Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Watercolor bird journal 2019

To finish off the year once again, here are all the watercolor bird paintings I created during the past year. Not as many as last time, but I did fill the rest of the pages in the journal.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Unusual painting of a crow

  This 20" X 16" acrylic painting is titled "Violet Light." I started painting this piece two years ago and I finally finished it this August.

american crow wildlife art acrylic painting

This is what happens when I have too much fun with the highlights and saturation sliders while I'm editing my reference photos. For some reason I thought it would be cool to paint a blue and purple crow...

Friday, November 22, 2019

Introducing Luna!

This is my new rescue mutt, Luna. I'm sure you will see more portraits of her in the future. So far I've only done a few sketches and cartoons...and taken photos, of course.

Luna absolutely loves to play with basketballs, so I had to paint a cartoon of her pouncing on one.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Random Project of the Week - One-of-a-kind clock

A few months ago I opened my sketch book and randomly sketched out a clock decorated with different species of birds. I thought it would be fun to make, but it needed to be more unique. Later it came to me - I would make the birds into the numbers!

I created the bird numbers digitally, printed them out, cut them out by hand, sent them through the sticker maker, then stuck them to the clock body. The clock body is a wooden circular sign I found at the craft store which I hung from the "wrong" side so that the back, which I painted teal and white, is facing out. The frame hides the clock mechanism perfectly. It couldn't have worked out better!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Boston Terrier quilt

Not really my project, but I wanted to show this. My mom made this quilt for me and I think she did an excellent job. I did have a say in the layout and I cut out the Boston Terrier applique (yes, that's Sissy!), but Mom picked out most of the fabrics and did all of the sewing. It kind of matches my blog, doesn't it? She knows what my favorite colors are!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Can you create great paintings using cheap craft acrylics?

I began my acrylic painting adventure a little over a decade ago. Well, actually, I created my first painting when I was much younger, but about 11 years ago was when I started to take painting a little more seriously. One day I picked up a few 50¢ bottles of acrylic craft paint and I never looked back.

I found myself painting almost daily in my sketch book, mainly using illustrations and photographs from books as reference. I then graduated to painting on canvases and continued to improve.
A couple of my early paintings from 2009 and 2008 in my sketch book.
I later began painting on canvas, but continued to use craft paint (below).

I learned so much about painting during those few years using cheap acrylics - how to blend colors, how to mix colors, how to create the look of fur, in what order the tones should be applied, and more - and I didn't feel held back by the cost of the paint, so I didn't stop painting and, thus, I didn't stop learning. That is until I began to read more about professional artists and the materials they use. It was when I learned about lightfastness I realized that I probably should be using the "real stuff" - the stuff that is made to last longer, the stuff that is made for professional artists.


So I got a few tubes of artists' acrylics to try out and I found that they just aren't the same. I became frustrated with the artists' acrylics because the consistency and colors were not what I was used to and I kept going back to using the craft paints. But the more paintings I created with the cheap paint, the more I became worried that the art I was working so hard to create might not last more than a few years.

Eventually I pushed myself to learn to only use artists' acrylics and I am glad I did. I may not paint as often as I used to due to being afraid of wasting paint, but those lightfastness ratings on the sides of the tubes give me peace of mind. AND now I don't have to deal with the other downsides of low quality paint - the dull, flat, poorly-pigmented colors, and all those bottles full of lumpy dried acrylics! There is, however, one thing I really miss about craft paints...they're cheap...really cheap.

Acrylic craft paint vs. artists' acrylics
So, is it possible to create great paintings using cheap craft acrylics? The answer is yes. Would I recommend using craft paint to a complete beginner? That depends on the individual, but I'd probably say yes. Buy a few bottles and try it out. Gradually introduce tubes of artists' acrylics to your collection and use them together with the craft acrylics to compare and get used to them. If you end up not liking painting in acrylics, then be happy you didn't spend all that money on a set of better paints. If you end up loving it, then after you have learned the basics you can move on to using all artists' acrylics and feel confident that your work will last.

P.S. I am relieved to report that I have not yet noticed any fading in my old craft paint paintings (that were kept indoors). 😌

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Random Project of the Week - Robin cartoon

I painted this American Robin singing its cheery song for the first day of spring. I used Sennelier La Petite Aquarelle watercolors and Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens on Bee Paper.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Random Project of the Week - Shoebill cartoon

My first piece of art of 2019! This painting is the result of one of my evening sketching sessions. The creature is a very strange (and awesome) bird called a Shoebill. These birds already look cartoonish, so I guess I really didn't do much to it to make it a cartoon...

I used Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens, watercolors, and acrylics on 100% cotton watercolor paper by Bee Paper. I haven't used this paper much, mainly because I haven't created much art that is worthy of this higher quality paper, but last year I did make my first watercolor swatch chart with it.

Don't pay attention to the order in which I swatched the colors... 😳