Clock and Daisies Finished!

Clock and Daisies (c)

Well, it’s finished.  I’m not sure I like how the baby powder works with the coffee.  I have an idea for something else, but that requires other supplies and I’m having a hard time finding them.  In the meantime, I think I’ll be experimenting with tea this week.  I don’t really have time to try them one at a time, so I think I’ll just mix up all of them and paint with them all at once and see what happens.  Should be interesting.  I’ll let you know how it goes next week.

This painting is now available on my my storenvy page.

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3 Things NOT To Do With Your Brushes

If you have problems with your brushes wearing out, or splaying out and becoming trees, here are three things not to do that will help reduce those problems.

1) Don’t leave them sitting in water.  This will cause your brushes to wear out faster, and all the hairs will fall out.  This is especially annoying when they fall out and stick to your painting.

2) Don’t stand them up to dry.  Lay them flat instead.  If you stand them up, the water collects in the barrel of brush and causes the “trees.”  It’s particularly harmful if there’s still paint left in your water.

3) Don’t leave any paint next to the barrel of the brush.  You want to get as much paint away from the barrel of the brush as possible.  This isn’t as much of a problem for watercolor as it is for oil and acrylic.  Also for oil and acrylic, you want to get long bristles for your small detail brushes, because it will be impossible to get the paint  out that’s collected at the barrel.

What other brush tips do you have?  Let me know in the comments below!

Other Topics You Might Enjoy:

Staining vs Non-Staining Colors

Are You Using the Right Watercolor Paper?

Clock And Daisies

Clock and Daisies 3

Well, I haven’t finished it, but I’ve made decent progress.  Baby’s demand lots of attention, but we love them anyway!  So someone suggested adding baby powder to my coffee to help in layering.  I haven’t noticed much of a difference and I hate the smell.  I probable won’t do it again.

I need to get some more depth going, because right now it’s looking a little flat, and I also need to work on the flowers.  Then I’ll be fine tuning some of the details, and hopefully if all goes well, I’ll have it done by next week.

I also found a way to have prints made of a digital piece a made a few years ago.  Since people ask for it all the time, I thought I’d put it up here for you guys.  So you can go check that out on my storenvy page.  (

The Blue Scarf Lady (c)

Now I have a question for you!  What kind of things do you want me to paint?  You can look through my gallery to see what I’ve already done to get ideas and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Staining vs Non-Staining Colors


The name pretty much tells you what these colors do.  A staining color will severely stain your paper so that it’s difficult to lift back to white, and if you try you will pretty much have a varying degree of the tint of color left behind on your paper.  This happens because they immediately absorb into the paper before the water starts evaporating.  Where as in the non-staining colors, the paint dries on the surface of the paper after the water evaporates.

Both have their usefulness and if you’re a beginner, you probably want to stay away from the staining colors for a while.  They make it harder to fix things, and they also tend to dominate other colors.  However, once you’re more comfortable, you should definitely give them a try.  They’re among my favorites to paint with because they’re so vibrant in color.

Coffee and tea are staining, but it depends on the strength of the brew as to how staining.  If I’m using one of my lighter color, I can lift to white, because there’s more water and less of the “paint.”  Coffee takes more effort.  However when I’m using my darker tones with the stronger brewed teas or coffee, lifting to white is not going to happen.

So, those of you who paint with watercolors, do you like painting with staining color?  Why or why not?  Tell me about it in the comments below.  Also if there are those of you who paint with coffee or tea, I’d love hearing about that too!

Starting On A New Painting

Clock and Daisies 1

With the new baby, I haven’t had much time to paint, and the new brushes I bought ruined my last painting.  So, I’ll be going back to my old brushes.  This is just the light initial drawing.  I had to really hype up the contrast so that you could actually see it.  The drawing itself is barely noticeable.

I do a lot of cups in my paintings.  It kind of goes along with painting with coffee and tea, but I wanted to paint something with flowers.  This seemed appropriate and interesting.  I have my cups, and flowers, with the added bonus of an alarm clock.  Vote bellow if what me to paint this with coffee or with tea, and check back next week to see what progress I made!

Are You Using the Right Watercolor Paper


You may think there’s not much difference between watercolor paper, other than some being of higher quality, but that not the case.  There are different textures, weights, and colors.  That’s right, colors.  You thought it was only white, but there’s traditional, bright white, extra white, and absolute white, and depending on the company it can a noticeable or not so noticeable difference.  The color of the paper will effect the look of your painting.  A cream tone paper will give a brown or muddy look to your painting.  While a paper with a blue tint to it will make your yellows look slightly green.  So depending on what you’re trying to achieve, you may choose different papers at different times.

Many people are familiar with the different textures; rough, hot press, and cold press, but they’re not as familiar with what they’re just suited for.  Rough paper is the most grainy, and generally not good for fine detail, but since it is so smooth many people, especially beginners, have problems with paint sliding around.  Cold press is the most popular because it allows for the fine detail, but also has some texture to it.  Also with all of that, there’s a “right” and “wrong” side of the paper.  The “right” side is more textured than the other, so the “wrong” side would allow more fine detail.

Then there’s also weights of papers; 90lbs, 140lbs, 260lbs, and 300lbs.  Thinner paper needs to be stretched so that it doesn’t buckle when painting.  The weight you’ll need in order to not stretch it will be different depending on how you paint, but for many people, they need at least 260lbs.  Stretching a piece of paper isn’t the end of the world, but you may need a heavier weight in order for it to take the amount of layers you want, and if you tend to abuse your papers, you definitely will want a heavy paper.

So now that you’ve figured out the color, texture, and weight, now it’s time to buy the paper, but do you buy a roll, individual sheets, a pad, or a block?  These are the questions you need to ask.  How much paper do you use?  How do you paint and what sizes do you use?  How much are you willing to spend?  Rolls are nice because you can cut the paper to whatever size you want.  So if you’re using a lot of various sizes this might be a better option for you than buying tons of different pads.  Sometimes you get get deals on bulk individual sheets verses buying pads or blocks.  This is usually only an option for the artist grade paper.  Pads are the most commonly used and sold just because they’re convenient and cheap.  They store easy and you can tear off the page or keep it on.  Blocks are more expensive, but they have the convenience of not having to be stretched since they are attached on all sides.  If that’s something important to you, and you’re willing to pay for it, blocks could be an option for you.  However you can’t pull it off until it’s dry, so you can only work on one painting at a time unless you get more than one.

It all depends on your personal preference and style of painting as what paper you use.  I still wouldn’t recommend using anything less than acid-free.  After that, you can use a matte spray varnish if you wish.  If you’re just starting watercolor, finding a cold press 140lbs paper should work out nicely for you.  After that you can try experimenting to see if there’s something you like better.

The Tree Nymph

Stage 1

Tree Nymph 1

I decided to take in progress photos of my work.  It was interesting experience.  This was just the first few layers.  There’s not much detail yet.  I was just blocking in the basic shapes and colors.  Everything still looks pretty flat in the beginning.

Stage 2

Tree Nymph 2

There’s now more layers and more details.  Remember things are never just one color!  There’s layers of multiple colors.  I wanted the back leaf to stay out of focus, so I didn’t put a lot of detail into that one.  I also saved the most detail for the central leaf and flower, but I still gave some detail to the other two leaves.

Stage 3

Tree Nymph 3

I added even more detail, darkened up some areas, and started the head of the butterfly.  I wanted to do more, but ended up with a headache.  So I had to quit for the day.  At one point I really wanted to burn this piece  I just wasn’t happy with how it was turning out.

Finished Piece

The Tree Nymph (c)

Even though the butterfly is black and white, it still has shadowed parts to it.  Once I had the background color in, it was easier to tell which areas needed more attention.  The colors I used in this piece were orange, red orange, two different reds, sap green, green brown, green black, black, gray, cream, and dark blue.  I am hoping to get a better camera soon, so I can take higher quality photos.  The photo reference is from Rodney Campbell at  This piece is now for sale on my storenvy page.

The Yellow Rose

This little 5×5 piece was a result of making one of my papers smaller.  I didn’t want to waste paper, so I decided to do a small painting, but what to paint on it.  I figured a single flower would be the best solution, and it was nice practice in getting all the variations of yellow.  The secret … It’s actually not all yellow.  There’s some orange too.  I also had to use a brownish yellow.  So many layers and colors for just this 5×5 piece.  Of course there are parts of it that I don’t like.  I’m an artist.  It’s just one of the things that happens.  Never being completely satisfied with it.  Oh well.

So, lesson of the day, when you think something is just one color, think again.  I used variations and mixtures of different yellows, browns, oranges, and reds, and that was just for the flower on a 5×5 piece of paper.

Now for sale on my storenvy page!

Yellow Rose