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I have been trying to get a little painting in when I first get up in the morning. I enjoy painting florals and later adding some ink.





The painting, above right, I almost abandoned. It took me a few days to get it finished, and I am still not happy with it. I decided I should keep it and learn from my mistakes. Perhaps I can cut it up and incorporate it into a collage.


This angled brush came in a set that I purchased last month. It's called a shading brush, but I had fun creating flowers with it.
While the painting continues, making pots is still happening. Last week we glazed, loaded, and fired the kiln. We were moving slowly due to the heat. We fell behind schedule, but we got it done and didn't suffer heat stroke! Jeff and I took a break on Independence Day. It felt good to hang with friends, grill some burgers, and generally eat too much. Now it's back to the making cycle.
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I have wanted to explore painting with gouache for quite some time, despite not knowing a whole lot about it. Upon research, I learned that it is often used by illustrators and it's properties fall somewhere in between watercolor and acrylic. After swatching my paints, I dove right in. I decided to start with a familiar pattern, ginkgo leaves. In the past I have painted them in both watercolor and acrylics. This should be easy, right? Ugh. Epic fail. I took a break and watched a few youtube videos and came to the realization that my ginkgo leaves probably cannot be saved. To fix them, I will have to add too many layers of paint. Since gouache is chalky, it may crack off the paper. Better to start over. I will save this hideous piece, and perhaps come back to it later. OR... since it looks like Christmas ginkgo leaves, I can finish the background and turn it into a holiday card! Better yet, I could sacrifice it the next time we need to burn brush in the yard.
That's probably the best idea.
This weekend I put the gouache paints away and went back to watercolors. I am trying to not be discouraged. Perhaps one night this week I will give it another go.
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Yes, I still make pots! This little piggy bank came out of the kiln this week. I just love how the glaze has some nice purple blush in all the right places. It's already boxed and ready to head to it's new home in Illinois.
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Peaches and Lemons on Arches paper

I was finally able to get out my paints and give the Arches watercolor paper a go. While it is a nice thick paper I really didn't think that it shaded that much better than the Canson paper.  I also think that it buckled a little more than the Canson.

Canson paper on the left, Arches on the right

I did treat myself to another pan of watercolors. I have been curious about Arteza brand. They are advertised everywhere. All of their paints are very affordable. I have watched a few youtube artist reviews and after watching one on the watercolors, I decided to give them a try. I received 10% off of my order, along with a small Ebates reward. The free shipping was also a plus.


So far I am happy with them. I know what their drawbacks are (too many browns and yellows) but for the price, I can deal with that. The set was a little less than $30 and there are 36 half pans.


... and to change the subject completely, I made this awesome vegetable bake the other night!
Zucchini and summer squash, sliced fresh tomato, garlic and onions. At the very end I topped it with a little parmesan and fresh mozzarella.. I can't wait to make it again when we have tomatoes from our garden. Yum!
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I have been using affordably priced watercolor paper. Not the cheapest, but pretty darn close. I have two pads, one is Strathmore, the other Canson (which I prefer). I recently watched a video comparing the results of the less expensive paper and Arches 100% cotton paper. The difference was rather dramatic. I decided I needed to give it a try. I ordered a pad to start with. It's also sold in blocks that are a little more spendy. If I like this perhaps a block is in my future. My other splurge last month was some better brushes. They weren't too expensive and were recommended by a few different "youtubers". While I have tried out the brushes and love them... I haven't given the paper a go yet.
Maybe tonight.
Stay tuned for a review.
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Alcohol Ink with Doodles

The paintings are starting to pile up around here. I decided that some of them would become greeting cards. Not only for my own use, but perhaps to start selling them. I ordered card stock and envelopes, along with some plastic sleeves. Last night I decided to research what handmade cards were selling for on Etsy and was totally blown away! There were shops selling cards for as little as $1.79! Granted, some were done with cut outs from a cricut machine, with jewel embellishments... but they were well done. You can't buy a decent card from a well known company for less than $4. The last time I looked at cards in a store, every one that I liked was $6.99 and up! I found a watercolor artist selling beautiful cards with miniature watercolor paintings for $5 and free shipping. I am tempted to order some.
I felt a little better after searching specifically for cards created with alcohol inks. Most sellers prices were $8+. The art on my cards could easily be framed by removing the painting from the card. That all being said, if I don't sell any cards I have plenty for my own use!
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A walk through the yard this morning.

 The magnolia is looking a little beat up after the two hurricanes last fall. Fewer blossoms, but each one beautiful.

 Yarrow by the front steps.


 The herbs are doing great this Spring. Sage and thyme.


The lilies are just starting to bloom. Their scent reminds me of suntan lotion.

The field next door was hayed late last week, while we were loading the gas kiln. Jeff and I were both sneezing up a storm. Yesterday they rolled it into bales. I love seeing them scattered across the landscape. We are breathing much easier now.



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I created this flower by layering alcohol inks on Yupo paper. I start with diluted ink in small squirt bottles. After dropping some ink on the paper I blow it in different directions using a straw. The final layer is full strength ink with some more diluted ink in the areas that were too dark. I have to say, a couple of breaks were needed to avoid getting dizzy! I am tempted to buy an airbrush to move the ink around. I will definitely need to if I decide to make larger work. This one is on 9" x 12" Yupo. Any larger and I might pass out.

I am just about out of Yupo paper. I ordered a pad of 5" x 7" from Amazon last week, but it seems to have gone missing. The new expected delivery date is Wednesday, according to Amazon. When I enter tracking at UPS, their site says they have no estimated delivery because they haven't received the package yet! Amazon customer service couldn't really help. They just said contact us on Thursday if you haven't received it by then. In the meantime, I ordered another pad with guaranteed delivery by Tuesday. I can't remember if the first was guaranteed delivery, but it was Prime free shipping. We shall see how it all works out. Without paper, perhaps I will get more pots made!!
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My kitchen peninsula is my painting work station. Since I have to walk by it multiple times a day, I find myself stopping for a "minute" to tweak whatever I have in progress. I have to be careful because that minute  can easily stretch to an hour!

Alcohol Ink on Yupo Paper

Still a little more work to do on this tile

Last night I finally got around to experimenting with alcohol ink on ceramic tile. It's definitely a little different than the yupo paper. The inks really shine on the tile, although it is hard to tell in the photo. We have a tile attachment for our extruder and last month Jeff extruded a bunch of tiles. I applied white slip to a few and then glazed them in our translucent glaze. I applied the slip so that the tiles would be a bright white instead of the gray color of the stoneware we use. Commercial tiles from the big box store would be an affordable and easy option, but I sort of liked the idea of all of the components being done by hand. The tiles will need to be sprayed with Kamar museum quality varnish to protect the surface. You can use the same coating on yupo paper, but if you are framing under glass there really isn't a need for it. If you want to use them as coasters they can be coated with resin. The cost of resin is crazy and I am not sure I want to get into that... yet. :-)
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Sometimes customers have the best ideas! I usually combine this aqua glaze with shino. The two together are one of my favorite combinations. A customer requested a piggy bank in aqua and white. I wasn't sure I was going to like it. When it came out of the kiln I LOVED it! It's really rockin' some fabulous drips.


This is the larger size pig. I have a few regular size banks, that aren't orders, in the current making cycle. I am definitely going to do a couple in this combination.

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