Spring is coming! Also more black paper!

This week it snowed in upstate New York. I keep trying to remind my self that warmer weather is on its way. I was lucky where I live as it was just a dusting that quickly melted but Western NY got quite a lot.

My Mother’s Facebook post on the 9th.

I stayed in yesterday instead of prepping my garden beds because it was so dang cold! But, the world will go on and it will warm up eventually. I have been painting blooming branches to remind me of that last month. This week seemed like an appropriate time to post them. ūüôā

Happy Art Jounrey,



Book Review: 30 Minute Landscapes

Watercolor Made Easy: 30 Minute Landscapes by Paul Talbot-Graves is a compact book very nearly a pamphlet it is so thin and small. But, it comes packed with useful information. This is a book I highly recommend for a beginning watercolor artist and has been very helpful to me. It is a great little book for both beginner and intermediatory watercolorist as there is much to glean even with its compact size.

My first attempt at a landscape painting.

The beginning of the book includes a basic introduction to watercolor supplies and techniques then dives into twenty-seven mini-lessons each taking less than 30 minutes to complete. The book is easily accessible being clearly written in a manner understandable to those with little art experience. My very first landscapes in watercolor were painted with the help of this book’s guidance. A beginner can pick up this book and the supplies listed at the beginning and basically have a nice little painting the first day. I didn’t even have the recommended colors when I attempted my first lesson (above). I just did my best to match up what I saw in the book with my little cheap travel Koi set I was using at the time. Not a masterpiece by any stretch but it was satisfying to put something together that actually looked like what it was meant to be. Learning to paint can be diffiuclt and often progress is slow. But, this little book can give you some low effort fun projects to keep you going in between rote brush practice. All but two of the images I am sharing here are from when I started watercolor painting about two years ago. All I really had to learn from was Skillshare, Youtube, and this little book. None of these are great but I do think they show that even a beginner can produce a recognizable scene.


Even though I have been painting in watercolor for about two years I find myself returning to this book on occasion as it has some of the best descriptions on how to simplify your paintings. Less time spent on a watercolor painting means less risk of muddy colors.  It is a great tool for maintaining your daily art practice if you are feeling short on ideas and inspiration.  Because it is so little I will often take it to the park with me. I practice one of the quickie lessons while my kids play on the playground equipment. As you can see above in the feature image for this post. I was painting on a park picnic table. It is a great addition to your mobile art kit and the book will sometimes sit in my little watercolor kit for weeks at a time. The lessons include practice on many of the major watercolor techniques, washes, blocking-off with frisket, wet on wet, wet on dry, and so on.

The original lesson had a man here I subbed him out for a doggy.

Over time I have found I can apply the techniques in the book to my own art.  One need not stay inside of the formula of each lesson. Below is a little watercolor sketch in my art journal where I applied what I learned from the book to my own work.

A watercolor sketch in my art journal from my trip last year to the Smoky Mountains.

Packed with information for multiple levels of ability and at only $10 Watercolor Made Easy 30 – Minute Landscapes is well worth adding to your art Library.

Happy Art Journey,



Inktober Week Four: The Home Strech

There are only three days left to Inktober! I found week four to be the hardest to keep up with. We had multiple illnesses in our family and many of the pieces I did this week are not my best work. But, I still think it is important to get in daily art practice even if it is only fifteen minutes. I write more about Inktober and why I think it is a good idea here. How did your week four go?

Day 22: Trail

My Path is a Tight Rope.

For day 22 of Inktober I was inspired by the exploits of Maria Spelterini this first woman to cross the Niagra George on a tightrope. Technical and brush pens on drawing paper


Day 23: Juicy

Just some simple technical pen and marker drawings¬†of fruit.¬† The grapes feature the contents¬†of this Month’s ArtSnacks box. Technical¬†pens, ink, and markers.

Day 24: Blind

For Inktober day 24 ‘blind’, I choose Lady Justice. Lady¬†Justice¬†the personification¬†of Law is often shown as blindfolded to represent¬†a lack of biases. I am not the best at figure drawing but I¬† think I am getting better. Brush pen and technical pen.

Lady Justice was done in the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and Micron Pen.
Lady Justice was done in the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and Micron Pen.

Day 25: Ship

This was a less than a great day sick kids, sick hubby, and I  was also down with a stomach bug. The image shows the Midgard Serpent in the depths below a Viking Knarr.  Jörmungandr was thought to be a child of Loki and was a dragon so large he wrapped around all of Midgard. He is a component of Ragnarök the doom of the Gods.

The Midgard Serpent and a Viking Knarr for Inktober day 25 ship
The Midgard Serpent and a Viking Knarr for Inktober day 25 ship

Day 26: Squeak

A mouse having a very bad day. The reference is from the Wet Canvas reference library.

A mouse caught by a cat. Brush and technical pens with markers.
A mouse caught by a cat. Brush and technical pens with markers.

Day 27: Climb

Witches’ cats get together on Halloween to climb an old farm wall. I had time in the evening so I did a larger illustration. The outlines are in nib pen with India ink. I completed the piece¬†with watercolors and markers.

The Witches' black cats party on Halloween!
The Witches’ black cats party on Halloween!

Day 28: Fall

Black cats have fun with the fall leaves in this Inktober illustration. The outlines are in nib pen with India ink. I completed the piece with watercolors.

Fall Cats
A little fall fun!

That is it for now.

Happy Art Journey,


Inktober Week Three: Almost there!

Inktober is an art challenge started by artist Jake Parker in 2006. Participants challenge themselves each year to create an ink drawing for the 31days of October and share their creations on social media. I write more about Inktober and why I think it is a good idea here. While I do have to complete simpler drawings on weekdays. I am surprised how I have been able to produce a drawing each day while keeping to the official prompts. We are now in the home stretch with a week and some change left. How has your Inktober been going?

Day Fifteen Mysterious

This creature is called a Vampire Squid.¬†Vampyroteuthis infernalis¬†is its official name meaning “Vampire squid from hell”.¬†What an awesome name! It is technically¬†not a squid at but a descendant of the animals that existed before Squid and Octopus separated into different orders. Having its own order¬†¬†Vampyromorphida. This concept is a blend of mysterious¬†locals space and the deep ocean. We actually¬†know more about the Moon¬†shown¬†in the background of this piece than we currently¬†know about the deep ocean. It is truly the last great frontier on Earth.

Inktober Mysterious Vampire Squid in Space Ink and QoR Watercolor
For day 15 I choose to blend two mysterious locations space and the deep sea. India Ink, white ink, and watercolor.

Here is a pretty cool video on these animals.

Day Sixteen Fat Squirrel

Just a simple drawing of a fat squirrel. This is based on an article I read a while back about the uptick in squirrel weight gain.


Fat Squirrel for Inktober Day Sixteen.
Fat Squirrel for Inktober Day Sixteen.

Day Seventeen Graceful

Again I was short on time so I just drew a simple graceful gazel.

Inktober Graceful Gazel
Inktober Day Sixteen: Graceful Gazel. Spectrum Noir, White Uni-Ball gel pen, and Pigma Micron pen.

Day Eighteen Filthy

If you are a parent of a toddler you probably know already that they can be quite filthy but they also have a habit of being creepy from time to time.

Inktober Filthy Split Paint Creepy Toddler
Creepy Toddler and Red Paint. Technical pen and marker.

Day Nineteen Cloud

I had a bit more time so I drew a witch out on a night ride in the clouds then added watercolor.

QoR Watercolor and Ink: Witch out for a Night Ride
QoR Watercolor and Ink: Witch Out for a Night Ride

Day Twenty Deep

Three small illustrations I completed on my lunch break in my itty bitty Stillman and Birn 5.5 x 3.5 sketchbook.


Day Twentyone Furious

More squirrel illustrations. A squirrel arrives home to find an interloper squirrel raiding her nuts.

inktober day 21 squirrels india and white ink nib and brush
“Those are my nuts!” An angry squirrel finds a thief in her home.

That is all I have for now I will post again at the end of week four.

Happy art journey,