Watercolor Wednesday

Art, Ink & Watercolor, Sketches, Watercolor

Ink and watercolor in Stillman and Birn Zeta Sketchbook, 5.5 x 8.5

I haven’t been buying flowers lately but this small bouquet at Trader Joe’s was $3.99 and I figured it was a minor enough extravagance to indulge. I seem to always pick bouquets with something orange. Come to think of it, I pretty much always pick the same type of bouquet with the same type of flowers. Having any colorful flowers to look at is nice but maybe next time I’ll try for something different. I could really go for some red ranunculus.

Mixed Media: Pencil and Watercolor

Art, Pencil, Today's Focus, Watercolor


This Week’s Focus: Continue making new art.


  1. Finish Orange Branch painting
  2. Start second watercolor/pencil painting
  3. Write three blog posts
  4. Upload at least 4 new images to Instagram and Facebook


In my attempt to become more lucrative with my art I’ve been thinking about what qualities of my art I consider to be successful versus the qualities that other people seem to “like”. There is a disconnect but I’ve noticed a pattern. My research is based solely on Instagram, Facebook and Etsy popularity of my own stuff, which is surely problematic for a number of reasons. But I’ve found that most things people like are bold and colorful. I feel weakest with watercolor so naturally, I hate most of my watercolors. I tend to like my pencil and ink drawings best, because I think I do a better job at realism in those media- and realism, in my mind, equates to good art. Boldly colored graphic art is much more popular these days- and I love other people’s graphic art too, but maybe there is a combination of the two that would be fun and successful. I’m on the lookout for what that might be.

The painting up top is my first attempt. Graphite and watercolor on Arches cold pressed paper. Next up is another similar go with an orange branch on bristol. The trick may be finding a paper suitable for both pencil and watercolor. And how to go about the color.

+Please feel free, feel requested, to use the comments section below if you have any advice or suggestions. Any advice is accepted. All suggestions will be considered.+

If you’d like to follow this blog, see the Connect page.

Drawing with Sktchy

Accountability Review, Art, Pencil


My art time happens once the kids are in bed. Sometimes I don’t have a particular project in mind or I’m beat from 100 15-minute arguments about, for example, why a white spoon is an unacceptable alternative to an orange spoon. When all I want is to clear my mind and make my pen or brush move around, it’s nice to have something to draw that doesn’t require a lot of thinking.

For this, Sktchy is perfect. People sure do love posting photos of themselves on the internet and they put an astounding amount of effort into making themselves look good. Most aren’t professional photos, but the composition and lighting can be remarkably interesting and the images are almost always high enough quality for detailed drawings.

Not that you can’t put a lot of thought into art made from these photos. Many artists using Sktchy are making some really creative and unique work. I just seem to lean on it for my lazier days and let the photographer make the tough decisions for me. And I appreciate it.


P.S. Did I get anywhere with my goals this week? No. The worst. Mid-funk. And shrug.


+Please feel free, feel requested, to use the comments section below if you have any advice or suggestions. Any advice is accepted. All suggestions will be considered.+

If you’d like to follow this blog, see the Connect tab.




Watercolor Wednesday

Art, Urban Sketches, Watercolor


It turned out better than I expected, but I won’t say I’m happy with this. What makes me really dislike this sketch is that I drove all the way up to St. John’s bridge to paint it and realized I forgot my water jar just when I got settled into a great parking spot. All I had was a little tiny crappy water brush. So, I painted angrily.

Routine Inspection & Maintenance

Accountability Review, Advice Requested, Art, Ink & Watercolor, Pen & Ink


Each month, my planner ends with a number of questions to help recognize achievements, identify challenges, and assess progress. The idea being, that regular introspection will help keep us from veering too far down a path that won’t lead to our goal. The activity of writing this down, rather than leaving it to shower thoughts and disjointed moments of quiet, makes it much more useful. It sounds ridiculous, but sometimes it truly is hard to find time to think.

Here is one question from the planner:

Assess your priorities. Are you happy with how you spent your time? If not, what steps can you take next month to adjust them?

I spent a lot of time on the computer this month. Revamping this website, cleaning up my Etsy shop, scanning, posting, etc. It was a lot of screen time. Once I’m on the computer, I find it very easy to get off track, be underproductive and completely forget about the task I set out to accomplish. This month, much of the computer use was necessary, but in the future, I will need to figure out a way to prevent myself from getting lost in unnecessary details and mindless time sucks (Instagram, Facebook…). It’s true for everyone, but especially with small kids around: There is no time to waste. I need to do a better job of noticing when I’m wasting time and just stop.

More importantly, I need to focus on making art next month. I can’t enter a craft fair or ask for wall space in a cafe if I don’t have anything to show! I need to create a body of work that is cohesive. My flitting nature makes this very hard. I get an idea I like, make one, two or three, and then I’ve totally lost interest. How do people stay interested in one subject/medium/style? I need to give that some thought.




Friday Wrap Up

Accountability Review, Advice Requested, Art, Ink & Watercolor, Pen & Ink


Good things that happened:

A very cool stranger from Etsy bought a custom home portrait from me this week. I started it, nearly finished it, and I very much like how it’s turning out.

I have been searching for the right paper for a long, long time. Well, an alternate to the right paper, which is Stillman & Birn Zeta. But I can’t seem to be able to buy S&B Zeta in any other form than a sketchbook, so I’ve been experimenting. Finally, this week, I discovered that Bristol vellum is, in fact, an acceptable option! I had always thought it couldn’t take water, and it won’t take as much as S&B, but it works well most of the time. I used Bristol vellum for this new house portrait and it looks super fantastico.

A check arrived for my last commission job- with a bonus. Booyay!

I got the last 6-pack of Vinter Varmer from Sellwood’s Laurelwood Brewery before they sold out for the season. And it was on sale for $5.95!! A bit off topic, but so magical it must be shared. Magical, except for the loading-my-kids-in-the-van-for-a-4pm-beer-run part. I’m a good mother. I’m a good mother.


Things I learned:

Sometimes I make something fast and loose and when I’m done I think, “eh.” I share it anyway and get a crazy response. People love it.  Other times, I work for hours on something, feel great about it, and people silently, “eh” about it. I’m not sure if this means:

1. it’s all subjective so don’t worry about it too much, or

2. people don’t know what they’re talking about almost all of the time, or

3. I should stop trying because trying often leads to bOring! and not trying often leads to awesome.

Mystery. Looks like I didn’t actually learn anything here.



+Please feel free, feel requested, to use the comments section below if you have any advice or suggestions. Any advice is accepted. All suggestions will be considered.+

If you’d like to follow this blog, click the follow button revealed by the + below.


Watercolor Wednesday

Art, Ink & Watercolor, Urban Sketches, Watercolor


Color wheels are so joyful. I have an indistinct plan to cover a wall somewhere in my house with framed color wheels. I think maybe the bathroom. Or the laundry room. Someplace that really needs a blast of cheer.

The view from the window right now is quite gray so the color wheels could help in any room of a winter Portland house. Though I will say, the houses in my neighborhood are practically a color wheel themselves- so these gray days usually fail to bum me out. Maybe we should all do ourselves and our communities a favor and paint our houses happy shades of Permanent Magenta, Gamboge, and Cobalt Blue.


This Week’s Focus

Advice Requested, Art, Pen & Ink, Today's Focus


This Week’s Focus:

Continue updating Etsy listings and complete commission illustration.


  1. Finish commission watercolor and digital file
  2. Add images of art in frames to current Etsy listings
  3. Edit Etsy listing descriptions
  4. Fix all Etsy tags
  5. Take photo of product packaging for Etsy listings
  6. Make new stickers for orders
  7. Add links between Etsy listings
  8. Take and add photos to the Etsy About page
  9. Add a photo to my website About page
  10. Start new ink drawing
  11. Write three blog posts
  12. Upload at least 4 new images to Instagram and Facebook

I’ve been reading the Etsy Seller’s Handbook articles and I’ve realized that the tags for almost all my listings are completely wrong. That anyone has ever found a single one of my items is a sheer miracle. I suppose it helps that I have a few items that are obscure enough that no one else has one. So, when someone searched for “Cholula,” for example, mine is the only one that came up. But I need to fix the rest of them STAT.

There is a lot to do this week. And the kids are both sick, so there’s a reasonable chance I’ll be sick any minute. I’m not counting on this week being very productive. On the other hand, there is a lot more TV watching when these boys are too sick to play.


+Please feel free, feel requested, to use the comments section below if you have any advice or suggestions. Any advice is accepted. All suggestions will be considered.+

If you’d like to follow this blog, click the follow button revealed by the + below.