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Simple Approaches for Backgrounds—A Five-Part Series: Part 5 Lifting Off Color

This is Part Five of a five-part series on executing simple backgrounds in your journal or other artwork. Part One of this series can be found at this link. I’m going to end this series with the simplest approach to background texture—color lift off. To do this you need a paper with sufficient surface sizing […]

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Simple Approaches for Backgrounds—A Five-Part Series: Part 4 Fold Outs

This is Part Four of a five-part series on simple approaches to backgrounds in the visual journal and paintings. See Part One here. Last December I was buried beneath the latest of the blog transfer issues. I didn’t get to post a number of images and posts I’d worked up. Today’s image falls well into discussion […]

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Simple Approaches for Backgrounds—A Five-Part Series: Part 3 Patterns

This is Part Three of a five-part series on simple approaches to backgrounds in the visual journal and paintings. See Part One here. Today I wanted to look at pattern—it’s something that you can use to quickly fill up the background space around a subject. I’ve written about some of my favorite approaches numerous times […]

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Simple Approaches for Backgrounds—A Five-Part Series: Part 1

I was organizing my images for blog posts and noticed that I had a lot of common themes, some not as obvious.  What do the images in today’s post and those referenced (linked) all have in common? Well all but one have backgrounds painted AFTER the sketch is made (and typically even after the sketch […]

Here's another detail of today's sketch so you can see the paper and stroke texture.

New Winsor & Newton Watercolor Paper Part 3: Professional Hot Press

This is the third and final part of my three part series on the new watercolor paper lines from Winsor & Newton: Professional, which is their wood-free fine-art line; and Classic which is their wood-pulp (but acid free) paper. See part one in the series here. Note that this is the NEW Winsor & Newton […]

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New Winsor & Newton Watercolor Paper Part 2: Classic Cold Press

Before doing my watercolor demo at Wet Paint on April 7, 2018 I had to test the “Classic” cold press sample I’d been given. I feel that “Classic” is a bit confusing as names go. To me that sounds like “traditional,” or “original.” While I don’t drink Coca Cola, it sounds like Coke Classic and […]

Here's a closer look at those dirty washes.

In Context: Dirty Brushes

In general I like to start a work session with clean brushes. Which means you want to end a session by cleaning your brushes. Sometimes when I’m sketching out and about there isn’t enough water in my water brush to flush out the bristles. I find that I would rather paint something than worry too […]

A 9 x 12 inch brush pen portrait with watercolor washes and a Montana Marker acrylic background. That yellowish color—that's Schmincke's Green Yellow.

This Is Not A Review—The Best Laid Plans

  Today I was going to start a week long review of either a sketchbook I’ve been working in or a paper I’ve been working on for the first part of the year. But life happened. Those reviews will still come along, probably in April. All the images are scanned and organized, I just haven’t […]

Painting with ink washes on top of a pre-painted background texture. Actor Yannick Bisson in "Murdock Mysteries." Fabriano Artistico Cold Press 140 lb. watercolor paper.

Ink Wash on Pre-Painted Background Textures

Textures make me smile. What can I sketch on one today? I ask. The other day I made this brush pen and ink wash sketch on a pre-painted background texture. I love the way the yellow bits of textured background show as a glow here and there while the warmer reds come through as warmth […]

The large, about 9 x 11 inch Japanese Lined Journal that I love to sketch in with the Pentel Brush Pen and Acrylic Markers. Carl Too is standing around watching the paper dry.

What’s on the Table?—The Curl of the Paper

I just love working in my favorite Japanese Lined Journals from APICA. The paper loves the Pentel Brush Pen. Sometimes I work in gouache on this paper, but sometimes I leave the sketch as is and turn the page. Other times I put in an acrylic marker background. I used an orange 15mm wide Montana […]

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