Posted in sewing

Making a Paintbrush Wrap

My collection of water color brushes has been growing. Every time I take a new class on line, I end up purchasing new brushes. Storing them stuffed into my water jar just doesn’t work too well anymore. So I decided to make a roll-up brush holder from my quilting left overs.

You see in the picture my fabric selections. The log cabin square was made to practice free motion quilt stitches for Under the Sea quilt. The funny tape measure fabric was left over from the journal covers I made as gifts.

Let’s get started.

First, measure your brushes. The roll needs to be long enough to hold them all and tall enough to cover up the tallest brush. I cut the backing fabric 13 inches wide and 11 inches tall. The inner piece holds the brushes. I cut this fabric 13 inches by 12 inches and folded it in half, which gave 13 inches wide by 6 inches tall.

Fabric trimmed up and ready for sewing.

Sew them together around the outside edges. Next, mark the points where you want to make dividers. This was easy and fun with the tape measure fabric!

All my stitch lines came out straight. Yay!

Make a standard quilt binding strip and apply it around the four sides.

This fabric was left over from the Arches quilt border.

That’s pretty much it!. You will want to add a cord to tie the roll shut.

For now, I just grabbed a piece of ribbon, wrapped it around the roll and tied a bow. Eventually I will get a nice cord or strap. Or maybe I will add a toggle and loop.

But for now, I am ready to paint en plein air at a moment’s notice.

Posted in painting

Learning to Paint Water

I’ve moved on to the next tutorial by Shari Blaukopf. This one is exciting to me because it’s all about techniques for painting water. Still water, moving water, rapids, reflections, waterfalls – these are all subjects that interest me greatly.

First off was brush techniques frequently used to paint water.

Sketchbook – first attempts

Hm, I think the wet into wet needs a little more practice.

A little better.

There’s no substitute for learning by doing, so I moved on to the first subject: Still water. Here you see my sketch and the first washes.

While I might have made the blues darker, I was well enough satisfied to move on to the next steps.

In my enthusiasm to paint, I failed to get photographs of each stage. Let’s just say that there were two more layers of wash (mostly on the trees) and then final details. Once everything had dried, I applied some white gouache lines to the still water.

Completed painting:

While I feel that I succeeded in getting the reflections right, I’m not terribly satisfied with the overall painting. I’ll probably try it again.

To see Shari’s work, you can visit her blog here.

Friday, Oct 2nd. Today I painted the still water scene again. This rendition is much more pleasing to me.

The colors are cleaner and more transparent. The sky and water are vibrant instead of washed out. And the vegetation in the background is clearly defined.

Posted in painting

Final Lesson – Painting Shadows

Yesterday my husband and I returned from a week in Wisconsin. It was the baby’s 2nd birthday and we were there to celebrate. I loved my time there. My granddaughter had just broken the code on language, and words were tumbling out of her mouth in great abundance.

I had intended to post this blog last Sunday, but family life took priority.

The reference image for the lesson was a slightly decayed old service station in South Carolina. I will admit that I wasn’t terribly inspired to paint it. Bu I knew there were lessons to be learned from the effort.

First the sketch. Only a small number of pencil lines were used. I didn’t ink them.

There is a wide curving drive way across the foreground. The sun is coming from the right side of the image. It is high in the sky, but not directly overhead. First wash:

Next came the trees and shrubs in the background.

I was okay with this work, except for the dark tree on the right. The green doesn’t seem to fit with the other shades of green paint. Here is the final painting.

Posted in painting

More Urban Sketches with Shadows

I continue to work through Shari Blaukopf’s tutorials.

This week’s sketches focus on painting shadows of three dimensional objects. Shari chose three rather pedestrian objects. And yet they offer all the elements an aspiring watercolorist would need for practicing shadow painting.

Fire Hydrant

Waste receptacles, also known as bins or trash cans.

Car parked in bright sunlight.

I find that if I take sufficient time to make a good pencil sketch, the process of applying paint goes pretty easily.

If you are interested in Shari’s tutorials, you can find them here:

Posted in painting

Crayola Fun

For the past week, my head has been buried in this project:

Under the Sea Quilt – applying binding

Well, today I finally finished it. The big reveal will happen on Friday. You will have to check my post then if you want to see final pictures. As a little break from all the sewing, I took inspiration from Jennell Willey, of “In the Artroom” Check out her blog about using crayons with water color paint as a form of resist.

Because I have been watching hummingbirds whiz back and forth in my backyard, I decided to feature one in this little warm-up exercise. She is approaching a group of tumbling down trumpet vine blossoms.

Next comes a wash of color. I chose turquoise, orange, yellow and blue, to pick up on the crayons I used in the drawing.

A little splatter won’t hurt this painting.

After it was mostly dry, I added a bit of darker green to outline the vines.

And here is the finished painting, dried and with tape removed.

It took all of twenty minutes to make and was very relaxing. If I wanted to explore this technique further, I would sharpen my crayons a bit to get a more precise line. This would be a great technique to use in making greeting cards.

Posted in painting

Structure in the Garden

This blog is about my first watercolor on-line tutorial from Shari Blaukopf. She is a Montreal-based artist who specializes in urban sketching. First let me say, I enjoyed it. The reference photo is of a barn wood clad schoolhouse relocated to an urban garden somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

My first challenge was to draw and ink the essential lines of the image. I took my time over this step, since it is critical in setting up the rest of the painting.

By the way, I’m working on Arches cold-press watercolor paper for the first time. This premier paper is much beloved by watercolorists.

Next I completed the preliminary washes for the sky, building and flowers.

After letting these dry thoroughly, I went to work on the shrubbery and trees. Shari gave instructions on how to mix eight different greens using various blue and yellow paint. This part was really hard for me, partly because I didn’t have all of the paints that she used in her mixes. I had to substitute.

To me, the various green areas look like they don’t belong together.

I let the paper dry for almost a week before I got around to adding the final details. First the lawn went in, then dark green for underpainting the brighter greens. The barn wood got more shading before all final details were added using a small round brush. After drying, I dabbed some white opaque paint onto the flowers to give a little sparkle to the scene. Here is my finished painting.

This is the first time I successfully painted a mass of foliage. I also learned how to paint a lawn and the order to use in painting flowering plants. I’m betting that I will use these techniques in many future paintings.

Shari Blaukopf’s blog is found here:

Posted in painting

Western Sunrise

Yesterday and today I took a break from sewing to paint with watercolor. I have been following a tutorial by Montreal artist Shari Blaukopf called Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink and Watercolor. My goal for this painting was to practice skies. I chose a reference photo that had a very nice sunset and featured clean, simple shapes. This would allow me to make a finished painting but focus on the sky. The photograph also featured a reflected sky (another good subject for practice.) After making a pencil sketch, I jumped right in on the sky and reflection. Next came a few pen marks to guide the rest of the work.

After drying over night I added the other washes – mountains, meadow and trees. Once these had dried, I used my brush to give texture to the trees and shadows to the pond.

So far I’m liking this. But I felt that the painting did not really show the warm glow of morning light that I saw in the photograph. To correct this, I made a wash of burnt sienna and quinacridone red and stroked it fairly evenly over the grass.

Ahh that’s better. I used a dry brush technique to give a little texture to the grass and let the painting dry. For the last step, I followed Shari’s instructions and added pen marks to the trees, grass and pond edge.

This painting gave me a great deal of pleasure. I avoided most of the miss-steps with the watercolor paint and achieved the look I was after. I guess it’s worth signing.

I will put in the link to Shari’s class, but it’s on Unless you are already a subscriber, you may not be able to open it.

Here is the artist’s home page.

Posted in painting

#Worldwatercolormonth This week’s work

My poor sewing machine has been relegated to the bookshelf while my paintbrushes are getting quite a work-out. I am making a painting everyday in conjunction with WorldWatercolorMonth.

Here is a selection of paintings completed this week. Each one is headed with the daily prompt that directed the painting’s subject matter.

7-13-20 Twisted. This gray-haired yogi is from an older generation, and she is flexible and strong.

7-14-20 Green. The reference photo is a Japanese painted fern, a cool, grey-green.

7-15-20 Forgotten. I’m told that umbrellas are the items most often left behind at museums. This sad blue umbrella was left at the terrace cafe.

7-16-20 Machine. All I could think of was Leonardo da Vici’s marvelous drawings. Here are two of da Vici’s machines done in pencil with color wash on top. I even added some reverse-image handwriting as practiced by da Vici.

7-17-20 Spontaneous. Angela Fehr provided a tutorial on painting spontaneously. This was made following her example. After throwing down some sepia lines, I spontaneously added purple and yellow patches. The painting began to reveal itself as a mountain meadow in early summer.

After today, I will be taking a pause from painting. Tomorrow we leave for Wisconsin. The lure of the North woods is irresistible, wherein resides our daughter and her family. The trip promises to be a cool and noisy respite from our state of self-isolation.

See you in a week or so.

Posted in painting

This week in #Worldwatercolormonth

Here is a small gallery of the paintings I did in response to World Watercolor Month daily prompts.  In viewing the images, you will notice that I discovered my orange paint this week.

070620 Flow


070820 Fall

07920 Fruit




I’m happy today, also, because I received a delivery of art supplies, including white opaque paint, better known as Gouache.  Next week I will see what it can do.

Have a good week-end.