Tuesday, July 2, 2019

World Watercolor Month (Check These Giveaways!)

Since I've been so into watercolor lately, I started checking in on Doodlewash again. I found this website back a few years ago when I first started dabbling in painting and they are a fun resource to get great inspiration and prompts if you're stuck on what to paint. Lo and behold, it's actually World Watercolor Month! They really amp things up during July, so it's only fitting that I decide to pick up the medium again now, it seems.

In honor of World Watercolor Month, Doodlewash is hosting some really wonderful giveaways! I just wanted to give you guys the head's up in case you'd like to start playing with watercolors yourself :) These giveaways expire this week, so click the links to enter while you still can - these are lovely prizes!

Enter Here to win this American Journey watercolor set courtesy of Cheap Joe's Art Stuff.

Enter Here to win this Van Gogh 12 pan watercolor set plus 72 color dot card from Royal Talens.

Let me know if you win anything so I can be super jealous! I'll post the new giveaways next week too, so hopefully we can all win some sweet swag!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Watercoloring Again and More Art Shenanigans

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I've recently become obsessed with watercolor painting again. Back in 2017, I decided to learn to watercolor paint. My biggest achievement and most progress was made during July of 2017 when I participated in the Daily Painting Challenge on Creativebug where we painted a new flower each day with Yao Cheng. I had a lot of fun that month, but shortly after that I kind of fell out of the habit. Maybe I was just all painted out after painting every day for a month? Mostly I know that my old problem of not knowing what to paint without having a prompt caused me to just stop painting. I hadn't really picked it back up since then (so sad), but back in June I started to become a bit obsessed again after discovering the work of Josie Lewis. She paints beautiful geometric designs in watercolor, and she put out a book teaching color theory through her designs, so I bought myself a copy. Then she restocked her limited edition watercolor palette in early June and I just had to grab one for myself since I love her chosen colors. 
 This is what came in my package - look at that awesome painting on the cover of the book! The book includes templates so you can recreate these types of paintings yourself, but before you get there it works you through other projects to build up your ability to mix the colors like she does.
 One of the first projects is to make a color value chart - I seriously always love color charts, so I was right on board. I cut some larger watercolor paper in half and printed out the template (which you can download off her website) on nice watercolor paper. I love the format and evenness the template gives and I love that I can see all the colors I can create with this palette at a glance.
I also had to just mess around with the pretty colors, so I painted these little amoebas. Look how vibrant these are! I just love it. I also love the little tin this set comes in - you can mix in the palette really easily and it all closes up very compact (you could easily fit it in your purse). Just bring along a water brush and paper and you're set.
And about a week later I was just messing around and came up with this little painting. I like it so much I made it the cover on my Facebook page, lol. This was before I got better brushes too, so I'm sure I will be playing around more now :) Princeton Neptunes - check. them. out. For real.
 All this playing around inspired me to pull out some other art supplies - acrylic inks! I grabbed these on major clearance and hadn't really used them at all until now. Their little bottles just look so cool and I thought they might work like watercolor (spoiler, they don't - big surprise, right?)/
Then I decided to keep the amoebas going by mixing my few acrylic inks to see what combinations I could get and test out the different looks I could get. The painting on the right is with acrylic ink. I will say that I was impressed with all the colors I could make with just my primary set and the metallics are fun but more designed for lettering, but they just don't have the zip and glow in the color that watercolor gives. They also dry more streaky unless you even it out completely yourself - I was used to the flow of watercolor evening itself out. So, I will certainly use these, I just won't expect them to be like watercolor now. I also decided to make a color chart for another palette - this is the Windsor & Newton Cotman 14 Pan Travel Set, which I do like, but some of the color choices are a bit odd. They include white, which I will probably never use, and the two reds included are so similar I don't really see what the point was there. But the glory of this set is that I can pop out the ones I don't like and replace them with any other half pans I would use instead, so I will be adding a neutral tint I've filled myself and then I'll have to decide on the other color. I LOVE the case on this though. It has several mixing areas, a tiny dish you could mix in or put a little water in to use as a wash, and it includes the most adorable little brush that also fits inside. I just love that everything is so contained and easily portable - plus it's just cute. This was another thing I got on major clearance, so I'm really happy with it for the money. Now I'm just glad I have the colors painted out in front of me for reference.
So, the Josie Lewis book includes lots of projects that are designed to ease you in to more complex color mixing projects. Having made a goal of working through the whole book, I decided to start with the very first one. It involved smooshing acrylic paint around with a palette knife, and it's definitely something I never thought I'd do, lol. It was pretty fun though, even if my color combo came out kind of Miami Dolphins looking. That pthalo green really takes over.
Another beginning project is a color value collage. I've never been one to do much collage, but again it was pretty fun. I used 2 fishing magazines, a crochet magazine, and some junk mailers because that's what I had on hand and I'm pretty happy with the result.
And just yesterday  decided to make color charts for my most used watercolor set - the Kuretake Gansai Tambi 36 pan set. I bought this back in 2017 about halfway through the flower painting challenge and I really liked these for how vibrant they were compared to the total cheapo set I was using before. Since there were so many colors, I never did a proper color chart until now. Thanks to the templates in the book, every palette is my oyster as far as color charts go :) I will confess that as I do more watercolor I am less enamored of this set of colors, but they really are lovely so I'm glad I did this to reignite the spark and make me want to use these again. And just as a reference for anyone else out there that is considering getting this set, I've included some close up shots of each page so you can really see the range of colors included.

The final page does have a few extra colors thrown in because I have them in tubes and needed to see their value somewhere. The are Windor & Newton Artists' in Naples Yellow, Windsor & Newton Professional in Neutral Tint, and Windsor & Newton Designer Gouache in Spectrum Yellow. Anyway, I hope this helps someone out there :)

So thank you for enduring all my random art adventures of late! Seriously who knew making color charts and simple art projects with not much skill involved could be so much fun? I will be progressing through the Josie Lewis book throughout the year, so be forewarned that you will see more posts of my projects some time. I've included a link to the Creativebug class that helped me so much in case anyone is interested. Fall down this hole with me!

*contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Idea: Talent Does Not Exist

Over the past 6 or 8 months, I've had almost no sewing or knitting time whatsoever. For a while I was able to just muscle through knowing that eventually things would get better and I would have time for myself again. Well, life doesn't really work that way, unfortunately. After so long with almost no creative outlet at all, it's suddenly bubbling out all over the place. My creativity has been prodding me big time searching for a way out. In my spare moments here and there, I have turned to watching online videos. I started out with Creativebug, which is always great, but one day I happened to see a video by Josie Lewis and I've been completely hooked ever since. I bought her book and have made a goal to work through all the projects. I've watched almost all of her youtube videos, which include tutorials as well as opinion pieces and whatnot. She is lovely and I enjoy the few minutes each day wen I get to watch her talk about something artistic. 
Last night, I came across this video and I just had to share it. I think anyone who makes anything with any regularity will agree with this idea. I certainly do. It's something that I wish I could just shake people and make them understand every time someone tells me, "Wow, I wish I could make things like you do - you're so talented!" It sounds vain, but this video will show why it's really not vain. Do I have talents, sure. But do I believe they just fell from the sky and I could magically do some of the things I do? Absolutely not. I worked hard for YEARS at the things I do. I sucked just like anyone else when I started out, but I was determined to learn whatever it was (sewing, knitting, fancy baking, film photography, singing, etc, etc...) so I just stuck with it and eventually, I improved. All you have to do is want to learn something and dedicate yourself to the task - it will take a while, but you will get better and eventually you will be as good as the people you admire. It's a simple idea, but definitely not simple to put into practice.

I think that once you've seen this happen in your own life - where you made a decision and stuck it out until you got good at something - that makes it easier to do again with the next interest you have. I am always inspired by things I see others doing, and occasionally I decide I want to do that too. For me, this means that in my flux state of my creativity, I've been able to explore the work of others and give things a try. At the moment I am determined to learn brush calligraphy - I started the class with The Happy Ever Crafter last year, but I fell out and gave up. This year, I have gone farther than ever before and I plan on going all the way. I have to say, this one has taken more self control because it really is not coming as easily as I hoped, but dang it, I WILL be able to do this! I'm also dabbling in painting and collage thanks to Josie Lewis book (which is great, you should check it out). All these things just take consistent practice, and I enjoy the little time I get to devote to each when I can. Eventually, I will be able to sew again, but at least I have a few other creative outlets in the meantime :)

What do you think? Do you agree that talent doesn't exist?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Outfit Along 2019 - Hello! I'm Still Alive!

Hello, All! Man has it been a long time - I've never gone so long without blogging since I started in 2009, and while the initial reasons for the absence are still unshareable (but getting ever closer to the epic share post), I've also bought a house and moved in the interim putting many of the things I love on hold for months and months just to keep myself going forward with all the "have to dos" of my life. BUT I am in my house and look forward to not moving for at least 5 years or so, meaning I can start thinking about making things again. In fact, all I can think about lately is making things since my wardrobe is getting pretty tatty and/or ill-fitting. I'm spoiled now - I can't go back to hours of shopping only to have poorly made clothes that don't fit my body. Aside from the odd Target t-shirt or thrifted bathing suit here and there, I have had no new clothes in this whole time. Craziness. Anyway, I am ready to just back on this sewing horse and love my clothing again. Very apropos to the announcement of this year's Outfit Along today. 
If you've read this blog over the past few years, you'll know I've participated in the OAL since it's inception except that I skipped last year (again due to the wonderful but unshareable info I'm witholding, lol). Here are my finished posts from 201420152016, and 2017, all of which I still wear on occasion (or wish I could but are now too small). I've been trying to pick what project to start my sewing habit back with for a couple of weeks and just can't seem to decide with the vast choices available. Thanks to today's OAL announcement I will be able to narrow things down much better :)

In previous years, the Outfit Along has always had 1 group knitting pattern and 1 group sewing pattern the tutorials were based off of, yet you could still choose something different if the suggested patterns were not for you. The idea was just to complete 1 knitted item and 1 sewn item that coordinated from June 1st to July 31st and make yourself an "outfit". I've used the suggested patterns here and there but if that pattern wasn't my style I went with something that was more me. This year though, the overall theme has altered a bit. This year's focus is on finishing works in progress (wips). At least one of the items for your project must be an old wip and the rest can be new if you choose. This works out perfectly for me because I've felt guilty for a while about how long my poor Dahlia cardigan is taking.
In 8 days I can celebrate that project's anniversary - exactly 1 year since I started it :/ Disgraceful! I used to finish 5 sweaters a year. So sad. Anyway, I've really wanted to finish this up and now i will have a small fire lit under my butt to get it done and a reasonable timeline in which to do it. I may have majorly decreased/non existent knitting time but I only have the last 3rd of the front of the body, the sleeves, and the seaming left to do. Now that I have a deadline of sorts, I know I can squeeze out the necessary time.
I don't have my sewing projects picked out to make this an "outfit" yet, but I plan to work entirely from my stash on this project, technically making everything I make qualify as a wip by the new rules since I plan my projects when I purchase the fabric and patterns. So now I just have to narrow down what will go with the coral Dahlia cardigan and run with it. I'll report back once I've picked my projects :)
Now that this post broke the ice with my dusty 'ole blog, you can expect to hear from me every now and then., including the couple of projects I've made since last September but never blogged. Sadly my output won't be what it once was, but I plan to share some of my home improvement projects as well as other endeavors I've taken up in my absence. I hope you can stay in touch! And if you are still here after all this time, thank you so much for still keeping my little blog on your radar :)