This has been on my mind for a long time and now that the challenge books are out of the way and I'm eager to start going through the other book projects lined up with their directions and materials, I thought I could kill two birds with one stone. "Real" painters are quite passionate and insistent about swatching your paint colors, to get a feel for how they react on paper and their true color once mixed with water or other colors on a brush. You can probably guess that true to form, I've wanted to swatch my watercolors but never made the time. But I made time this weekend.
Here was my thought. I'm planning to make another 5 Day Mixed Media Journal Challenge in a larger size. It's the one with the accordion fold spine that I had painted with acrylic paints. Journal pages painted with acrylic paint have a bad habit of sticking to each other, or just to an opposing blank page. When I got my journal out to refresh my memory about its construction, those parts of the folded spine sticking up between the signatures had to be gently pried away from them. So after some thought, I hit upon the idea of using watercolor paint instead to bring some color to the spine.
A "what if" posed itself. What if I paint the spine paper while I swatch? I knew there'd be lots of paint left on the brush after painting each tiny swatch square so rather than waste it, I could expend it on the spine paper. So I can't start that book project until I do my swatching. I decided on inch wide vertical stripes on the paper because the accordion folds will be made at each inch. Kinda iffy about this now that it is done. Maybe need to add some pen drawing over the top, zentangles? Note: I actually have two watercolor paint palettes. My original purchase was a nearly half-price mini Sennelier set. These paints are quite pricey but even with my limited knowledge and experience, beautiful to work with. But I was frustrated that I couldn't manage anything resembling pink with the red that's in it. So when a larger palette went on sale with only a few duplicates and a red that would dilute to a pink, I splurged on it. It also has a purple that I would soon need.
Because there's actually a third bird to kill here. I'd finally gotten around to putting the plants I'd bought into various pots and planters early in the month and in doing so, had broken off a stem full of blooms off one of them. I put it in some water and studied the flowers, ending up doing a simple sketch of them. A few days later, I matched their color to a colored pencil and added that to the sketch.
But because of a certain watercolor artist's videos about bringing the garden in and making simple botanical sketches, I was compelled to try that too. Again, I wouldn't be using much paint and I could do it while I swatched, using my colored pencil sketch for reference. Nothing to write home about, but it was a chance to get a feel for how to use the brush and how the paints flowed (or didn't flow) on this mixed media sketchbook page. Also in the picture at the top, everything is laid out on a new investment: Tim Holz Media Surface Mat. Not cheap but I think it will definitely reduce some of my frustrations when working with inks and paint. It's a non-stick surface that is also heat resistant (i.e. you can use a heat gun over it and hot glue dripped on it won't hurt it) and the corners are slightly weighted to keep it flat. The flip side sticks to almost any surface - it's rock solid on my work table. A big improvement over the freezer paper I'd begun to tape down shiny side up on my table.
The deck garden is a sorry sight at this point. All that was blooming
when I bought them have spent those blooms. Most that had buds only saw
those buds dry up rather than open up. A few scraggly pink blossoms have emerged, and I'm
sure once our roller coaster weather settles, the rest of the blooms
will come. In the meantime, the pot by the front steps has taken up the slack. While pondering what I might buy to put in it, the violas from last year have come back with a vengeance! They are now showing 4 or more inches above the rim of the pot, saying, "No need for anything else!" We'll see how long that lasts, but in the meantime, they are a cheery sight as I come and go on my walks.