Monday, July 30, 2007

Japanese Garden @ Butchard Garden, Victoria, Canada

Even though I didn't get to paint 31 landscape paintings for the month of July, I did paint!!!! Each piece got easier and I found I was using a lot of my watercolor tools that I've collected over the years.
This is from a photo of mine that I took last year in April at Butchard Gardens. April through September is the best time to really see this garden at it's best. Silly me bought a year pass thinking I'd be visiting the garden monthly, not knowing my life would move me further away from the garden. At least I have over a 100 photo references pictures to work from.
Painting landscapes really stretched me artistically. I found I had to figure out how to convey more without being a slave to a detailed sketch. I also found my hundred watercolor technique books helpful. If I got stuck I could usually find a solution in one of those books.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bryce Canyon Utah

I know the landscape is more red,but here is my interpretation of Bryce Canyon.

reflective painting

Tried to capture the reflection of the hills and trees.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No painting today

On a sad note, today my mother-in-law died. She was 82. She had been ill for the past year and her health steadily declining. I was just rather thankful that my husband was able to fly home in time to say his goodbyes before she passed. Sometime in August we will fly to Canada for the memorial service.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

cliffs, rocks, and ocean

This painting was relaxing and fun to do. The only problem I had was with the grasses between the rocks. It wasn't until I was almost done that I found my liner brush and was able to do some of the grasses with the liner.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


This is a landscape from memory. I've been playing all day with my Derwent watercolor pencils on various papers, and I've come to the conclusion that the wc pencils are most effective on traditional watercolor paper 140lb or 300lb with a smooth surface.
This drawing was done on Lama Li paper. I didn't like the fact that the paper is rough and the watercolor pencil doesn't glide on when the pencil is dry or even when it's wet. I tried applying the wc pencil to a wet brush and then applying it to the paper. If the brush is too wet the Lama Li just soaks up the color and the paper itself starts to lift.
I have used Faber Castell watercolor pencils on 300lb paper and the pencils work with no problem. The color goes on smooth and when you take a brush to the wc pencil, it moves like traditional watercolor paint.
So If I do use watercolor pencils in the future, I'll stick to my Faber-Castell and 300lb watercolor paper.
Experimentation is good and that is what this whole blog is about.

Another view of yosemite

Another view of Yosemite. I did this in my Lama Li watercolor book using all of my watercolor pencils.

Somewhere in the UK

I decided to try my Derwent signature watercolour pencils. I had bought these years ago, and recently found the 24 pack tin when I was setting up my studio in my new house.
I also used Prismacolour pencils as the first layer and then added more colour with the Derwent wc pencils. I used my watercolour brush, the type that hold water on the top to fine tune the painting. This was a quick sketch and I like the intensity of the wc pencils.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Landscape done in Chinese Brush painting "Love & Good Luck"

Today was my monthly Chinese brush painting class that I'm taking with Nan Rae in Burbank,California.
The lesson of the day was using black ink and creating a landscape painting. I've been putting off working with the black ink because I wanted to get another set of Chinese brushes that I would use only for my ink work. Anyway, using the ink was easy and found the whole process rather relaxing. I basically did a very thin line drawing in ink of the tress; then filled in some of the branches with ink and then with watercolour. I was amazed at how easy it was to make images of mountains with just the side of the brush. The paper I used was rather thin flower absorbs really well. Once the painting is dry I turned the painting over and on the back side I used a large hake brush and wet the whole backside. Then I came in with a very faint colour, which I spread on the entire back of the painting.
On the bottom right hand corner is my official Chinese Chop or Seal. The seal establishes the artist's identity and is used to authenticate the painting. So my seal is my first name translated phonetically with Chinese character representing each syllable.
So "Irene" translated means I= Love; rene= Good Luck;
So my artist identity is "Love & Good Luck." I just think having my own Chinese Chop/Seal is so cool.


Another small landscape piece of a rock fence.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Grove of trees

Grove of trees 6" x 6" wc paper. Daniel Smith watercolours.


I think I work best at midnight. I was up again painting and was rather surprised when I looked at the time.
Italia wc paper 6" x 6", Daniel Smith WC.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Monet's Giverny Waterlillies

I think the best part about traveling is all the great photo references one can store up. I was going through my photos and I came across one of the many photo references that I took the last time I was at Giverny in France.
This piece was done on Stonehenge paper 9"x12" using Prismacolor colored pencils and then Daniel Smith watercolours.
I started this last night at midnight using just colored pencils. Sometime this afternoon I was getting frustrated with the drawing not coming together. So I brought out my watercolors and just started dropping watercolor over the colored pencil. I wasn't sure what the out come would be, but I found that by using the watercolor over the cp...the watercolor filled in the white specks of the paper that the colored pencil didn't cover. Then I was able to go back over the drawing with colored pencil to give the piece more dimension. If anything I learning about myself is that I'm getting more confident in trying new things with my art.

Wet on Wet

I was a rather busy girl today creating art. I like working in various sizes, smaller the better! This watercolor was done on Italia watercolor 140lb paper 6" x 6", using my Raphael watercolor set.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Raphael watercolour travel set

Yesterday when I was at Dick Blick I also got a Raphael watercolour travel set for under $20. I wasn't so much interested in the pans of paint,but more the compact size of the travel set. So I decided this morning to try out the colours that came in the travel set on my Lama Li paper. I did a colour swatch and this small practice piece. I'm convinced that any type of watercolour will look good on this paper.
I was pleasantly surprised with the saturation of the Raphael wc and just as I thought, Lama Li makes any wc paint look good. I'm not sure if Raphael wc are student grade, but my guess is that they probably are. Anyway, once I use up the paints I'll just squeeze my favorite Daniel Smith paints in the set.

Yosemite reflective colored pencil

When I lived in Northern California, my husband and I would go to Yosemite for a couple of days several times a year. He'd take large format photographs and I would attempt to either paint or draw. Plein Art at Yosemite during the summer is the pits. You have to contend with the bugs,heat, and the tourist. But what can I's Yosemite and I love it there.
Yesterday I took an artist break and drove down to Pasadena to Dick Blick. I went to buy a couple of tubes of paint, but ended up buying a 24 pack of Derwent coloursoft pencils that were 1/2 off;two new art books;a Raphael travel set of watercolours, and 4 watercolour brushes.
So this morning, while my husband was working on the shaded side of the backyard, I took my new Derwent colored pencils and my Lama Li sketchbook outside and did this 8.5" x 11" colored pencil drawing in an impressionist style. The Derwent coloursoft pencils are nice, but would of liked a larger range of colors...I ended up getting some of my Prismacolors to enhance my drawing. Also, as much as I love my Lama Li sketchbook paper, the paper really isn't suited for color pencil work. It is fabulous for watercolors, but with colored pencil I found I had to really press hard on the surface to fill in the ridges
I really like working in an impressionist format and I completed this drawing in less than 2 hours.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Somewhere in Greece

I know the perspective is off and I can't seem to remember where this is, but I do know it was somewhere in Greece, on one of the islands. I was just playing around with a limited palette of Daniel Smith watercolors. Who says mountains can't be blue,water shades of yellow, and trees purple. I rarely just play when I paint and after I realized the perspective was off, I just went for it. Next I'll use a ruler!
Lama Li 8.5" x 11" paper.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ocean and beach

I love the ocean and this beach reminded me of Santa Cruz in Northern California.
Lama Li wc paper; Daniel Smith watercolors; 8.5" x 11"

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Montana Clouds

It's been a long time that I've been excited about watercolor paper and paints, but when you have a combination of Daniel Smith watercolors and Lama Li watercolor paper, painting is so much easier and fun. 8.5" x 11".

I felt like the painting painted itself. I think too finally all the years of struggling to paint, I finally just allowed the paint do it's thing.

Lavender fields of Provence

I think I'm finally back on track. This month I'll be focusing on doing landscape watercolors from some of my favorite places. What I would like to accomplish this is month with my paintings, is to be able to filter out a lot of the information that I see on my photos. Less is better.
This painting was done on 8.5" x 11" Lama Li watercolor paper. I used Daniel Smith watercolors.