Tag Archives: world watercolor month

The gift of working your land, however small it is.

The CHamoru word for land is Tåno. We are taotao tåno, people of the land. Most families once had ranches. Some still do. When I was a kid my cousins and I would spend the weekends in Ipan with our grandparents and our mothers at our Granny’s house. We would help clean green onions from the garden and we’d run around snacking on the ranch’s bananas, iba, and even the sweet nectar from Granny’s ixora plants.

We rarely go to Ipan anymore. Granny and Grandma have gone and we’ve all grown up. Some of us have left the island and some of us are renters, taotao tåno, with out tåno. I’m pretty lucky though. We rent an apartment in an area that is very commercial, but we still have a bit space to grow. We are urban gardeners I guess. I spent one of my recent days off trimming the ixora and bougainvillea, pulling down dead pugua branches, and cleaning dead leaves from the bird of paradise.

It rained a few times, just lightly. Enough to remind me to take a break and cool down. My hands and arms ached from reaching, pulling, and clipping, but I didn’t want to stop. It had been a while since I’ve spent that much time working outside. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. I uprooted some bamboo and elephant ears to bring in and put in vases, bringing some tåno in to my home, for days when I can’t get out long enough. I also picked up some fallen mango.

After a refreshing shower and some time relaxing, I decided to peel and cut up the mango. I put the fruit in a couple freezer bags and after dinner I made myself a smoothie.

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I put the some of the mango in my smoothie maker along with some ice, a couple dates, and orange juice. I blended that up good and then I added some chia seeds. It was gof mangge, very tasty.

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Hopefully I’ll be posting more about my garden adventures and local fruits and veggies. maybe I’ll feature some other urban taotao tåno, apartment lancherus. I’ll even try to sneak some pics of my neighbor’s veggie garden that is growing in our parking lot. I’m not making that up. I’m jealous of her green onions. Say tuned.

 

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Easy Inktense Nail Art for World Watercolor Month 

I like the way watercolor nail art looks. I’ve seen the tutorials online for a while, and have wanted to try it out but I can totally see myself making a huge mess of it. So I set out to find a way to get a similar result with out so many opportunities for me to make a mess of my hands and whatever work space I’m occupying.

Why not use actual art supplies? A paint brush has got to be a lot easier to work with than a piece of plastic. And nail polish is pretty thick, unlike watercolors. I guess you could use cheap nail polish, but what if you just used watercolors? Watercolors might drip right off of a glossy base. So you’ll need a matte base. And how do you get the watercolor to not react to your top coat? That’s where Derwent’s  Inktense pencils come in. These pencils are similar to watercolor pencils, except their workability stops when they dry. Hence the “ink” part of the name.

So here’s what you’ll need:

  • A light base nail polish – I used OPI’s I Cannoli
  • A clear matte polish – I used Revlon’s Transforming Effects Top Coat Matte 790
  • Small paint brush(es)
  • Small jar of water
  • Two or three Inktense Pencils – I used Sea Blue, Deep Indigo, & Ink Black
  •  A glossy top coat – I used a super cheapy top coat

Once you gather all of that:

  1. Paint a coat or two of your light base.
  2. After your base is completely dry, apply the matte polish.
  3. After your matte coat is completely dry you can start painting on the watercolor designs. I wet my paint brush and run it against the rim of the jar to make sure it isn’t over saturated. Then I get pigment from the tip of the pencil on to the brush. I painted in layers starting from the lightest color and ending with the darkest. Paint random blobs with the first color. Allow it to dry almost completely. Paint smaller blobs with the second and allow that to dry almost completely. Then paint sparse tiny blobs and wispy swirls with your darkest color.
  4. Once the paint has completely dried paint on your glossy top coat. This should bring out the colors and pattern contrast in your designs. I did two coats of top coat.

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If you do try it out and share it on instagram or twitter please tag me, @illusdreted, so I can admire your work.

My water color story + Supply Review of Watercolor Confections by Prima

July is World Watercolor Month! Learn more about how that came about and the great cause it supports over at Doodlewash. In celebration of World Watercolor Month and my return to blogging, I’m going to do a bunch of watercolor related reviews and posts throughout July.

For the longest time I was intimidated by watercolor paints. Watercolor painting did not come naturally to me and, unlike acrylics, if you mess up you can’t just paint over your oops. It only gets worse if you try. Because of that I mainly painted in acrylics and when I started focusing on illustration I gravitated to ink. When I decided I wanted more color options in my illustrations I added Copic Markers and then Derwent’s Inktense pencils. Both are amazing, but pricey. I needed something for washes that wouldn’t leave me feeling reluctant about wasting product. So I finally ended up buying a really inexpensive school grade set of watercolors. I tried tubes to start, but cheap tubes were just not working for me, so I moved on to pans.

My cheapy watercolors were great to mess around with – watercolor blobs – and I actually used them for the work I did for my solo exhibit a couple years ago. I even used those same watercolors, with ink and Copics, to illustrate a children’s book. I’ll tell you more about the book in a future post. They served me very well, especially considering the price.

 

A few months ago I saw an art supply review on You Tube for Prima’s Watercolor Confections. I’m not going to lie here, what really attracted me to them was the packaging. Many of the affordable watercolor pan sets I see come in white plastic packaging and they usually have a poorly designed sticker on them. The Watercolor Confections come in a plain black tin, no branding at all, and it manages to still offer mixing / palette space while maintaining that minimalist look. It’s a form and function win.

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There are three sets available: The Classics, Decadent Pies, and Tropicals. I was gifted The Classics shortly after watching that review. The 12 pans come individually wrapped and you just pop them back into their slots after unwrapping them. They do slide around a bit if you have them in your bag. It’s not a big deal, but it would be cool if Prima made the pans a bit more snug in the tin. Of course you could just put some double sided tape down and fix it yourself. Did I do that? Nope. Not yet.

On to the real meat of the review, are the actual paints any good? I like them. The color variety of The Classics works for me. They’re pigmented well, but maintain that sweet water color transparency. Some colors are definitely more intense than others. I haven’t had them long enough to tell you how they rank in permanence. I will use them for illustration projects that will mostly end up digitized, so that isn’t the biggest concern for me. Overall I’m a fan of the product and I’d love to get my hands on the Tropicals and Decadent Pies sets. The sets are around $18 – $27, depending on where you purchase them. I know you can find them on Amazon, that way you can compare prices.

Working on some #watercolorblobs. I really like this #primawatercolor set.

A post shared by Drea Nicole Grajek (@illusdreted) on

 

I haven’t tried any other Prima products, but I noticed that they also sell watercolor pencils, water brushes, and watercolor panels. Have you tried any of their products? I’d love to know if they might be worth looking in to.