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When Your Pen Leaks Make It a Feature

Here’s a sketch from 2018 when I was doing some experiments to find my favorite toned paper for mixed media. I was testing a bunch of different chipboards. They soak up watercolor and gouache but you can use acrylic markers on them. Most I found were too expensive (when you locate them and pay postage) […]

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A Little Bit of Bright Color in a Portrait

You already know how I feel about the paper in the Arteza Watercolor Book—pretty ambivalent at best; but there is nothing like a bit of bright color to make you smile. And if you are working loosely with a flat brush, you might just start giggling because you’re having so much fun. Get out your […]

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Limited Choices Lead to Successful Projects

  After my post last week about doing creative projects many people wrote in to tell me that they were inspired to start a project. One accomplished artist wrote in to ask advice: Just looking for advice. After listening to the podcast on projects I’ve decided to take up the challenge. Over the years I’ve […]

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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 2 Multi-color Backgrounds

This is Part Two 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. One of the simplest, yet most interesting approaches to a background, especially for a portrait, is to have broken color. This means that one or more […]

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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 […]

Uniball Vision pen with green-black ink sketch and watercolor, paint pens, and acrylic marker on Stonehenge Aqua hot press watercolor paper.

Mixed Media—Working Loose When Your Ink Runs

It can easily happen to anyone at any time—you do a really cool ink sketch, get the watercolors (or other water-based medium) out, start to paint, and watch as the ink color dissolves from the line and spreads into your paint. This bothers a lot of my students. I’ve even heard them gasp, cry out, […]

I have a small clearer's caddy—the type of handled open-topped case that people who clean efficiently (professionals and other efficient folks) use to carry their cleaning products and tools from one room to the next. These are available in hardware and home stores, as well as online. This one cost about US$ 8. I cut stiff cardboard dividers to insert into the two main wells. These are held in place with tape on both sides so that they don't move. (See the side of the white pen area.) By keeping similar colors together I can reach quickly for a new pen as needed. Because the caddy is a caddy it has a handle (center piece as you look down). I can pick it up and move from room to room with my markers and use them anywhere I want. (Center partition on the topside contains masking and washi tapes for a project I was working on.)

Storing My Montana Acrylic Markers

I am frequently asked how I store my Montana Acrylic Markers. As you can see from the photo I use a cleaner’s caddy.  I cut stiff cardboard dividers to insert into the two main wells. These dividers are held in place with tape on both sides so that they don’t move. (See the side of […]

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Another Look at the Handbook Watercolor Journal

Things change over time. It’s a fact when you use art materials. Papers may be made for 400 years at a mill, but over your lifetime any paper you change will have subtle if not significant changes. The same is true for paints, and brushes. Some ingredients for paints might become scarce or no longer […]

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