Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Watercolor Pencil - Some Student Work

A snapshot from the final project of Lesson 1 of "Watercolor Pencils" online class.

"Watercolor Pencils" online workshop is underway and I am so amazed at the courage and enthusiasm of so many of the participants taking this class that I just had to share some of their work from the first lesson's project.

In Week 1, we cover a lot of ground getting to know how watercolor pencils work, and examining such areas as work area set-up, basic technique, and color mixing with pencils.  There is a lot to absorb, and by the end of the lesson students use what they have learned to render a painting of a hot air balloon.

Many of these students are total beginners to art in any form, and some have explored creative pursuits, but may have never used watercolor pencils before. So the experience is something different for everyone. But the part that I love the most about this process is seeing people completely amazed at the work they find they are capable of producing. Their astonishment in being able to paint something they never dreamed they could do is the ultimate for me. 

Learning a new medium is a challenge and sadly in this day and age so many people are looking for that quick fix when it comes to art.  They expect to sign up for a class and be able to paint extraordinary work within the first week. 

So I spend a lot of time in all my classes teaching people to slow down, to explore the technique first and then apply it to painting in ways that are cohesive with their own skill level and style. Some people resist this process, they would prefer to rush through without spending the time refining their skills, they expect to be spoon-fed every element of the creative process without learning to make decisions for themselves, they expect to be able to paint like a master without doing the work.  Yet others become slave to their fears of not being able to do something, they worry what people will think or they convince themselves that they are not capable...they are wrong.  Everyone is capable, everyone has artistic skill, it just needs to be unlocked.

And for those who slow down, open themselves to the learning journey, overcome their unfounded fears, and methodically work through the processes and techniques presented, their excitement and amazement at what they find themselves capable of producing is profoundly gratifying...to both me and to them!

There are hundreds of participants taking the "Watercolor Pencils" journey, from all walks of life, with all types of skills and expectations. So I wanted to share just a handful of some of the extraordinary work that they are producing from our first weeks project.

"Hot Air Balloon" by Andrea

"Hot Air Balloon" by Catherine

"Hot Air Balloon" by Diana

"Hot Air Balloon" - by Donna

"Hot Air Balloon" by Janet

"Hot Air Balloon" by Kathleen

"Hot Air Balloon" by Kristeen

"Hot Air Balloon" by Maria

"Hot Air Balloon" by Poornima

"Hot Air Balloon" by Puneet

This is just a snipped of the work being produced and I am so excited.  Please show your gratitude to these courageous creative beings and leave them an encouraging comment.  If you'd like to join in this extraordinary journey, there is still time.  

Copyright on all these images in held by the original artists and they reserve all rights.

Thank you for stopping by. xx

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Sketches

Welcome to Friday Sketches.  This is a weekly blog event where you get the chance to showcase what you've been sketching this week.  It's open to anyone and you are welcome to share not only your sketchbook or art journal, but whatever you've been creating.

This week, I'm sharing a page I did in my sketchbook a few weeks ago. It celebrates "The Jewels of Autumn" which are dropping from the trees around me in abundance.

It's done in acrylic and watercolor pencil in a Stillman & Birn "Zeta" Series Sketchbook.

If you'd like to share your Friday Sketches, click the link below and enter your blog post URL (not your general blog URL), or you can enter a link to your Flickr or Facebook photo file.  Then select and image from you post to share here.

Make sure you put a link back to Friday Sketches in your post or your photo comment.

Please take the time to visit other participants of Friday Sketches and leave them a comment letting then know you appreciate their work.

If you like to see what was shared last week, please click here.

Happy Friday and thanks for sharing.  Hugs xx

(Linking to PPF & AJED)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Owl Winked

I have this home made journal which is huge.  I use it for all sorts of things, but mostly I use it to practice technique, work with different materials, and work through ideas.

I also use it to illustrate inspiration, whether it be words, photos, books, whatever.  Sometimes I illustrate the words, sometimes I interpret images, and other times I work in abstract.  It's all an important part of my personal artistic journey and development.

This particular illustration was focused on trying to achieve a realistic texture on the owl by using watercolor pencils over acrylic. It was inspired by the work of Elizabeth Sayles who illustrated Billy Crystal's "I Already Know I Love You".

I hope you are having a great week, thanks for stopping by. xx

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Sketches

Welcome to "Friday Sketches".  

Thank you to everyone who linked up their art in last weeks "Friday Sketches".

This week saw my Watercolor Pencils online class finally went live, and WOW, what an amazing bunch of artists I have joining me.  It's only been about 24 hours and already the classroom is abuzz with sharing and creativity.

This week also saw the sun slip lower in the Southern sky and autumn begin to show her golden face.  I love autumn, it's one of my favorite sketching seasons, but rather than wish away one of the most glorious summers I can remember in years, I thought I would share lots of my summer sketches before I start on the Fall ones.

This one was done in watercolor and watercolor pencil in a Stilman & Birn "Epsilon" Series Sketchbook.

What have you been sketching this week?

Please share your work by clicking the link below, and remember to put a link back here in your post.

Thanks for checking in. xx

(Linking to PPF & AJED)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Favorite Brands of Watercolor Pencils

In about 24 hours my "Watercolor Pencils" online class goes live. Many people have been signed up for months.  This is a huge class and preparation has kept me buried since before summer.  I'm so excited that it is finally upon us and can't wait to get started.

I get asked a lot about my favorite brands of water soluble colored pencil, and I have to be honest, I have two favorites...for different reasons.

Firstly, I love the Faber-Castell Albrech Durer Watercolor Pencils.  They are creamy and vibrant and are the only water color pencil on the market where the pencil line completely disappears when diluted.

These pencils are always reliable and work so well in a mixed media setting as well.  I love them because I also love to use regular colored pencil with them and they have an exact color match to the Faber-Castell Polychromos.  This means that the color tones are always reliable, no matter which pencil you are using.

My other favorite is the Derwent Inktense Water Soluble Ink Pencils.  And although they are not considered 'real' watercolor pencils by some purists, they behave in exactly the same way.  The main difference being that as soon as you touch water to the pencil stroke, it dilutes and becomes permanent.  This makes it hard to scrub or lift the color once it is dry. 

But the Derwent pencils are vibrant and translucent and the color is light fast.

I use both sets throughout my upcoming class.  If you'd like to join in the fun, there's still time.  

Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by. xx

Monday, September 15, 2014

Watercolor Pencils & The "Epsilon" Sketchbook

An enormous amount of planning and experimentation goes into producing one of my online classes.  This is especially so when the subject matter is focused on a medium.  

"Watercolor Pencils" is the first class in my new "Water Soluble Series" and it goes live this Thursday.

For the participants, learning about a new medium means exploring a lot of theory and technique, and watercolor pencils have 'a LOT' of theory and technique options.  

My job as the guide in this journey is to try to package it in such a ways that everyone comes away with a whole new set of skills and a whole bunch of confidence.

Watercolor pencils are hugely popular, yet vastly misunderstood, and certainly underestimated.  They combine the techniques of watercolor paint and regular colored pencil, as well as having their own unique set of techniques. 

Yet all of these techniques can be explored in many different ways.

Deciding what to include and what to leave out of my new class on watercolor pencils has been a very big challenge.  

Trying to ensure that there is a range of different applications presented so participants get a taste of the many different ways to use them, as well as a thorough understanding of the basic technique has been a big focus of my preparation.

Every artist uses watercolor pencils in different ways, and every artist who specializes in watercolor pencils has a host of tricks and techniques for getting the best from them.  

I am no different. I have my own unique ways of using them, I have my favorite techniques and my own special style, all of which I offer in this class.  

It's a big class, well over 70 videos filled with technique, theory, exercises, and projects. It will keep participants busy for months to come.

Nonetheless, preparing an online class that covers a lot of ground without being overwhelming to the participants is a delicate balance.  

Cutting out exercises, limiting the focus to specific areas, and producing challenging, yet achievable projects takes a lot of thought and preparation, and I'm never sure if I get it right until the class is delivered.  

I spend a lot of contemplation and planning time locked away with my pencils and sketchbook.  Playing with different processes and trying out different approaches before I start filming.  Before I turn the camera on, many hours have gone into the layout of my lessons.  

It is all consuming and keeps me very focused, to the exclusion of so many other areas of my art.

So, sketchbook pages like this are abundant, and although most of them never see the light of day, the final projects they focus on do.  

Having the right sketchbook and materials is vitally important to this process, so I have built the entire technique and theory components of this class into a Stillman & Birn "Epsilon" Series Sketchbook.  


The "Epsilon" is the perfect substrate for the elegance of watercolor pencils.  It's bright white color shows the pencils in such vibrancy and purity, and the 100lb smooth surface gives them a beautiful path on which to glide.  Plus, the "Epsilon" takes a lot of water and washing so there's no bleed-through or buckling.

I learn so much from this initial testing phase that I become confidant that the quality of my approach to this watercolor pencils will be well reflected in this class.


"Watercolor Pencils" goes live this Thursday and registration is still open.  If you'd like to register, or would like more information on this 6-lesson online class, please click here.

I hope you'll join me in this wonderful online class.

Enjoy your week, and thanks for checking in. xx

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Sketches - Preserving Summer

Welcome to Friday Sketches, and thank you to everyone who shared their work last week.  Oh my, it is truly beautiful and inspiring to see what you've been doing.  

This week I've had very little time for my own artistic indulgence, but I did manage to steel away for a few short minutes to capture some quick watercolor fruit sketches. This was a very quick study of some fruit I was preparing for my daughter.  I looked so beautiful and colorful on the cutting board that I couldn't resist a quick sketch. 

What have you been sketching this week? Please share your Friday Sketches by clicking the link below.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for checking in. xx

(Linking to PPF & AJED)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Watercolor Pencil Poppy - Little Video

I thought I would share this little inspiration video I made yesterday.  It is a reject from my online class that begins in a weeks time.  When I say reject, I mean that the initial layout stage was too hard to see as the pencil strokes were so light.  So I thought just for fun I would share it with you here.

You'll have a hard time seeing my pencil strokes in the first minute, but as the video progresses you'll see the poppy emerge from the page. It's all about lots of light and gentle layers to build up color and tone.

"Watercolor Pencils" goes live in less than 10 days and I am bursting with excitement.  If you'd like more info on this jam-packed online class, please click here.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Monday, September 8, 2014

Watercolor Pencil Sketches

Welcome to a new week.  We are a little over a week away from the start of "Watercolor Pencils", my new online class.  I am really excited at how it's shaping up. It's a HUGE class and will keep participants busy for months to come.

This class ran as an eBook offering about 2 years ago.  I have been asked over and over to run this class again, so this year I decided to dedicate myself to building an entirely new class filled with hours of video that takes you through technique, methods, processes, exercises, inspiration, and projects.

The new class still covers a lot of the same watercolor pencil basis, only I have extended it this year to include a host of different ways to use your pencils, all new projects and exercises and over 50 videos.  We cover everything from sharpening the pencil, pressure and direction, sketching and drawing lessons, to blending, melting, and broad sweeps and washes, plus everything in between.

All this week I will be showing you some of my work from the earlier class, all of it done in watercolor pencil.

This class begins on September 18 and will not be offered again until 2015.  Registration will only be open for a sort time after the class begins, so if you've been contemplating this class, then now is a good time to sign-up.

If you'd like more information about the upcoming "Watercolor Pencils" online class, please click here.

Thanks for stopping by. xx

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Sketches

Happy Friday everyone.  Firstly let me apologize for disappearing these past few weeks.  August has been a crazy busy month for me and sometimes, life has to take priority over art.

My children started back at school a few weeks ago, my little 4yo turned 5, and then the entire house came down with a cold. We also had a series of appointment for little T at the Children's Hospital.  Many of his conditions have improved and no longer require intervention, but his eyes are still an issue and sadly we found out yesterday that his only option now is more surgery.  But it won't be for some months.

In the meantime, I'm a little over a week away from the start of my new "Watercolor Pencils" online lass and it's a 'doozy'.  I've been so consumed with filming lessons and projects for it, and I'm beyond exited to get it started. It's probably the best class I've every produced and I have had so much joy working through the techniques and projects.  I know you're going to love it.

So, now I'm hoping to be back to regular blogging and back on track with my weekly Friday Sketches.  I just love seeing what everyone else is doing in their art life, so please, if you feel so inclined, link your blog using the link below and share what you've been doing.

Enjoy your Friday, and have a wonderful weekend.  Thanks for checking in. xx

Monday, September 1, 2014

Watercolor Poppies

Three Poppies

I'm just sharing a quick watercolor sketch I did early in summer.

Three Poppies

Three Poppies

Things have been extremely busy for me, and I appreciate your continuing to stop by my blog.

I'll be posting Friday Sketches again this week, and hopefully getting back to full blogging in the coming month. So thanks once again for your patience.

Enjoy your week and thanks for checking in. xx