Paint What You Know…

Yesterday I started a watercolor journal. My sister and brother-in-law have been bestowing upon me all manner of wonderful art supplies, including watercolors, waterbrushes, watercolor pencils and paper galore. Three of the pads of 140-lb paper are really conducive to journaling, and after I purchased a set of Pigma Micron pens for detail work and making margin notes, I decided to give it a go.

Writers are always told to “write what you know,” so I decided to start painting what I know best, my immediate environment. Yesterday on Facebook I posted this watercolor sketch of the view outside the window to the right of my desk downstairs:

Since I had time today, I decided to add another, this time from a photo of my daughter in the kitchen, and post a bit about the process. I sometimes wish I was the kind of person who could just slap down some paint and call it art, but most paintings take at least some planning, especially watercolor paintings. Today I started with a sketch on a sheet of legal pad paper and transferred it to the watercolor pad:

Then I used a few washes, limited palette:

Added some Micron pen details and more wash layers:

And after the final details:

Part of making art is knowing when to stop adding details, and I should have stopped before trying to put a plate on the counter. Our dishes have a very detailed and colorful Mexican pattern, and I tried to depict that, but a simple plate would have sufficed, or it could even have been left out altogether. But hey, live and learn; this is just a journal. I’m enjoying the process and having fun painting again.

Okay, I’m off to shoot some photos while we have a partly sunny and dry day to do so.  I wish everyone a good week!


7 thoughts on “Paint What You Know…

    • Thank you, Jen! I’ve always liked seeing how people pull paintings together, too, so I wanted to show that as well.

    • Thanks, Lisette! Painting is something I haven’t done in a long time, but it’s a nice switchoff from writing. I’m writing in the morning still and reserving painting for later in the day and weekends.

      I will be finished reading “Squalor, New Mexico” soon–I’ve really enjoyed it and will be writing a review; it should be made into a movie, do you have plans for a screenplay?


    • Thanks! After making the sketch I just ran the pencil back and forth on the back of it and used it like a carbon, tracing the major lines onto the watercolor paper. I would have just done the sketch on the watercolor paper itself, but it was easier this way and safer, in that because I’m using both sides of the paper in this journal, I didn’t want to chance stressing it out too much by having to erase if I needed to.

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