Tag Archives: watercolor and alcohol

More Two-Color Series and PPF





claw your way out of the valley : watercolor and alcohol on wood panel

This is the third piece in my two-color series (see the others here and here). It took me quite a while to get this piece just right. I was growing increasingly frustrated at how it was turning out and then with one final (miraculous) brush stroke, everything just fell into place. I think I’m starting to rely too much on anticipated outcome and that is not serving me well. The techniques that I am using in this series are meant to yield very organic designs/textures and trying to control them too much is counter-productive.


Also, I am submitting this piece to Paint Party Friday. I’ve never contributed anything there before because I’ve mostly been doing illustrative work. Now that I’m painting a bit more, I figured I’d give it a shot.


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Another New Painting





some kids weren’t meant to be cool : watercolor + alcohol on 8×8″ wood panel

This is the second piece in my two-color series. It isn’t a terribly unique color combination, but I did a lot of work creating variations in the shading and texture of this piece. I also used the natural grain of the wood to my advantage. I think it adds another layer of visual interest and is one of the advantages of using wood in the first place.

I am going to be adding this piece and kate is not a hipster to my Etsy shop today. I have mixed feelings about selling my original work on Etsy. I had intended to have my actual web site finished by now, but since I don’t (and I have no real desire to even work on it) and I really need to start selling some of my work, I guess I will put aside my ‘Etsy issues’ and just do it.

UPDATE : some kids weren’t meant to be cool and kate is not a hipster are now available on Etsy.


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A New Painting? Yep!





kate is not a hipster : watercolor + alcohol on 8×10″ wood panel

This afternoon I finished the first painting in my new two-color series. I decided to go with wood panel rather than paper. It posed a completely new set of challenges, but also yielded new and interesting results. I am really interested in exploring what I can create with these limited color palettes. It is definitely a challenge, but I think that by incorporating some different watercolor techniques, I can create something meaningful and (hopefully) aesthetically pleasing (to someone other than myself – heh).

Also, I made a HUGE mess of my studio working on this and another piece in this series today. There is paint everywhere – on the floors, my desk, my laptop, my clothes. So, apparently, I am capable of making messes (out of things other than my life – heh).

So, thoughts?

UPDATE : some kids weren’t meant to be cool and kate is not a hipster are now available on Etsy.


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Illustration Friday : Swept

Wow, this is the earliest that I have finished an Illustration Friday submission. And, at only 2.5 x 1.25″, it is also my smallest Illustration Friday submission to date.

This was actually one of the two-color swatches that I mentioned earlier. I started doodling on a couple of them and thought that this one looked like the perfect setting for my favorite paper boat. So, here it is, being swept away by the sea. I hope it ends up somewhere better than where it started.

watercolor + alcohol + colored pencil on paper



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I’m Out of Control! (sort of)

Generally speaking, my artistic style is not very loose. I like to work small and controlled. I like to stay inside the lines. And I don’t like messes. In other words, I’m pretty much the exact opposite of what an artist is ‘supposed’ to be. Heh.

Working on a smaller scale helps me keep things neat, tight, and under control. It also satisfies my ever-present need for instant gratification (lest I lose interest in what I am working on and then never finish it). Oh, and then there’s that whole I-work-in-a-teeny-tiny-studio thing.

Lately, I’ve been in kind of a slump, not just in the artistic sense, but in pretty much every aspect of my life. Living with a two-year-old has pushed the limits of my ability to control my environment. Furniture gets moved. Things get spilled. Little handprints appear on my walls. There is sand and mud and mess. All the time.

I never cease to be amazed by moms who don’t even bat an eyelash as juice boxes spill on their floors and pizza sauce smeared hands brush across their furniture. I marvel at their ability to not cringe as entire bins of building blocks spill.

I am the same way with artists. I am so impressed by those with the ability to just try things and see what happens (without worrying about making a mess or wasting materials or screwing up). I long to be one of those artists who lets their work ‘tell’ them what it wants to be, instead of using all of my energy to control the outcome.

This week, I started experimenting with some watercolor techniques that involve a certain lack of control on my part  Рa big step for someone who has pretty much dug herself into a rut of only using watercolor pencils (sharpened to a fine point, of course!) in order keep the colors from moving too freely. It has been interesting, if not a bit therapeutic. And, at times, it has been messy (but not too messy, since I have still been working small).

The one technique I keep going back to is creating textures with Isopropyl alcohol. It is actually fairly easy to do and can create some pretty spectacular results. It is also pretty amazing to watch. When the alcohol hits the wash, it repels the paint, which will start to snake its way around the paper, sometimes trying to flow back into the alcohol treated areas. I have actually seen paint quiver along the edges of the alcohol spots for quite a while. It really is quite fascinating.

Today, I did some quick two-color swatches and treated them with alcohol just for some color study practice. Rather than trying to control the paint, I just sort of let it run and flow however it wanted (another big step for me). The results made me very happy. I saw patterns and shapes that were new to me (with regards to my own work, at least).  And I gained an appreciation for my ability to create abstract work (without having a complete nervous breakdown Рheh). I also put together some unlikely color combinations that I probably would never have thought to use in my tighter style of work.

A friend has pressed me to explore this more abstract style. I wasn’t so sure about it at first, but I have found that it is a nice break from and much less stressful than my current illustrative work. So, I guess we’ll see where it goes from here.

photo : color study in watercolor + alcohol by yours truly

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Random Drive-by Blogging

Just a few randoms before I wrap up this Friday afternoon…

  • I’ve been messing around with some different watercolor techniques this week. I started the doodle pictured above on Tuesday and it took me until today to finish it. The washes are watercolor splashed with alcohol and the doodle (heavily influenced by Deirdre McCormick) is white gel pen, which I am still trying to get the hang of.
  • I updated my blogroll yesterday. Be sure to check out the awesomeness there.
  • Oh, obviously, I was not killed in my sleep or spirited away by demons last night. Yay!
  • I have a surprise coming this Monday. It is something I’ve been meaning to add to the blog for quite a while now and I’m finally getting around to it. Stay tuned, it’s fun!
  • At the end of today, I will be 85 posts away from my goal of 500 by this blog’s one-year anniversary.
  • I am giddy over the number of comments I’ve received lately! Did you know that if you leave me a comment and include your blog link, there’s a 97% chance that I’ll add you to my Google Reader? It’s true (but I also suck with numbers, so I may be off by a percent or two – heh).

Okay, I’m done.

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Illustration Friday : Shadows

Shadow Tree : watercolor + alcohol + ink on paper

This piece was a total experiment from start to finish. I incorporated some techniques that I’ve never tried with watercolor before and this is what it turned into. Admittedly, I had to tweak the colors a bit in Photoshop since I used some of my cheapy watercolors that I reserve for trying out new things. Plus, I rarely use dark colors and I’m not so good at it (yet).

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