Balaton in watercolor

Winter is coming! With chilly gray days that are getting progressively shorter and colder, I’m thinking wistfully about warm waters, richly hued sunsets and long lazy days. That’s why I chose to paint the sunset at Lake Balaton in Hungary, which was my last real taste of summer for the year.

This was particularly easy—it only took me two sessions to complete, and I had lots of fun doing it!

Since I opted to stop going to watercolor class in Haarlem from November onwards. I plan to use the off time from watercolor to get cracking on a few sewing and knitting projects for Little Mango. So, look long and hard… this is going to be my last watercolor project for a while. Hope you like it!

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Venice in watercolor

It’s been a while since my last watercolor project. The class went on break for the summer, and I decided not to join any of the outdoor painting sessions my teacher held in place of the regular class. When I went back to Haarlem in September, I decided to continue my travel series with a painting of a Venetian gondola. With the change of seasons, it was my way of saying, “Take me back to Venice in the springtime!”

Here, my biggest struggle was with the interior of the boat, because there was so much crap detail in it. My teacher Penny is a real master at knowing when to be a stickler for detail and when to let go and just splash around, so I had lots of help from her here. She also introduced me to a rather colorful Dutch euphemism for nitpicking: mierenneuken, which literally means, to fuck an ant. Hilarious.

Overall, I’m really happy with it… but I think I’ll go easy on the details when choosing my next subject!

Do you like this month’s watercolor piece? Does it feel like spring in Venice to you?

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Lake Bled in watercolor

My watercolor project for May took me back to one of the loveliest places I’ve seen this year: Lake Bled in Slovenia.

Painting the lady in red stretched me; this landscape seemed easy in comparison. I enjoyed learning how to take artistic license with color: looking for hints of color and amplifying them in order to turn a memory from cloudy gray to fresh and vivid.

Question: do you watermark your photos? I’m considering doing that, though it seems like a lot of work. I thought I could start with the watercolors and see how it goes. This experiment with watermarking has made me realize that I haven’t signed or dated any of my watercolors in the past year. Ooopsy.

Also, I’m wondering if I should start painting a travel series. I experimented with animals and fashion because I got bored with landscapes for a while, but I’ve since realized a travel series wouldn’t necessarily have to be all landscapes. Which of my travels should I paint next?

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I found this photo of Rogue that captures one of my favorite expressions of hers. I would say it was crying out to be translated into watercolor, but that wouldn’t be completely accurate. 
It was more like it was looking at me, head cocked to one side, with a quizzical look in its big green eyes. “Why don’t you paint me?” it seemed to be saying. So I did. 

You know what they say about cats and curiosity. What they don’t say is that curiosity can be irresistibly adorable. 

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Paint it black

Spring is finally here, and my own personal travel “season” is about to start. Since I’m going to be away often over the next two months, I didn’t want to start a new watercolor project (which normally takes a few weeks). So the objective of my last class was to finish something fast. 
My subject of choice: a certain black cat named Rogue. 

Her proportions are a bit wonky, but you’ll have to forgive me as I didn’t even do a sketch for this one. I pretty much started splashing around with a big brush, as my teacher wishes I would do more often. But I think this captures her cranky/evil look pretty well; it’s the one she pulls when she’s sleepy and I’m trying to play with her.

It’s an interesting exercise to paint black without actually having black in my palette: I used indigo, brown, and a touch of red. I plan to use it as a study for a bigger, more carefully considered portrait of my pet (cat-rait? Pet-rait?). But in the meantime, I have some traveling to do! #excited

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