Watercolors Again

No, I haven’t given up on watercolors! You just haven’t seen any here for awhile because I’ve been into other things…

But a few weeks ago I participated in an “art swap” from The Art Colony site. When you do an art swap, different people sign up to make either artist trading cards (ATCs) or postcards on a specific topic, and then you mail them to each other. My job was to make postcards on the theme”Pets”.

So I decided to try watercolors again, since I had these 4×6 postcards made out of watercolor paper. (Yes, one thing I have learned is that the paper is important…so try to match the type of paper to the media you are using, if possible.) You’ll notice my collection of Tombow watercolor brush pens and my rather cheap set of watercolor paints. choosing a brushMy trusty assistant, Foster, helped pick out the right brush.paint h2OThen he decided to check out the paint water. “Mom, watch out! If you get too many colors in the water it will turn all black and mess up your work!” (Or, of it wasn’t that, he could have been saying “Hmm…is this some new kind of green tea? Should I taste it?”)

innocent“Hey Mom! How come you’re gathering up all your stuff and going outside? I was just getting into this!”cat not doneOutside on the patio I was able to get something done. (No offense to my assistant, you understand.) I had drawn the designs with a pencil, gone over them with Micron pens, and then erased the pencil marks. Trying to be patient, I added a little bit of color and waited for it to dry before adding more.cat doneI decided to let well enough alone, and pronounced this one finished. I still have problems with putting down too many colors and causing the murky, purplish-black smudgy look you see on flower at the top right.  I probably could have gone back with the Micron pen to make more designs inside the leaves…but either I decided against it or it just occurred to me right now. friends not doneEver think fish and cats wonder why they can’t be friends? The marbles at the bottom of the fishbowl had the potential of becoming another one of those smudges of unrecognizable color, so I proceeded with extreme caution.fishAlmost done…cat and fish Okay, not perfect, but not too bad for a beginner.bird startedThe bird proved to be the hardest of all. I had an idea of how I wanted it to turn out and the paint wasn’t cooperating. I’ve discussed this in an older post, “Control”, where I realized my “problem” with watercolors is precisely that: control.bird part 2I got water and a paper towel and tried to soak up some of the paint to “start over”. Watercolor kind of does what it wants. I like my art to do what I want, and “follow directions the first time”. (Wait, where have I heard that before?)

Making progress…bird close upStill not satisfied, I decided to try something really daring…mixed media! I “know” all kinds of artists (from other blogs and the Art Colony website) who do mixed media all the time. Before, it had never occured to me that you could mix paint with gel pens, colored pencils, markers, acrylics, or whatever.  It was kind of an “if-you-start-with-gel-pens-you-have-to-end-with-gel-pens” type of thing. (Time to get brave, sister!)tropical birdFinally finished! If you look closely you can see the sparkly gel pen on the bird and on the plants. I liked his little sparkly, rosy cheek, which you can see if you know what to look for.all 3Okay, all done! I did make one more but it wasn’t watercolor, so these are the only ones that get to be in this post. Happily I mailed them off to Marion, a really nice lady  in Australia.australia map

That’s one of the fun things about art swaps, and The Art Colony; you get to “meet” and share art with people from all over the world!