Watercolor Painting On the Go
Have you ever been on vacation and seen something so beautiful that you felt like you HAD to capture it in watercolor? Instead of snapping it with a photo to paint later, watercolor is actually one of the easiest painting mediums to travel with.
The watercolor supplies are light, they aren't messy, and all the paint needs to activate is water .
Pack a to-go kit with me:
Here are the supplies I like to bring with me when we go on vacation! They are all linked using my affiliate links, but I wouldn't link something that I didn't truly love.
Supplies included are:
Watercolor Sketch Book: Hahnemühle Watercolor Book 8.5"x11"
Paints: Essee Co Watercolor Paints
Brushes: Princeton Select Round Brushes
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5 Tips to Squash Limiting Beliefs and Get Things Done!
You've got big dreams that light you afire. You think about them constantly. You imagine what your life would be like if only you could (fill in your dream here).
But when it gets down to actually making it happen, you feel stuck. Whether it's a limiting belief (I could never figure out how to do that), you don't know how to get started, you're worried that it won't be perfect, or something else entirely - something is in your way.
"I don't have time for that"
"I'll wait until I feel ready"
"I'll never be that good"
"What if I can't do it"
"What if I fail"
"I wouldn't even know where to begin"
"I don't know how to do that"
Do any of these sound familiar? I know I've definitely said all of these things to myself at one time or another. Of course sometimes that big dream has barriers that are out of your control--like, I want to win a million dollars in the lotto, or If only I could go on a shopping spree at Michael's so I could have all the supplies I want. but more often than not, that barrier is something that we create within ourselves.
We need to get our of our own way so that we can actually DO THE THING!
STEP 1: Find the dream!
So the first step is to think about that dream. Imagine it - what does it feel like? What does it look like? It might help to write about it in a journal. Try writing it in present tense, as if you have already achieved that dream.
Instead of saying "one day I want to be in an art gallery", say "My art is in a gallery and as I walk into the crisp white walled exhibit, I see my art, a splash of color across the walls. I am wearing a snazzy sparkly dress and I notice all the people looking at my work! As I sip champagne at the gallery opening, I overhear someone say how it reminds them of their childhood! I am confident and passionate about each piece!" (Putting on my English teacher hat) Use descriptive words!
STEP 2: Uncover your limiting beliefs:
Now that you have your dream in mind, make a list of everything that worries you or is holding you back. For example, "How do I get my art noticed? Will I ever be able to create something good enough? How will I be able to do that while working a full time job?" etc.
STEP 3: Kick those limiting beliefs to the curb!
Now that you've figured out what you want and what is holding you back, it's time to work through it and get you on the path to making those dreams happen. Here are 5 strategies I've used to help get me past my sticking points!
(me saying "NO, GET OUTTA HERE" to the limiting beliefs)
5 Strategies to Vanquish Limiting Beliefs
Journal About it!
Sometimes just writing the words down helps me find clarity about how I'm really feeling. It allows me to document and reflect on the decision I'm trying to make. Often, while journaling, I find that I answer my own questions. Look back at the worries from Step 2 and use that as your journal prompt. Think about where that belief came from, why does it make you nervous, brainstorm what you would need to work past it. Don't sensor yourself, just write. You might be surprised where it takes you. Often when starting a new project, even if I'm not conflicted, I use this strategy to help focus my direction.
Make a Pro Con List
Just seeing two columns with a concrete data point (aka 8 pros and 3 cons) can help be a quick way to remind yourself that this is worth pursuing. Sometimes those cons can seem overwhelming, but writing it out in a list gives you an idea of the big pieces you'll need to tackle and a reminder of all the great things that come along with it to make this journey worth it!
To Do List
When getting started, sometimes taking that first step can be the hardest. At the beginning of a huge project, I like to break it down into tiny steps so that it doesn't feel overwhelming. Often once I get through that first big step, if is easier to gain momentum and energy for what's to come. It also helps you from hemming and hawing, since you know exactly what is next on the list. (Need a cute notepad for making a list?!?! Check out the notepads in our shop!)
When doing something big, it can often be hard to hold ourselves accountable. It can also feel somewhat lonely. I will often tell a buddy, or even proclaim it on the internet, so that I feel more motivation to get it done. It can help if your buddy is doing something similar. If you're wanting to tackle a new style of painting, it could help if your buddy is also interested in art. If you're wanting to make your art into a business, finding someone who does something similar would be great too. Don't have a buddy yet? Go find one! Join a local painting class, strike up a conversation with someone on Instagram who is "totally your vibe" or heck, DM me on Instagram and I'll cheer you on! I am basically a professional (verbal) cheerleader. Please don't ask for stunts though, I am woefully uncoordinated!
Make the Time
One of the biggest barriers I hear from folks is that they don't have the time. In this busy world, there is never enough time. As a mom of two, running a business, and ideally having a vague sense of a social life, I often feel like the commodity that I need the most is time. However, I am going to tell you what I learned from a very wise professor I had in my teaching program.
She said that the excuse of "I don't have enough time" is a copout. We all have the same amount of time. What we need to say instead is "that is not a priority for me". If it is something important, we will prioritize it. Do we have time to get gas or do grocery shopping, not really, but we make time because we have to do it. What if we also MADE TIME for our dreams! Your dreams are precious and worth prioritizing! Even if it's just twenty minutes a day, take a moment to carve out some dedicated time to focus on your dream. It might take a while if you have a lot of other responsibilities to juggle, but at least you have those few moments every day or even every week to JUST GET STARTED.
YOU CAN DO THIS! Follow those dreams! I'd love to hear about your big dreams over on Instagram! You can also join my (mostly) weekly newsletter for all things creative! Just fill out the form below!
The Importance of Watercolor Paper
One thing I love about watercolor is that it is an art form that is super accessible. There are lots of cheap palettes and it is super easy to clean up and store! Even my toddler can get her own paints out and paint all by herself. All you need is water, paint, paper, and a brush!
Once you start diving into watercolor a bit deeper, you're going to find that the quality of supplies you use can actually make a huge difference.While quality paints and brushes are great, I would argue that the biggest X factor is the paper.
When painting with watercolor, the quality of paper is absolutely crucial. Watercolor needs a special type of paper that is both absorbent but at the same time not TOO absorbent. The mark of a good watercolor paper is that it keeps the shape of the water you put on the page and dries slow enough that you can manipulate the paint before it sets.
There are tiny ridges called "tooth" on the surface that help grip the water and keep it in place. There are two types of paper that are most often used. Cold pressed watercolor paper and hot pressed. Hot pressed is smooth (less toothy) and dries faster. Cold pressed has a deeper tooth and allows you to manipulate the water and paint a little longer. I work mostly with cold pressed watercolor paper.
I will use hot press for watercolor lettering because the smoother paper makes it easier for the brush to glide along the page, but that's pretty much it. I know people who do fine detail work also often prefer hot press, but NOT ME!
There is also rough watercolor paper which has a really toothy toothiness! I haven't worked with this hardly at all, so I'll leave the explaining to someone else for that one.
Watercolor is also distinguished by its weight. The weight speaks to the pounds per ream of paper, but in general, the larger the number, the sturdier it is going to be. Just like a 90 lb person is going to be easier to knock over than a 190 lb person (Please do not try to knock over anyone! This is a peaceful space!)
I use 140 lb cold pressed paper for things I'm going to scan. I prefer 300 lb cold pressed paper for custom portraits. The sturdier the paper (aka the higher # lb), the less buckling you’ll have. Have you ever accidentally dropped your book in the bath and all the pages start to wrinkle? (No?!?! JUST ME?!?!) Well imagine if that buckling happened to your beautiful watercolor painting you just made. That is why you want a sturdy paper.
There are ways to treat your paper so it doesn't buckle, like pre-wetting it but I'll level with you... I don't do this because I'm always too impatient to start painting. I usually use a watercolor block, which has glue around the edges to keep it from warping. You can also tape the edges down with painter's tape. If it still buckles using a block or tape, you can always flatten out your painting after you are done, but that is a blog post for another day!
Also...ever wonder how some paintings have those fancy raw edges that look like perfectly torn paper? Well that is called a deckled edge and there are rulers to help achieve that look.
I could seriously talk about paper all day long, so let me know if you want to learn more! I'd be happy to do a deeper dive! In the meantime if you want to see what paper I use, go ahead and fill out the form below and it'll get sent straight to your email!
ART NAPS: an origin story
What can I get done in 15 minutes?!?!
This is a question that many new parents ask themselves. When babies are little, naps can be unpredictable and few and far between. We just had our second baby and it reminded me of life with my firstborn, when I first started painting.
In the early days of motherhood, with my first child back in 2019, I was struggling to find a sense of self. I was also struggling with postpartum anxiety, but I didn't know that yet. I had quit my job as a teacher to focus on being a mom (what I had thought I always wanted to do full time) but was feeling very burnt out. I needed something to call my own, something to give me peace, and something to clam my racing mind.
I am a chronic crafter and I love doing crafty things so I figured some sort of creative outlet would be good. I tried macrame, but it was hard to leave a project mid knot to go pick up a crying baby. I tried sewing a quilt but same issue--I couldn't figure out how to put it down quickly. Finally I remembered that I had taken a watercolor course the year before so I got paints out and went wild!
Watercolor, in my opinion, is the perfect medium for someone with an unpredictable amount of time to work. It doesn't dry out -- just add water and you're ready to paint! It doesn't require a big clean up -- no messy brushes to clean like with acrylic paint. No toxic fumes -- like oil painting. No tiny fibers for a baby to inhale like with sewing (is this a real concern?! Was I making this up?!? I remember being really worried about this but I can't remember if it's a thing?!)
Thus began art naps! When my daughter would nap, I would scurry over to my art room (now her big girl room) and start painting. Watching the water and paint swirl over the page was so relaxing and meditative. Accomplishing something, even if it was just a little painting, felt so good! Working on something just for me helped me gain a sense of self.
As the art naps continued and my daughter's naps (blessedly) became longer and more predictable, my painting improved. Soon thereafter I realized that I really loved painting and I wasn't too shabby at it, if I do say so myself! As my confidence and sense of purpose grew, I decided to turn this hobby into a business. I like to say that napping changed my life! I say it in a tongue in cheek way, but it's really true!
Now that we are navigating some sort of napping schedule with our second, I'm reminded of how important it is to do something for me while the baby sleeps and I want to encourage new parents out there to do the same! It can be so tempting to do the dishes, clean the house, all the drudgery that HAS to get done, but don't forget that taking care of YOU is just as important as those other things. You cannot be the best parent you can be if you are running on fumes. If being creative feels like an outlet for you, I encourage you to try watercolor. If an actual nap is want you need, take that nap! If you need to stretch, take a moment to take care of yourself.
I'd love to hear what you do during your art naps! Let me know over on Instagram!
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Natural Watercolor Pigments
Y'all, I am so excited about this new obsession. I've been trying out some handmade and natural pigment watercolors and to put it briefly, it has been SOOO FUN!
To not put it briefly, because you know I am anything but short winded, I wanted to share a bit about what got me on this train and some of my new favorite stores!
I started my watercolor journey using Winsor & Newton's professional watercolor paint tubes. I still love these paints, they are my standbys, my golden oldies, my OG babies. BUT I was curious about trying some colors made from elements of nature! I wanted to see if it would have a different feel to them.
I started with a simple Etsy search and I was greeted with a myriad of options!
The first set I got was from Essee Co and let's just say this was a case of beginner's luck! Their colors are AMAZING, and the customer service is above and beyond. I couldn't decide which watercolors I wanted so I asked if they could make a set with all of them and they created a listing just for me! I loved the colors so much that I actually ended up buying their "color makers set" where you can mull your own colors from powder, but I am actually using them in their powder form. They sell tons of gorgeous wells, palettes, and other artist supplies. I cannot say enough about how obsessed I am with Essee Co! They even sent my daughter some of their beeswax crayons that are oh, so precious! Their sombra color is my absolute favorite. It is the perfect earthy greeny brown wonderfulness!
Dreamland Watercolor is another fun brand. Their IG videos are absolutely drool worthy! Dreamland Watercolor specializes in the most gorgeous metallic colors and my favorite are the color shifting ones. While this isn't super inline with my style, the quality of the paint pans are wonderful and the colors are just so dang fun! If you're into trippy metallics, this baby is for you! I'll probably use these for fun accents and watercolor lettering projects. Watching the colors shimmer as you put it on the page is absolutely mesmerizing! One pro-tip for all metallic watercolor pans is the longer you let it sit with the water, the more sparkly and vibrant the paint will be. I like to spray it with a spray bottle then let it sit there for a bit before I get started. Here is a link to me swatching some of their colors.
Art by Waiyi has some lovely colors. I ended up getting this set and I love how delicate the colors are. They feel very soft and whimsical somehow! I haven't had a chance to paint too much with them yet, but when playing around with them, I loved how smooth the paint went on.
Now here is a fun one! Artsy Oubliette has paints that pack a powerful punch. I love of bold they are and how they granulate and move across the page. If you love dark and stormy vibes, this would be a great brand for you. She also has tons of fun bright colors but they all somehow seem edgy... is that a thing?!?!?! I love how these paints have a lot of grit and personality!
My newest obsession is from Claire Chi Studio! I just got an Ochre set (my favorite color) where she's created a bunch of different hues with an ochre base! I love seeing how my favorite color takes on other forms!
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Now of course you can do so much with just a yellow, blue, and red but it has been so fun to learn more and play around with all these colors! It has really been inspiring and making me thing about different color palettes and combinations.
All these paints came in pan form, which is basically a little tin of each color. It is dry, hardened paint, so you activate it by adding water!
Some pros of these kinds of paints are that you are supporting small businesses, you get some really unique colors that folks using big box store brands probably don't have, you can mix and match the pans by putting them in a tin and paint on the go! Plus who doesn't love new paint!
Some cons are that sometimes I like having tubes of wet paint to get a much deeper saturation. I also like putting my various paints on a palette so I can mix and mingle the paint together without worrying about getting my tin all sloppy. I think that the more I use these kinds of paints, the more I will adjust to ways of mixing paint without making a huge mess, but in the meantime I'll keep making a beautifully pigmented mess!
BTW, none of this is sponsored, I'm just a big fan!!!!
Do you have any favorite handmade watercolor shops?!?! I'd love to hear about them! Find me on IG and share your favorites! If you're a watercolor makers, I'd love to connect too! I'm always looking to try new paints and I'd love to support your business.
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Gift Guide - Woodland Hygge Vibes
Gift Guide - For The Coven
Gift Guide - Pumpkin Pal
Gift Guide - Dahlia Delight
Gift Guide - Party People
Today's Gift Guide is for the party people out there! Everybody loves a good celebration, right!?!? Check out these festive nifty gifties for the party animals in your life!
Scroll down below the graphic to get direct links to all the products!
Questionable Morels Greeting Card
Leaping Lizards Birthday Greeting Card
Lettuce Celebrate Greeting Card
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