Sketching Watercolor Studies in a Watercolor Sketchbook

Watercolor Sketch – Sun Porch Saturday 7 x 13

Watercolor Sketches

I rented a crooked-but-cozy Connecticut lake cabin on a trip to my home town a few years ago, and this sun porch was my favorite room. My grandparent’s house had a sun porch the length of the house, and my brothers and I spent many hours sprawled on the braided rag rugs, playing board games, trying to stay under the grownup’s radar. I tested the image in my favorite watercolor sketchpad to see if it would make a decent painting, or monotype or linocut or dry point engraving, etc. What do you think? If it was larger, and perhaps with an animal napping somewhere, which medium do you think would suit the scene best?

Art studio on the couch; I’m starting to grid the reference photo in my sketchbook

A New Painting Course

I just published a free mini-course over at my site to help you paint and draw more often. It’s brief and encouraging, so I hope you’ll check it out. Visit and if you’d be so kind, I’d love your feedback in the comments either here or there. At the end of the video course, there is a list of art supplies I keep in the tote bag in the photo above. It’s my traveling art studio, and I take it to paint on the couch, on the kitchen counter, and outside on the deck, etc. I hope you’ll give portable painting on the fly a go. 🙂

Since I’m working on this in bits and bops in the evenings, this was the stage I reached by day #3
The shore just outside the sunporch on the lake.
By day #5, I felt I could give it a rest, and marinate for awhile to determine if this warrants a larger, more carefully considered watercolor.
Finished on the kitchen counter after dinner. (Don’t tell any one, but there is a glass of wine just off to the left. Shhhh. 🙂
Questions to Ask Yourself: Who Can You Help Today? Ponder it till you have an answer and a plan.

Direct Yourself

This note is taped to my computer monitor to remind me to ponder and answer this question every day as part of my morning list-making. Do you ask yourself a question each day? If so, share that in the comments and lets brainstorm good wondering.  I’ve mentioned before how much I loved the directive Dr. Larch gives young Homer in John Irving’s book The Cider House Rules (I know its an old book, but I’m hopelessly late to the party): “Try to be of Good Use.” And “Always be suspicious of Easy Work.” <– That one applies to making art for sure. The other is a good directive for everyone. What are your Go-To Quotes in the studio?

Thanks for stopping by today and I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. This is a great review of Hahnemühle watercolor papers by the lovely artist Brenda Swenson.

Art Quote

The best toys – Tinkertoys, Lego, Play-Dough, Lincoln Logs – allowed us to build and rebuild almost endlessly. With my kids, I noticed that these kinds of toys have become increasingly rare. Lego bricks are sold primarily as branded kits. Instead of a pile of blocks that could become anything, they are now essentially disassembled toys. Instead of starting with a child’s imagination of what could be, play is now fixed on a single endpoint, predetermined by Lego’s designers.

~Paul Guitierrez

Save for later & Share!

Watercolor Sketching in a Watercolor Pad and Six Tips to Paint More Often
Article Name
Watercolor Sketching in a Watercolor Pad and Six Tips to Paint More Often
A watercolor study of a sunporch in a watercolor sketchpad to test the image as a candidate for a larger work, and links to a free video course to get you painting more often
Publisher Name
Belinda Del Pesco
Publisher Logo

12 Responses to Sketching Watercolor Studies in a Watercolor Sketchbook

  1. sandhillart6 07/20/2018 at 3:31 am #

    In your reference photo my eye is drawn up to gaze out the window. In the painting the sofa becomes the focus. I’d say the question is where do you want the focus. It’s still very evocative of a lazy summer day. Put the pitcher of iced tea on a table 🙂

    • Belinda DelPesco 07/20/2018 at 10:32 am #

      Hi Sandi – Thanks very much for your feedback; I think it suggests that the values in the couch need to be knocked back a bit, so I’ll remember that when I paint the larger version of it. And yes, I think adding a few items to the table and the couch will help “cozy-fy” the space more. Great suggestions! 🙂

  2. Carol Glenn 07/19/2018 at 8:57 pm #

    My first feeling was a cabin in Topanga canyon. It made me feel warm and fuzzy and relaxed. Wishing I was there. Just there in the moment. Feeling blessed…you are so talented. Thank you for sharing it and all you inspire. Hugs

    • Belinda DelPesco 07/20/2018 at 10:28 am #

      Hi Carol! I love the funky feel of Topanga Canyon… that’s such a compliment! My brothers and I spent time hanging out there in the 80’s when we first landed in Cali from New England, so it’s nostalgic to me. The couch is big enough for all of us to sit and have ice cream sandwiches, so I’ll meet you there. 🙂

  3. candy7 07/18/2018 at 6:49 pm #

    Hi, Belinda! Love this! I vote for watercolor with a cat…maybe an orange cat. On the other hand, I’m looking at my furry children. They’re black and they would look pretty good in this sun porch, too! Have fun and thank you for your wonderful posts. I treasure them.

    • Belinda DelPesco 07/19/2018 at 1:16 pm #

      Hi Candy, Thanks for your idea of an orange cat! My studio-assistant Scout is also black, and would wholeheartedly disapprove of a ginger-kitty painted into the scene! I think orange would stand out better against the dark values on the couch fabric, so that’s probably what I’ll do (later this summer in a larger format). Shhh, don’t tell your kitties or mine! 🙂

  4. BETTY LONG 07/18/2018 at 12:13 pm #

    I love your porch scene!!! I want to go there. LOL I think watercolor is the only medium to use on this; in my humble opinion.

    • Belinda DelPesco 07/18/2018 at 1:48 pm #

      Hi Betty! Thanks for the compliments…. I want to go there too! Let’s meet on the sunporch with iced tea and sketchpads! 🙂

  5. Judy Langhoff 07/18/2018 at 10:23 am #

    My favorite quote…”Almost perfect is perfect enough.”

    • Belinda DelPesco 07/18/2018 at 10:44 am #

      Hi Judy, That’s a great one. We could all use a little lighter grip on our expectations of mastery right out of the gate, and that fits very well. Thank you. 🙂


  1. Watercolor - Bunny's Tutor - and What's the Best Size for Paintings? - Belinda Del Pesco - 11/24/2018

    […] that here.)  Small art is also wonderful if you like to paint in un-painty spaces, like me – on the couch, at the kitchen counter, at the firepit table on our deck, etc. Making small art and keeping all […]

  2. Watercolor -Wine at Mandola Rosa - and Gift Ideas for Artists - Belinda Del Pesco - 11/17/2018

    […] One of my favorite square format watercolor sketchbooks is this Global Arts Travelogue Watercolor Sketchbook. The paper is good quality, the binding is a nice linen covered board, and the format allows either single page square sketches, or a double spread horizontal layout. Like this. […]

Write something.... we like to talk about art, so let's chat!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

It's so nice of you to visit!

Want to be the first to receive new watercolors, printmaking and art-making ideas and encouragement?

Enter your email address below, and I'll send fresh posts, straight to your inbox.

Thank You For Subscribing

If you're new to watercolors, or printmaking, don't be shy. Ask questions in the comments of the blog posts, and I'll get back to you!

And I won't spam you! Pinky promise. :)

Happy Art-Making! - Belinda