Let’s Paint a Ruffly Flower! {Real-time mini painting!)

Hi friends! I was looking for something the other day and came across a box of small frames I bought years ago when I needed cheap ways to display my art for sale. There was a bunch of 3.5″x6″ acrylic frames with a magnet on the back, they were meant for displaying photos on a ‘fridge but I would put small watercolor paintings in them and sell them for $5. I like making small watercolor paintings. They are a great way to warm up before attempting a large painting or a fun thing to do if you can only squeeze in 15 minutes of painting in your day. Often I will work on 4 or 5 paintings at a time so I can skip around when I am waiting for stuff to dry. As you can imagine I can end up with stacks of these little paintings so the small frames are a great way to display and sell them. I hope you like these mini paintings because I chopped up a bunch of paper to 3.5″x5″ and I am going to flip on the camera and film them as I do them. So, here is the first one, a ruffled pink flower:


Here is the reference photo I used by Christine Coffey at Paint my Photo. I used Yarka watercolors and Albright Druer watercolor pencils on Canson Montville 140# cold pressed paper. You can use whatever brands you like though:) Thanks for stopping by and have a great night!

Relax and Paint a Happy Little Stream! {Using Gansai Tambi Watercolors!}

Hello Friends! Summer vacation has officially hit the Frugalcrafter’s household…well for the kids, I still have a bit of work I had hoped to have finished before the kids got out of school and doing what would normally take me 15 minutes takes me all day. I totally needed a  few quiet minutes of painting therapy last night so I snuck down to my studio and painted this…


…but they found me. I was recording this tutorial live when a few minutes in my twins showed up in my studio, started to bicker and then picked up a painting I had packaged up to mail to a customer, I could see one was trying to bop the other one on the head with it and I had to intervene before someone got hurt or the painting was damaged. I was a trooper, I tried to keep my cool and carry on but listing back I could hear the irritation in my voice and I was painting angry little trees and we can’t have that now can we? And besides, this painting should have only taken me about 15 minutes and I found it hard to get back in the flow after the interruption. See, we all have days like that, sometimes parenting is all friendship bracelets and rainbows and other times you are thinking “Who are these people and why do they keep calling me mom?” I’m pretty sure I have a rubber stamp that says that too LOL!  Now on to the video!


One of the reasons I wanted to paint this is because several people asked me to paint a picture with the Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors (Affiliate link-Hallmark Scrapbook) that so many stampers have been using lately. They are more opaque than traditional western watercolors but you can use them just the same. Go ahead and you whatever paints you have though, Traditional paints will be a bit more vivid.

Colors used: Kuretake Gansai Tambi Color numbers & Names () indicate traditional color names
#31 Scarlet Red (Vermillion or Cadmium Red)
#44 Light Brown (Yellow Ocher)
#54 Olive Green (Chromium Oxide green)
#62 Colbalt Blue
#47 Dark Brown (Burnt Umber)

Other Supplies:

Prima Watercolor Pencils (affiliate link)
140# Canson Monteville watercolor paper
A hunk of clear wax
Princeton Neptune brushes #16, #8 rounds (Micheals has these on clearance!)
Reference photo by Lynn Quinn at the new Paint My Photo Website.

I hope you give this painting a try, it is great for relaxing after a not-so-relaxing day:) Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Paint Geraniums {Quickly or Slowly LOL!}

Hi friends!  If I had a dollar for every technical difficulty I have suffered with over the last week I could afford to go to another stamp show LOL! I won’t get into all of that but I was finally able to figure out a work-around to render a long HD quality video that was still small enough in size to upload on my rural internet connection which I think consists of soup cans and string. Ironically after discovering this awesome trick for my current software we had some problems with our computer and the only way to fix them was to do a factory reset and uninstall all software and I can’t find my original disk to reinstall it. Looks like I’ll be upgrading anyway. Oh well, when computers get you down paint something pretty! We are going to be painting a sunny windowsill with geraniums on it:


The reference photo I am working from is from the very talented Ruth Archer at Paint My Photo.  I wanted to share a picture of my palette so you could see the mixes. The colors I used are: Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Sap Green, Quin. Rose (or any pinkish red)


In this long tutorial we will paint the picture in real-time. Feel free to grab your paints and work along with me. I am working on an 140# cold pressed Arches block. I begin by sketching the design with Prima watercolor pencils but you can use what you have. I am using M Graham & co paints but again, any brand is fine. Scroll down for the shorter tutorial.

If you just want a sped up brief video this next one is for you, OR if you want to see if this painting is something that you might like to try, if so, then paint along with the longer version.

I hope having both is helpful to you and I am really happy my computer cooperated! Let me know what you think in the comments below! I posted the long version because so many YouTube viewers requested it (I do listen to my readers!) If you liked this video please share it on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter, there are handy buttons at the bottom of the post to help you do this and I appreciate it so very much!  Thanks so much for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


Complex clouds (that aren’t) in watercolor! Tutorial!

Hi friends! By now I am probably hanging out with my crafty peeps in W. Springfield MA but I could not bear to leave you without any crafty goodness on a Friday night so how about we paint this serene scene in watercolor:


You only need three colors of paint: Cadmium Red Deep, Lemon Yellow, Cobalt Blue and two brushes:
1/2″ cat’s Tongue Filbert (Princeton Neptune synthetic sable) and #8 round (Royal Aqualon).
My surface is 9″x12″ Cotman Watercolor paper 140# Cold Pressed. Other Supplies: Painters/masking tape, pencil, water buckets and a paper towel.

Watch the video to see how it’s done in real-time. This can be painted in under 20 minutes!

The image I used as a reference is from our sponsor GraphicStock (search “fishing boat sunset” and you will find it.) You may think they are only a source for professional, commercial use clip art but they have so much more available. Have a look around and if you like what you see sign up for a free 7 day trial and download some goodies. I like how you can sort projects ideas into light-boxes do you won’t forget what you liked and then you can download the ones you want to use when you are ready, I don’t like clutter on my computer. Now, I will tell you that a credit card is required to use the free trial and if you don’t cancel before the 7 days are over you will be charged. Think of it as a “Netflix” for graphics! You can go month to month or sign up for a year for more savings.

I hope you have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

A better brush cleaner for oils {YOU can make!}

Hi friends! After painting that rose the other day in oils and sharing what was in my paintboxes I decided that I wanted to do more painting with traditional oils. To do this I needed a proper brush cleaning station. I do not like to be wasteful with solvents because I do not want my hobby to cause harm to the environment (or my pocketbook) and also I do not want my kids or pets to accidentally get into them. That is probably why I have not painted much with traditional oils since my children were born but they are 12 and 10 now and understand studio and workshop safety. Today I am going to show you how I make an oil brush scrubber.


DIY brush cleaner instructions:

  1. Fold up a piece of aluminum screen and shove it in a jar (I used a clean spaghetti sauce jar) and fill with paint thinner or solvent of your choice. Tip: You can save old ripped aluminum screen from windows for this!
  2. To use, first wipe your brush on a paper towel to remove excess paint then swipe your dirty oil paint brush across the screen and the paint will easily knock away and settle at the bottom of the jar. When you are done painting for the day it is a good idea to wash your brushes with soap and water.

After you have used the jar for a while you will have a build up of sludge on the bottom. The screen in the jar will keep the thinner fresh at the top so it can be used for months without needing to be cleaned. When the paint sludge gets too high (you just keep disturbing the sludge when you try and clean the brush) you need to clean it. Here is what you do:

  1. Let the jar of thinner settle so the sludge and the solvent are separate.
  2. Pour off the clean thinner gently, as not to disturb the sludge, into another jar or clean soup can.
  3. Use a pair of pliers to pull the screen out of the first jar and wipe it off. *At this point you could just throw away the jar with the sludge and screen in it (but you can reuse it so that is up to you).
  4. Scoop out the sludge and wipe out the jar. Place the screen and thinner back in and you are ready to paint! Top it off with more fresh thinner if needed.

Disposal of the sludge. I save my jar cleaning until trash day. When I am done douse the cleaning paper towels with water and place them in a soup can in the trash. The goal is to do as little damage as possible. You could also save an old paint can and put your paint sludge in there and save it to take to a hazardous waste center if you prefer. Remember that oily rags plus heat can equal fire so please be careful. With this method most paint will end up on your canvas and not in your trash and that is frugal and better for the earth.

One more thing! I do not use this thinner to thin paint for painting. I would pour a bit of thinner in a palette cup for painting with, that way you can splurge on higher quality thinner for that and not waste it.

Now, this is not the only way to clean brushes. Some artists opt for a solvent free method by wiping their brushes off then cleaning them in cooking oil then washing them in dish soap. I have tried this but found it was not as effective however if you have an allergy or another reason that you cannot use thinner it is a workable solution. Find a method that is right for you and if you have a good method for cleaning oil brushes please let us know in the comments. If solvents just seem like a pain you can always choose water-mixable oils, most oil paint companies have come out with their own and they are pretty good, actually the inexpensive Reeves brand are super soft and buttery and mimic traditional oils very closely so don’t be afraid to give them a try. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Has it been THAT long? A watercolor tutorial!

Hi friends! I have been doing a lot of painting for a freelance project that I am working on so I did not realize how long it had been since I posted a watercolor painting tutorial! My apologies :) Please accept this humble tutorial (viewer requested) of a stargazer lily (you can find the reference photo  by Tracee Murphy here) for your painting enjoyment.


The watercolor pencils I sketched with can be found here. You can use any brand you like but the Primas are a good value for the quality. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and til next time happy crafting!

A Beginner Oil Painting Tutorial: Roses

Hi friends! Today I am going to share a quick oil painting tutorial with you!


I was having a rough painting day, nothing was turning out right and I hated to trash the watercolor board I was working on so I collaged some book pages on, sealed it with mod-podge then stenciled and smeared it with acrylic paint. Once that was dry it was a perfect surface to use oils on. You can paint oils over acrylics but NOT acrylics over oils. Watch the video to see how I did it and how to fix common mistakes you might make if you are out of practice or using oils for the first time:


I hope you found that helpful. Let me know if you want to see more oil tutorials because I do enjoy working with them. I will go back to the drawing board with the watercolors I was attempting so don’t worry watercolor fans. I think I was having such a hard time because it had been a while since I had a watercolor tutorials so I was pushing myself to create SOMETHING and that pressure just crippled my creativity. I think it happens to us all. It is hard for creativity to thrive under pressure. I have found when that happens to just cut my losses and try something new, AKA oils. How do you overcome a creative block? Let me know in the comments! Have a safe and happy Memorial Day and til next time happy crafting!


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