I was recently given the awesome opportunity to try out some new paints.  After being contacted by a company known for their acrylic line, Golden Artist Colors, who have just launched a brand new line of modern watercolor paints, they wondered if I might like a sample of some colors to try, ...heck yeah!  

If you're a watercolor painter at any level, you've probably seen the cost of a tube of professional grade paints, thank goodness they are super concentrated and go a very long way when mixed with water!  Anyway, I've never been offered free paint before so I jumped right over to their website to check it out and was very impressed with the color charts and choices!  QoR (I believe pronounced core) had some very interesting color combinations and names for colors, like French Cerulean, and Bohemian Green Earth, well ok they had me at free paint but for a color geek like me, yes please!

I chose some colors, which was a tough decision to make, and they arrived a short time later in beautiful new tubes of brilliant pigments.  My paint box and pallet have slowly grown and evolved over the years and have maybe 4-5 different brands of watercolor paints, some I like better than others, some I prefer for certain colors more then others.  After playing with these paints for a couple of weeks now, I have to say the unique colors did not disappoint and the granulating qualities (which is the way the paint moves and separates into it's own lovely layers of texture, sometimes creating those little "happy accidents") are superb! That's something that has always fueled my love for colors and for watercolors in particular.  

So I'm going to continue to play with my colors in my happy place, and I hope you'll check out the QoR line if you're a painter too, I do think they're quite fabulous!



I have always loved going to markets, farmer's markets, flea markets, antique markets, European markets, you name it, I'm there.  Lately though there seems to be a new interest in these sweet gatherings of vendors and shoppers, wandering through little white tents or tables, gathering hand made and homegrown goodness, maybe like people used to do before there were 'supermarkets'.  Now you'll also find artist markets, makers markets, vintage markets, garden markets, etc. in the upcoming event promotions of things to do with your weekend...I LOVE IT!

If I'm not vending or selling my wares at some sort of art/garden related marketplace, I'm probably attending one, because it's still fun to be on the other side of the table sometimes.  And if I am vending at one, I so enjoy all of the people you meet and connections you make.  The shoppers out enjoying their day, and the other vendors and artisans as passionate about their work as I am.  They're always willing to share their stories on why they do what they do and how blessed we are to get to do what we love!  So in addition to the 'advertising marketing' part of this awesome, crazy business adventure, there's also this 'to market we go' part.  Yes, it's a lot of work to make it, take it, haul it all out there, pray for nice weather and nice crowds, and sell yourself shamelessly...but I still love it, from either side of the table.

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Sometimes you just have to get outside and breath the fresh air, take a walk in the woods, clear your head, ...especially after an extremely long winter like we've had this year.  It's still too cold to plant my garden, but things are starting to green up a little and it's encouraging to see the first wildflowers popping up.  Maybe take a sketchbook with you.  No, everything doesn't have to be a masterpiece or even a finished work, or ready for a competition, or even for anybody to see but you. I meet so many people that say they can't draw, who told them that?  Drawing is freeing, painting is calming, creating is good therapy, who couldn't use a little of those things? My sketchbooks very greatly between, simple watercolor landscapes, up close specimen details, value studies, random thoughts, doodles, scribbles.  The point is to get out there...get I mean really see!  Trust me, you'll be glad you did.


Remember to bring something to draw on and a few little art supplies in your pack.  If things won't sit still for you, you can always take a picture and finish it later, no worries!



Springtime in Southwest Michigan is an eclectic mix of sunshine then snow, flowers then frost, and temperatures fluxuating by 40 degrees in one day.  As excited as I am to get out into my garden and start the prep of a new growing season, the cold rain and mud are keeping me in the studio.  Just as well probably, as there are several garden shows and spring markets to stock up for and always new projects on my desk to paint.  

The garden show events have become some of my most favorite vendor markets and opened up a whole new world of meeting so many dear sweet people that appreciate beauty and like to grow things with their hands.  I seriously had no idea there were so many Master Gardeners and programs to gain such knowledge or the amount of dedication and work it takes to earn that title!  Although I'm primarily an artist and only a very amateur gardener, without these lovely people growing the things I paint and blowing me away with their knowledge of work would seem so much more pointless.  So gardeners I salute you!  Please keep doing what you do to make the world a more beautiful place, and I'll keep painting what you grow to capture and preserve them. Then maybe we can keep our flowers around us all through the long, cold winters!



I always think it's so sweet when one of my students sends me a text from the paint isle at Hobby Lobby (or Michael's, etc.) asking what was the name of that color, or paper, or brush that I mentioned.  I guess I'm amazed that anyone was even listening or values my opinion enough to do that!  After all, it is just my personal preference as far as what supplies I like to use, and I think every artist has their own personal favorites as well that I'm sure differ from mine.  Still, of course I don't mind sharing what I might have learned along the way, maybe it'll save someone else a little time, money, and frustration from sorting through all of the options out there.

So, with that in mind I'm going to take my next few blog posts as I try to write to you once a month here, and let you in on some of my favorite watercolor painting supplies, in case you're interested in giving it a go yourself and would like a little direction in where to start.

#1 -Paints:  My very utmost hands down favorite has to be Daniel Smith brand professional watercolors.  I fell in love with these paints many years ago through trial and error and still get so excited when I get to order a new color (yay!) and then try it out fresh from the tube in a painting.  If you look them up, you'll see the colors are just AMAZING, rich, vibrant and so many beautiful options, agh- I can hardly stand to have to choose!  And then... when you start painting with them and they blend and swirl and mix, it's almost magical I think. DS also has this fabulous way of granulating, where the pigment separates sometimes leaving little flecks of pure color and texture that creates little "happy accidents" you maybe didn't plan on.  I know some watercolorists would rather their paint not do those things that are unpredictable and out of their control, but personally I think that's what makes watercolors so lovely, ...even as much of a control freak and perfectionist as I am. :)