Tag Archives: watercolor

Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain

I’ve been working steadily throughout the first 12th of the year and just want to let you know that the art-making has been continual and fairly serious, but there hasn’t really been much to show, for various reasons.  One newly finished mixed media piece was a belated (okay, seriously freaking belated) Christmas present for my mother, which has finally gone out in the mail but which will remain, for the moment, mostly private. The little bit above is a detail from the piece. Here’s another:

The very fetching child in the bottom row is yours truly at about three years of age.  See? I am still working.



Hip to paint squares?

One of my nicest Christmas gifts was a wonderfully creative book on watercolor painting. This one, Heather Smith Jones’s Water Paper Paint:

I have only just begun to explore it fully, but I had a great time over the weekend doing one of the exercises in the book, exploring brush choice, color mixing, and just the delicious joy of putting paint to paper by painting (freehand) a series of squares and rectangles. Two of these head up this post–I’ll move on to more exercise eventually, but for the moment I’m taking a ridiculous amount of pleasure from painting these shapes.

Did you get art toys for Christmas, too? If so, what?


Time for some actual art around here.  Working on an assignment (not the paying kind!) again–it’s that time of year.

Notecard tutorial: Tiptoe through the tulips

I had a birthday last month and was well and truly feted. Among my gifts were a lovely bouquet of pink tulips, and a copy of this fabulous book by the wonderful and talented Alisa Golden:

Actually, when my birthday came around, I already had a copy of this book at home, one from the library that I had already renewed as many times as I was allowed, and which I had briefly considered simply . . . forgetting to return.  A little birthday gift card from my favorite sister made that bit of miscreance unnecessary, and now I have my very own copy. Which is already getting dog-eared and paint-spotty.

After a while the pink tulips began to look as old as–well, as old as I now am (NOT complaining–I’ve been on this side of the hill for a while now and I love it).By the time I got the notion to preserve my last tulip blooms by painting them, they were wearing their age in a wabi-sabi kind of way.

It was one of those everything-comes-neatly-together projects. I needed notecards on which to write my birthday thank you notes.  I happened to have some LOOOOONG pieces of watercolor paper, part of a stash I scored when a print shop and paper warehouse not too far from me closed (to becom a block of condominiums–a moment of silence, please). And I had this Golden (in all senses of the word) book containing just the right project.

As I said, this is Alisa’s (may I call you Alisa?) project, but this is my take on it.

Make a painting. Mine ended up being of the pink tulips. Watercolors, a little sumi ink, a big dry brush and a little wet brush. Dash it out–don’t think too much. Some of my tulips got deconstructed just a little, but I liked them that way.

So did second child. She loved them. The painting stayed around on my kitchen wall clothesline gallery overnight.

Then the guillotine fell. Literally. Second child was mightily annoyed with me.

I’m the fortunate, temporary guardian of a fabulous, heavy, sharp, old school guillotine-style paper cutter. I walk around looking for things to cut up with it. I’m thinking of using it to make cole slaw.

Anyway, take a deep breath and cut your painting up, too.  Cut it into squares or rectangles a bit smaller than the dimensions of the front of your blank note cards. Attach the now smaller, more concentrated mini paintings to the fronts of your note cards, using your adhesive of choice. I used Zots adhesive dots–they make the card stand out a little, like a painting on a wall.

It’s a little like quilting in reverse. I love how each one expresses its pinky tulip-ness in a different way.  And when I sent out the thank you notes, it was like sending the people I love their own spring tulips.

Semi-tutorial: Spiffy quick birthday banner

Second child celebrated a birthday recently, and invited 46,342 45 friends to her party (ok, not even quite that many, but several brought dates and possibly several wandered in off the street, so that’s more or less the actual head count). Given the square footage of our house, that’s . . . well, by my calculation, that was about 5 teenagers per square foot.

Happily, they were all reasonably well behaved, and polite, and most of them brought something yummy to eat to add to what we’d prepared (I’d show you pictures, but . . . 46,342 kids versus a number of pans of pasta and chili and ravioli and mac and cheese and pie and cookies and cupcakes and so on, not to mention an ocean of soda and enough chips and candies to pave the way to the moon and . . .the math will clearly demonstrate why there’s nothing left to photograph).

Anyway, about 2 hours before the party I got it into my head that there should be some kind of birthday souvenir for the guest of honor to keep, so I whipped up the banner you see above–neatly hung across the stone face of the kitchen fireplace. Yeah, it gets a little messy over to the right, when it has to pass by and over a hanging bag of onions and a big box of cat food.

I grabbed a yard of lightweight canvas and laid it out across the washer and dryer in the mud room (after pinning a note on the door warning her highness to keep out). I folded it as you see here, so that there would be two fold edges from which to cut pennant shapes.

I quickly gathered up some gesso and several tubes of cheap watercolor, a brayer, a big old paintbrush, and some odds and ends (soda bottle caps, some of those fake credit cards they send you in the mail, a paper plate) and set about painting the canvas in broad strokes, adding some imprints in contrasting colors of the bottle caps and making lines and squiggles with the cards. This is what I got–you can see it here having a quick dry on the clothesline (hint: a windy day is a boon)

Now back to the cutting table (aka the washer and dryer), where I cut the canvas into pennants. The more geometry savvy among you will have figured out that this left me with a bunch of triangles with an edge fold that would drape nicely over the 5 yards of cotton cording I bought for hanging them up but also with some pizza slice shaped pieces with no backs, and some backs with no painted fronts.

Remember, though, this was a quick-and-dirty operation–a few deft moves with a stapler connected the pizza slices to their backs, and I was able to drape all of the pennant shapes over the line. Where they looked like the top photo above.

I brought out markers and pens and crayons and interrupted the din merriment several times to ask everyone to–at some point in the evening–come and leave their mark–a message, a piece of art, a scribbled birthday greeting–and spread the banner on the kitchen table. Kids wandered in and out all night and had a great time signing and drawing and writing poems and advice and loving words, and the birthday girl had a great time the next morning reading and oohing and ahhing over all that love.

I knew I would not be allowed to photograph the thus-embellished banner after it was done, so I was glad I got a few detail shots of the painted fabric before I cut it up. Here are a couple–you can see more (and slightly more detail about making the banner) on my flickr site.

Now, what can we celebrate next so I have an excuse to make another one?

New monoprint series

Watercolors this time. Just a peek.

Pen and watercolor

Another set of quickies–scribbles using up the last paint in the watercolor box mixing wells.

If you watercolor paint your watercolor paints, how long before you disappear up your own . . . um . . . watercolor paints?