Day 3 - Palomar watercolor on Yupo

Today, I focused on abstract shapes in a landscape. I worked from a photo that I took on a camping weekend at the Palomar Mountain (near San Diego). I made a few sketches and a not-so-successful watercolor painting before arriving at this piece.

Palomar. 10x10" watercolor and Nupastel on Yupo. Currently not for sale. 

I used a bit of Nupastel in addition to watercolor. You can see the squarish marks from where I dragged the piece of pastel on its side, in the tree foliage and the path. I will probably rework this again. One of the wonderful things about Yupo is that it allows you to wipe off (or just wash off under the faucet) most, if not all, of the watercolor.

Watercolor painting on Yupo video demo - "Sunflowers in D Major"

Watch my new watercolor on Yupo video demo! This one is my interpretation of the famous painting by Van Gogh, "Vase with Twelve Sunflowers." My husband was looking for art contests online and found one where you had to make your version of this painting. It probably doesn't mean a lot but it was fun to do! I was immediately inspired to make a Yupo painting and, since I haven't done a video in a very long while, I decided to record the process. If you're interested in buying this 26x20" painting, let me know!

Enjoy the video and please share it!

Orchids in Red - watercolor on Yupo

floral watercolor on yupo painting orchids in red flowers 5.5 x 11.5"  Yupo, I've missed you. :)

Started off as purple-red orchids (which is what they actually are) on a light blue background - but I didn't like it and changed my mind to light flowers on a darker background. Thankfully, Yupo is perfect for changing everything in the middle of painting! I plan on making a similar painting with yellow orchids. My husband gave me the purple ones for Valentine's Day - and I'm proud to say they are still alive and thriving - and a couple of weeks ago, he brought me a pot with yellow ones. They also survived :)


Chris and Sarah's Adoption Journey

Last week, I received an email through Etsy asking me to donate some art for a silent auction intended to raise funds for an adoption. I didn't think much of it at first but I went to their blog and read the story behind this request. This Louisiana couple has been trying to have a baby for 7 years and finally, decided to adopt. They are currently in the middle of the process, with the baby due on April 15. So, after exchanging a couple of emails with the future-adoptive-mom's sister (who contacted me in the first place), I decided to help out. I have a 1.5-year-old son who, while making me fear for my own sanity at times (yep, already!) and taking way much more time and attention than I bargained for, is the joy of my life.  I am sure that all of the above will become true for this brave couple :)

The auction will be held tonight starting at midnight through Sunday midnight at http://thescottsblog.wordpress.com/. In addition to a number of fantastic things donated by artsy and crafty people from all over U.S., you will have an opportunity to bid on these three archival prints:

cherry blossom spring flowers watercolor painting on yupo

"Cherry Blossom II"

poppy field watercolor on yupo painting

"Poppy Field"

sitting nude watercolor painting colorful

"Brooke VI"

Hoping to send these to some familiar names!


Manhattan - Virtual Paintout

A very quick wax crayon and watercolor on yupo, 10x10". I definitely could have used fewer lines!

And a very dead day at a very local arts&crafts fair. It was their first day of the first year running the fair, and it was a Friday. And we got a thunderstorm by the end of the day - something that almost never happens here in the desert. Everybody at the fair is hoping for a better tomorrow, and me...I'm just enjoying a break from being a stay-at-home mom.

Art in the Village review and my interview

art in the village poster

A couple of things happened since my last post. First of all, we participated in our first real art fair last weekend - Carlsbad Art in the Village. Here's the poster with my "Cherry Blossom II" on it :) :

Unlike with our local markets and swaps, we actually had expectations for this one. It was supposed to show whether or not we are ready for large regional events and whether it is worth paying $200+ to participate. Well, when it comes to generating interest and attracting visitors, I think we are ready. A lot of people stopped by. It is the beauty of an art-dedicated event: all who come there come for the art. It was great to have an "audience" with a genuine interest in and appreciation of my work and art in general.

When it comes to sales...er...it wasn't that good. We did make our money back with a very small profit on top which disappears when you count things like gas and food. We didn't have to pay for a night's sleep (our friends at Camp Pendleton were kind enough to let us stay with them AND they came to the show AND they bought an original painting and a print) or for childcare (my family was visiting and they were more than glad to watch the kid while chilling at the nearby beach). Still, we didn't lose money, and that's something, right?

Some of the highlights of the show:

  • being in Carlsbad. Perfect weather. Beautiful streets. Intelligent people. Don't ask me why I moved to the high desert, it's too prosaic...
  • seeing our friends and family who came to the show and made me feel special :)
  • the smell of the ocean! And almost getting soaked in cold water when I was sitting on the sand breastfeeding Elijah and didn't notice a particularly strong wave sneaking up on us. We were saved by my husband :)
  • some comments people made...Like, coming from a dark-long-haired young man with a guitar, "All these colors...This is just too happy for me. I like Gothic...And why so many babies?" - the babies (five of them) are on the wall with examples of my portraits.
  • being a Yupo-evangelist. I even gave a little piece of Yupo to one lady.
  • a friend of ours buying an original painting. I didn't feel like I was giving my baby away, but it was still very special. The painting is the "Cheeseburger in Paradise", I mean, "Lahaina, Hawaii" ;)

For my husband's review of the fair, go to http://theartistshusband.blogspot.com/2010/08/carlsbad-art-show-report.html

A few days before the fair, I was email-interviewed by Jennifer The Milk Mixer. Jennifer is an artist herself, and maintains a blog where she writes about creative people she meets. She found me through Twitter (@YevgeniaWatts) and liked my paintings. She asked me if she could feature me on her blog - and of course, I was all for it! You can read the mini-interview here.

Cactus Flowers - watercolor on Yupo

There is a corner house in our neighborhood with a very nice and neat front yard, a fine example of successful desert landscaping.  A month or two ago, they had a blooming cactus plant (I wish I knew the name of that particular kind : /). Me and the cactus flowers liked each other at the first glance - and then the game started. When I passed them in my car or on a walk, I didn't have a camera on me. When I went there with the camera intending to take photos, the flowers closed or fell off or the light wasn't good enough...So, after weeks of hide-and-seek, I finally managed to snap a couple of pictures that were good enough to make a hyper-detailed painting. And then, during one of our local swap meets, I made this:

Watercolor on Yupo synthetic paper.

Watercolor on Yupo synthetic paper.

8.5x11". I like them...I am still planning on a larger painting with more of the plant shown but I'm not sure how to show the cactus spines without getting into too much detail.

Bell Peppers - watercolor and crayon on Yupo video!

Since several people asked me how I do paintings similar to "Tomato Juice" - watercolor on Yupo with wax crayon as a resist  - I gave up and made a video. Actually, i made three videos but only two of them with the camera on and only one where the painting is close enough so you can see what's going on. The result is one video and three paintings :) The video:

(sorry it's so small - I recorded it in vertical format :/. I promise I will know better next time)

And the paintings:

Watercolor and wax crayon on Yupo synthetic paper.

Watercolor and wax crayon on Yupo synthetic paper.

Watercolor and oil pastels on Yupo synthetic paper.

Watercolor and oil pastels on Yupo synthetic paper.

The first and last ones have oil pastels as resists.

Artist Network TV free weekend review

So, did you do the Artist Network TV free 4-day weekend? I did. And even though I felt that there was too much basic stuff and not enough good watercolor videos, it was nice. I "discovered" Stephen Quiller. That is, I've definitely heard the name before and saw some works, but last weekend, I discovered the way he paints. Fantastic. If I ever have a chance to take his workshop, I will.

Charles Reid turned out to be very boring, imho. Maybe he should stick to books :)

I enjoyed Mark Mehaffey's watercolor on Yupo workshop, even though most of the techniques and tricks he showed I already learned by myself and with the help of my online artist buddies. It was still fun.

A couple of things I learned from around 10 workshops that I watched:

  • When working from a photo, put it away as soon as you can. Copy machines do the copying, you do art. When you don't have the photo to imitate, you have to refer to your own mind which is a good way to bring a bit of you into the painting. When doing portraits, of course, I tend to hold on to the photos longer, but I still like to finish the painting without looking at the photo. It's not a "find 20 differences" game, it's a work of art.
  • Stephen Quiller, for example, along with many others, works from a black and white sketch (instead of a color photograph). It gives you the values, but also the freedom to make stuff up :)
  • I knew that most American watercolorists prefer flat brushes to round ones, but now I saw the flat brushes in action. I still like the round-ness of the round brush, and its ability to pick up the paint from my St Petersburg 24 pan set (a good size flat brush is too big for it). I still think that a round is better for some things - but I will be experimenting with flats, too.
  • A masking liquid tip that I already tested and determined that it's great: When masking, dip your brush (that you dedicated to masking for life) into water, then watered-down dish soap, then water. Repeat as needed. This keeps your brush clean!
  • It's better to under-do a painting than to over-do. Everybody knows it but we still need to be reminded now and then. Quiller actually said something along the lines of "When you're beginning to have a really great time doing something (like splashing paint or placing your trees in a landscape) - STOP!"

And that's a nice end of a blog post, don't you think? ;)

Monthly sketch project - macaw watercolor

So this crazy stuff is actually my interpretation of the photo from Monthly Sketch Project :). It is a 13x20 watercolor on yupo. It is also the second attempt at interpretation, as the first one turned a bit too boring. Here, I used mostly palette knife and a big round brush . I don't think I'm going to keep the painting (it is still lacking a lot) - but it was a fun experiment. Turn it upside down - and you see some weird flower...

The secret language of art

I've been thinking (at this beginning of a conversation between me and my husband, at least one of us usually feels a little uneasy :). So, I've been thinking: Why is it that people keep saying that my art is "happy" and "joyful"? Why do I make bright, saturated colors and soft textures? Anybody who knows me will agree that I am not a happy, joyful, and colorful sort of person. Not typically, anyway. Maybe the saying "Tell me (what kind of art you make) and I'll tell you who you are" does not apply to art. Or maybe we don't really know ourselves and our art shows the true nature, or just another side of our nature? Are my colors an expression of a secret desire to be flamboyant? That's what I've been thinking.

And then there's art-we-make versus art-we-like, also. I often feel that the art I like (usually other people's art, of course) is a better expression of who I am than the art I make. Paradox.


Monthly Sketch Project and my first ACEO

Latest Monthly Sketch Project has a beautiful reference picture and I just had to paint it. I have also been contemplating ATC/ACEOs (Artist trading cards/ Art Cards Editions and Originals). So this is my monthly sketch project entry which happens to fit the size of an ATC:

I might do a larger one, too. The drawing here is the result of another experiment. Somebody on WetCanvas suggested using wax paper to write one's signature if it will be in a dark area of the painting. Before you paint, you put a piece of wax paper on top of your watercolor paper, sign the painting, and then when you're done, the signature stays white against the dark background. That gave me an idea to try this method instead of crayons!


  • easier to achieve finer lines
  • you have a drawing on the wax paper that you can refer to (since it's hard to see the white lines on white paper!)


  • almost impossible to see the lines
  • easier to wash off than crayon. Not a good thing if you want your lines to stay where you put them.

Speaking of trading cards, I couldn't find any well-organized place to exchange with other artists. Anybody interested? Here is another one that I listed on Etsy:

Some pretty interesting effects here I think...


Tomatoes and watercolor, my love!

I love tomatoes and tomatoes love me back :)

Tried two things here: drawing with a crayon ( I intentionally left gaps in the lines, so that the paint could flow from one area to another) and printing with the back of a corrugated cardboard cup holder. The latter idea I borrowed from the beautiful "Expressive Portraits" by Jean Pederson.

Painted on Yupo, of course (will I ever go back to traditional cotton rag paper? I think I will). 10x13 inches. I listed it on Etsy - but I won't be too disappointed if it doesn't sell. I kind of...like it. A token of my undying love for the juicy, fleshy fruit-vegetable that a humble tomato is. The golden apple.

On a somewhat different note, I forgot to mention earlier that I went to the Fallbrook Art Center, which was hosting the "World of Watercolor" exhibition. It was pretty good in general - and even it weren't, it was worth driving 120 miles to see this in person:

It took the Fallbrook Art Center 2nd Award - though I think it should have been First. So much mystery and beauty, and such a unique technique. I loved the light blue line that appeared here and there, and the glimpses of gold. Here is the picture of it that I took at the center (ouch! Shame on me! But couldn't not take it - I was in love!):

And this one was my son's favorite:



Failure is your friend?

When I was reading Nita Engle's "How to Make a Watercolor Paint Itself" I noticed how lightheartedly she talks about "failed" paintings and unsuccessful attempts. Her "failed" paintings look like my greatest ambitions. Same with a lot of other wonderful painters that I found on the web: they seem to be quite fine with admitting that they, too, fail, and moving on. So what is the secret? The more work you produce the easier it is to discard one of so many? The better you get at what you're doing, the higher your standards get and so you push yourself to do better and dismiss weaker art?

I like getting things right the first time but this painting below is actually a second, and almost third attempt. Almost third - because while working on it the second time, I struggled through a time or two when I wanted to wash the paint off yet again and start over.

I'm pretty happy with the outcome though. Already sold it on Etsy, too!  Everybody likes cherry blossom I guess :)