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. ❤
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 💖
We just returned from an adventurous trip to Alaska and are blessed to have visited there twice. This trip was planned for August 2020, but “you-know-what” happened and the trip was cancelled. Things seemed pretty much back to normal, but some restaurants had closed and some places were short-staffed, but that seems to be the current situation all over the U.S.
Previously I made scrapbooks of our travel adventures but stopped doing so a few years ago. When we moved last year, I realized just how many trip scrapbooks I’ve made, how much work I put into them, and how little we look at them. However, after each trip that I did not scrap, there was a feeling of disappointment and let-down because nothing was documented and because we had just a smattering of photos on our cell phones. However, I think I’ve found a happy medium.
Because it is Draw A Bird day (unofficially), here are two of the many species of birds we saw. I have always wanted to see a Puffin in its own environment, and boy were there puffins (horned and tufted)! The ravens are bold and huge and likely could feed a family of four, but that’s probably not recommended 😉
It’s joyful to remember where these quick-ish sketches (definitely not masterpieces) were created, and the plan is to feature some favorites over the next couple of weeks. Do you document your trips? What methods do you use? 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. 🙂