Hi friends! I hope you had a lovely holiday season and a happy start to 2023! Have you taken down your decorations yet? We put up two Christmas trees and finally packed up the second one today, but already I miss the warm, cozy glow of the lights and twinkle of the ornaments. The nativity set is still up and might stay around for a little while. It is adorned with white lights and greenery, and it makes me happy to see it.
Being gifted some new-to-me types of professional watercolor paper for Christmas, it was exciting to have had a little time to play with them and learn their different characteristics. What a difference the paper makes!
The first was handmade Shizen cold-pressed, 140-lb. watercolor paper. To me, this very absorbent paper seemed more like a rough-pressed paper rather than cold pressed, but WOW, the paint settled into all the nooks and crannies and made such impressive effects. Because of the bumpy textures, indentations, tooth, and the way the light refracts on this paper, the final colors were more muted and definitely could handle a few more layers; however, this paper certainly accentuates granulating paints. That said, this paper would be perfect for landscapes, furry animals, and paintings with looser effects.
The second was a smooth handmade, 140-lb. hot pressed paper by Paul Rubens, and it contains a subtle glitter effect; if you know me, you’ll understand how happy glitter makes me! The glitter is embedded in the paper and does not rub off at all. I don’t use hot-pressed paper too often as I find it less forgiving and more suited for highly detailed paintings, but again the effects of this ultra-smooth paper were stunning and the colors more vibrant while using fewer layers of paint. This would be a great paper for ink, pen, illustrations, abstracts, and colored pencil.
I think the flamingo looks better on the hot-pressed paper but am looking forward to working with both papers in the upcoming months. Did you discover any fun artsy supplies recently? Thanks for stopping by!
Hi, Friends! Can you believe that the holiday season is here already and 2023 is just around the corner?
Because I’ve never painted a portrait but wanted to use this on the front of our Christmas card, drawing and painting of the Holy Mother and Child began in August just in case I had to find a back-up idea. We saw this statue of Mary and Jesus at Castel Gandolfo‘s St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic Church when we visited Italy in 2015. I was taken by the detail and beauty this statue evoked but knew I wasn’t skilled enough to try it until this year, and even then, I reluctantly painted and put it away a few times while reflecting on how to do the best I could.
From our home to yours, may you have a very peaceful, joyful, and relaxed holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy New Year, and Happy all other occasions celebrated this time of year. May 2023 be kind to all of us! ❤
Finally, fall has arrived. The trees are showing brilliant colors, the air is crisp, and sweaters are needed.
It’s so chilly that this owl needs a mustache to stay warm – lol. This is a white-faced owl and is rather small compared to other owls. It’s not a good flyer but jumps around on the ground and on lower brush limbs in search of small prey. His eyes are so eerie, which makes him a great subject for Halloween.
Autumn is my favorite time of year with its vibrant colors, earthy scents, and cozy clothes. What’s your favorite season? Take care 💖
Because it’s July and we just celebrated the birthday of the USA, I painted a bald eagle, our national bird.
Did you know that three birds were voted upon for the USA’s official national symbol: an eagle, a dove, and a turkey? Although the eagle is a symbol of strength and courage, good old Ben Franklin felt it was a bird of “bad moral character” and that the turkey was a much more respectable bird and more “North American.” I would have voted for the dove, a symbol of peace, love, and freedom. I don’t like to talk politics, but somehow, at this point, maybe Ben Franklin’s choice might have been more appropriate, and the quizzical look on this eagle’s face seems to agree. 🙂
This portrait of a bossy blue jay was a pleasure to paint: so calming and meditative, which is the exact opposite of a blue jay’s personality!
While they are known to be bullies at the feeders, they also “jeer” a loud call in order to track their mates and to warn of impending threats. When that happens, all the birds fly off and take cover.
Hearing their urgent, incessant caws gets our attention, too, and we try to figure out what all the squawking is about. Usually it is a cat or large raptor getting too close for comfort. Blue jays truly are the town criers of the avian species!
When painting an animal, I usually take time to learn about them, hoping to feel more connected to the subject. Being the tallest mammal on Earth, a giraffe’s legs are taller than many humans—about 6 feet. Despite its length, a giraffe’s neck is still too short to reach the ground for a drink of water. As a result, the animal has to spread its front legs awkwardly or kneel to reach down!
A giraffe’s spots are much like human fingerprints and no two have exactly the same pattern. Most of these fun facts were new to me; did you know any of them? Thanks for stopping by!