The Joy of Watercolor

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Several years ago I decided to get back into art after about 30 years. Sometimes life just happens. At the time I started exploring art again I was hoping that it would not only be a fun creative outlet, but that it would be an integral part of my healing journey. It hasn’t disappointed.

Because of the circumstances at the time I started with a media that wasn’t messy, was easy to store, and that I could use and put away quickly if necessary, so I started out with colored pencils. While I very much enjoy using them, they just weren’t ‘doing it’ for me. After a time I decided to branch out and give pastels a shot. Again, I very much enjoyed working with pastels, but something was still missing.

During my colored pencil/pastel days I dug out some watercolors that my son and I had used when we were still homeschooling. He graduated last year, so they weren’t the freshest paints on Earth, but I figured watercolors were watercolors, right? Wrong. Unfortunately I didn’t know that at the time and I concluded that watercolors weren’t for me. Again, I was wrong!

A couple months ago I decided to give watercolors another try, but this time I bought a small travel set of pan watercolors from a quality company. I also bought some 140 lb. paper instead of trying to use the 90 lb. paper that I used previously. What a difference quality makes!

I can’t begin to describe the joy I feel when painting with watercolors. It’s amazing how intuitive they are for me. It’s also amazing when I stop and think of how far I have come not only as an artist, but in my healing through my art, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in the future.

I’d like to invite you to visit my shop, Smurgles, and check out the pieces that are available for purchase. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!


Fixing Mistakes


This morning I did something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I fixed a painting that was just wrong. The perspective was wrong, well, more like non-existent. Originally I had wanted to paint three snow-covered mountains, so I put in a sky and I put in the mountains. The problem was I had no clue what to put in the foreground. I taped the painting to the wall and have been staring at it for months. This morning I took it down and got busy fixing it.

I knew I needed something in the foreground that would put things in proper perspective. The mountains needed to be pushed way back, so that they looked like mountains and not little hills. I decided to add trees and a snowy path to help achieve my goal. While it worked rather nicely I did end up losing one of the mountains entirely, as well as covering up a good deal of the other two, but I can’t complain. I learned a great deal from this and am looking forward to doing another mountain scene – this time with proper planning and perspective from the get go!


Life in a family that has two Aspies in it (I’m one of them) can be interesting at best. I don’t even want to talk about the “at worst” scenarios. Suffice it to say that there are times when try as I might, no matter how much I want things to go smoothly they don’t. This means that sometimes my passions, like art, music, and writing, get set aside for a time because, well, life.

A few days ago I decided to make it a point to do some art every day. Nothing big, but something. I’d like to share my work from day one and day two, both done in colored pencil, both 5×7. Today being day three, and it being the time of day that it is, I’m a little worried that my streak might end at two days. Unless I try a mini drawing. That just might be the ticket today!

I’m already finding that I’m becoming much more confident with colored pencils. When I first started out with them my drawings tended to look like a kindergartner went haywire with crayons, but not any more. I’m also trying to find my way to make my drawings look the way I want them to look rather than trying to copy other artists techniques and outcomes.

Anyway, here are my first two dailies. I hope you enjoy them!

Blue Mountains in the Mist in Colored Pencil 8×10

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Blue Mountains in the Mist in Colored Pencil 8×10. Shades of blue dominate this mountain landscape, whisking you away to a misty mountain morning. This drawing is done on 100 lb. 9″ x 12″ paper. The drawing itself is 8″ x 10″ and ready for your mat and frame.