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!
I’ve actually had a lot of opportunities to paint recently, which brings much happiness! This quick turkey illustration was fun and inspired by my friend, Viv Cooper @artwithviv. She taught me some illustration work and that every painting doesn’t have to be so detailed; illustration is a breath of fresh air! She does amazing work with illustrations as well as realistic watercolor and colored pencil, and I’ve learned a lot from her. You should check out her blog and artwork, and she was sweet enough to make me her student of the month! Viv also takes commissions and offers some free classes. I’m honored to be spotlighted on her blog, so thank you very much, Viv!
Naturally, a turkey is perfect for November’s Draw A Bird, and I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away here in the U.S. I’m planning some fun family celebrations and am excited to see everyone because many of us haven’t seen each other since Father’s Day, or even longer! I hope to have some free time soon to blog what I’ve been working on in the past few months, but if I don’t get to it before the end of November, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! ❤
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 💖
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!
This pert parrot is an interesting bird and can be quite a spectacle with its vibrant feathers and noisy caws.
My first experience of such a bird was when I was a young teen, and my Great-Aunt Grace’s “Polly” summered with us. Polly was a delightful bird with slightly different coloring than what a painted, and we enjoyed interacting with her and hearing her playful verbiage. While she was with us, Polly molted, and I still have one of her beautiful feathers amongst my keepsakes, as well as a reel-to-reel recording of her squawking and sayings. If only I had a player for those tapes!
That reminds me . . . Great-Aunt Grace also owned a bar with a resident mynah bird that knew some saucy phrases. Let’s save that for another post, or not! 🙂
This fancy frog is a red-eyed tree frog, native to the tropics. As with most things in nature, this frog’s festive colors serve certain purposes. Its bright colors are defense mechanisms, and being green helps this amphibian blend in with leaves. If a predator spots a sleeping frog, it swoops in for a tasty meal, at which point the frog’s eyes pop open, revealing their vivid red color.
As the frog scrambles to get away, it untucks its brightly colored legs. The predator is so surprised by these sudden flashes of color that it is momentarily confused and hesitates, which gives the frog a split second to make its escape! How fascinating!
This up-close-and-personal kangaroo was photographed by my brother-in-law Don. I’m not sure I’d want to get so close to one, but hopefully he was using a zoom lens!
Kangaroos live in social groups called mobs. Males, called boomers, are twice the size of females, called flyers. Kangaroos cover more than 20 feet in a single bound and reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour. Newborn joeys are just one inch long at birth, or about the size of a grape. Isn’t that fascinating?