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Dr Ph Martins Hydrus watercolor Review and Speed painting

Colorful bear - Watercolor
Colorful Bear – Watercolor

I love Dr Ph Martins Hydrus Watercolors, I have been using them regularly for the past 2 ½ years. I have used them for a wide variety of paintings and thought I would share with you their pros and cons while demonstrating how to paint a colorful grizzly bear. Yes, grizzly bears are my favorite animal so I tend to paint them regularly. I Hope you find this review  and speed painting helpful.

One thing that is really nice about hydrus watercolors (and professional art supplies in general) is that they are available in in sets and as individual paints. If you want to try them but don’t want to commit to an entire set you can order individual colors from places like dick Blick. You can also order replacements as needed.  If I was going to recomend a set to start with it would be Set 1. It contains a great selection of primary colors that allow for great color mixing. My most used individual colors are the  Hansa Yellow Light, gamboge, vermillion hue, crimson lake,  Ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, and Quinacridone magenta,

If you are interest here is a list of the supplies I used for this Painting:

Hydrus watercolors

Arches Cold Press watercolor paper

Silver Black Velvet Brushes

Palette 

Masking Fluid

Rubber Cement Pickup 

To give you some other examples of what can be created using Dr Ph Martins Hydrus watercolors here are some other paintings I have created using these watercolors.

If you have any questions or would like more information about these watercolors please leave them in the comments below.

-Lauren

Sketchbook portrait

Just popping in to share a fun sketchbook portrait I did while taking a break from some  commissions I have been working on.

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Portraits and figures still make me nervous. If the thought of drawing/painting something makes me nervous it is a sign I need to keep practicing it so I have been painting a lot of portraits and parts of the body to become more familiar with them.

Here is a picture of my latest portrait. I am always drawn to faces with twinkly eyes, lots of wrinkles and facial hair. Most of my charcoal portraits include at a least one of those features but usually two. I decided to practice painting wrinkles and facial hair in watercolor. It took some planning ahead of time to mask and look at the areas I wanted to preserve the highlights in.

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Overall, I am really pleased with how it turned out.

-Lauren

Best Watercolors for Children and Beginners

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I am regularly asked about what watercolors I would recommend for this person or that, for a specific budget, or purpose. I decided I would do a series where I review various watercolors and talk about their quality, pros, cons, and who I would recommend them for.

This is my first installment in the new series and I will be talking about inexpensive watercolors I would recommend for children, teens, and beginners.  I also discuss some of the signs of when its time to start to move up in quality as your kids progress in art.

You can find these paints at big box stores like walmart, hobby lobby, and Michael’s. The crayola paints can be found on sale in the fall right before school starts. These can also be purchased online, I found Dick Blick had the best deals for them.

Crayola Watercolors

Prang watercolors

Sakura koi Watercolors 

If you have any questions or want to request specific watercolor you would like me to review leave them in the comments down below,

-Lauren

The Benefits of Creating

I was recently reading an article that talked about the benefits of being creative. It was using the term crafting but I believe it can be applied to any creative/artist endeavor where we create something ourselves. It talked about how it can be a form of meditation and can help those who suffer from anxiety and depression.  This is something that I have seen in my own life. If you are new around here you might not know that I started painting and drawing again after a seven year break. It was at a point in my life when I was feeling burned out from the demands of motherhood and my husband in being in medical school. I had also just found out that my husband was going to be out of state for 6 months that year.

I am so grateful I started painting again at that time in my life because it gave me a way to take care of myself that I could do almost anytime. I would wake up early and stay up late so I could have sometime to escape from the stress of it all and just focus on how to mix paint and put it on the paper. I think the main reason I was able to make it though that year was because I had art to keep me balanced.

What about you? Has being creative helped you cope with stress? Let me know in the comments below.

-Lauren

 

 

 

Rocky Beach Pastel Painting

Rocky Beach seascape

A few weeks ago I painted this colorful rocky seascape. It was so fun painting it a different way than the seascapes I had painted previously. I felt like the practice I got from painting those pieces really helped me to get more loose and colorful with this painting.

This piece is now available on my etsy shop if your interested in purchasing it. To celebrate spring this piece and all other landscape, seascape, and botanical paintings are 20% off through March 31, 2018.

If you are interested in knowing the materials and tools I used for this painting here are the links to them so you can learn more about them. These are affiliate links but don’t feel pressured to use them. When you do it just helps me out and allows me to spend more time making videos for you.

MATERIALS & TOOLS

*Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencil https://goo.gl/qgq9ew

*Mount Vision Pastels https://goo.gl/BCVnZ8

*Jack Richeson Soft Pastels https://goo.gl/kPCgvn

*NuPastels https://goo.gl/Bf3aBV

*Dr Ph Martins Bombay Inks https://goo.gl/sJvcui

*Uart Sanded Paper https://goo.gl/2Uf46y

*Krylon Workable fixative https://goo.gl/aKKaVn

*Rubber shaper https://goo.gl/rhDSEk

*Plastic Pallet Knives https://goo.gl/nskzKU

*Stiff Brush brush https://goo.gl/t2SVof

*White Taklon Brush https://goo.gl/oNrgWj

*T Ruler https://goo.gl/GZRy1v

If you have any questions about my process or the tools I use feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer it.

-Lauren

Vacation Sketches

If you have read some on my recent posts you know that I have been traveling. I recently just got back from a family vacation where we visited our extended family. Typically, when I go on family vacations I am not very good at taking time to sketch in my sketchbook regularly. After a day of wrangling kids and traveling I usually just pass out as soon as I sit down. Often I end up only painting one-maybe two sketches.

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Picture of a Pie on the night before pie day

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This trip I decided to try and take time to paint and draw everyday except traveling days.  Overall, I did pretty good. Some days I only got 10 minutes to paint other days I would sit down for a couple of hours to do it while we watched a movie. When I had longer amounts of times to work I would try to do multiple sketches and not spend more than 30 minutes on each piece. There were a few days that I ended up skipping because they were just way to busy like the day we went skiing.

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A kid free ski day is worth skipping out on sketching for

The sketches are far from perfect but I am hoping that sketching and painting these quick pieces will help me gain more confidence and speed in my painting and drawing process.

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My daughter wanted me to paint a castle
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This sketch was done on loose watercolor paper and then was glued into my sketchbook

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With the mushroom paintings I tried experimenting with different styles of painting. The top one I wanted a softer look so I kept the contrast and lines a lot softer. Whereas the bottom one has a lot stronger contrast between lights and darks, pen and ink details, and more texture in the painting style.

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My moms tulips were starting to pop through the snow but hadn’t bloomed yet so I decided to paint a bloomed one.

Now to unpack and get back to work on bigger projects!

-Lauren

Vacation Art Supplies.

Hi Guys! Today, I am showing you some of the art supplies I am taking with me on my vacation this week. This isn’t my most compact set up because I will mostly be painting while hanging out with family instead of plein air painting. When there is several feet of snow on the ground and the temperature is below zero plein air painting isn’t very appealing.

I am taking my Gouache pallet. This is filled up with mostly M. graham Gouache and a few Windsor and Newton colors. I chose gouache because I could choose to work in thin light washes similar to watercolor or chose to paint more opaque. I really liked the versatility that this provides.

My sketchbook is a Global arts watercolor sketchbook in the 8.25×5.5” size. The paper in this sketchbook handles watercolors well and is also nice to draw on. It’s a good size where it doesn’t take up to much room in a bag but still gives me enough space to draw and add detail.

I will also be bringing a small spray bottle for wetting my pallet, a few sheets of loose watercolor paper , an assortment of white taklon brushes, a pentel brush pen, a fine point sharpie, a Pentel sign pen (waterproof ink), a number 2 pencil, a 6B graphite pencil, white rubber eraser, and a pencil sharpener. For this trip I am also taking a cleaned out ice cream container with a screw on lid to use as my water cup. You might wonder why I am bringing it if I am going to be painting at people’s houses. It’s because not everyone has disposable plastic cups available to use and I don’t want to use a container that will be reused to for eating like a cup or mason jar.

Another art related supply I will be bringing is my 360 happy planner. I will be bringing this to work on schedule and plan upcoming projects for my shop and YouTube. I found 5+ hour road trips are great opportunity to brainstorm and plan.

Do you have any favorite art pallets or art supplies that you take with you on vacation? Let me know in the comments below.

-Lauren

Learning A New Medium

If you have been following my art journey for very long you know that the majority of the time I tend to paint in watercolor. Watercolor is a very translucent medium, this means that when you paint over an area you can see all the layers that are underneath it. When mixing colors in watercolor you add water to make them lighter and rely on the white of the paper instead of adding white to make the tint. This is part of the reason why working with watercolor is very different from all other types of paints. The way you mix colors and layer them has to happen in a unique way.

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Two eye study using gouache. I had difficulty making smooth blends on this piece.

Well I recently decided to learn a new medium called gouache. It’s a type of opaque watercolor, which acts like a cross between watercolor and acrylic paint. I originally bought some gouache to work on the Family Legends painting but I got frustrated working with it and ended up doing the using tinted ink in the sections I had planed on using the gouache for.

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First paintings using only Gouache

After that the paints sat on my shelf unused while I caught up on the holiday rush of commissions.I hate when good paint go unused especially, when I spent good money on them. I also knew that that my struggles with the paint was 100% user error given that I bought a highly recommended artist grade paint and had seen beautiful artwork created with it.

So after the rush of Christmas and later Valentines Day calmed down I spent time learning how to use gouache. I watched YouTube videos teaching how it works and how to mix it. Those videos really helped me understand why I was struggling with it and how to work around those issues. I realized my biggest issue was that I was using the wrong kind of white for mixing. I was using titanium white for mixing and given that its so opaque It would quickly make my colors to light and dull. I also had to be even more cautious of how wet my paintbrush was so I wouldn’t disturb the paint underneath. I typically work with staining watercolors and can usually add lots of water to my paper without disturbing the paint underneath. Another thing I learned about paintbrushes and gouache is that even though it is a cousin to watercolor it tends to work better with a slightly stiffer brush than what you typically use for watercolor. This helps to prevent too much water from getting on your brush and it allows you to more easily mix the paint.

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A profile study I did that I wanted to keep loose

Once getting used to the unique characteristics of the gouache I learned to enjoy working with it and what I love about it. I found it so freeing being able to add highlights over the top of a dark instead of constantly stressing about preserving the highlights. I love how it rewets so I can easily take a small pallet with me when I am in public and do some plein air and urban painting.

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My goal with this painting was to see how realistic I could get the Gouache.

I can’t wait to learn and experiment more with this medium especially with portraiture and figures.

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A 20 minute landscape study using gouache

-Lauren

Sketchbook Tour

One of my new years resolutions has been to get better at regularly drawing in a sketchbook. I often get so busy with commissions and projects that I don’t always have time to work on personal projects or try new techniques. I am hoping that by drawing and painting in a sketchbook regularly will not only improve my skill but also give me a few minutes each day to paint and create something just for the pleasure of creating. As much as I love doing commission (it’s the best job I could have) I need to spend some time creating pieces of work that are personally motivated so I don’t get burned out.

 

I have owned many sketchbooks over the years and have never actually finished one. I didn’t like having “ugly drawings” stuck in my sketchbook so I would either rip out pages I didn’t like or just hold off from drawing in my sketchbook until I got better as an artist. I think part of me was ashamed of my skill level for not being “good enough.’ It is kind of silly to think about now as a (slightly) more mature artist because the entire purpose of a sketchbook is for it to be a safe place to practice, experiment, and grow as as an artist.

Setting this goal for the year has helped me to FINALLY finish my first sketchbook. It’s far from perfect since I bought it a few months after I got back in to art in 2016. Some sketches have been torn out because I didn’t like them or used them for other projects. But  I finally completed the pages that are remaining.

It may seem silly to celebrate such a small and silly thing but when trying to develop a new habit it is always important to celebrate the milestones along the way. It is also a sign of my personal growth as I am now more accepting of my shortcomings as an artist. I always want to improve my skill level but I am no longer ashamed of my journey as an artist.

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A landscape sketch done in 2016
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A landscape sketch done in 2018

Another benefit of using a sketch book (and not tearing out the pages) is that I have also been able to see how much I have grown over the years as an artist. Being able to see tangible proof of my progress is so helpful on days when I feel discouraged.

What about you? Do you like using sketchbooks?

-Lauren

Blue Lion

Blue Lion

Something that I have been enjoyed painting lately is hair and texture. I have also really liked using analogous color pallets (color next to each other on the color wheel) for my colorful animal paintings. The color combination used can really affect the mood of the painting.

To experiment more with color, mood, and texture I did another portrait of a lion. This time I chose to do a lion that was looking straight on. The lion in my reference photo had such sad eyes that I chose to mostly use cooler colors like greens, blues, and purples. I also had the lion’s faces completely surrounded by an exaggerated long and wild mane. With his mane taking up so much of the picture I used various a metallic inks to add to the texture and dimension to it.

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When I do a painting I typically cycle through various emotions of excitement, love, frustration, and sometimes despair ( yes, I am dramatic). I know this is part of the process and its not a big deal. I try to take it as a sign that I need to keep working on it.

Well this painting was more of a struggle to get to a point to where I liked it. Looking back on it my biggest problem was that I wasn’t taking enough brakes from it. When I get frustrated with a painting or tired I know I should stop and take a break. But I was feeling particularly stubborn that day and didn’t heed my own advice. So I worked until I was almost ready to throw it away. Then common sense kicked in and I realized I should just go to bed. The next morning I awoke with fresh eyes, flipped the painting upside down and realized what was bothering me about it all along. I grabbed my paints and made the changes it. I now love my blue lion with his long wavy mane.

So the moral of this story is that food and a nap can help you problem solve.

Have you ever let your stubborn pride get the best of you even when you knew better?