Monday, July 29, 2013


I've gotten into watercolor.  I've been inspired by the work of Gina Kim and Eden Gasior.  The desire to explore more watercolor techniques kind of crept over me while I was into art journaling and maybe I won't completely take off into a new direction of watercolor but it's something that I'm doing now and I thought I would share with you what I've learned.

First, it does matter what type of paper you use.  Good journal paper, even most mixed media paper (with notable exceptions) is not the same as good water color paper.  I had the most irritating experiences with water color in my first art journal.  If you use a lot of watercolor on a page, and don't use gesso, which has it's own impact to watercolor, then the paper will begin to disintegrate.  Bits of paper will start to appear at the end of your brush not to mention how the paper will began to wilt and buckle.  Since,  I'm at the end of my first art journal I decided to purchase my next journal with my watercolor work in mind.

By happenstance, I actually purchased two Strathmore Journals at the same time.  The first journal I purchased from Amazon.  It is a watercolor journal cold press 140 lb.  The second journal I found at Michael's and purchased with a 50% coupon.  It too was a Strathmore, but Mixed Media 400 Series, 140 lb vellum finish.  Each had the same amount of pages and book board like covers, but for some reason the Mixed Media 400 Series feels a bit better to work on and each page feels a little more substantial.  Either way, I purchased each for less than $15.  When you consider that you'll be working on a journal for 3 to 6 months or longer, this is a reasonable price to pay for a journal.  And if you hurry, you can purchase the Mixed Media 400 Series for $6.60 at Jerry's Art Supplies, a bargain in my opinion.

Next, there was the matter of the watercolor paint.  While there are all kinds of watercolor paint, I have my favorites for both portable and stationary watercolor exercises.  For portable watercolor activities, I prefer buying a cheap set of watercolors.  There are 36 colors in the Artist's Loft Watercolor Set, which you can purchase for about $5.  For stationary activities, I prefer to use a wide range of colors including Winsor & Newton, Prang, and some more exotic choices like Tim Holtz's Distress Stains, Twinkle H2O's (love them).

After that, would be the choice of brushes.  I use the water pens for portable watercolor and real watercolor brushes for stationary work.

Finally, for inspiration, I browse through other artist's work, as well as selecting the odd photo from Flicker.  Here's a sample of my latest work.

I designed this pattern after watching a youtube video.  Each pass of green and olive darkened the coloring.    I also saw someone on Youtube doing something similar using a flower stencil and H2O's.

The right watercolor was an interpretation from the Mercedes Cortes watercolor in the Pattern Book.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tim Holtz's Distress Stains and Distress Paints

To be honest, I don't have much practice using Tim Holtz's Distress Stains and Paints.  The few times I've used them, I've just slapped them on the medium I was using and didn't think anymore about it.  Then I watched a Youtube video from Tim Holtz, Distress Stain Basics, explaining how to use both and decided to experiment in their use in my own art journal.

As it turned out, the effect was quite interesting.  Following Tim's instructions, I laid down a few stripes of Distress Stain with the dauber top and then sprayed water and fell in love with the interesting water color effect.

It's particularly useful if you move the page around, allow the water and stain to roll off the page or even use a two inch paintbrush to create puddled and mottled effects as well as to ensure even coverage.

Next, I tried to opaque paint daubers and love those as well.  Great coverage, can thin in out with wet brushes.  Love it.

The most useful technique was to use the stain and paint directly from the dauber top, by taking a wet brush, getting a little stain on the brush, and then painting with it in my art journal book.  I had more control over coverage and could get some really fine detail work done using the great stains and paints. I'm definitely stocking up on Tim Holtz.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Whimsical Girl

I downloaded the class "the whimsical face" by Jane Davenport, from the Interweave Store and found this class to be a priceless edition to any art journalists study of techniques.  Here's a sample of my work in progress.

Not quite finished.

The Initial painting on a acrylic background.