Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
We're painting whimsical watercolor trees in today's mixed media tutorial! If you've never played with watercolor before, the loose watercolor painting technique featured in today's project, is perfect for beginners!
If you're new to watercolor, or have a new palette to swatch, make sure you grab my FREE Swatch Sheet so you can swatch your watercolors out before we get to the painting portion of today's project. Simply click on the button below, and I'll send it straight to your email!
Before we continue, super quick announcement: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links, but by law, there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support!
Today's mixed media art book review is of Danielle Donaldson's Creative Girl: Mixed Media Techniques for an Artful Life. (If the book isn't available on Amazon, you can also find it here). I actually love this book so much I'm doing a painting project from it for my mixed media YouTube channel, and a drawing project for my drawing channel next week!!
I think seasoned artists will also love today's watercolor painting, especially if they're in the mood for a relaxing project that isn't gonna take all day!
Let's get started with the flip-through of Danielle's book...
What I love about Danielle Donaldson's watercolor art, is her light and airy touch. It's SO whimsical. She has a very dinstinct way of leaving white space throughout her paintings and illustrations, that I just love! You'll really begin to recognize that if you start to look for it.
In this book, she opens with an overview on supplies, an adorable little project called "Stash Stations," and 3-4 pages of art challenges that you can use to break through creative block with a friend! Personally, I think these are just genius!
Danielle fills her book with so many unique ideas to get your creativity rolling - from saving cutouts of words from books (so they're always ready to be turned into art journal quotes!), to cute new ways to illustrate watercolor girls with tutus and so much more.
Throughout this book, Danielle also builds on projects from earlier chapters as the book progresses. I love how she helps us continue thinking about a project after we think it's "done," and turns it into a layer for a completely new project.
Today I thought I'd try to do one of Danielle's projects from this book, in her style - allowing white of the paper to peak through my watercoloring!
For me- this is WAY harder than it looks! LOL!
I'm using hot pressed paper becuase it's nice and smooth for drawing.
To get us started, I'm taping my watercolor paper down to a clipboard, which is actually something Danielle taught me in one of her workshops!
Stick with me to the end of the video to see how beautiful the straight edged border looks around my painting after the blue tape is peeled away.
For the background, I'm trying to really do some loose watercolor painting in a "Danielle style" - keeping the shades I've selected very pastel.
The colors I'm using are by Daniel Smith and in a cute little travel watercolor palette I made from scratch! If you want to learn how to make one too - check out that fun tutorial.
I hit the background for today's whimsical watercolor trees with my hair dryer to make sure it's fully dry, so I can starting drawing on top. I thought it might be fun to use my non-dominant hand (left!) to draw some cute little trees with wobbly lines.
Next, I did a light wash of loose watercolor for each tree, and tried to leave those little white specks of the paper showing through, but it's hard! My instinct is to cover them up!
After the trees are painted and dry, I used my white sharpie paint pens to add outlines in a variety of thicknesses. I'm struggling to find one that works well or isn't dried out, so I decided to pull out this really cool gift my husband got me for Christmas from Copic. It's an opaque white and like a nail polish applicator. It does the trick perfectly and looks adorable.
I totally felt the urge to do some pencil squiggles on top for a little more interest, followed by a few splatters of watercolor on top for a fun, artsy effect. Whenever you've got the urge to try something - you've gotta go with it!
Make sure you WATCH today's video to see everything in action. I hope you learn something and have SO much FUN trying this at home!
If you'd like to learn a little more about drawing, I've got the PERFECT event coming up and would LOVE for you to attend!
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Today I'm trying 5 watercolor moon painting techniques out to see which ones create THE BEST lunar effects! Check out what happens when I test naturally granulating watercolor by Daniel Smith vs adding granulating medium. Plus- how does regular table salt compare with kosher salt watercolor painting? And- how does the texture of my favorite Fabriano watercolor paper change the effects when I paint on hot press vs cold press paper? Click over to today's video to find out!
Before we continue, super quick announcement: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support.
I've drawn 5 moon circles on each page of Fabriano watercolor paper. On the left, I've got 140# hot press (smooth) watercolor paper, and on the right- I have a sheet of 140# cold press (textured) watercolor paper.
I love granulating watercolor (this means the color separates a bit and you can see tiny particles in it, like in the pic above). The first granulating shade I chose to work with is lunar violet by Daniel Smith.
I coated this entire circle with plain water first, then applied the color.This technique is called wet on wet watercolor.
For fun I decided to add a few droplets of rubbing alcohol using a pipette to see if this would give me the look of moon craters. Above is how it looked on the textured, cold press watercolor paper.
As you can see, wherever the alcohol droplets were added, the watercolor dispersed. Click over to the video to see how the wet on wet watercolor technique looks on the hot press watercolor paper.
I tried the same alcohol watercolor technique to see how this looked on the hot press watercolor paper, and so far I'm loving how this looks.
For the next "moon," I used the same wet on wet technique with rose of ultramarine by daniel smith. While it was still wet, I sprinkled some table salt over this one because salt watercolor painting can give you some gorgeous effects!
Isn't that beautiful?!
The next color I'm testing out is shadow violet. This time I used the wet on dry watercolor technique, and tried adding a few extra droplets of plain water to see what happened. At first I kinda hated how this looked- but after it dried, it started to look a bit more "planetary."
For my fourth watercolor moon, I decided to use cascade green (also by Daniel Smith). I mixed this off to the side with about 50% granulating medium because I really want to see how this separates the colors of this gorgeous blue green.
I just love the way the colors immediately separate in my palette, but it doesn't transfer to the paper in the same way like I expected it to, so that's a little disappointing.
The final color I wanted to test out today is imperial purple (another granulating watercolor by Daniel Smith). It separates into pinks and purples and reminds me a lot of the effects I love getting from activating my elegant writer! It's so pretty (bottom right corner, below)!
For this one, I tried adding one more medium - an irridescent medium, and just becuase I love salt watercolor painting effects, tried sprinkling kosher salt on top.
Once dry, the irridescent medium doesn't do very much to create that shimmery look I was hoping for, so again - I'm feeling a little disappointed in this medium.
Today's test has definitely shown me that the mediums I tried aren't really worth it, and we're better off just getting a set of irridescent, metallic or granulating watercolors if these are effects we enjoy.
Thanks for hanging out with me today! Make sure you click over to the video to see each technique in action and decide which one YOU like best!
Today I'm showing you how EASY it is to set up a travel watercolor palette from scratch! All you need is a small metal tin (an empty altoids or mints tin works great!), some watercolor tubes, watercolor half pans, an adhesive magnet roll or glue gun, a sheet of watercolor paper ... and you're good to go!
Before we continue - super quick announcement! All product links below are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support!
Watercolors are one of the easiest art supplies to travel with because they don't take up much room. If you make your own diy watercolor paint palette - YOU get to choose how many colors to include and how big the palette is.
Today I'm choosing my tin first. I've got a number of random ones in my stash on hand that I've purchased at my local craft stores or other shops when I've been out and about. You can often find cute, empty tins for $1, sometimes less! I also found this little set of tins on Amazon in case you're interested.
One of my favorite ways to travel with only a few watercolors is to create an altoids watercolor palette! It's so compact - you can pop it into any bag and bring along 3-4 of your favorite colors. These make the cutest little gifts!!
All you need to do this is an empty Altoids tin and a few empty watercolor half pans (shown below).
Next you need to decide how you want to affix your half pans into your tin! My two favorite ways to do this are to either cut off a snippet of adhesive magnet tape, or to hot glue each half pan into the tin.
Be sure to click over to the video to SEE how I'm doing this!
I've found using magnets is a great way to give yourself some flexibility in case you want to change your colors out from one trip to another. For example- if I'm headed to Scotland I know I'll want a variety of greens, grays, purples, light blues and golden shades to paint fairies, florals, landscapes and castles!
If I were headed to the beach- I might trade out a lot of my greens for a wider variety of blues, and I may add in more colors to paint sunrises or sunsets - depending on what I'm in the mood to capture!
If trading out the colors of your travel paint palette sounds like something you want to do - definitely use the adhesive magnetic tape.
I actually found 50 half pans on Amazon with magnetic strips already attached for only $6!
Next, we need to select which watercolors to include in your palette. Honestly- this is probably the hardest part! The struggle is REAL as I start pulling out my watercolor tubes and comparing them.
If you're having a tough time choosing from the tubes and only have room to include a few - do a little swatching to compare the shades and help you narrow things down.
Once you decide which colors you want to include (I only have space for 12 today), simply squirt a little paint from each watercolor tube into your half pans and let them dry overnight.
If you want to know exactly which colors I selected, scroll down to the bottom of this post or click over to the video and check out the description box.
Since the watercolor half pans I'm using actually had some raised writing on the bottom, my adhesive magnet wouldn't stick so I needed to use hot glue to get them to stay in my tin.
After all of my half pans were in position in my tin, I cut out a piece of watercolor paper to fit inside my tin, and traced some ovals on the sheet with this template. Then I added a touch of watercolor to each half pan and labeled what color each oval was (so future me knows which watercolor tube to pull out later when it's time to refill my half pans). Easy!!
When my swatches were finished, I brought my swatch card outside and sprayed it with a touch of Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer (in matte).
I've found this stuff to be amazing because it doesn't re-activate the watercolor I've already put down, and it's fantastic for when I'm actually watercoloring later because that little card is protected. If I spill water or a drop of paint on top - it TOTALLY wipes off!
Click over to the video to see how EASY this is!!
If you have a laminator- that would be a great choice too, and you can totally skip the mod podge spray.
Once my mod podge sealer was dry, (or your swatch card has been laminated), I flipped my card over to spray some multipurpose adhesive on the back. This way I can pop that card into the lid of my tin, glue it in place, and not worry about it falling out! (Trust me - this step is SO helpful becuase those little cards ALWAYS fall out!!)
SO EASY, right?! These cute travel watercolor palettes make excellent gifts and are also a good way to split the cost on more expensive watercolor tubes (like Daniel Smith!), if you have a creative friend who wants to share a few tubes together!
If you're interested in building your own Daniel Smith watercolor collection - I've got a video on that to help you. I know these are super expensive and it can be so hard to decide which colors to get. They're all gorgeous and there's no wrong answer, but check this video out for a few pro tips before ya buy!!
Need a list of the colors I added to my travel watercolor palette today? Here ya go!!
Thanks for hanging out with me today! See ya back here next week!
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Who doesn't LOVE a whimsical christmas tree?! And let's be honest... who doesn't love a FUN project that's both QUICK and EASY?!
One of my friends over in the Awesome Artist Facebook community didn't believe me when I told her she could create this watercolor Christmas card in just 5 minutes, so I had to do a video to prove her wrong :)
Even if you've never even tried watercolor before, you absolutely CAN do this whimsical tree. It's perfect for beginners!!
If you don't celebrate Christmas, stop the lesson @ 6:25 and you'll have a cute pine tree watercolor painting!
If you're just learning how to watercolor for beginners - I have a super fun FREE DOWNLOAD for you! Simply click the button below and you can download my free Swatch Sheet!
Once you grab your swatch sheet and print it out, you'll likely enjoy this video teaching you how to use it! I print my swatch sheet over and over to swatch watercolors, markers, you name it! It's a life saver to help you keep track of what your colors look like on paper vs. what the tube or cap color LOOKS like the color should look like on paper ;)
Before we continue, super quick announcement: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links, but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support.
Now let's get back to today's cute watercolor project!
For this SUPER EASY watercolor Christmas tree project, I decided to try out a new little travel set of watercolors by Field Artist. This set comes with THE CUTEST, space saving travel watercolor brush that screws together.
I chose to paint our little tree on one of my adorable 4x6 watercolor postcards by Winsor Newton.
If you've never played with watercolors before (as an adult!), this is THE EASIEST watercolor project for beginners that you can probably find!
I'm keeping things very simple and using a green straight from my palette. Watch the video as I demonstrate an easy watercolor technique you can try at home with a flick of your brush to make the tree branches.
Before I move on to the next step- I take a minute to pause and dry my painting with a hair dryer.
I find this works SO much better than a heat gun, because I can control the temperature of the heat (believe it or not- some supplies can melt under the heat gun!). Also- the air flow I get from my hair dryer generates a lot of power- which means my paper is dry SUPER FAST! If you know me - FAST is something I need in my life;)
If you want, you can choose to add a secondary layer of green branches on top of what's already been done for a little added dimension, or just leave it as is! If you choose to do a second layer of green- take care if you're a watercolor newbie, becuase even a little water will reactive your first layer of watercolor, so things could move around on you. If you don't want this to happen, try to use less water on your brush when you wet it before tapping into your second shade of green.
When this second, optional layer is totally dry as well, I add in a few cute spots of color as ornaments, along with a teensy, yellow star on top. Then it's time to hit it with the hair dryer one more time!
After the ornaments are fully dry, I pulled out one of my fountain pens to doodle around on my tree for added decoration.
I'm using a fountain pen filled with ink for the next part, but you can use a pen, a pencil - anything you're in the mood for and already have lying around at home!
And that's it!! I know! Can you believe it? Told ya it was a quickie, 5 minute watercolor project! So easy if you love to send a little something handmade in the mail at Christmas time for cards or presents.
Have fun painting!! I wish you a MERRY EVERYTHING & a Happy New Year!!
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