Tutorial: How to Stretch Watercolor Paper!

Howdy friends! I hope you had an awesome weekend. I did! I spent the day hanging out with mom friends as out daughters swam ALL DAY. The girls entertained themselves so well. They are all at an age where we can just let them go and have fun. We sat comfortably on the shore with our beverages and kept an eye on them as they swam and we got to have wonderful female adult conversation:) Gotta love easy summer days like that! Summer is also the perfect time to get outside and watercolor paint and a useful skill to have is stretching watercolor paper. For one it gives you a beautifully flat paper to paint on and for two you can use less expensive lighter weight paper. In this video I will demonstrate how to stretch 90# watercolor paper:

After I uploaded this video on YouTube I received quite a few questions, one was how to remove the paper. I decided to do a follow up video and answer those questions here:

This may be a bit of overkill for quick paintings and sketches but for paintings that you want to spend a lot of time on and frame it is worth the extra effort. If you are stretching larger than 11″x14″ sheets of paper I recommend using wider gummed tape. If you are stretching 140# paper I recommend soaking the paper for 10 minutes in cold water to fully expand the paper since it is thicker. My biggest recommendation is if this seems like too much work and you don’t want to bother with it than don’t, it’s OK, painting should be fun, not a chore. You can now find inexpensive blocks (I just got Strathmore 400 series watercolor blocks for under $10 at Blick last week) that will remain flat without stretching. I will talk about blocks in another video, I just wanted to give you this option but by no means tell you you have to do it. It’s nice to have choices in our art. I hope you have a fantastic night and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Paint Clouds in Watercolor!

Howdy friends! By request here is a watercolor cloud painting tutorial, I hope you like it!

This week is super busy for me. Please excuse me if I do not respond right away to emails and comments, I’ll be trying though:D Have a great day and as always happy crafting!

Life is a Bowl of Cherries {to Paint!}

Howdy friends! The other day while making lunch for the kids I snagged a handful of cherries, they were too pretty not to paint:

DCF 1.0

I used Prismacolor colored pencils to draw and paint these on a scrap of creamy yellow mat board. Watch the video tutorial for step by step instructions:

Will you give it a try? Be inspired by whatever surrounds you, whether it is a landscape, a flower, the people in your life or even your lunch. Make time for art everyday, even if it is just for a few minutes. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Birch Tree Paintin’

Howdy friends! I just taught my first free drop in watercolor class at the library to a new group of students. It went great. I hope they come back to class next month as all of their paintings were beautiful…I wish I had a camera and took photos to share, but alas I was a scatterbrain today. I originally was going to paint a 9″x12″ painting of birch trees with them like this:


But decided that a smaller greeting card size would be more appropriate for beginners and I am glad because the class ended up going 1/2 an hour over!  I wanted to make sure they finished a project and they were all beautiful! I actually taught them the masking tape technique I posted earlier (see the technique here) but tonight I want to share how I painted the birch trees from the beach with no masking. Have a look:

That’s it for me tonight, I spent the evening with friends and I am ready to drop. Have a great night and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Paint Beach Roses!

Tonight I have a quick tutorial for you on painting beach roses. I shared some that I painted at the beach in watercolor last week and I was requested by several for a tutorial so here it is, enjoy:)

Painting does not need to be difficult or complicated. Just play and have fun, it’s only a piece of paper after all. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Life’s a Beach!

Hi Friends! What a gorgeous day! It was 88 with a breeze at the lake and I spent the day with friends and their kids. Well, in the sense that the kids played merrily in the water as the moms chit-chatted on the shore;) I love beach days, probably too much because I hate to leave, the only people who have a harder time leaving the beach is my kids. I guess we need to soak up enough sun to get us through the long Maine winter…that is if sun can get through SPF 50 (in case you are wondering, it can.) We all came home a little pink (even with 3 coats of sunscreen) which made me feel guilty but also made me remember slathering up with the SPF 4 dark tanning oil with the lovely coconut fragrance I used to lay out with as a teenager, I can’t imaging doing that now, but there is something about that Hawaiian Tropic coconut fragrance that will always take me back. I think I ought to buy a bottle of it and crack it open in January when I need a boost LOL! I brought my KOI travel watercolor set with me and decided to paint. I chose to be inspired by my surroundings. I painted birch trees, beach roses, clouds and the lake.


I used the water brush that came with the kit, I refilled it 3 times from my water bottle to do these small paintings. I used the lid of the palette as a paper easel and it worked great. There is a finger hole on the bottom of the palette I just noticed today too, great for painting in the field. Next time I will bring 2 kits in case someone wants to paint with me. I offered to share with curious onlookers but they all declined, huh. I’m sure they just didn’t want to use my only set I had. I was able to put a stack of watercolor papers and the KOI palette in a quart freezer bag and put that in my beach bag as easy as pie! I think I will bring it every time! Yesterday I filmed a tutorial for painting a tropical beach (not Maine obviously) and I thought since I am feeling beachy I’d share it with you today!

It is fun to paint from memory or reference photos, you can’t beat the convenience, but I urge you to take your paints outside and be inspired by your surroundings. Don’t worry about people watching you or how it will turn out (notice, no masterpieces here) just observe and paint. I got to the beach early so I claimed the shady spot (right next to the birch tree I painted in fact) so I could easily watch my kids swimming while painting and that might be an option if you are shy about painting in public. I actually thought the clouds I painted were rubbish until I peeked at the photo I took all all the sketches and I thought, “hey, they look like clouds!” when before at the beach I thought “good grief, what a mess, I guess it’s time to quit!”  Paintings always look better with fresh eyes.


We are supposed to have great weather this week so I know there will be more swimming in our future! When you head out to the water make sure you bring your watercolors, you will be glad you did! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Time to Paint the Daffodils {again!}

Hi Friends! Remember the old Dunkin Donuts commercial when Fred the Baker would say “Time to Make the Donuts” over and over again as he went back and forth to the shop? Today I feel like Fred the baker LOL! I have been getting up at 5:30 am to get my kids off to different summer camps (thank goodness for awesome carpool moms so I only have to drive once a day!) and by evening I am ready to drop. Hubby and I are planning on finishing a movie (Word War Z) that we started 2 night s ago, zombies and Brad Pitt, that should lull me to sleep (ha!) but before that I am going to make sure my coffee maker is all set up and ready to go in the morning because I am not as perky as Good ol’ Fred come 5:30. Before I do that I will share this tutorial I did  the other day by request of a Facebook friend who wanted to learn how to paint a sunlight daffodil flower against a dark background:

I want to thank Lisa for allowing me to paint her beautiful photograph (and she shared her versions on the facebook page and they looked great!)

Here are the colors I used in Cotman Watercolors by Windsor & Newton”

  • Payne’s Grey
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Sap Green
  • Yellow Ocher

I use a 1″ angular wash, #6 round and a #1 liner and I painted on a 140# cold press watercolor greeting card from Canson. If you have any questions or comments you can leave them below, thanks for stopping by and til tomorrow “Time to make the donuts”….er, I mean Happy Crafting!

YOU can paint these wildflowers! {yes, you!}

Hi Friends! Today is the first day of summer vacations for the kids. After we took the dog for a walk I decided to paint some of the wildflowers we saw. You can follow along with any watercolors (even the children’s water paints will work!) and watercolor paper:

I hope you enjoyed this simple watercolor painting tutorial of daisies, buttercups and clover. I think it is important to take a little time to create everyday. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Easy Sweet Pea Painting! {watercolor}

Hello Friends! I’m still at the stamp show but thought I’d share a quick and easy tutorial that I filmed the other day:

I used 140# paper and a #10 round brush. I used transparent watercolors from Yarka in the colors: Lemon Yellow, Hookers green, red rose deep, violet and yellow  ocher. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and I will fill you in on all of the fun from the stamp show tomorrow…or Monday, depending on how tired I am when I return:) Happy crafting!

Pen & Ink Watercolor Card {try it, it’s easy!}

Hi Friends! It’s either feast or famine with me and the watercolor cards, no watercolor tutorial last week and this week I have two…well, maybe not a feast exactly but it is a fun card to paint:

DCF 1.0

I think using  the pen and ink technique with watercolor is perfect for people who feel that they lose to much of their original drawing when they go to paint. I am using Micron Pens which are nice because they have a smooth consistent line and you don’t have to worry about spills and drips like you do with a dip pen. I am using Cotman watercolors, a #6 round brush and a 140# Canson watercolor card as my surface. Ready? Let’s Paint!

If you don’t have Micron pens you can use a fine tip permanent marker such as a Sharpie or Bic Mark-it, they do not come in the variety of tips as the Microns but you can definitely get a feel for the technique and you can decide if you like it before investing in the Microns. Thanks to Oriental Trading Company for supplying the Micron Pens for this tutorial, check out their website for all kinds of art supplies, scrapbook and beading goodies as well of general craft supplies!

EDIT* Oriental Trading Company has free shipping on ANY size order through 6/5/14 with the code: CE144432 so hurry!

Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


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