Sketchbook Sunday: Using Powder Blender for the First Time!

Hi friends! As a reward for completing Inktober I decided to treat myself to a supply I have been curious about for a while: Brush and Pencil Colored Pencil Powder Blender. During my research I realized that this was not going to be a cheap endeavor. The colored pencil blender itself s $7, but I did some research and realized that I would need need fixative and special sanded paper. At that point I figured if I was going down this road I would get the other accessories that round out the experience. Although pricey, I knew that I would definitely use the sanded paper and fixatives with pastels if the powder blender was a bust so I decided to give it a try. The products arrived two days ago, here is my fist attempt:

For best results with powder blender you want to use oil based pencils (all regular colored pencils contain both oil and wax but pencils regarded as oil based have a lower percentage of wax) which is fine by me because I have Polychromos and I don’t use them that much as I favor the thicker waxy more opaque Prismacolors. That said sanded paper is just what is sounds like, sandpaper, and it wears down your pencils like crazy! Since I didn’t want to “waste” my expensive Polychomos on a practice piece I grabbed my affordable Art-n-Fly pencils as they are oil based and $20 for a set of $48 so i can afford to experiment without it being too precious. The paper is precious enough LOL! (I only used half a sheet on this) ūüėÄ BTW the reason you want to use “oil” based and not “wax” based pencils is because the wax wants to ball up and get gummy when you add the powder blender. If you have any pencils that feel kinda dry they will work fine. The Arteza pencils worked pretty well too. I was able to use Prismacolors for final details that I didn’t belnd out at the end tho. If you are curious as to how this all went together please watch the time lapse.

Supplies: *Amazon affiliate links used. I will also link to Brush and Pencil and Blick as not all products are available on Amazon and the prices may be better in a bundle from those sellers.

My friend Lisa has a wonderful tutorial using these products. I highly recommend you check this out if you are thinking about trying these products.

It’s not to often that I find something really new and innovative to try. I think the technique of layering the pencils with the powder and fixative is really cool. You can approximate this at home as I did last month with panpastel and the workable fixative I had. The sanded (or gessoed) paper and oil based pencils makes all the difference here. I think anything that is powdery would work to blend as the pencils want to blend on the sanded paper even with no product because the grit shaves off pencil as you color making it’s own powder. That said I like supporting innovative companies and I do like that fixative, touch up texture and titanium white powder and knowing it won’t scratch off will save me on some mixed media work. You can feel OK to substitute with what you have on hand to see f you like the process before dropping $50+ on the whole shebang. I don’t regret my purchase. I think my first try was pretty successful and I look forward to using it again. One more thing I wanted to mention is Alyona Nickelsen, the woman who invented this system, has a book that I am currently reading called The Colored Pencil Bible and it is wonderful! I got the kindle version and I am about halfway through. So far there is no mention of the powder blender (I think she wrote it before inventing the product) but she does talk about shaving colored pencil leads for similar effects. It’s worth a look especially if you like Prismacolor pencils as that is what she mainly uses in the book! I hope you enjoyed my Sunday Experimentation and til next time happy crafting!

Practice Your Sky Painting!

Hi friends! Need help with skies? This tutorial is for you!

If you want an in-depth class on painting landscapes please consider my Watercolor Landscape Workshop! I’ll walk you through skies, trees, rocks and more and then show you how to put the elements together to create 4 unique landscapes. You can learn more about that here. Now on to today’s free tutorial!

Supplies available at sponsor Jerry’s Artarama! Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It‚Äôs and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.

That’s it for today! Thanks for watching and if you like it share it with a friend!

Snowy Sunrise Watercolor For Beginners

Hi friends! Today I have a nice and easy watercolor tutorial for you!

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I shared this photo on Instagram the other day of the view out my window at sunrise. I loved the color of the sky!

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A few Instagram friends asked me to do a watercolor tutorial of it so I did! Enjoy!

Supplies (Affiliate links may be used)

  • Watercolors (Renesans) Magenta, Indian Yellow, Cerulean Blue, Hookers Green Dark, Sepia, White
  • Watercolor Paper Fluid Hot Press 6″x8″
  • Brushes: #12 & #6 round, 3/8″ dagger, 1″ flat for wetting paper (feel free to use whatever size and shaped you prefer) And a stiff brush such as an old toothbrush for spattering.

This painting is great for beginners or seasoned painters who want a little warm up. It was fun to paint and I really enjoyed this paper and look forward to using it again. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Easy Sunset Painting Tutorial, Limited palette, DIY Gouache!

Howdy friends! One year ago I was sitting on a tropical beach sipping a Mai-Tai (Facebook reminded me) and today I am sitting in my living room, near the fireplace watching the snow fall outside. I’m not saying one is better than the other but I sure would love to feel the sun on my face and the warm sand between my toes! Hence the inspiration for today’s beginner painting tutorial.

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Today’s post is about making the best of our situation and appreciating what we have. Do you have some inexpensive watercolor paints from when you first started out? How about a tube of Chinese white paint that came in a watercolor set that you just never knew what to do with. Today we are going to use inexpensive watercolors mixed with chinese white watercolor to make our own gouache and paint a beautiful sunset. You can also paint this with acrylics if you prefer, heck you can use oils too just swap out the watercolor paper for a canvas panel. If you have never picked up a brush before this is the perfect project to try, it’s a no fail recipe:) So, let’s forget it’s winter for a bit and step into this lovely tropical beach scene!

Reasons you should try this technique:
1. You are using the paint more thickly and will less water so lower quality paper can be used and still look nice.
2. It is a great way to use up those tubes of white and some economy paints if you have upgraded your watercolors recently.
3. It is a nice “bridge” technique if you are going from watercolor to acrylics or oils.
4. It allows you to capture pastel colors without watering down your paints which can be problematic on low-grade paper.
5. It’s fun!

Supplies:

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I hope this inspired you to paint and it gives you a new idea on a different way to put your watercolors to use. As for me I think I’ll put on some steel drum music, make a pitcher of lemonade and dream of summer. 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:

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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!

Basic Color Mixing & Brush Use in today’s Video (learn to paint a sunset!)

Hi friends! Sorry I did not have ¬†a post for you yesterday, I was completely wiped out after a day at the Made in Maine Expo. I shared some pics during the day on the Facebook page if you are curious. I was a great show and a lot of fun. I have to say that I am a bit sore from lugging product up and down stairs (cutting boards are heavy!) But all-in-all it was a good time, and I left with less than I brought. I will have a recap later this week and tips for selling at a higher-end craft fair in case you were considering it! Tonight I am going to do something many of you have requested. I am going to go back to basics and we are going to mix 3 colors to make all the colors we need for a painting, we will talk a bit about color theory and I will also show you my two most used kinds of brushes and show you why I like them so you can pick the best brushes for the job. Watch the video for all the tips! Before you ask: I am working in my Canson Mixed Media Journal and the plastic palette is the Jones palette and I have had it for 15 years but it is still available at many retailers (Jerry’s Artarama¬†has it for about $20) the brushes I am using are by Royal & Langnickle, I like the Majestic and the Aqualon lines and you can find them at many retailers.

OK, on to the video!

I hope you try this one even if you don’t think you can paint. You can even use children’s watercolors (Prang is really good actually and you can grab those anywhere!) The most important thing is that you try. You will learn so much about color mixing just by experimenting with the paint. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

2 Days ’til Christmas! {you can panic now…}

Ha ha, just kidding. I don’t want you to panic,¬†Christmas¬†will come whether or not you bake that extra batch of cookies or hit the mall one last time. People will enjoy gathering together even if there is a layer of dust on your mantel or you burn that apple pie. We don’t look back and wish we spent more time shopping, cleaning or baking. we wish we spent more time with the people we love…let’s do more of that! Here is a painting ¬†I painted it a couple of weeks ago. It is a peaceful sunset in Maine:

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Since all of our snow was washed away by rain this weekend it looks about right. ūüôā ¬†So, don’t stress out today trying to¬†finish¬†everything on your to-do list. Snuggle on the couch and watch a Christmas movie or decorate a gingerbread house with the kids. As for my stress free day the Schwanns man is scheduled to stop by today so I have Christmas dinner all set LOL! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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