My Journey Into Art

Thursday, May 19, 2011

End of Year

My son has a couple of weeks of school left. He's had a really great year with a very good teacher. His teacher loves frogs. They adorn the classroom in abundance. For an end of year gift, I decided to paint her a frog. I will buy a mat and frame for it as well. I hope she likes it.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I painted the sunflowers from a photo I took in the backyard. I used my new M. Graham watercolors on it. When I completed it, I showed it to my husband. He was impressed with it and asked me when I was going to start selling my paintings. Huh? Sell them? This came about because earlier I mentioned that I wanted to buy more paint. I think his idea came from the fact that he doesn't really want me to buy more art supplies since I already have a large growing art supply buying habit. Who can resist art supplies, right?! If I sold my work, then that could pay for the art supplies is his thinking. I told him that I didn't have the confidence yet to sell anything.

Later that evening, I posted this photo to my Facebook page as I do from time to time showing what I have been working on.

Within 20 minutes of posting it, a friend said she loved it and asked if she could purchase it. I said yes! I get to buy more paint now -- guilt-free!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Botanical Garden

On the weekend, we went to Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, TX. It had been over two years since we last went. I was really looking forward to the photo ops and hoping to get some quick sketching done. My boys came prepared as well.

My youngest is 5 years old and an avid photographer/videographer. He takes my old digital camera on every day errands to capture photos of our day. Naturally, he brought it to the botanical garden. My middle child is 8 and he loves to draw. He went armed with his small sketchbook, a pencil and a box of crayons. I love that my kids emulate my own passions. In this photo you can see them both doing their own thing -- one taking a photo and the other doing a quick sketch.


Another shot capturing my son sketching.








Monday, May 16, 2011

M. Graham Watercolors

I have been using student grade watercolors up until this point. I had done lots of reading of reviews and some research on the M. Graham paints that were very positive.  When I saw a really good deal on a basic set through, I had to try them. The basic set comes with 5 colors.  Right now on Amazon, it is $25.55 for the set.  The same set on Dick Blick is $43.53.  Dick Blick usually has very competitive prices and I have bought supplies from them on several occasions.  The Amazon deal was too good to pass up.

M. Graham 1/2-Ounce Tube Watercolor Paint Basic 5-Color Set

Now, I have never used tube watercolors before so I wasn't sure of exactly what to expect.  The colors  are intense.  I have nothing to compare these to since I haven't used any other artist grade watercolor brands before but I love, love these! 

There is certainly a learning curve that I need to overcome.  As you can see from the sketch below, the two red flowers are way over saturated in my opinion.  I think I started getting a better handle on things with the two spent flowers in the center and the one in lower left.  I love how smooth these paints are.  Even the feel once the paint dried is different compared to the student grade pans I was using.  The paper is left feeling smooth while with the student grade paints there is a chalky feel once dried.

This sketch is of a group of mini roses that are past their prime.  Even though they aren't as beautiful as they once were, there is still something interesting in seeing the transformation of their life cycle.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Flowers Overload

A couple of nights ago I wanted to play with watercolors. I didn't have a reference handy to sketch from so I painted from imagination. With the painting on the left, I went overboard with the flowers. They were so fun that I couldn't stop myself and kept adding and adding. At some point, it became too much. I guess that's the downside to not having a reference to sketch/paint from. It was fun in any case.

Flowers Overload

Friday, May 13, 2011

Can't Resist This

The Sketchbook Challenge theme for May is "Can't Resist This". I thought about it for a few days and decided to go with what came to mind first which was to use a resist. Not spectacularly original so I may do another interpretation of the theme later this month. My second thought was some of my favorite foods that I can't resist so that may be what I try next.

The resist that I used for this piece was masking fluid. I drew the mandala with it and then used watercolor to paint it.



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Sketchbook and Paint To Go

On my trip to Jerry's Artarama last weekend, one of the things I picked up was a Strathmore Visual Arts Journal in the 3.5" x 5" size. It is the mixed media type with 90lb paper. I figured it was a good size to keep in my purse -- not too big.

I wanted to carry some supplies with me but not a whole lot. My purse isn't big enough for me to carry a bunch of extra stuff. I had this old Vera Bradley make up bag with a plastic lined insert that I have been using as pen case.

I took the pens out and put in my new journal, a small waterbrush, a micron pen, a ballpoint pen, pencil and eraser. For paint, I decided to make a palette from watercolor pencils that I adhered to the front of the journal. I used a combination of the Derwent Inktense pencils and some new to me Caran D'Ache Supracolor II soft watercolor pencils.

Caran D''''Ache Supracolor II Set of 12 Colors

These Caran D'Ache pencils are awesome! I like them better than the Derwent Inktense. They are soft and highly pigmented. When you add water the color easily flows and stays intense yet the stroke marks disappear. I only bought about 8 or so open stock at Jerry's.

So here's what my set up looks like and a couple of sketches that I tried out. Since the journal is so small, not much 'paint' is needed. I also found that I don't need to pencil sketch either because of the size. I just go right to it with the waterbrush and color and then outline after.






It works out great! I just refill the paint spots as needed with more pencil when I get home so that it is ready for next time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Backyard Finds - Part 2

I finished the spread of my backyard finds last night. I found these strange looking caterpillars eating a sunflower leaf. There was about 5 or 6 of them and by the end of the day, the whole leaf was demolished. I have never seen caterpillars that look like this. I wonder what kind of butterfly they turn into.

The peaches on the peach tree are growing nicely. I'm curious to see if we will get any that are edible. There are quite a few of them that have already been invaded by insects.

There is this bush with all these lantern-looking flowers on them. I don't know what they are called but even their seed pods from last season are very interesting looking. The backyard is full of discoveries.

Backyard Finds Part 2

Monday, May 2, 2011

Backyard Finds

I went outside to the backyard to find some inspiration to sketch. Against the back fence were two clumps of errant flowers. I'm not sure what they are since there is nothing else like it in the yard. We'll have to wait and see what blooms. What I really liked about these was the pattern on the head of the bud. It reminded me of quilting. This sketch was done with watercolor pencils and pen.

Backyard Finds