The Texture Alphabet

I have been making a texture alphabet! I finished it up yesterday. Here are all the letters, done in watercolor:

This project was inspired by my daughter’s love of big, fancy words.

More watercolors

Here are a few recent watercolor sketches…

These two are the result of one of my painted garbage experiments. Here, I primed some paperboard from food packaging with white latex gesso, then painted with watercolor once it had dried:



I like the effect. I love watercolors when they are loose and hard to control. It’s similar to (but not exactly like) painting on yupo paper. No or very little color glazing, and it doesn’t absorb into the paper at all. The colors remain very bright.

This is a sketch of my sister’s cat Bazinga in ink and watercolor. Bazinga is an inside kitty, presently caterwauling because she wants to be an outdoor kitty. This is how I imagine she’d behave once she actually went outdoors:


And this one is my submission for June’s Scbwi Draw This contest. The prompt word is “splash.” It’s watercolor on yupo paper with charcoal pencil. My love affair with yupo paper continues! It’s the only paper I’ve found that can achieve the same color intensity and luminosity as dried paint on a watercolor palette. And I am obsessed with my watercolor palette(s).

Splash large

I’m back from vacation, so I should be painting more often now! And I’ve finally recovered from a months-long illness that hindered my creative ability, so I’m looking forward to working on more detailed and focused projects in the near future!




Two quickly painted watercolors where I allowed myself minimal drying time and painted with one oversized brush to get a very loose, painterly feel. The top one is a doodle of my daughter and her puppy-love, and the bottom one is a doodle of the raccoon who begged to be let onto my screened patio last night during the storm. (I said no, but it was hard. He was incredibly cute.)

Fraidy Cat Garbage

Since I am running out of money in my art supply budget all about reusing trash to reduce my carbon footprint, I am experimenting with different materials for illustration. Today I tried

  1. Painting on a brown paper bag:


I love painting on neutral toned surfaces, so this was great. The paper is, naturally, incredibly thin and prone to wrinkles, but I like texture and would definitely consider using this to illustrate a future project, or just for doodling.


2. Painting on a gessoed wood panel:


I love this because you can really build up some texture with the gesso. The watercolor will not absorb into the gesso, however, so you really can’t glaze. Still, it’s a fun option.


3. Painting on gessoed paperboard (yesterday’s box of mac and cheese!):


Same thing with the gessoed wood panel– the watercolor just rests on top. It’s free and easy though, so I will definitely use it a lot in the future.

4. Painting on canvas


Very soft background. A teeny tiny bit of glazing is possible. And canvas can handle a lot of texture build-up. But this wasn’t my favorite, and I probably won’t try anything more with it for a while. (I have a LOT of canvases that can be gessoed over, which is why canvas falls under “garbage” here!)

Some Experimental Watercolor Illustrations


Like many watercolorists, I love the way my paints dry on my palette. I stare and stare and never clean it off. The way the color rests on the palette is very different from the way it looks on paper. The closest paper that can replicate this effect is Yupo, a completely synthetic paper. I love Yupo paper (so, so, so much!), but it’s not exactly right and it IS a bit pricey. So today, I attempted to achieve that “palette” look by painting on glass. It’s still not quite right, but it did give me some interesting looks. Here are a few of today’s experimental illustrations:






New painting(s)

I finished two watercolors today. The first is The Bird Stole Nora’s Hair, which is 12″x16″, watercolor mixed media on rag paper.


And the second is The Ants Stole Nora’s Baby Teeth, 5″x8″, watercolor on rag paper


Both are part of my new series of paintings on Impermanence that depict animals, representing Time, stealing things away from me.

Next up will be fireflies stealing my husband’s beard.

Watercolor Texture Experiments, Foam

After reading a book by watercolorist Nita Engle, I decided to try an experiment using foam and watercolor to create a foam texture.

I agitated a mixture of cheap shampoo and dish soap in the kitchen sink, then took a small piece of Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper and lifted the foam off the top. I added a small amount of watercolor from the tube to several small containers, then dissolved them completely in a small amount of water. Using a straw, I then dropped areas of color onto the foam, then left it alone to dry for the rest of the day.


The end result was pretty neat. Light, foamy texture. Subtle, but I am pleased with the results.

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I’d like to find a way to create larger bubble textures sometime.

Experimental Watercolor

I recently joined an experimental watercolor and mixed media class, so you can look for much more watercolor mixed in with my usual cut paper illustrations. I’m starting a painting this week, the first in a new series on impermanence. It will be a mixed media watercolor, mounted on a wood panel and varnished. Here is my first sketch and two small hair studies:

hairsketch hairstudy1hairstudy