold), getting a section of the paper damp and then dropping in pigment and watching what happens, playing with the washes (tipping the paper this way and that, adding water here, adding pigment there) as they dry… can learn an awful lot just by doing that!   And it actually becomes fun to watch paint dry, because it’s fun to see how you can steer the colors; it becomes more and more for me, an intentional process, rather than just a happy-accidentally-pleasing watercolor painting.   (It doesn’t take long to dry either, in the July heat.   Bonus!)  (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site.   Enjoy free shipping for orders of $35 or more through this Friday, and thank you!)

Not to say you don’t get happy accidents, because you totally do, and I think with watercolor, you always will, which is why everyone loves it.    But I find as I become more familiar with the paper, the pigments, the brushes, the effects I’m getting become more intentional, I’m learning when to wait and when to steer/fiddle a bit, and overall it’s just lots and lots of fun.

A few notes:

  1.  Quinacridone and Phthalo colors really move.   They are so much fun to drop into damp paper.    It’s almost like watching a scifi flick!
  2.  A barely damp acrylic brush is a great way to get rid of hard lines that form where you don’t want them.    (I use a Princeton Umbria flat, just love it for acrylic painting too)
  3.  Best not to plan too far in advance, I’m finding.   I begin with a couple of shapes and then try to respond to what I’m seeing in the painting so that I can try and build a pleasing composition, and a nice size/shape balance.    A sure way to wreck one of these is to plan the whole thing out.   Watercolor is unpredictable enough that I do not want to squash it.    Just need to let the genie out of the bottle, let it breathe, and learn to take a breath and just wait.    And see what happens.

Hmm…..I’m already wondering what the month of August will bring.   Will I run back to acrylics?   Will I stay with geometric abstracts?   Have I fallen back in love with watercolor?   Have we all fallen into an episode of “The Young and the Restless”?!   I hope you’ll stick around and find out.    I have no clue where this train is going.   Choooooo choooooooooooooooooooo.    Peace.

Geometric Abstract: Purple, Pink and Blue (World Watercolor Month, 19/31)

Last year, I became entranced by Kerfe’s 100 Grids Project at Method Two Madness.   Please check her project out if you haven’t seen it – they’re the most beautiful grids I’ve ever seen.    Nina and Kerfe are good friends, and post their artwork (and even musical performances!) on their blog.  Her grid project led me to embrace the idea of geometric artwork.   Coincidentally, I’ve been doing informal color studies lately, particularly with M. Graham’s Ultramarine and Prussian blues, combining the colors wet in wet, and letting them mingle together on the page as they dry.

Then I started thinking about composing a *gasp* planned, geometric watercolor painting that embraces all kinds of lines and shapes.  I started with a small color study using only M. Graham’s Ultramarine Blue and Quinacridone Rose watercolors.  The above piece is 5 3/4″ by 3 1/2″ on Arches 140 lb. cold-press watercolor paper.  It was interesting and fun, and I learned a few things from this exercise.   Mostly, I surprised myself by enjoying the precision of it.   So I decided to do another, a bit larger adding one more color, M. Graham’s Quinacridone Violet, another favorite, to the mix.   This is 5 1/8″ x 5 3/4″ on Arches 140 lb. cold-press watercolor paper:


I was much more pleased with this one, and now I may take Margaret’s advice (and Hub agrees, too) and go larger.   I’ll be working my way to larger paper as I learn how to compose paintings with a ruler, which is a new one on me!    Mainly, just learning more about how various pigments behave, how they mingle on the page together, and most importantly, how to get various effects in and with my paint and brushes.   Hopefully the paintings will become a bit more exciting as I go!

I also want to let my fellow art supply addicts know that Dick Blick Art Materials is offering free shipping on orders of $35 or more through Friday of this week!   (Yes, I’m a compensated affiliate, but friends don’t let friends pay shipping and handling, even if it is under $5 an order.)

I want to thank you all for your encouragement and friendship as I find my path, more and more, as an abstract painter who also loves to draw realistically.   It’s kind of weird with one foot in each ballpark, but it’s kinda the story of my life, so why should art be any different?!    I’m still feeling like a kid at an amusement park every time I pick up a paintbrush.    I hope you find time today to do something that gives you the same feeling.    Happy Tuesday, and May the Pigments be With You.   Peace.

Abstract Freedom (World Watercolor Month 18/31)

When I create abstract art, I think of it as a creative way of expressing my emotions. It is a therapeutic approach to recycling the images, events, sights and sounds of this world into something (hopefully) beautiful.


It is not always easy, but can be meditative and relaxing. With the brutal violence that we hear about almost daily in the news today, it is a means by which the artist can free her mind and experience reality on a different plane. If you have two or three colors that you enjoy, and some strong emotions that need to be expressed, I encourage you to try sitting down with some paper, canvas, or other surface, and color your way to freedom.  What have you got to lose?    (The art police won’t come get you; I’ve got them detained over at my place.)

Who knows?  You just might discover a means of expression you’ve been craving for quite some time.   Have a productive week, and enjoy yourself today. Peace.

Draw a Bird Day July Artwork Assembly (World Watercolor Month 17/31)

I’d like to recognize and thank our July Draw a Bird Day artists, who posted their lovely bird artwork for our monthly celebration on the eighth!   I would also like to thank Philip Schwarz of Philip Schwarz photography for the wonderful bluebird reference image for my graphite drawing.  I hope you all enjoy the bird art this month!

071716 2Jodi at Life in Between contributed a watercolor hummingbird

Carrie Lynn contributed a watercolor flamingo and a watercolor toucan too (a new contributor, please check out her site; she’s rocking World WC Month!)

Henis Happy Paintings contributed a crow in the moonlight in acrylics (another new contributor!)

Annie of Annie Draws Things also joined us for the first time, and here is her orange watercolor canary

Sissh of Sissh Art Journal, another first-time contributor, posted her watercolor birds in an illustrative style

Rebecca at Rebecca Evans Create contributed her hummingbird hawk moth in a “brusho” she invented herself and shared her recipe(!)

Sharon at Monday Tuesday Wednesday contributed a rainbow toucan in watercolor

Dawn at Brush of Dawn Oil Paintings contributed an oil painting of one of her hens

Ann Christina contributed a watercolor hummingbird based on one of Kathy’s wonderful photographs at Backyard Bird Nerd

Tequihby at One Stumble at a Time contributed a watercolor toucan as well (popular bird this month!)

Snehal Kank contributed a house finch in watercolor

Judith at Artistcoveries contributed an imaginary bird, also in watercolor

Deborah at Circadian Reflections contributed a lazuli bunting in watercolor

Carol at Carol’s Creative Papers contributed a seagull in watercolor

Kerfe at Method Two Madness contributed her paintings of her local crow in ink and her blogging partner Nina contributed a watercolor owl

Jill of Jill’s Art Journal contributed her watercolor sketch of a common redpoll

Carolina of Yesterday After also contributed a watercolor hummingbird, another popular bird this month, when we see them often at our feeders

Charlie of Doodlewash, also known as the Grand Master of World Watercolor Month(!), which we are all having so much fun with, contributed his watercolor of a kingfisher

Beverly at Art Prescription contributed her folk art birds

Myriam at Myr’s Bites contributed her watercolor bearded reedling

and Susan of Susan Feniak’s Art contributed a mama and baby grebe in watercolor this month – are you starting to see a watercolor theme this month?! Many of us are enjoying Charlie’s World Watercolor Month challenge.   I hope you’ll join us, if you’ve not already; it’s going on all month!

I’d like to close with my entry for World Watercolor Month today, an abstract bird in watercolor.  

Happy Sunday, and please make time to fill up your peace tank.    The world could use a lot more of it!


What the World Needs Now… (World Watercolor Month, 16/31)

….is Love, sweet Love!


If you have unrest in your heart or your mind, please…..pick up a pencil, a paintbrush, a camera, a guitar, create a space for joy and peace in yourself. I ask you. Take care of your self and your health, physical, mental, etc.   Find time to CREATE (everyone has 5 or 10 minutes a day, come on), and make the world a better place.    The world NEEDS what you create.   I promise you, you won’t regret it.

This painting brought to you by: Gesso resist, joy, M. Graham watercolors, peace, Golden fine pumice gel (a new favorite – more experiments to come), happiness, a 1/2″ Princeton umbria flat brush, freedom, and 140# Arches cold press. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at watercolor, here’s how to get started for under $20.    (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site and a fledgling small business.)

Honestly, people, get some freedom.    Allow yourself to play with color and water; what better time than summer is there for this?   This world needs joy and art times a thousand. We’re all counting on you!    Let’s make some peace.

Mama Said, Mama Said (World Watercolor Month 15/31)

That song is stuck in my head from working at this, really trying to make this painting “become” what it wants to be.    The lines of communication just weren’t there, and I couldn’t hear what it was trying to tell me.   All I could hear is that song “Mama said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this, mama said….”  This is 5 x 8″ 300# Arches cold-press.   The good news is, this has turned from a watercolor painting (yeah, it’s underneath, somewhere) to an acrylic painting, and with acrylics, it is never over.   Amen, brother Ben, and please pass the sauce!


Every painting is a journey. Some journeys never get there, and we just have to turn the page, and know that the sun will rise tomorrow!

What I learned:

1. I truly love Quinacridone Burnt Orange.
2. I love texture products. OK, I already knew that.
3. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from this link helps to support my site, and a fledgling art business.  Enjoy, and many thanks.

This weekend, I’ll be posting my round-up from the fabulous bird art we saw on July 8, when we last celebrated Draw A Bird Day.   Peace and happy WEEKEND to all!

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Ink and Watercolor (World Watercolor Month 14/31)

Another experiment from the mad scientist!   (You’ve come to expect them at this point, right?)  This time with permanent, transparent acrylic ink and watercolor. This is 5 1/2″ x 8 1/4″ Arches 300 lb. cold-press watercolor paper:


I recently met an artist named Andrew Seal of The Changing Palette blog through Debi Riley, an inspirational artist, teacher and all-around wonderful human being here on WP.   Debi recommended a watercolor book titled “Painting Landscapes from your Imagination” by Tony Smibert, and Andrew has been completing and posting exercises from the book, including quotes and examples.   Needless to say, he sold me on it, and I recently received a secondhand copy in the mail.    I have only just begun to read it, but I thought: Why not try a landscape from my imagination today?   And so I did.

I began by laying in a quick sky working wet-in-wet with a mixture of M. Graham phthalo blue (mostly) and ultramarine blue.   I went back in with some watered down purple Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay ink, which I mixed from Magenta and Blue (there is a purple bottle in the set, but I wanted to mix my own for this).   Coming forward with darker and warmer tones, I laid in the other mountains in my mind’s eye.  Wherever you see purple here, including the reddish-purple on the tops of the mountains in the foreground, that is the purple ink.   I really like the granulation produced by this ink.  It was so easy to drop into the damp paper for the vibrancy of acrylic paint, with only one wash.    All of the inks in this set are transparent, lightfast, permanent, and non-toxic, a pretty nice combination in my book.   (I have Set 1; there are three sets of 12 bottles each available at Blick.)

This ink is very highly pigmented, and so I found it helpful to use disposable Glad mini food storage containers to water down the ink at times.   (This comes with the added bonus of being able to put the lid on when I’m finished for the day, so I can keep it from drying out.)    I was experimenting to see how the ink mingled with the watercolor paint, and found they played together well.    As I’ve said, the ink is permanent when dry, which can be really useful when building up layers, or if you don’t want to worry about your background blooming or moving on you, for example.   Plus, it gives me the really bold acrylic colors I have been missing at times while painting in watercolor this month.   (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links will support my site and a fledgling art business.   Enjoy and thank you!)

Things I noticed today:

  1.  I used a flat brush for this entire painting – an acrylic brush, actually, made by Princeton.   I usually use a round brush when painting in watercolor, but I was really pleased with the effects I got from this 1/2″ flat.    I need to work with a flat brush more often in watercolor.
  2. Phthalo blue makes a really wonderful sky when watered down a bit and mixed with just a touch of ultramarine.
  3. I am growing to love Arches 300 lb. paper more and more, the more I use it.   It is luscious and forgiving, which is helpful for this beginner!
  4. I think I am going to really love that Smibert book by the looks of things; thanks much to Andrew and Debi!    I’m looking forward to incorporating acrylic texture products into some future “imaginary” landscapes.   Tony explains everything you need to know, with a bit of Zen, and without lots of flowery language.   I think I’m going to enjoy reading this book quite a lot.
  5. Now that we’re just about at the halfway point, I find I’m getting into the swing of painting daily.   My body is learning how to get up at 5:30, or thereabouts, on its own, which helps!   This, oddly, seems to give me more energy in the day.   I’ve also added yoga before breakfast, which is definitely helping with the energy bit.
  6. Maybe watercolor isn’t so bad……..I think going in with a playful attitude is key; thanks to Margaret, Jodi, Jill, and others who have been coaching me up!   I start to wonder will I leap back to acrylics in August, or stay with Watercolor awhile and see what surprises may be in store?    Stay tuned to find out.   I have no idea where this train is going!   Which is part of the fun.

So now that I’ve written my first novel, I’ll say hasta manana for now.    Peace and Happy Almost Friday to you!