Day 365 (Sun Dec 31) watercolor faces, Qor vs White Nights?

I used kelogsloops again from youtube for these practice entries. I haven’t done faces and admire them but don’t really know how? These are from entries in his watercolor journal… you can find him on youtube and see his originals, which are much nicer. I stayed fairly true with the first one and took quite a few liberties with the second, but it is still very definitely his design, face, and hair. These are quite fun and I’m hoping in 2018 to be able to design my own. The first (blue) used Qor paints, the second (red) used White Nights. I enjoyed both, the Qor kept more vibrancy as they dried. Drying lighter is normal for watercolors, so not a weakness in the White Nights, but an unusual attribute I think of Qor and Daniel Smith.

My last entry for 2017!! I wish I had been able to do something EVERY day, and not missed so many days the last quarter, but I really learned a lot this year and consider my project a success, even though I missed some days. (And I’m so happy that I ended on 365!! I expected my count to be off!) Many days I invested HOURS, not moments, so maybe it kind of evens out. There’s no way I could have painted these faces last Christmas, even copying someone. I didn’t even know I enjoyed watercolor. I have a lot of favorite pieces from this year… even a bunch of things I DIDN’T COPY from someone else’s idea, but created myself, so YAY ME. And I’m figuring out my “style”, which is cool. I expect to continue my project into 2018. If there are things you’d like me to try, or supplies you’d like to see tested, let me know. And happy new year… 2017 was good, and 2018 will be better. There’s a lot to look forward to…  Stuff we don’t even know about yet. Exciting things are coming our way!!


Day 364 (Sat Dec 30) WATERCOLOR. Finally.

NOT. MY. IDEA. I am totally COPYING this image from this youtube video, which you should check out, kelogsloops 2017 watercolor sketchbook tour. His stuff is really nice. I wish I could come up with incredible ideas of my own, even without all of the skill of the people I follow… maybe over time, but can you really teach an old dog new tricks like that?? Anyway, his original is better, but I’m happy with my attempt.


For this I used my Khadi sketchbook (found here) It is almost $13 plus about $6 shipping, and the photo shows a green paper cover, but mine came with NO cover, just papers sewn together. One edge is rough cut, which is very attractive, and the paper is high quality… made from cotton rags, very textured, kind of a strange book but I have really enjoyed it and get compliments on its unique nature. I used my new leningrad white nights watercolor paints… that I have mentioned in the last several blog entries. They worked fine, pretty much like any other paint, I think? I’m not jumping up and down screaming YOU MUST HAVE THESE, but I do like them and will use them… as I mentioned before, they have a smaller set very suitable to someone starting out and very affordable compared to other student sets (and these are professional grade paints)…this 12 color set with box (my set doesn’t have a palette box) At $28 for 12 FULL pans, not half pans, it’s a good start, I think, with quality paints.

I’m really beginning to believe, after testing so many brands this year, that it comes down to using any (professional quality) brand paints you love using. They all have different qualities, and if something about them stirs something in you, use them!! Just paint. I highly recommend looking through Jane Blundell’s blog. She reviews all types of paints, and even suggests 12 color palettes for most, so you can start with as few as possible, but a SMART few. I’ve heard several other artists say paint with whatever professional brand you want to try.

In the end, as much as I enjoy EVERY paint I’ve tried this year, I suspect I prefer my Daniel Smith paints, and a few of the Qor colors that I love thrown in. Daniel Smith and Qor can be an expensive way to begin, but you really only need 6-8 paints to start, and this Daniel Smith introductory set  at $31 for the 6 tubes isn’t bad at all. You’ll want a palette box and pan, however, and it can still get costly. The problem with Daniel Smiths… there’s always another color you can add!!! It never stops at 6. And 6 is really fine. 12 for SURE.  With these paints you can try this meeden palette box with 6 full pans… so you really won’t be tempted to add more until later!! I like this box a lot and you can get 12 half pans if you prefer. There are so many palette box choices.Honbay 12-color watercolor tin  looks to me just like the meeden tin, but at $2 less! It is new so has few reviews, but all are good. Doesn’t offer the choice of pan size… it comes with half pans. I haven’t tried it myself but for $9 with pans it seems like a decent buy. I will do an updated palette box blog sometime… I have tried PLENTY and have lots of favorites. But really… anything works. A dollar tree tin will hold your paints and a white ceramic plate works great as a palette.

One more 2017 post!!!!


Day 363 (Fri Dec 29) Snail Mail?

So… I basically did nothing today. That’s me drenched in purple and rainbows, under the FUN sign, hooves on the wheel:


Okay NO, I am not really a fluffy purple unicorn. Usually. But today was spent doing that, and other FUN things, because life should be made of more moments like this… and then I spent 15 minutes on this:


Which is technically art. And look at those little decorated letters… swap-bot worthy.

I can’t believe I only have 2 days left on my project!! And I can’t believe how far I got! And I can’t believe how much time I lost in December! A habit disappears so quickly. Lesson learned, I hope. It takes dedication and commitment to keep doing something when life intervenes and it becomes inconvenient to continue. It is all too easy to fall OUT of a habit, even one you like. But also, maybe a day off now and then isn’t such a bad idea.

My friend’s friend translated that Russian paint box I talked about yesterday and Wednesday. The St Petersburg White Nights. Basically, it is the name and address of the paints and paint company, and also says if there’s anything wrong with it to contact the company and give them the batch number. (As ridiculous as I know it is, it is still a load off my mind… no scary Russian warnings. It must be nice to know several languages, hmm?) Thank you, friend’s friend! And friend!

Off to bed to dream about the last two posts for 2017!!

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Day 362 (Thurs Dec 28) more on White Nights

A friend from Swap-bot has told me she might be able to translate the Russian paint insert I mentioned yesterday here in my blog. 🙂

Today instead of real ART, I did a little more research on the White Nights paints, and swatched them out. I found this page on Jane Blundell’s blog dedicated to her test of these paints, and it was very helpful. She also posted a link to this photo:


which gives me the company’s paint info… telling us which are lightfast and which are “fugitive” paints. As you can see, most of the colors have ***, meaning they are rated very ‘lightfast’. The square tells us whether the color is opaque ope transparent. The chart gives us the pigment colors, so we can compare the colors to other brands… and also see which are single pigment colors. (Artists often prefer single pigment colors for clearer mixing results when they paint.)

Jane Blundell suggested which colors she would include in a twelve color palette. I separated those in my palette, and ordered a couple more individual pans (between $2.50 and $3.50 each for the full pans on Amazon!) to complete the palette. I removed four fugitive or or possibly fugitive colors. (Why worry about using them??) Violet (sad to see that one go… but I’ve seen purple fade to pink and that’s sad, too), Green, Scarlet, and Yellow Ochre. Green and yellow ochre aren’t actually fugitive, but don’t have the *** rating, so I think I’ll use other colors instead.

Here is the White Nights Plein Air Set, if you want a smaller set. They do stay nice and bright after they dry, and are a great price for someone just starting out, I think, and seem to be much higher quality than other “starter” sets, (Cotman, Prima, etc), but I can’t imagine anything will top Daniel Smith or Qor to me. I’m looking forward to playing with them soon.  At $25 for 12 full pans of color… seems like a steal, and I would easily recommend them to someone just wanting to try them out, or looking for a starter set.

Here’s my palette… I’ve left spots for the ones which will arrive in a week or two. The section outlined in blue holds the main colors I’ll use. I may end up removing the others, the top row, first 8, but I want to wait and try them a bit. Also, I’m torn between Golden, which gets **, and cadmium orange at ***.




Day 361 (Wed Dec 27) Anyone able to read Russian??

After months of considering, and subsequently rejecting, these Leningrad (St Petersburg) White Nights watercolor paints I have finally succumbed to their lure… They came without a palette box, but in full pans ( both full sized and TRULY full to the top pans) and I have to admit I’m finding them interesting. I was just playing around with a quick sketch with a broken sharpie marker, but now I’m thinking I need to put a little more effort into testing them. They are really bright and vivid and creamy.


(really vivid even dry)

They actually were shipped to me from St Petersburg, Russia, which surprised me, and they arrived two weeks earlier than I’d been told. At $41 for 24 full pans, these may be better than a lot of the marketed beginners sets I’ve seen (and tried). No box to store them in, it’s true. I did see other sets with an English cover instead of Russian saying they are the same type, with a plastic palette box, but I don’t know if they are. However… I do have a tin I found for a dollar that will fit them nicely, if I put magnets on them, so you really don’t have to spend a lot on a palette box unless you want to.

What else have I noticed about them? They rewet very quickly, they are moist and easy to use, they lift off easily (the colors I’ve tried)… they flow nicely. I’m still pretty committed to Daniel Smith and Qor… but these are much nicer than I was expecting them to be. The description claims they are artist quality, single pigment paints, still made the way they originally were, using traditional materials and techniques dating back centuries. Also says they contain gum arabic and honey, and are lightfast.

A quick messy sketch just throwing paint on… bold unexpected colors.


Anyone want to translate the Russian on the paper in the box (first photo) for me??



Day 350/351 (Sat/Sun dec 16/17) My sister is today’s Guest Artist…etch-a-sketch art!

My sisters and mother and I all gathered yesterday to bake cookies. (I considered that my “art” for both Saturday and Sunday) All of us are “artistic” or “creative” or whatever… one of us does etch-a-sketch portraits (and NOT with the new toggle etch-a-sketch! with the old right-hand-left-hands knobs) and they are too fun not to share!


(this one, Jodieanne, looking very professional while we work on cookies)

Here is her latest masterpiece:

And this is one she did for me when my husband and I visited her a few years ago:

Not as detailed, you say? Well, that is explained when you see its size…


Yeah, she’s good.

Day 346 (Tues Dec 12) excuses for a week ‘off’…

Excuses For a Week Off: Well, not actually OFF, but most days I didn’t do art… one day I spent hours assembling a new studio table (yay!!!) and counted that as my art project, as well as the time I spent BEGINNING to reorganize that room… one day I drew a picture but couldn’t get my entry to post (I’m still wondering if this one will)… and I did a couple other puppy sketches as well. Puppy sketches, you ask? YES!! PUPPY SKETCHES!! The main reason I haven’t posted is we invited a 9 week old newfie puppy to join our family, and I’m consumed and exhausted. In fact she just went to bed, and I’m off as well, because in a couple of hours she will be back up to potty.  So now we have CRAZY Emmett, 18 months old, 135 (or so) pounds, and sweet Clara, now 10 weeks old, 22.8 pounds as of today’s veterinary visit. And I’ve spent most of my time carrying her in and out to potty and poop, and keeping crazy Emmett from smooshing sweet Clara with his big monster feet.

Yes, her tummy is that fat. But her nose is longer. I’ll get it, though.

For the darker sketch, I used an interesting pen. I’m adding the Amazon link for the pen (I am an Amazon Associate, so if you click on it and buy the item, I do get compensated… a little… but I only add links for items I think you might enjoy. Even if you don’t purchase it, I think it’s nice to have links for items so you can read all the details about them.) It is a Kuretake Zig Cocoiro Letter Pen, I received it in one of my monthly “Art Snacks” subscription boxes. I had never seen this pen before and wouldn’t have purchased it on my own, but I really enjoyed using it. The nib is stiff and creates a very fine line, but is also flexible enough to make different width lines. The body of the pen comes in many colors, and the refill shows through the end of the pen, and includes the nib of the pen. So as the pen runs out of ink, you’ll get a new fresh nib as well. AND, you can purchase different sized nibs on the refills, and different colors of ink. So in theory… you might only need one pen body, for lots of options. I enjoyed drawing with it, and look forward to using it for writing as well. We’ll see how the nib holds up over time. To me the only drawback is that the ink isn’t waterproof. WILL I purchase a refill for it when this runs out? Yes, probably. And possibly some of the other colors. So here it is:

Cool, huh? I like the blue body… but I want the pink one, too. 🙂 The blue part is the body… everything else is the refill.

Day 338 (Mon Nov 4) ArtSnacks Poinsettias

My husband fixed whatever-it-was that had gone wrong with the whatever-it-is in the computer, which was keeping me from being able to post. (Thanks, babe! 🙂

Today I received my ArtSnacks subscription box. The boxes are small but always include full sized products (and occasionally extra samples) to try. The ArtSnacks challenge is to create something using every item received, which I sometimes attempt. In this box I received a Bruynzeel Expression Colored Pencil set (4 pack… I received a red, a gray (maybe greenish gray) and two browns, retail $7.78), a Caran d’Ache Metallic Gold Fibralo marker (this marker can go 7 days uncapped without drying out! retail $2.70), a red Krink k-32 Acrylic Paint Marker (it says odorless, quick drying, environmentally friendly ingredients. Nice touch. retail $11), Pentel Slicca Gel Pen, .25mm (I have never written with so fine a tip before… very cool!!! Made from 87% recycled plastic and draws like a dream. retail $3.15), and a Grumbacher mixed media sample pad (this is a bonus item, 4 bookmark shaped pages, it says the full sized pads feature special “in and out” pages which can be removed and replaced)

This is not the way I would have colored this left to my own devices, but I enjoyed trying to follow the parameters set and seeing what I can come up with. You can’t see it well, but I used the red and gold markers to add some contrast to the flower centers.

Day 334 (Thurs Nov 30) The completion of the Hedgerow project

Woo-hoo! Finished! 4 journal pages, the last one being what I hope is an appropriate Bible verse. I’ve since added an exclamation point to the Bible verse, and cut the 5×9″ page out. I do wish I was keeping these! Maybe that little break I took during the restaurant opening was good… I’ve come back to watercolor and ink with a new perspective. I hope the recipient will enjoy them, and won’t be disappointed. Just because I love them, doesn’t mean she will.


(I’ve made some color copies so I can put them into my own journal as well.)


Day 333 (Wed Nov 29) pen pal note/watercolor paper info

I’m sending a Christmas/birthday package to a friend and she likes interesting letters, and also trees, so I went with these two themes a little for my included note.  I cut strips of graph paper and folded accordion style, then adhered them to these two little atc sized pieces of watercolor paper, which I had painted on and allowed to (mostly) dry. Cheap watercolor paper, I might add. My paints did not react the same way on it. They didn’t flow much, and the paper dried super fast (which isn’t good if you want the paints to move) The paints didn’t move like I wanted, but did bleed where I DIDN’T want… unusual! I hadn’t realized how spoiled Arches had made me. Or what a difference 100% cotton makes. I think you can fudge with other supplies, but not with paper. But the paper was thick and didn’t curl much, so that’s good. My favorite is (so far) this Arches cold press 140 lb block,

and Amazon is offering a pretty good price on it… It is nearly $40 at my art supply store (although I get 10% off there, too) Still this at under $27 is better. I’ve tried some heavier paper, too, and loved it, but this block is great… it keeps the pages from curling as you work. It’s a nice stiff backing to work on. I love it, in all sizes. Plus, it is fun to slide the palette knife (or any flat object, or even my fingernail) into the little gap, and slide it all the way around the paper, releasing the top sheet. It’s kind of like peeling the plastic protective pieces off metal or glass… I don’t know why, but that’s what it reminds me of. Or… that feeling when you remove the protector from the peanut butter jar and you are the first person to use the peanut butter??

Are there better papers? Yes. But right now this suits me fine. Its only drawback is you must work on one thing at a time, completing it before moving on. A dagger in my heart, but probably very good for me.

(The crap paper is a “Master’s Touch” pad of 12 sheets of 140 lb 4×6″ watercolor paper… the same weight, nice and heavy for ATCs. It cost me less than $2 and is still usable (I really shouldnt call it crap!!) and I’ll still use it for ATCs and postcards.  Really for $2 it is fine, I just need to remember it isn’t Arches 🙂