Thursday, March 24, 2011


I have always been scared of watercolors.  I have no idea why.  I know, they dont bite.  I think it is because I know nothing about how they are supposed to be used and every time I try to even just play with them, I make a muddy mess.  Every time.  I guess I am feeling braver lately because I have been gravatating towards the yummy watercolor supplies.

Remember the sprial bound watercolor pad I showed previously?  I loved that pad of watercolor paper more than I thought I would!  The paper was relatively smooth for cold pressed watercolor paper so my pens work great on it.  And as watercolor paper should be, the paper was nice and thick.  Add in the sprial binding and I officially love it!  The only bummer is that there are not that many papers in each pad.  Only 12 sheets per pad.  So when I realized how great they were, I went back for more.  They are not cheap and I found they come in a several different sizes so I just grabbed one more 7" x 10" and a 9" x 12".  I have a feeling I will go through them pretty quickly but I can always go back for more. 
A wonderful friend of mine gave me a travel watercolor set years ago.  Maybe 8 years ago?  And it was so cute and so nice, I did not dare use it.  I am terrible!  I have finally given myself permission to use it.  And I think that paid off in  more ways than one.  I got an email out of the blue from my friend, Lois, only two weeks after making that decision.  We havent chatted in years!  Anyway...exciting on all kinds of levels  :) 
If you look closely at the pictures, you will see my newly found watercolor pads are the same exact brand as the travel watercolor set I was given years ago!  They are practically a set!  Cute, isnt it?!  It is about 4" x 5" when closed and has a strong white case.

It has a ton of pallette space and it came with a compact brush.  I think I am going to use a water brush but it is very nice to have the back up brush.  The water brush will be shown in a later post.  I dont want to over excite you all. But the travel set is a bit too nice for me to just play with. Dont get me wrong, I will eventually play with it. I promise! No more horading it! It will be perfect to take to work with me so I can do a little arting during my 'lunch'.
But that is where this set comes in.  Remember this medium set I mentioned some time back?  It is made by Paperchase and I got it at Borders with a coupon.  It was only a little over $2.00.  It too came with a brush but I still want to use that water brush.
But then I stumbled upon this set at Michaels last weekend.  It was the only one left.  It is just an Artists' Loft brand set so Im not sure how great the quality will be but look at the colors!!  I signed up for a new online workshop today and the artist uses a set that looks very sikilar to this one.  And ofcourse I had a coupon so it was about $6.00.  And it is huge!  It does not matter what kind of paint I am using, I do not enjoy mixing my own colors so the more colors the better for me.
Come on!  Look at these colors!  I have done a little playing already but I will save that for another post.  I thought I would introduce you to the supplies first and THEN bore you with my attempts at watercolor painting.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


This work-in-progress post shows the steps in making a YellowDog Art card.  Well, in this specific case, a BrownDog card.  My Mom requested this for my niece; BrownDog started at her house before finding her way to my parents house and my niece loves teddy bears.  Easy peasy.

STEP 1:  The recycled kraft cards I use come in two different sizes and they come unfolded but they do have a wonderful score line.
STEP 2:  Using the score line provided on each card and a bone folder, I fold each card separately. 

STEP 3:  Next, I use a good pencil to sketch the image on the card.  I sketch it very very lightly so it is easy to cover with ink or erase when the time comes.  

STEP 4:  Now I ink the card.  I use a no bleed Sharpie to follow the pencils.  Because I buy recycled cards in a heavier cardstock weight, the ink does not bleed through and it give me a nice strong line.  When I am done inking the card, I wait a a few minutes and then carefully erase any left over pencil lines.  I find the cheap $.35 pink pencil topper erasers from the art store work best. 

STEP 5:  I use Prisma Color pencils for color.  They are very waxy and have a super smooth look.  The colors are amazing.  Some of the darker colors dont work great on these cards because they get a white waxy film after a while so I just avoid using the colors I find problematic.  The picture below was actually taken after the pencil step was done and I had just started step 6.  I thought it would work best this way so you could see how different the next step is even though it may sound unnecessary.

STEP 6:  Reinking the entire image.  Again, I use the no bleed Sharpie.  It works the best over the waxy pencil.  It really makes the image pop off the card.  The white pencil outline helps to but the second round of outlining with the Sharpie really brings back all the definition.  The waxy finish of the pencil can ruin markers but so far I find if I just scribble on a plain piece of paper every once in a while, I am good to go! 

This is just a closer look at the final product.  Sorry about the poor quality of the image.  My lighting was not ideal.  I really like how this came out!  My first bear.  After the card is done, I find its matching recycled kraft envelope and a clear cello bag for protection.  The celo bag also helps keep the waxy film appear on the rare occasion I have to use one of those darker colors.

I know, I know.  Printed cards would be sooo much easier.  But how would I get this exact look in printed cards?  Plus, I make my art to make art.  Selling my art and items with my artwork on them just helps me get my art out there to anyone interested.  It helps me recoup a small amount of the cost of supplies.  I keep my prices as low as possible and I do have a day job so I can do this for now.  Currently my recycled cards with envelope and original artwork are all only $5 each!  Want a YellowDog card?  Want a bunch of YellowDog cards?  Contact me and we will work something out  :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011


It has been a rough couple of weeks.  Nothing horrible - just yucky (for lack of a better word).  Everyone has those days where everything and everyone seems to be difficult.  I just happen to have a string of 14 or so of them.  I declare them over.  Seriously...over...thats enough already.  In the very middle of these yucky days, these arrived:
They were sent as an apology.  I am not really one that thinks apologies should be purchased but hell, these were GORGEOUS.  Oh, and the apology wasnt even needed from this person.  So I decided to just take them as a thoughtful and sweet gesture which was exactly what I needed.  Thank you, my friend!  Oh, and thank you G for taking the pic for me!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and I wish everyone a better week next week.  I have a friend taking her first trip to New Orleans, a friend taking her first trip to Florida, a friend expecting a baby, the snow is rapidly melting, I got my tax return so I can pay some bills (and maybe a little goodie or two) can it not be better?!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

sketchbooks: FLEXI-SKETCH

Another new category in my blog is going to be sketchbooks. I admit it right now that I am addicted to GOOD sketchbooks. I am always on the search for that perfect sketchbook...not too big or too small...the perfect weight of paper....bright white pages....aesthetically pleasing...I could go on and on. I carry one every where I go. I have one at work, one (or two) in my bag, one on the writing desk in my livingroom, one open in my studio, etc. I think everyone should. Even if you dont consider yourself an artist, think how handy it would be. To doodle in while on the phone, or to make lists in while waiting to pick up the kids after practice, or to sketch in while eating lunch at your desk. Ok, ok, I will also admit I am a bit of an art geek and I know this may be of no interest to many so feel free to skip over this section if it bores you. I wont be hurt ;)

But for those that might be interested...I introduce the Flex-Sketch by Carnet de Croquis:

I wanted to try one of these for over a year. But they werent available locally and I am too cheap to pay the shipping when the postage cost is more than the item itself especially when I havent first gotten to handle the book or feel the paper. But then one day I was in Middlebury with my Mom on a little shopping trip. I ran in the cute bookstore on my way to put more money in the meter and there it was. They come in several sizes but there it was, the exact one I wanted. The 6" x 12" Flexi-Sketch with the light blue cover. Not a bad price but it was plastic wrapped and I couldnt feel or see the paper so I hesitated. When I went back to the store later, my Mom just picked it up and bought it and called it an early xmas gift. She is good. Very very good. Anyway, I got home later that day and opened it. I found the covers to be thin but very durable and the thickness of the book itself gave a stable base for use without a table or desk. The paper was a gorgeous smooth bright white and a very respectable 75 lb weight. As advertised, they open pretty flat and the binding holds up very well (so far). These compact sketchbooks have a ton of paper. Yup, I loved it! So when I was scouring through Borders one day this past winter, I was shocked and very very happy to see the orange 6" x 6" and the gold 8" x 8" Flexi-Sketch. The other two sizes I wanted. Why were they there!?!? I still have no idea but it gets better. THEY WERE IN THE CLEARANCE SECTION! Yup, red labeled. The orange one was $3.99 and the gold one was $5.99! WTF?! I scooped up what they had and lugged my strained basket of goodies down the stairs. At the register I hefted that haul onto the counter and whipped out my borders card and coupon. I couldnt understand why bells and whistles werent going off and why balloons werent falling from the ceiling. I thought that happened every time someone won the lottery ;) Currently I am loving the orange 6" x 6". It fits in the smallest purse and really stands up to being thrown around and jostled. The paper takes both pencil and pen wonderfully.I went back to Borders again a few weeks later to find more. My name is Pamela Harris and I am a sketchbookaholic. A sketchbookaholic that found Flexi-Sketch at less than half price!! I can not wait to fill every one of these! Well, everyone but maybe one or two that I might give away. Who doesnt love an online giveaway?! :) After I get my blog and facebook synced I will be doing some online giveaways. Keep an eye out. These lil' guys are worth it :) Above you see the first Flexi that I stumbled upon in Middlebury. I found the green 6" x 9" Flexi at a new art store in the area. On my second trip to Inspirations in Essex I saw it proudly sitting there on a special display table. They had other sizes but I have a thing for the long landscape sketchbooks and I couldnt rationalize purchasing any more. They were priced a bit more than any where else but I didnt have to pay shipping and I kind of expect the higher prices at smaller stores. So I got to support a local business AND affirm my multiple purchases at Borders by realizing I paid less for THREE of the orange Flexis than I did for this green one. I know, it is sickness. What is not pictured is the 9" x 12" Flexi I found at Borders the second visit. I got just one because I had enough free Borders Bucks to cover it. It was $9.99; a great deal but come on, I had to show a glimmer of restraint. Plus, it is a bit bigger than I usually like to use; I prefer my larger sketchbooks to have spiral binding for easier use.

Ok, I have put enough people to sleep. Time to go put some pen to paper to justify these purchases.