Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Two for Tuesday - Matcha, Not so Matcha

I found these two teas at Target - glad to see that Target is carrying The Republic of Tea's Be Well tea line and interested to try a new tea/product line.  I picked up Get Matcha and Day is Done Bedtime Blend.

I love Matcha green teas, but often when you purchase them at coffee/tea shops, they are blended with sugar or sweetened almond milk or not non-fat regular milk.  Hard to watch the carbs and the calories when you don't know what you are drinking.   Target is carrying this and some of the others in their Be Well tea line.  Priced at $9.99 for 36 tea bags.  The bonus with this particular matcha - it won't turn "Kermit Green" and it has the added green tea and green rooibos for additional goodness and flavor.  I would suggest using two tea bags if using a larger mug. I rate this 5+

The eye catching display of the Beekman Farm Pantry line looked interesting (look at the end of the pasta aisle).  They had three teas, for three times of the day.  Clever!  I got the Day is Done Bedtime Blend.  An herbal, no caffeine tea, I liked the color and the tin design.  Alas, not so much the tea.  The ingredients sounded interesting - Lemon Balm, chamomile, nutmeg, peppermint, cornflowers - and the fragrance quite nice.   $5.99 for 20 sachets.  However, once brewed, to me it just tasted...odd.  I even just brewed another mug just to make sure.  Nope.  Not bad, but perhaps it will be someone else's cup of tea.  They do have a fun website and other teas and products.  And I plan to try their other items at Target, it's nice to be able to support American farmers.
I didn't try/get the other teas because they had citrus

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pressed for Purple

"Lori's Purple Oxalis"
5 1/2" x 4"
"Lori's Purple Oxalis" - watercolor on hand dyed watercolor paper, impressioned while still wet with the top of a plastic to-go drink lid.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Netflix Stars - The Theory of Everything

3 stars - Interesting story, incredible performance by Eddie Redmayne.  Despite Jane's devotion and support of him through his illness, their relationship falters, as does the movie.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow

Rain Lily
12" x 10 1/2"
My first time watercolor painting on Yupo paper.  I like it!  I am excited to experiment with the different effects the paper will lend itself to.  Many thanks to Jackie Liddell for introducing me to this artistic medium.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Netflix Stars - Valentino The Last Emperor

4 1/2 stars
"An evening gown which shows a woman's ankles is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen."  I love his evening gowns and this documentary showcases his designs, particularly in the first half.  Gorgeous eye candy.  But the second half is a wrap up of his career, and a bit sad to watch as money takes over from designing from the heart couture.

Breaking rules

We watched Shirley Trevena's "Breaking the Rules of Watercolor" DVD and I was playing around with some of her techniques of using watercolor pencil shavings/against sandpaper and drawing on wet paper with wet crayons and pencils.  Here's a video snippet from Pinterest.  I like her attitude!
Got the foggy aspect - but also learned that those Derwent Artbar watercolor crayons didn't quite blend as well as I thought this time on this paper  -- Perhaps because the paper was damp/wet when I scribbled upon it.  Also to pretest.  I've seen some sketchbooks with the first page reserved for trying out the usual and favorite paints and pencils and crayons used, and how it reacts.  Here's what happened with the Artbars in another watercolor sketchbook.  Good to know in advance!
Gooseberry (broken), Baby Blue and Cool Gray

But then, who's to say a more bargain brand and price can't also perform well?  Here are Master's Touch Metallic Oil Pastels from Hobby Lobby's Clearance section, marked down from $9.99 to $3.59.  And you get four of each color/metal.  Just in case one of them tries to pull a Gooseberry and break. Actually it was more like a Kit-Kat bar and I shared two sets with two friends.  (And kept an extra set for me, just because, well, the Gooseberry, but also how much I loved how these worked and looked) They laid down smoothly and gave a great metallic sheen without being gaudy.
Now this is something that Shirley would appreciate!  I think it is great and inspirational to free yourself to try and have fun with new techniques and toys.


Pink and purple handblown marble
6" x 6"
Gorgeous iridescent hand-blown marble with threads of purple and pink from Hudson Beach Glass in Beacon, New York

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Urban Sketching - Watercolor - Rosenberg Library in Galveston

I did a quick sketch in No. 2 pencil and Derwent watercolor pencils at the Rosenberg Library and finished the touchups at home with my watercolors.  Second floor, looking towards the Non-Fiction section.

Thursday Tea Time - Blue Velvet

This week - For Tea's Sake Red Velvet Party 

Price:  $7.99
Size:  1.4 ounce/40 gram
Caffeine:   No
Type of Tea:  Rooibos (Red)
Steeping time:  4 minutes
Mix ins:  Coffee Mate Sweet Italian Cream Sugar Free
Fragrance:  Fruity
Ingredients: Rooibos, rosehip, elderberry, blueberry pieces, lavender, rose petals, natural flavors

Opinion:  I found this at a new organic grocery store and restaurant in Galveston, Seasons - 2701 Broadway (where Frog and Home used to be - look for the green building with the black and white striped awning)  They had a wide variety of their teas in large and small tins, along with a sampler mini tin set.  This is the first time I had heard of this Canadian-based company.  There were some interesting flavors, but this caught my eye first.  It is a loose-leaf tea (yay! - I'm finding those have more flavor and larger pieces - less "dust")  First whiff is fruity.  However, after brewing you will get that red velvet flavor once you add some sugar free Italian Cream.  The lavender lends itself nicely without overwhelming, the rosehips give it a nice tang.  I would almost call this Blueberry Blue Velvet.  Very pleasant to drink after dinner as a dessert tea, without worries about caffeine.
Rating:  4
In my new tea glass from Australia

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July Fry

Near record temperatures and Houston is going strong to beat July 1980 as one of the hottest Julys.
Map inspiration from Space City Weather.  And coincidently today is also National French Fry Day!


Thursday, July 07, 2016

World Watercolor Month - Day 7

8" x 4 1/2"
Just a quick project this afternoon.  I like how the feather "eyes" turned out.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

World Watercolor Month - Day 6

Peace Lily
10" x 7"
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), is a genus of about 40 species of monocotyledonous flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to tropical regions of the Americas and southeastern Asia.  They may also be known as Spath lilies.  Easy to care for, they are often found in offices and are given as condolence/sympathy plants.  Mine has taken quite well to being in an outside container, adapting to Houston heat and humidity, albeit in a shaded area.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

World Watercolor Month - Day 5

Inspired by Oki Sato "Thin Black Lines" 
It's kind of a squared color wheel mixing and using the colors of Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue and Lemon Yellow/Auerolin

Sunday, July 03, 2016

World Watercolor Month - Day 3

"Lunar Moonflower"

This turned out differently than I expected, but I like it!  Opening moonflower bloom surrounded by Daniel Smith Lunar Black, with the crazy granulation.


This is the watercolor sketchbook I've been using for the World Watercolor Month this year.

I found it at Tuesday Morning as part of a zip-around sketchbook and brush portfolio.
Alas, this Daler-Rowney Classic Watercolour Wirebound Sketchbook seems to have been discontinued.  (Probably why it was at Tuesday Morning) It's difficult to find a 140 pound watercolor paper in a sketchbook format, and in this 10" x 7" size.  Hopefully they will bring it back or maybe there is a newer version available.  If you find something similar, post a comment!


Saturday, July 02, 2016

World Watercolor Month - Day 2


Passion Flower (Passiflora) grows on a vine, often turning into (or growing over) a shrub.  Gorgeous, intricate blooms. I snapped a photo of this outside of Tantra Coffeehouse in San Marcos, Texas.

Netflix Stars - Ladies in Lavender

5 stars!  Oddly we tend to watch more movies in the summer, inside the air-conditioning than in the cooler months. A sweet and touching drama set in Cornwall in 1939.  Maggie Smith and Judi Dench were in fine form and played off each other's strengths with remarkable skill.  A delight to watch!

Friday, July 01, 2016

World Watercolor Month - Day 1

Here is my "Day (Before) Lily" for the World Watercolor Month.  I added the pistols and stamens with watercolor pencils...after basically dousing this page with water, and adding salt to get the watery and crystallizing special effects.   I am pretty impressed with this sketchbook, it can really take the water well.   Unfortunately, it appears to have been discontinued.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Watercolor Wednesday - Day(after) Lily

7 1/" x 6 1/2"
Watercolor sketchbook - Day(After)Lily

The daylily is "Little Business"
I will paint the day before version, it was gorgeous.  I was getting ready to this morning when I thought this looked interesting.

Here's the sketch -

This was fun, sketching and painting "en plein kitchen" en nice cool a/c!
#worldwatercolormonth kickoff

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Tube Paste
Discontinued, so half off Texas Art Supply's already discounted prices
Odd size, but easy to work with in the pad format and then cut down afterwards 
Kicked myself all the way home to Texas my first visit to Australia when I didn't get this
- made a beeline back to Bondi Art Supply the day I arrived and grabbed it
Got the gum arabic, the paper and the pigment.  All set for play time!

June Moon

"Spaced Out"
Space was the theme of the June ScribeDelivery Box.   How perfect is that for this Houston girl?  Check out that Space Shuttle notebook!

(Note:  I do not get any special compensation from them, I just want to pass along an opportunity to support a US/Texas-based company of two people with a great idea.)  

We all know the curated monthly box subscriptions are all the rage now -- Paper Pumpkin from Stampin' Up, Art Box, Art Snacks, even dinner.  It reminds me of the National Handcraft Society Craft of the Month Club from the 70's - of which I still have some of the things I made from their small book-sized mailing box.  They were very creative. My Mom belonged, but I would open the box and make the projects.  They were just sitting there.  Remember twice a day mail delivery?!
Who doesn't like getting neat things in the mail and a surprise you know you will like, too!

I've been a Scribe subscriber (haha!) for the past four months and I have to say each one gets even better.  If you like paper products, pens, pencils...you should give them a try.  Also if you like to draw or are an artist you will be very happy with them.   The items they include are perfect and often you can't find them in the stores.  Hello blacklight Gelly Roll pen!  The items encourage portable creativity, too.  I can just slip one of the pads and pens/pencils in my purse and be ready for any unexpected artistic sketching opportunity or to jot down thoughts for life in general or a book.  I've always found that if you have cool tools, you tend to want to use and find ways to use them more.

Check out their website and sign up for the next box opening.  They only get limited amounts of the goodies and often only have a few openings available.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Netflix Stars - Brooklyn -- The book must be/has to be better than the movie!

2 stars - Not a good sign when you stop the movie three times to take cell phone calls and text a friend.  Very slowly paced, I kept waiting for me to get hooked into it because of all the "You are going to love this movie" from my friends.  The best part of the movie was the ending.  No, not because it was over, but for the lines. Definitely a sign to read the book first.  On the positive, I did not know the Catholic Church sponsored the Irish to come to America, particularly Brooklyn.  And the costuming was well done.  I will try reading the book to see if it fleshes out Saoirse Ronan's character beyond a far off stare and deepening the rest of the glossed-over characters.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Sketching - New toys!

What is a field trip without stopping to get souvenirs?  Several of us from WAS-H (Watercolor Art Society Houston) visited local Houston galleries to see current exhibitions, and then to meet for lunch afterwards.  We finished our list early, several were closed probably being a Friday in the summer -- good idea to call ahead and see if they are open -- and we were very close to Art Supply on Main.  It's all good and well to use coupons at Michaels and Hobby Lobby, but even better to support local independent businesses.  You can often find better deals and better depth of products and services - and people who are artists.  Even those shopping in the store aisles beside you.

Anyways, I was able to find several "souvenirs" to play and review in my sketchbook. . .

First up - Derwent ArtBar watercolor crayons
I bought Baby Blue (A29), Gooseberry (A13) and Cool Gray (A45)

A bit disappointed in the Gooseberry, I thought it would be more vibrant like the Baby Blue and Cool Gray, which I just loved.

It also was more fragile, breaking apart into three pieces.  Due to the color?  I didn't drop it and it didn't feel broken when I selected it.

Three times a crayon...?!

All colors blended beautifully when used with a wet brush.  I also liked the effect directly adding color into wet paper.  A brush would further dissolve the pigment, but I thought it looked neat.

The triangle shape with three flat sides and three points was also versatile in laying swaths of color and fine sketching detail.  I am a little unsure of its physical strength with the Gooseberry literally falling apart as I held and used it.

I thought these blended better than the Caran d'Ache watercolor crayons I've previously tried.  Art Supply on Main sells these individually, not as a set.  Pick up a few and try them out.

The blue and the gray will be popped into my mobile sketch bag kit.  Color me impressed with those colors.

Neocolor II Water-soluble Metallic Rose

Someone gave me very good advice when presented with a wide variety of colors - choose what your eye goes to first, or go with primary colors to mix.  This pretty purple pink caught my eye immediately.   And metallic, how fun would that be to play with?

Turns out a wise choice on two parts.   The crayon easily put down a generous amount of color and you can see a definite metallic sheen (hard to capture in the photograph)

It dissolved and blended well from dry paper to wet paper.

I'm thinking of  picking up a few more of these in different colors for accents and special effects, particularly on toned paper.  The metallic shimmer is subtle, not gaudy.

Art Supply sells these individually also - grab a handful of the ones which appeal to you.

Thank you Pinterest! (Enabler)

I saw this Daniel Smith color on Pinterest, Duochrome Green Pearl - painted over white and black paper - gorgeous!!  Art Supply had it.
How beautiful is this?!

Can't wait to try this on toned or black paper either!

Like Tailor's Chalk for artists only in graphite!
(And a yummy chocolate color!)

Oh I loved this ArtGraf Viarco water soluble graphite in Sepia in a square format!  So versatile.  I had seen the set of 6 earth tone colors on Amazon but heard the box it came in wasn't that great.  I thought I would try one, with its own individual case.   I love the color, I love how you can use it wet or dry, adding water afterwards or before, and using directly from the block with a wet paintbrush.  This is also going into my grab & go sketching bag.  I may also go and grab some additional colors. 

I had played with this version in class a few months ago and immediately bought on Amazon, but didn't have a chance to play at home until this weekend. . .

This was all one swipe from the tin!
I loved the intensity and the granulation from this graphite tin.   As you can tell, a little goes a long, long, long way.  You can even mix it with water using the inside of the cap.  

I do a lot of traveling, particularly flying as of late, and admit I am little cautious carrying semi-solids/liquid paints/pigments in a palette.  I like these solid forms of graphite for portability, creative innovation and great colors.

One of my watercolor instructors said she always likes to look for and use browns and turquoises in pens and paints.  They can add a richness and yet an understatedness to make your artwork sing.