seeking my joy in watercolor



Mother Daughter 9x12

 I told myself two days ago, how I am not ever going to get good enough to get into a juried show, the last two summers I have tried, (recommended by friends and family)

I WAS MAD!

I just found out that my artwork didn't get accepted into a Juried Show, and I felt like as a stay at home mom/artist, that the only thing I am truly good at is only doing dishes and laundry! funny now, but as the tears of a broken heart came flooding onto my morning pages, I felt so sad!

So I took a morning to make truffles, and play with paper, but it still didn't fill me up with the joy I was seeking. It did help me process the heartbreak, but it didn't fill me up with joy like I was hoping it would. Does that mean Watercolor is my passion? Yes! without a doubt Yes!

Shine Bright, 8x10.
I may not ever be in a juried show, and I am all right with that. I don't think Van Gough or Grant Wood was like, I am painting this masterpiece because I want to be in a juried show. That is not how Creativity works.

No, I Believe that creativity, pure-raw- god given creativity comes when you feel it. You feel like I just have to show the world how I would play, paint, dance, sing because it's so beautiful, inspiring and perfect that someone has to share it.

That is watercolor for me. I see colors, and shapes, and I think this needs to be preserved, It' so beautiful I want to paint it, and only I can make it work.

So I have two pieces I was hoping that would make it into a show, I guess I will frame it and look at it every day and remind myself that I had fun painting these and that is what really mattered.

It does feel good to get this out into a blog post.

Blue Bird, (working on my style with help from Kateri Ewing)
Going forward I will paint the way I want to paint, and if that means no juried shows, then I am all right with that, at least I am painting for my joy, and for the process that creativity brings with it!

Watch out because Here I come, dancing on to the beat of my drum!

So there you go, I am learning what creativity is all about!

I would love to know how you process creative heartbreaks, do you do artist's dates? do you have to cut up paper because it makes you feel better playing with color and pattern?

Have you had your epiphany of how you do things and don't care about what others may say because you have your own way of doing things?

No? just me? I hope not, let's see where all this leads! I feel like every time I dip my brush into my curated pallet that Only I have made, makes me feel like I own my creativity, and that creative high is always there for me! (I know I am a tad bit crazy!)

Simple Masking: Christmas cards


Stencils are essential tools for masking in my toolbox of tricks and tricks. I love being able to make a quick background with them for cards and other art journaling fun!  This blog post is part of a challenge that I am in called the ABC's of Christmas



 I used a Taylored Expression's stencil and Sentiment to make this simple card, the Die I used is an oval and it worked well for this card. I needed something extra so I added some twine.

For the background I used the stencil and added spun sugar distress ink to it, then went in with picked raspberry to give it a softer look, I also used antique linen for the bottom of it. (tutorial to come!)
 This card was the same process like the one at the very top, I use a Christmas stencil with snowflakes, and added clear embossing powder and heat set it. Then went in with Blue Jean blue distress ink and wilted violet and black soot to give it that winter's night look! (beautiful!)


Designer tip: I use Bristol paper, it blends the ink oh so well, (too well, sometimes) it's my favorite substrate (paper) to blend ink on. I love it and can't get enough of it, It's the best bang for the price, especially when it's on sale!

Masculine Card- Little Blue Truck


Do you have boys in your home? If so, it's not hard to come up with some easy Father's day cards. Now, I know most mothers my age are doing monster father's day cards, which I may do as a tag for the presents, there is still time right?

Anyways Inspiration for this card came from the Little Blue Truck book, I have read this every night for two years straight. it's near and dear to my heart, has a lovely moral to it, and is just fun to read to my little guy.

The stamps set is perfect for this card, it has three sizes of the same truck. Perfect for making a stamped background and then having a focal point to color, and to have a cohesive look. An easy way to not have to think about a layout! (perfect for me, since my brain energy is taken up by a million and one questions from my very inquisitive son.)

While I had my inks out for the other card I just posted, I thought let's do this card with inks too. So I used Blue Jeans and walnut stain (re-inker) to watercolor the truck, and then used black soot to make the page look worn, and old.

For the background, I used the medium size truck stamp and stamped it multiple times in the blue jeans blue ink then waited for the ink to dry, then lightly blended the same blue on the panel, then I went in with brown and black to give it some darkness (I wanted the Blue Truck to be the focal point here.)

If you want a tutorial for this I would be happy to make one, just comment below and tell me what your favorite little boy book is, I am always needing a new book to read to my boys!


Masculine card~Wild Ride!




When it comes to masculine cards, I know for my self, (can't speak for anyone else) that less is more. I had about three ideas for this card, and this simple one is the one I chose. the other's lost its point of the card. (which in my mind, it says Want to ride this fast bike?)

We are a Harley family. and so it was a simple color scheme and a simple card layout. I don't think masculine cards need any sentiments on the outside- personal preference.

I used Wild Ride that my dear friend gave me, the payback is some beautiful cards that I have made and will send to her today!

I used distress inks to make the background for the bike I used the ink to watercolor the background.  (carved pumpkin and Mustard seed)

Then stamped the black panel with tire markings from the stamp set. and inked the edges so it looked "polished"

This is going to be a Father's day card for my Husband. I have another one that I made that I love, (that will be from my kiddo's) I will post that tomorrow.

Paint a cloud background in 5 minutes





You guys asked for a tutorial on clouds, here is my easy no-nonsense way of painting clouds for backgrounds for cards! I hope you give it a try, it's super addicting when you get it right! #PaintYourSelfCalm

5 minute You can do this Card!






I thought this was a great card to send to someone that is needing some motivation, extra love, or just thinking of you! What do you think? Does this card help convey the sense of you can do it attitude? 

I just love the silhouette Stag stamp, I have used this stamp in other cards, but it just symbolizes so much! Pair it with some birds and inspiring sentiment, and I think for a 5-minute card, it is perfect.

Here are some other cards I have made with the Stag Stamp with the Silhouette Forest





Simple Sympathies



Sometimes words are not enough to express how you feel, sometimes colors and artwork are not enough to express how you feel. (am I the only one that feels like that sometimes?)

That's when I keep sympathy cards simple. I think there are times when you can't find the words you want to say, so, I express your feelings into art. Recently my Husband's Grandma lost her sister to lung cancer. (one of many Great Aunts.) As I was thinking about how I could send a sympathy card to my Grandma, I thought a simple thinking of you card would work.

Most often than not, I am always surprised when clouds are the answer. Seriously, I love painting the sky, and skies are so symbolic that skies, birds, and trees just felt like the perfect way to say that I am thinking of her.

So although I don't love making sympathy cards, I do love being able to make them & express how I feel, that helps me feel better about sharing my creativity.




To make this card, I used Windsor and Newton Cerulean blue for the sky Then I used Blue Knight Rubber stamps Corner Foliage and birds II


I wanted to leave you with a list of why I keep sympathy cards simple:

~ usually, when I need a card, I don't want it to say too much, I want to be able to write my feelings on the inside. usually, the words don't matter as much as the thought of the handmade card.

~I don't always have a ton of time to make a very personal card to someone, sometimes I know when someone is going to lose a loved one, but more often than not, I don't think about it (too busy with my kids and life.) so when life stops for someone, I want them to know that I really do care about them.

~I think painting and sharing creativity is better at expressing feelings than anything else.

~ This is a process. When I am painting intuitively, my mind will often drift off to a family member or a friend When I paint florals or a landscape, it's easy to put a sentiment on it, and send it as a card to let them know I am thinking of them.


Those are my reason's why I create simple sympathy cards.


Paint yourself Calm with a Senic stamp


For me, June is all about creating cards that have a more masculine undertone. (anyone else feels that way too?) I know in my college Graphic Desing classes we were always told to be two seasons ahead of everything, which I always seem to have a hard time doing that. I want to be in the moment when I paint. So...  I say make cards in the season you are in. Right? Right now I am in the mindset to celebrate the men in my life that love and support me!

This card is a simple Watercolor wash, I used Qorr watercolor (I love the vibrancy of those watercolors) and a Blue Knight Rubber Stamp called the Scenic Overlook. 

So why paint scenes? I enjoy painting clouds and water, and this is a great stamp to play with a cloudscape without it being too dramatic! I love that the stamp does most of the work, but gives you some open-ended ideas to help you color/or paint this scene. 

I also love this as an art journal piece. 



I think that when we take the time to paint, to really feel good about just showing up to your work, and doing the "work" we can come up with some really neat ideas on how to paint a subject differently.  The art Journal piece was a way for me to play with how I would paint a stormy sky without losing my value's. I just love how it turned out! 

For me, Art Journaling, or my sketchbook is a place for me to play and express myself. When I find something that really works, I then usually make it into a card, but I "tone" down the mood. 

Do you ever paint because it relaxes you? Do you have a mixed media sketchbook that your art journal in? if so I would love to know what you do to calm down? 

I paint to feel peace and to calm down or to feel joy at the moment, how about you do you paint for a reason? I also call this intuitive Art Journaling. (I have no idea if it's a thing, but that is what I am calling painting to share my mood, and to feel joy!)

Painting Landsape insights I have learned





simple landscapes that I enjoy painting and making them into cards.





Summer for me is a great time to look back and see the growth of my landscapes. It was the pull of painting landscapes that brought me into watercolor, and it will always be landscapes to keep me interested in watercolor.

I have taken all of Angela Fehr's Landscape classes, they are all amazing! In the Mastery class and composing, landscapes have learned some great insights.  Angela has reminded me of some of her insights in her latest Youtube video.

One main thing I need to remember when painting Landscapes is that there is a ton of work that goes on way before paint hits the paper. 

This is how I have started, and then was reiterated with Angela's Fehr's Heart lead Landscapes:

One of the reason's why I love to paint landscapes is because I get to ask questions.
For example:
What about this landscape/ reference photo do I like. 
What moved me to take this picture, or that I want to paint this place?
Are there any icons or symbols that can mean other things. (grove of trees, (families)) or a Bridge (crossing over to a new adventure) symbols can really give more meaning to your landscapes than just a good feeling/picture you painted. 
What mood associates this landscape? Do I want it to be mysterious, or cheerful, or peaceful? 
Grant Wood
Des Moines River
Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections




I remember looking at one of Grant woods painting of Birch trees overlooking the Des Moines river, it was stunning, it stopped me in my tracks. I thought what a peaceful place! I wanted to be there, The colors and the movement of his trees made it feel peaceful and tranquil. 

What about this place does it make me want to paint it. I ask those questions so I can get to the heart of the painting. 

 Angela Fehr pointed out that painting landscapes are part of the intuitive painting process (painting from your heart) To do this we may have to ask: Who am I? How am I showing myself in my work? When we ask those two questions, we are putting our self into our art!  


Spring in Iowa
Before you put any paint to paper, there is a time where you are able to think about how and why you are painting this landscape, to me that is the best part. So many times I have thought, I want to paint the simple grass and sky because I can, and then paint it because It makes me feel happy, mysterious, or grateful. I can express how I feel far more with color and emotion than I can with words. (Georgia O'Keeffe has often said this too, and it's true!

There are so many pictures I have taken for reference photo's that It would take me a lifetime to paint them all, and yet, my pictures I take all seem to say: You can make it your own just by showing up and doing the work, who knows what will come of it.

I just put a Landscape painting into the Iowa Watercolor Society's Mini show of a simple and yet meaningful landscape. the landscape or the reference picture I took was magical, It is a place by my house where a friendship started, all because I had to start walking, and needed a walking buddy. It's the same place where most often than not I have found my Ah Hah moment. and yet painting it was very therapeutic for me. The colors, the movement of the trees, the composition all had to be taken accounted for. When I was done with it, I felt Joyful that I was able to paint this! I felt as if the painting took over, and my artist side said, this is how It needs to be, and I was just the vehicle for that translation. It was a powerful sustaining feeling of joy, self-worth, and knowing I was on the right path for more than just painting some trees. 

I hope that you take some time to paint a couple landscapes this summer, I think you will be glad you did. 

If you are like me, I always wanted to paint landscapes my way.. But I didn't know what that "way" was. Angela's classes helped me paint it my way. 

The best thing I learned for sure about landscapes is that if you have your values right, the rest will come. That was a huge turning point in my work. and now whenever you see a landscape You will know that I know where my darkest darks are and where My lightest lights are.

So ready to paint with us this summer?  I am, let's learn together! 











Classes to help you with your landscapes:

Click here for more info on this class

Heart-Led Landscapes I can't wait to paint and learn with her newest class!
I love this class! LOVE IT! so many things to go along with this class! I also have made a review of it that you can look here for this link. Composing Landscapes is worth your time to take




Click here for more information
Watercolor Mastery has been by far my favorite course! Angela pushed me into finding my style and not to be timid about it! There is a lot of talk on landscapes, and using your style along with color and composition! Lots of learning and breakthroughs! 




If you are looking for a way to hone your watercolor skills or just need a good jump start, this watercolor workout class helps with pushing your style to the next level. Here is a good post that helps illustrate more about what I have learned from this class.



When you click on these links you are supporting my blog. I am an affiliate with Angela (I pay for classes, but may get a small commission from Angela when you click on the links on this post.)



Painting Spring wild Violets

Don't' laugh too much, yes a painting of 3 colors need all those colors (not really) but I am in love with watercolor, sometimes it's nice to have these pallets ready to paint with. (I took over my dining room table for a couple days... Sorry kids, you get to eat at the counter!)

Later in this week, I was surprised to find wild violets on my walk by the railroad tracks by my house.! I had to pick some and bring them back home to study and paint. 






I started with a simple mark making bouquets and enjoyed it, I think this one, with just the brush strokes, will make a beautiful card for someone. 
I then got out my Atmospheric watercolor book and was able to get some inspiration from Jean Haines on how she painted flowers.
I painted a couple different styles of these violets wildflowers and came to the point that painting to express myself and the nature of these violets, or the essence of the flowers is really where my heart is. and that is when I came up with this painting, and I love it! 
I love having a subject that makes my heart happy, and to paint it all week long, It was a great couple day of painting to learn how I would paint these, and now, it's in my toolbox of techniques that I can come back too. 








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