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In Context: Things You Learn in a Day

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Working Transparently and Opaquely with Watercolor

My eyes have still not settled down after the cataract surgeries (January 28 and March 5). There are some issues which appear to be permanent. I’ll deal with them in another post. Today I wanted to write about the drive to paint in color, the need to push paint around. If you saw the journal […]

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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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What Is a Study?

    Artists often make “studies” of a subject before they jump into working on a painting or detailed drawing. Why is it useful? Why is it important? I think a study is a notion of the bright sparkly possibilities ahead.  When we look at a subject we recognize something and try to get that […]

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Notes to Yourself in Your Journal

I find the practice of making even brief notes during or at the end of a sketching session  help me focus where I want to go next. If something turns out too elongated I try again, often with a different pen or tool, as I did here. And I might even make a small diagram […]

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Upgrading Your Paper Choices for Sketchbooks, Visual Journals, and Art

  To get the best results when sketching and painting it makes sense to use the best quality materials that you can afford. Then upgrade those materials as your budget allows. Recently a blog reader wrote in saying that she had upgraded her art supplies to artist level watercolors (mostly Daniel Smith), purchased some quality […]

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How Do I Keep a Journal or a Sketchbook?

I get asked all the time “How do I keep a journal or a sketchbook?” I teach journaling classes in which students create in visual journals. I teach drawing classes that require students keep a sketchbook. Some people also ask me how journals and sketchbooks differ. The questions have so much “extra” weight. What those […]

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Don’t Miss the 11th Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out!

  It’s almost time for the 11th Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out! Saturday, August 24 and Tuesday, August 27, 2019. Location: Minnesota State Fairgrounds in  St. Paul, Minnesota. See this link on the Fair Website for driving instructions to the Fairgrounds, and a printable map of the Fairgrounds. (These maps are available at the Fair […]

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Ways Your Journal Reflects Your Life—Unfinished Tests, Unfinished Sketches

      I hear from a lot of blog readers and students that they work on their journal sketches later, if they can’t finish them when they first set out to sketch. I believe a journal needs to reflect your life. That puts me in the “move on” camp if a page isn’t finished […]

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Different Watercolor Papers Take Paint Differently

Different watercolor papers take paint differently. The higher the quality of the paper the better the fibers and sizing used to make it will interact with your paints (which need also to be quality artist paints). If you’re having an issue, like the one I was on this spread (read my handwritten comments), and on […]

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