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! ❤
Hi Friends! Recently, my husband and I were at a restaurant that used paper coasters beneath our beverages, but the coasters were plain white rather than printed with the restaurant’s logo and inspired me to create ornaments!
Because watercolor doesn’t work well on plain paper, I painted the coasters with watercolor grounds, which coat the paper so that water won’t sink in, and the paint flows easier. My watercolor friend, Viv, hosted a December challenge, which I painted on the coasters rather than in a sketchbook or on the usual watercolor paper (and the challenge included a Partridge in a Pear Tree and Two Turtle Doves). I was really happy with the results and decided to paint on both sides of the coasters since Christmas tree ornaments tend to hang wonky and spin around to the back. A few embellishments on the top hid the ribbon hole, and some Tim Holtz Distress Glaze sealed the paintings. These were delightful subjects to make even though I generally don’t paint so small with so much detail.
Hope you are enjoying your holiday preparations for Christmas, Hannukah, or whatever holiday you celebrate, and please stay well. ❤
This month I painted two birds – the American Robin and the European Robin, which, strangely enough, aren’t genetically related but are grouped together because of similar coloring. I’ve painted each of these birds previously, back in 2016 and 2018, and it was interesting to compare my watercolor skills from then to now.
Because the story is so timely, I am again sharing the legend of how the robin came by its beautiful coloring. The legend states that on the night Jesus was born, a robin heard Mary’s plea to keep their dying fire from burning out. This robin fanned the fire with its wings until the fire was warm and red. While continuing to fan the fire, the robin picked up twigs with its beak and threw them onto the fire to keep the flames glowing. However, the flames singed the robin’s white breast, turning it red. It is thought that when Europeans began to emigrate to the United States, this legend was applied to our American Robin simply because of its coloring. Isn’t that a great story?
If you celebrate, are you ready for Christmas? I’m getting closer by the day and hope to be able to relax soon and enjoy my time this month. I want to make a centerpiece made of oranges pierced with cloves, nestled in back yard pine boughs and holly leaves as this scent is heavenly. What is one thing you’d like to do to celebrate the upcoming holiday? Thanks for stopping by and reading during this busy time of year!
While contemplating what to paint for the prompt of scarf, I was looking at the Christmas tree and this little felt snowman seemed to be waving at me. I made him from a kit back in the 1970s, and many of his friends also adorn our tree.
Sewing was never one of my strong points, but I remember enjoying sewing each piece and layer together and making the pipe cleaner broom. Actually, I’m amazed they are still in such great shape all these years later. Are you ready to wave goodbye to the holidays and move into a new year? One more day!