31 Gouache Paintings and what I learned from making them

31 Gouache Paintings and what I learned from making them

After I made 31 gouache paintings in January, I figured I’d let them be a group and achieve something….so after you check out the video, please feel free to pop over to my fine art site and bid on a favorite or two in the charity auction! Tap on the image below to get there.

Tutorial: 31 Gouache Paintings and what I learned from making them

Warning, this is a long one! I seem to have a lot to share lately, huh!?! lol!

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

My biggest learnings

  1. Avoid using too much water! That causes lifting. Cheaper brushes don’t hold water so try more of those than the good watercolor brushes.
  2. Mix enough paint the first time. Nearly impossible to match in  2nd mix.
  3. Use colors more inventive than “out of the tube” – I think I may need to make myself a mixing chart to remember all the colors I found that worked well, like Hansa Yellow Deep + Permanent Green Light making a great olive, and figure out which blue made a good purple with Quin Magenta because I’ve already forgotten!
  4. Use bigger brushes and fewer strokes unless you want a 5 hour painting. If I’ll be going plein air sketching, I can’t dawdle like I’ve been!
  5. For the first pass, block in colors everywhere except whites or very lights to avoid lifting and muddiness.
  6. Watch out for green creeping into the orange paint for the shiny cherries! 

Missed some!

The bunny ran away with the sheep when I was shooting, so these two didn’t make it – see the IG post about how to paint sheep HERE, and the bunny HERE. Patrons saw today’s birch forest on my Patreon page….and I did fix those shadows on the snow on the fence!

Got gouache questions?

I’ve already filmed Saturday’s video, but….leave me your gouache questions! I’m new enough I hardly know what to ask, especially since I’m the type not to ask if something works, I just try it myself. LOL. 

Supplies

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How to DELIGHT in your art

How to DELIGHT in your art

Do you know how to delight in your art? That’s something I’m embarking on in 2023. I’ve got some ideas to get started, but will be focusing on DELIGHT throughout the year. 

Tutorial: How to delight in your art

For the audio portion of this video, I wasn’t watching the screen – I just sat with the mic and told stories. Read on below for more info on the colors and supplies, as well as some ideas I have to learn how to delight in your art!

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

How to delight in your art

While I’ll be exploring delighting in my art, my business, and my life through 2023, I’ve got a few ideas to start with! (And I’ll be looking back on this list periodically to keep myself in check!)

  1. Stop comparing.
    Don’t look at others’ work and compare your numbers of likes/views to theirs. 
  2. Celebrate your success with others.
    Remember that those who ARE seeing your work are the ones who love what you do. Even if it’s five of them. Appreciate them and cheer them on too!
  3. Note your favorite creative moments.
    Is it the blank page? First color stroke? The sound of the pen on the paper? Figure out which parts bring you delight! Pay close attention to each step in your process if you don’t know the answer to this question.
  4. Share anyway.
    Even if you’re feeling unsure – maybe ESPECIALLY if you’re feeling unsure – share your work. You can find a safe place like Artventure if you feel uncomfortable on large public sites. But find someone to share work with who can be your cheerleader.
  5. Become a cheerleader.
    On your most “down” days, create a cheerleader post that speaks to where you are. If you’re feeling discouraged, write a post to lift up others who are downtrodden. Are you feeling like a failure? Find a quote or meme about success coming from failure and let that encourage others like you. 
  6. No dwelling.
    If you’ve found yourself for weeks, months, or years complaining of a comment/action/illness/job problem/etc that holds you down, turn it around. The more it’s repeated, the more hold it has on you. Declare aloud that you’re not a victim – and seek friends who will remind you of that truth. This isn’t about ignoring your pain, it’s about not letting it rule you.

Need some DELIGHT in your home?

Purchase the original piece HERE, or order a full size or miniprint from Society6  – or maybe even a zipper pouch! (Be careful on the pouches, check the placement of “delight” in the preview images; I could only upload one option for all of them and it seems to get cut off on some sizes.)

The new Daniel Smith colors

These won’t tell you how to delight in your art – but they might help you MAKE delightful art! I’m curious if any of these will try to nudge into my palette…see my notes about what intrigues me about each.

Kings Royal Blue | Chrome Titanate Yellow |  Iridescent Vibrant Raspberry  | Janes Black Red/Green  | Janes Black Blue/Orange 

King’s Royal Blue

Pigment: PB 29, PB 15, PW 4 / Series: 2
Lightfastness: I – Excellent
Transparency: Semi-transparent
Staining: 2 – Low-staining
Granulation: Granulating

This blue is a perfect sky blue – though my skies tend to be moody ones rather than representational of actual color, so I’m not certain this belongs in my palette. But I’ll play with it and see.

Chrome Titanate Yellow

Pigment: PBR24 / Series: 2
Lightfastness: I – Excellent
Transparency: Semi-opaque
Staining: 2 – Low-staining
Granulation: Granulating

A very nice yellow for flower gardens, with a little opacity – great for yellow flowers on the shaded side. I’ve been staring at my Aureolin to decide if it stays or goes, so I’ll see.

Iridescent Vibrant Raspberry

Pigment: PW 20, PW 6, Iron Oxide / Series: 3
Lightfastness: I – Excellent
Transparency: Transparent
Staining: 1 – Non-Staining
Granulation: Granulating

Like Iridescent Electric Blue – the shimmer was evident when used thickly. Same with this one. But the granulation is a bit off the charts for me, I don’t picture using it necessarily.

Jane’s Black (Blue/Orange)

Pigment: PB 15:6, PR 188, PO 71 / Series: 2
Lightfastness: I – Excellent
Transparency: Semi-Transparent
Staining: 2 – Low-staining
Granulation: Non-granulating

I trust Jane Blundell with color ideas – and these two blacks are piquing my interest. They’re mixed with pigments I already use to make black – so I wouldn’t have to mix that anymore. (I’ve struggled with whether to have a black in the palette at all….I keep trying different ones and prefer my mixes to those ready made colors. The DS site says these can become deep blues  by adding Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) tor by adding Transparent Pyrrol Orange to create rich orange-browns. Going to try these combos with colors in my palette currently.

Jane’s Black (Red/Green)

Pigment: PG 7, PR 264 / Series: 2
Lightfastness: I – Excellent
Transparency: Semi-Transparent
Staining: 3 – Medium-staining
Granulation: Non-granulating

This is another neutral black – transparent and non-granulating. It dilutes to beautiful neutral grays, or according to the DS website, it can be turneed into a range of rich greens by adding Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), which I want to play with – or to a range of aubergine, plum and maroon with the addition of Pyrrol Crimson. Not sure I’ll be adding multiple colors to the palette but maybe this’ll work with other reds and greens that I have.

Thoughts on these colors

As noted in the text with each of these – I may consider some, but will paint with them a while before making decisions. The blacks have me intrigued so I might have to play with them in mixes and see how that goes before choosing! In good news for Jane’s colors – I’m not sold on any of the blacks I’ve been trying, so these stand a chance.

Supplies

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Rudolph and Clarisse’s Big Night (with watercolor fix-it tips)

Rudolph and Clarisse’s Big Night (with watercolor fix-it tips)

In today’s episode of Rankin & Bass tributes – it’s Rudolph and Clarisse the reindeer out on a special date! A lot happened to get to this point with a finished painting…and I’m glad I went through it even if it was tough. I learned a ton from painting it wrong, and even if I didn’t recover from all those things – and made new mistakes – the result was nice enough I’m willing to put this out there to show you what not to do! 

Tutorial: Watercolor Fix-it tips

When I mess up…you benefit. LOL!

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Bonus tips 

Some things that weren’t in the video:

When struggling, make part of your painting something you KNOW. I know how to paint a galasy sky. That built up my confidence to get back on the horse – I had been feeling terrible after messing up so many attempts!

Save the best bit for last to help pull you through: like the red nose. I left it for the end, and told myself not to paint it til I was happy with everything else already!

Do you struggle with replicating things exactly?

Whether photos or art – do you find it hard to try to redo something that someone else already nailed? Does it discourage you when it’s not like theirs? 

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  1. Saunders Waterford Cold Press Sheets
  2. Grumbacher Miskit
  3. Galaxy sky:
    1. New Gamboge
    2. Quinacridone Rose
    3. Prussian Blue
    4. Nickel Azo
    5. Da Vinci Mottler Flat Wash
    6. Winsor and Newton White Gouache
    7. Toothbrush
  4. Trees:
    1. Prussian Blue
    2. Permanent Alizarin Crimson
    3. Da Vinci Series 17 Maestro Long Needle, Size 9
  5. Deer:
    1. Yellow Ochre
    2. Transparent Red Oxide
    3. Cobalt Blue
    4. Winsor Newton Kolinsky Sable Series 7 Round #10
    5. Winsor Newton Kolinsky Sable Series 7 Round #8
    6. Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky Sable Round 4

Watercoloring the Redwoods: The Happy Couple

Watercoloring the Redwoods: The Happy Couple

My niece is married! I’ve been to the wedding and back, and what a lovely trip. Not just watching her and her fiance tie the knot, but seeing family, and getting my first vacation in many many years under my belt. The project today is one that I completed weeks before her wedding – this is a painting from one of the happy couple’s engagement photos. Size is a half sheet of watercolor paper – not my normal size, so there were lots of challenges!

Tutorial: Watercoloring the redwoods

The clips here are in realtime, but there’s not much of the figures; the painting was large enough that my normal camera setup wasn’t working well, so most was just my phone. 

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

The process

My first concern was in whether I could render the figures so they’d look like who they were; Ive achieved the “looks human” level a bunch of times before, but not always looking like that specific person. This painting might have changed my mind about my skills – but I still did a quick painting of the faces only on the back of a scrap sheet of watercolor paper, just to see if it was worth starting on the large paper or not. I use way too many layers to be able to tell you what color was used for the skintones, sorry!

Painting the redwoods background

The background is one I feel more competent to explain, even if the figures weren’t! First step here was using masking fluid for outlining the figures as well as painting some of the leaves and a bunch of little dots to make it all magical. Let that dry completely. Go for a walk and make it a long one since the panic is setting in about whether the forest will ruin the work I already did!

Plan out where you’ll start and end a background like this. Leave as few ‘leading edges’ as possible – because that’ll be less to dry! I turned the painting upside down so at least those first strokes wouldn’t be a problem and I’d only have to deal with a leading edge on the left as I moved across the painting. 

Once the right column was done, I made sure the left edge of that section was VERY wet and kept checking while painting the lighter middle section. Don’t dry! To finish the last column I turned the painting right-side-up again and painted from the top (so I could keep edges wet) and then ended on the bottom right fern area.

Back to flipping the painting around furiously: while still wet, I lifted color for bokeh dots using a baby wipe. A bunch worked well, but as it dried, some had funky edges, so a baby wipe over the dry paper softened those.

Then I had to address all that white that was reserved by the masking fluid; in sections like the fern, I painted the entire section with lighter green and dropped other colors in. That left some highlights in those areas underneath that color but softened and blurred the whole section.

The other white sections were not painted as above – I used very very thin paint over the white leaves, and that will disappear into the background while toning the white. Then after drying, the dark green was mixed thick enough to give solid coverage to the graphic shapes. 

To create smaller but more subtle details, I painted another set of leaves with thinner, more transparent green paint.

Last but not least, the redwood branches! In the photo they’d had sun sprinkling highlights on them but I didn’t want it looking like snow. So again, I toned down the white masked areas, then painted the dark redwood leaves, bringing the color up over the highlights so they were broken up.

Have you ever tried portraits?

I may start trying more again; my figure drawing group has started up again at a time that I can’t attend, but I might look for a different group. Maybe 2023 will be the year I make more serious attempts at figurative work, who knows!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Make custom wedding gift wrap and card (forest themed)

Make custom wedding gift wrap and card (forest themed)

My niece just got married – and of course my gift for her and her sweetheart was handmade. But I went the extra mile for handmade wrapping and card too! Not entirely by choice…I wasted an awful lot of time looking around for the right gift wrapping and found nothing. A day before I left – I realized I had to get on it and make something!

Tutorial: Custom wedding gift wrap and card (forest themed)

The wedding was to be in a forest, and the couple loves the outdoors and tall trees….and the gift I wrapped up hopefully pressed all the buttons. (I’m still traveling so I’m writing this ahead!) 

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

The card

I used a simple rendition of the tree branches that I used on the wrapping – and look how pretty the ink blooms! For some reason when ink does that I don’t mind like I sometimes do with watercolor. I added a layer of the grey paper on a layer of dark green, and the painted panel is popped up on dimensional adhesive.

The wrapping

Grey paper was what I had to work with, and while I’d have preferred it white – I’m pretty sure I’ll have had an easier time transporting it! White could get so messy on a long road trip, so I think this is likely all good.

Have you ever made custom giftwrapping – and did it match the card?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m just a complete, utter overachiever. Maybe I am! ha!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art