Watercolour on Gelli Plate

Posted on February 8, 2017 and tagged Tutorials, Sketchbook, Painting

Lately, I haven't had the time to use my acrylic paints much. It used to be my favourite medium to work with but now that I have a 6 month old baby the prepartion and clean-up has just been too much. My husband bought me a beautiful set of watercolour paints for Christmas and those have been getting some heavy use lately. I love that the only prep I need to do is get a clean dish of water and some paper towels. The clean-up is practically non-existent. Just let the paint dry in the pallette for next time and dump the dirty paint water...or not!

So the other day when I was rummaging through my art supplies and found my Gelli Plate, I knew I had to give it a try with watercolour instead of my usual acrylic. At first I tried picking up some paint from the palette and painting it onto the plate. In retrospect, it probably still would have produced a nice effect, but it looked like it wasn't working.

Then I decided to squeeze out a bit of paint straight from the tube. This might sound like a waste of paint, but I'm telling you it was the teeny tiniest amount. Just a thin little smear. I swished that around with some water, pressed the plate to my paper and was very surprised at the results. It looked great! I was skeptical because it didn't look like the paint was spreading very well but once the plate was pressed to the page it spread across the paper.

Next I added some more paint to create a little depth and more texture. Then once it was all dry I drew some easy circle designs using Sharpie paint pens.

In total, it probably took me about 20 minutes to create this little page. It was a fun and easy exercise and I'll definitely be experimenting with watercolour and Gelli Plates again.

The 100 Days Project - The 1st 10 Days

Posted on April 29, 2016 and tagged Painting, Sketchbook

You might remember that late last year I started a 100 days project that I never ended up finishing! Long story short, terrible early pregnancy symptoms got in the way. Well, when I heard about Elle Luna's 100 Days Project starting April 19th I just couldn't help myself. Even though I never got close to 100 days last time, I felt like the project really challenged me and brought out some cool news ideas.

Overall it was a really great experience, but I wanted to make sure I simplified things this time around. Even on a good day, I often found it hard to come up with a whole new painting every single day. Restricting myself to paint made it so I couldn't really work on my daily painting while making dinner or in front of the tv at night. So this time I knew I needed to pick something that I could do with whatever art supplies I had lying around - even a ball point pen from the bottom of my purse. I also wanted it to be portable and small. And to further complicate things my due date is day 98 of this project! So I chose a tiny little Moleskine watercolour sketchbook (I think it's about 5" x 3") and committed to making 100 tiny patterns with whatever art supplies I felt like using that day.

Only 10 days in now and I love it already! I'm so glad I decided to give it another try. I'm really surprising myself by coming up with unique ideas everyday. Not every page turns out amazing, but that's the way it goes with a daily practice. And I love patterns. I mean, I love painting but patterns are what I really started out on. It never gets old how you can start with one seemingly boring shape and once you repeat it across the page it turns into something completely different!

So here are my first 10 days of tiny patterns. You can still join in too! There's still a long way to go until 100 so don't worry about missing the first few days. Post your progress on Instagram and be sure to follow me too!

My Abstract Painting Process

Posted on April 11, 2016 and tagged Painting, Tutorials

I've been wanting to make a video like this for a while now, but always got hung up on the talking part! The last 2 videos I made ended up having music in the background because I just felt weird about speaking into a microphone. But I really want to get better at this, so I just had to dive in!

This video shows my abstract painting process from start to finish for two small paintings. I talk a bit about my line of thought while I'm painting, the supplies I used and show you exactly how each layer comes together. It's a little long, but I really hope you like it and will enjoy seeing how I work.

Did you like the paintings I made? Sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you both as digital files you can use for device wallpaper. They should fit almost any size phone or tablet.

How to Know When to Stop

Posted on March 2, 2016 and tagged Painting

I am the absolute queen of overworking a painting. I get the first layer down, really loving it, then I start adding some more and before I know it the painting is a busy mess and that beautiful first layer is completely lost. When you add too much to an abstract, the painting ends up losing focus. When a painting really stands out, it's usually because the artist has focused on one special feature. It could be a stroke of constrasting colour, a bold shape, a few marks that stand out, or showcasing a simple colour palette.

But why is it so hard to know when to stop? Why is keeping it simple one of the hardest things to do? During my 100 Days Project (which really turned into more of a 50 days project) one of the things I started to focus on was making simple paintings. The paper was only about 7 x 10 inches, so there really wasn't room to go crazy. And when I did get carried away, it always looked overworked and boring.

If this is something you struggle with too, I've put together a few tips to help you slow down, know when to stop and keep it simple.

Work on mulitple pieces at once

This is the best advice I ever got. If you're working on many pieces at once (I sometimes work on 4 or 5 at the same time) you're less likely to get too obsessed with one painting. Taking some time away, even if it's just a few minutes, can help you gain a new perspective.

Pick your colour palette first

Decide on a colour palette before you start painting and you'll be less likely to throw in colours on a whim that don't work. Some people have a great instict for colour and can work intuitively. But if you're like me and you sometimes toss a 'what-was-i-thinking' colour into the mix, planning your colour scheme first can be really beneficial.

Look for special moments

While you're working, be on the lookout for special moments in your painting. If something catches your eye and you love it, work on preserving that spot. Make the rest of the painting more subdued to help the eye focus on the interesting stuff.

Take some time off

This helps me especially if I'm working on a big canvas. If I find myself standing there not sure what to do next, I step away for a couple days. Keep the painting where you can see it everyday and eventually you'll figure out what needs to be done.

It can always be saved

If you try your best and you still end up taking it too far, rest assured that it can always be saved. Everything can be painted over and mistakes can be covered up. If it's already too late, let everything dry and then go back in with some big swatches of a single colour to simplify. When all else fails, grab some gesso and start with a clean slate!

Where Did I Go??

Posted on February 26, 2016 and tagged Sketchbook, Painting

If you've been following me on Instagram or Twitter, it probably seemed like I just dropped off the face of the earth in the middle of my 100 Days project. Do you remember me? I'm Sara! Hello!

I did end up taking an huge unintended break from social media but I'm still alive! Yay! (I hope you're yay-ing too!) So what have I been up to? I've been growing a person! That's right, I'm pregnant. The first trimester was really rough for me. I was constantly sick and couldn't even think about picking up a paint brush or sitting at my desk. But I'm into my 5th month now and I'm definitely feeling more like myself. I'm trying to get back into some art making and I wanted to share a few pictures with you of some sketchbook patterns and a couple WIP paintings that I've been working on.

If you're still sticking around, I just want to stay thank you so so much for following my paint-splattery-messiness! I really appreciate that you're here and reading this.

Now I want to really focus on putting out some great content on my blog here and in my newsletter. But I'd loooove to hear what you want! Fill out this tiny, micro survey (one question, multiple choice) and let me know what kinds of stuff you want to see here. I will love you forever. Answer the question!

Reflecting on 25 Days of Painting

Posted on October 16, 2015 and tagged Sketchbook, Painting

I'm a quarter of the way done! Well techinically I was at envelope 25 over a week ago. I had a rough week of being sick and turning 30. I don't know which was worse, feeling like crap or having that scary milestone birthday. Birthdays always kind of bum me out because I guess I feel like time is going by really quickly and I'm not getting enough done or something. But I actually feel okay about turning 30. My life is for the most part on track and I have a lot of things to be happy about. Ok, enough about birthdays and thoughts of my mortality! Here are a few things I've learned so far in my first 25 days of this challenge.

  • I'm learning to really look for inspiration everywhere. It's a little hard sometimes to come up with a new idea everyday. So I always have my daily painting in the back of my mind while browsing internet. I save images I like for when I need a little boost.

  • One thing I'm struggling with is making lots of paintings that I don't really like. The worst part is sharing the crappy ones on Instagram. It helps to look at a painting I hate and pick out one thing I actually like about it. If I can find a colour combo or a tiny corner that I like, then I know I learned something new.

  • I thought doing a daily painting wouldn't leave much time for other things. But I was surprised to find out it's the complete opposite. The daily envelope helps me to warm up and experiment so after I'm done I often feel energized and ready for more.

  • I'm also very slowly discovering my style. When I look at all my favourite paintings lined up, I start to see similarities. I like bright colours, patterns, messy brush strokes, contrasting colours and a sense of motion.

If you want to follow along with me, definitely check out my Instagram account!