A few months ago I desperately wanted to get into my studio. I had been in my funk for awhile, but on this particular day I just HAD to create something. Anything. Just give me a brush or pencil and I’d be good.
But one of my kids woke up sick and just needed mom. Creating went to the back burner as I snuggled and watched movies with my boy while he still is young enough to want his mom.
After a couple movies, he asked me what I had planned on doing if he hadn’t been home. I mentioned painting or drawing, and he looked up at me with those big gray eyes of his and said:
My youngest was home for a couple days this past week with a fever. After what felt like his thousandth movie, he decided he was bored and was looking for a change of scenery. He loves to paint, and as I was behind in Boathouse illustrating, I suggested breaking out our watercolors. He jumped at the chance, and we got to work.
It was so much fun watching him be creative! He puts colors together that I wouldn’t think of, puts more detail and thought into each painting than I would imagine, and even watching him try to work through his struggles inspires me.
Aren’t they adorable? They remind me of button candy!
In case you’re wondering, yes, I already have some watercolor earrings. This is not a relaunch of the product, but the launch of a new style of earrings instead.
At my last art show, a lot of people fell in love with my watercolor paper earrings. However, they were either concerned about the size of them (as they only wear smaller dangle earrings) or the durability of them. It got me thinking about making watercolor earrings that addressed those concerns, and here is the result.
They are made in the same fashion as the watercolor necklaces, just on a smaller scale. Some of them pair perfectly with necklaces, too!
Each earring is a unique watercolor painting; no two are the same, even in a set! The painting is placed between a glass cabochon and a metal tray, just like the necklaces.
They are water resistant and are on nickel free earring hooks. They are approximately 1 1/4″ in length and about 1/4″ in diameter without the hook.
I’m listing them on my Etsy store when I can; I have a few pairs listed now, and have a bunch more that I’ll be listing over the next week or so as my schedule allows. A larger selection of necklaces is coming as well!
To check out the necklaces directly, you can view the jewelry section of my store here.
This is one of those pieces that was so much fun to plan, design and finish, but the whole starting and working on it was really really rough.
A year and a half ago, our friends Stephen and Vanessa were downsizing apartments and gave us their couch and love seat. As payment for the furniture, they asked if I would do a painting for their new place, and I happily agreed!
After a lot of meetings, reference image searches, and more planning, we finally agreed on what the piece was going to be: an 18″ x 24″ oil painting of some of their favorite fandoms. Stephen mentioned he wanted an epic feel for the piece; I’ve been calling it Epic ever since!
Medium: Watercolor, colored pencil, ink (marker and liquid), and graphite on watercolor paper
Size: 11″ x 14″ with a mat and frame, bringing it to a finished size of approximately 14″ x 18″
When: Spring/Summer 2015
Time to complete: This finished piece was off and on for a few months; overall the project took a year and a half
Thoughts on the piece: First of all, I can’t wait to design one for my husband and I! I had so much fun working on this piece, and combining various fandom references that don’t go together into one picture. It reminded me of the Disney Vault mural, and it made me happy.
Challenges: Oh man, trying this piece in oil paint was a nightmare.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOOOOOVE painting in oils. However, I just do not have the technique or skill needed to make this piece as awesome as it was intended to be in oils. Every time I worked on it, I’d end up backtracking and redoing what I had done in the previous session. When I don’t have the opportunity just yet to get into my painting studio on a regular basis, that made things even harder.
When I started working on Boathouse color tests, I discovered I really really like colored pencil, watercolor and ink together; I can get great color and better detail with these mediums. I approached them about switching mediums, and they were totally flexible with whatever I wanted to do.
Also, I had finished the piece awhile ago. However, it was looking fairly flat and dull in just watercolor and colored pencils. I dug out my ink sticks that my husband bought for me on a whim, and the difference was amazing! The colors are really vibrant now.
Space ship: Serenity from the TV show Firefly
Mountains: The Misty Mountains from The Hobbit
Castle: Hogwarts from Harry Potter
Sleeping panda: Po from the Kung Fu Panda movies
Horse and boy: Shasta and Bree from The Horse and His Boy from The Chronicles of Narnia
Favorite part: How the whole piece works together! I was taking so many different reference images with different color schemes and trying to make it cohesive, and I’m happy with how it turned out.
Also, I love the way the mist turned out! I was terrified of attempting it. It was actually easy!
Least favorite part: There is one part where the ink dried before I could spread it out better. Ink is permanent when it dries, where watercolor can be persuaded to come up. I’m not going to tell you where the ink part is because it may drive Vanessa crazy too if she sees it, and I don’t want that 😉
Things I’ve learned:
– Oil paints are amazing if I’m doing soft abstract. Detail oriented pieces, not so much.
– I love ink! Ink and watercolor may just be my new favorite medium to work with.
– If you’ve been following this blog for any certain amount of time, you probably know that I love to include fun details into my work. This piece is no exception:
– I’ll be using a very similar technique for the Boathouse illustrations!
How the piece is displayed: Thanks for sharing a picture of it hung up, Vanessa!
Product availability: Available as prints by special request!
Thought process: This painting was….challenging yet enjoyable.
I remember I had been sitting at our dining room table trying to figure out what I was going to use as my inspiration for my next piece. Something outside our sliding glass door caught my eye, and it was my favorite bird, Spike. Spike is a Tufted Titmouse, which just happens to be my favorite kind of bird. They look like the just woke up and have bed hair and rolled around in some dust; they’re just adorable! As I watched him eat (he has a distinct way he eats, in which he will try to crack open seeds between his feet on the bird feeder, rather than fly away like the other titmice), I thought he’d be a fun subject to try and paint, and I got to work!
Problems I encountered: I was out of practice with watercolors and haven’t really attempted them before. It wasn’t super difficult, but just enough to make me really work for this piece to look nice!
Getting the proportion of chubby bird belly to the rest of the bird size was challenging 🙂
Favorite part: All of it! I think he’s super cute. And I think framing him made him even cuter:
Least favorite part: Letting him go. I would love to be able to keep this painting, but as I keep getting reminded, we’d have to build more walls or move to a bigger house if I kept all of the paintings and drawings that I fell in love with!
I have a confession: I am really really really uncomfortable with watercolors.
At least I was.
Watercolor paints are intimidating to me. I like to take my time and go back and rework areas, but with watercolors, you have to move fast. If you make a mistake, you might be able to fix it, or you might just end up with it looking muddy and even worse than it was to begin with.
Questions about this piece:
What made you decide to attempt watercolors again?
I had just signed up for the arts and crafts fair in December, and needed products quickly! I thought that I’d give these a try, and would either end up with something I loved or hated really quickly, and that if I hated it, I would still have a lot of time to try some other medium to create with.
Was starting out watercolors with a bird hard or easy?
I thought it would be harder than doing a group of trees, but actually doing Rain on the Lake was harder! This one was easy as the colors were soft and just very light washes of color. Getting the dark layers on Rain to look nice and even was super tricky!
Product availability: Available as the original, prints, in the Assorted Bird note cards, and he can also be his own set of note cards as well. If you would like him by himself as a set of 10 note cards, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org until I get each individual bird up as their own personal set.