Watercolors

Painting Portraits in Watercolor Painting portraits in watercolor is ambitious. Figurative watercolors are some of my favorite subjects to paint, but they’re never easy (for me). Here is a post of useful watercolor portrait artist-links, tutorial videos, and tip articles to tuck into the coffers of your Painting Inspiration Cupboard. Fantasy Watercolor Portraits Here is …

Watercolor Portrait Painting Read More »

Traveling with Watercolors Have you assembled a watercolor painting travel kit to take with you, outside your usual painting space? Here are some tips to put one together now, with a few variations. Don’t discard the idea of a small watercolor kit if you’re not the traveling type. Packing watercolors into a compact kit makes …

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Watercolor Still Life Painting Subjects from Your Own Things Pretend you’ve been given a watercolor painting assignment to paint two small still life arrangements. For the first painting, the subject is a trinket from a gift shop. It’s cute and you like it, but you’ve never seen it before. In the second still life, you’ll …

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Figure Composition in Watercolor This is a figure study for a watercolor of my friend Aimee. I loved the composition the moment I saw it. She’s reading in the sun, against the backdrop of an incredible vista in Provence, France. I’m not sure I’ll go ahead with the larger painting of this scene right away. …

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Painting a Still Life in Watercolors If you enjoy the accessibility of painting still life in watercolors, but struggle with deciding what to paint, this is for you. One of the reasons that still life as a watercolor painting subject is so powerful for artists is related to control. (Read this post –> about the …

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Consider Brevity – Short Painting Sessions After Dinner I’m much obliged this week so this is brief; I have a watercolor sketch, a few great links for you, and a question too. This is a kitchen counter watercolor sketch (above). I painted incrementally, after dinner, over a few nights, at the kitchen counter. Have you …

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Painting an Urban Watercolor on Clear Gesso In a previous post, I mentioned an experiment with an urban building facade, painted in watercolor on clear gesso coated watercolor paper.  You asked why, and what, and how, so lemme ‘splain…. What is Gesso? Gesso is an artist’s painting primer that feels similar to plaster. It’s applied …

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Have You Tried Powdered Graphite under Watercolors? As an experiment, I used powdered graphite to lay out shapes and a loose value study from a cell phone image my son took. Adding wet media to powdered graphite can lift and mix the particles to create mud, so I was light handed in my brushwork and …

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How Unremarkable White Tiles in a Kitchen Spawned Two Decades of Watercolor Paintings A couple of decades ago, I walked into the kitchen of a house we had just purchased. I turned to my husband and said: “These white tiles will have to go.” I imagined toothbrush-scrubbing strawberry juice and red wine from the white …

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Watercolor Painting of Cacti I went scouting for painting references at the Los Angeles Arboretum awhile ago. Local outdoor gardens are a good place to bring a cup of your favorite coffee to-go, and your camera. Wander the grounds that someone else has planted and manicured to snap reference photos of plants you don’t have in …

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What is a Still Life? A still life (plural still lifes) is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, and so on).  With origins in the Middle Ages …

Watercolor Painting Over Pen and Ink Drawing – with a Tutorial Video Read More »

Watercolor Landscape Studies in a Sketchbook I’m testing another watercolor sketchbook with a series of small watercolor landscape studies featuring coastal scenes. I used a ruler to grid 12 squares across a double page of a Hahnemühle Watercolor Sketchpad. (There may or may not have been accompanying crackers, olive tapenade and wine involved in this …

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Coursing the Heliconi My friend Sarah recommended trying an Etchr Watercolor Sketchbook, so I bought this one to test the paper. Using the grid method, I combined elements from two reference photos for this Etchr Watercolor Sketchbook Figure study. My reference was a snapshot of my favorite model, MKH (who modeled for this watercolor portrait, …

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Watercolor Sketchbook Practice Watercolor artists I’ve admired over the years write often about the importance of a sketchbook practice. Even so, I could never seem to reach for mine, let alone fill one. The slap-dash quality of the art in the last half of my college sketchbooks relays that I was rushing to “fill pages”, …

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Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Studies Watercolor painting sketchbook studies of African violets became my meditation last week. I snapped a photo of a pink African violet in my kitchen – half in sunlight and half in shadow. I thought the image would be a good test of my new etchr labs watercolor sketchbook. (It’s good.) Minimalist …

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Where to Find Ideas for Watercolors Artists are in a hard crush to render our world in pigments, graphite, charcoal, etc. These days, we’re limited to finding inspiration inside our own homes during this pandemic. Whether you live in a studio apartment, a three story house, or a garage, there are always beautiful scenes to paint in watercolors. …

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Creating Watercolor Paintings of Your Own Kitchen Have you observed your kitchen as inspiration to paint a watercolor? Whether the room is dark or well-lit, cluttered or austere, frugal or grand, neat or piled with dishes, there’s inspiration for the taking. Artists have painted and sketched scenes from kitchens for hundreds of years. The intimacy …

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Summertime Art Studio Planning Over the past 67 days (yikes!) of quarantine, the macadamia nut tree outside my studio window has erupted in fronds of shiny, new leaves. I’ll take this as a reminder that there are plenty of good things happening if we simply look for them. A fluffy squirrel (Mrs. Jetson) skitters up …

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Exploring Watercolor and Charcoal Together I was sorting scanned image files in my archives, and I forgot about this watercolor and charcoal painting of an imagined scene. Eve is riding with her friend, a juvenile crow, exploring the garden, when a serpent in an apple tree beckons her to come closer. At the time, I …

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5 Instagram Artists Painting Still Life in Watercolor While we’re hunkering down and staying home, it’s nice to peruse some beautiful still life in watercolor. Seeing the fruits of another artist’s labor adds loft to a flat day, and encourages us to grab art supplies, and practice. (You weren’t thinking about comparing your work to …

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Painting Flowers in Watercolor as a Meditation I’m painting flowers in watercolor as a meditation this week. With my cell phone, I snapped a photo of dwarf Daisies in a hammered brass cup outside in the sun. Printing the image on plain printer paper in black and white helped to keep my focus on values. …

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Painting with Watercolors in a Sketchbook You can paint with watercolor and get good results when your Moleskine notebook is made with watercolor paper. If your Moleskine notebook is a standard sketchpad, the paper is made for sketching and dry media. But read on for an example of an artist using Moleskine sketchpads for remarkable …

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Colored Pencil Curious Thanks for your emails on the last post (read that post about watercolor and colored pencils here). I’m glad the links to colored pencil reviews was helpful, and I hope you find a set to try them soon. Colored pencils expand options for adjusting color, values and overall finish on both my …

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Small Watercolor Portrait Here’s a little watercolor portrait with colored pencil from a photo my cousin was kind enough to let me sketch from (Paeonia 5×5 Watercolor Portrait with Colored Pencil (available here). Getting inspired by people’s faces is so easy with all the beautiful imagery on social media. It’s even better when the inspiration …

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Group Art Activities for Your Next Gathering When you host a gathering of friends and family, group art activities create fine memories and a lot of giggles. You don’t have to corral every attendee into the fun, but being prepared with props and a few inexpensive supplies might help lure the timid to the dinner/art …

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Watercolor Techniques for Beginners, or Returning Artists After a Long Hiatus Welcome Back Here are 5 watercolor techniques to try if you’re a beginner painter. Are you rounding the bend to return to your art? As a previously absent watercolor painter myself, I’m welcoming you with pompoms and cheerleading. You’ve got this! Each watercolor technique …

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