My Journey Into Art

Saturday, July 30, 2011


I have been working on my still life skills trying to improve my depth and perspective in drawing what I see. It is so much harder than drawing from a photo. Every time I move my head, I see something a little bit different than what I just put on the page. Drawing outside is even harder because as the light changes from a passing cloud, the shadows change too. I really want to be able to sketch outside with accuracy. I went to my backyard to practice a couple of days ago. It was sweltering 90+ degrees outside but I sat there and finished until I felt it was complete. I was sitting in the grass as I sketched and painted. At some point, I got bitten by a spider on my leg but didn't feel it until later when the throbbing started, then the swelling, redness and inflammation. I'm allergic to spider venom. I kept an eye on it overnight. Normally a trip to the doctor is in order for a course of antibiotics. I was able to avoid it this time. All in the name of making art!

I'm not happy with the way the bench and the stones in front of it turned out. The perspective seems all wrong. But as with anything, the more I practice the better it will get. I plan to take some day jaunts around town once my kids are back in school. It's hard to do it with them in tow. No one seems to have patience to wait while I sketch.


Friday, July 29, 2011

More Juicy Fruit

After I did the mangoes, I reached for the peaches the next day. These peaches were so vibrantly colored that there was no way I could pass them up at the grocery store. They were extremely tasty too. I love summer for all the glorious produce.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I bought these mangoes on the weekend and they were so gorgeous that I had to paint them. I set them up on a table and sketched them first in light pencil. I've been trying to keep my painting loose especially in the sketchbooks. I am trying to be quicker yet still accurate so that I can start sketching outdoors when time may be short. The scent of the mangoes was so strong it was almost distracting. Boy were they good to eat!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More from My Handmade Journal

I've decided that I don't like the paper. HA! I'm glad I didn't take the time to make other journals from it. I bought a large pad of this the last time I went Jerry's Artarama. Since it was so inexpensive as far as watercolor paper goes, I figured it was good for practice to try out certain things before putting them on good watercolor paper. For that purpose, this paper if fine.

Why don't I like it? The paint seems dull on it. If you add too much water and start to work the paint, the paper pills up. And I'm not able to lift off paint easily with it. I will finish the journal though since I like to finish what I start. I'm almost halfway there.

Garden flowers

Monday, July 25, 2011

Make Your Own Travel Paint Palette

I went to The Container Store this weekend to browse around. When I saw these little 1" x 1" covered containers it got me thinking that these would be good to put paint in. Then I found a small storage case that could fit 15 of these little cubes. The storage case was $3.49 and the cubes were $0.39 each. I used removable adhesive putty to secure each cube. This makes them easy to take out to swap colors. The covers on the cubes don't easily come off with them lined up so closely together so I won't be covering them. I did attach some of the covers to use as little mixing areas in the lid of the storage container. I could also pull a lid off if I do need to cover a particularly wet cube to prevent spillage. The waterbrush from my Koi Watercolor set fits in nicely along with a small sponge. I made a small color chart too.

While it may look like there isn't much paint in the cubes, there is plenty for my little 3 1/2" x 5" sketchbook that I keep in my handbag. They are filled with M. Graham watercolors. This palette case is approximately 4 1/2" x 5 1/2" and very light.

I can't wait to try it out.

Make your own palette.

Make your own palette

Friday, July 22, 2011

Handmade Journal

My first attempt at making my own journal was fun. It's a simple booklet type journal with 140lb cold press watercolor paper. I painted and decorated the front cover. It's pretty rustic looking with some pages having a torn look.

I used 11 x 15 paper cut in half and then folded the half sheet in half to make the signature. I used 3 sheets of paper to make the whole thing including the cover. These are small enough to fill up in one outing if I took it with me to the zoo or botanical garden. I think I will make some up to have on hand to grab and go.

I've decided to use this one as a botanical sketchbook.

First handmade journal

Peace Rose

Garden Flowers


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Keeping It Loose and Light

I've been just playing in my sketchbooks and keeping it loose and light. It's been fun to not be so serious in my painting. I don't have the mindset that "This has to be perfect." when I play this way. Here's what I've been up to:

I was looking for quick things to sketch around the house to practice my depth and perspective. I still need to work on that.

From around the house

And this was just a fun way to play with color. My go-to doodle seems to be flowers most of the time.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cactus Bloom

This month's theme for The Sketchbook Challenge is Element. I've been struggling with what to sketch and paint for the theme. I started to look back through my artwork and a theme seemed to stick out for me. My element is nature. Most things that I paint are from nature; birds, flowers, fish, etc. My inspiration comes from what I see outside. I sketched this cactus from a photo I took from my last visit to the botanical garden. I have been trying to loosen up my style. This was fun and quick to do.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Portfolio of the Week

I got an unexpected surprise this morning in my inbox. I received an email from the owner of the Art Colony that my artwork was selected for "Portfolio of the Week". How cool is that?! Here is a screenshot of the image that was chosen to be on the front page:


Saturday, July 9, 2011


I worked on this ladybug yesterday. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think it's the background that bothers me. Too much green perhaps. I'm ready to paint some whimsy and let loose for a bit.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Here Fishy, Fishy!

I painted this Blue Surgeonfish yesterday and then posted it to Facebook. A friend commented that it looks just like Dori from Finding Nemo. So I replied that maybe I need to do Nemo as well. So I did this morning! I'm becoming more comfortable with watercolors. I don't know if I'm using them properly since I've never taken a class but this works for me. I really want to try to loosen up some but I find that I keep going back to keeping things tight and controlled.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I found this photo on flickr by a photographer named Paul Rusza. I contacted him and asked him if he would allow me to use the photo as a reference to paint it. He was kind enough to say yes as long as I gave him photo credit.

red and white

Here is my painted version in watercolors:


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Water Lily (and other stuff)

I completed this water lily yesterday. It's from a photo I took from my last visit to the botanical garden here in town. I've been working on it for the last week or so. I find that when I work on a realistic watercolor painting, I need a break in between to work on something else. I typically won't go to another photorealism piece but rather create something whimsical and light.


This is what I worked on in my sketchbook in between the water lily. I call this spread "Day and Night".

Day and Night

I've also been trying to sketch more from life. I find that I can draw pretty well from a photo but not as well from life. I can't seem to get the depth and perspective right. I'm going to try to sketch a few times a week from every day objects around the house. I did a quick sketch of my flip flop in charcoal pencil. It's kind of rough but I only took 5 minutes.