ACTIVITies 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3, 4.1, 4.2 & 4.3

Activity 1.1 - Green Tonal Range

December 10 (Cont.'d) - In Unit 4, Activity 1.1 we are to create a Green Tonal Range chart by selecting two blues and two yellows and mixing each blue with each yellow, first with a strong pigment using very little water, and then adding a little more water for each square in order to create a tonal range of each green created.

In my first mixture of Indigo and Winsor Lemon, you can see that I did not use enough Winsor Yellow to create a good solid green. Here's my chart...

Unit 4, Activity 1.1.jpeg

I decided to try out a different Hot Press Watercolor paper by St. Cuthberts Mill called Bockingford, HP White in block  form - it was referred to me by a good friend.  Surprisingly it is quite a bit different from the Saunders Waterford in that it doesn't absorb the paint as quickly (not as thirsty as the Saunders W.), which is good, but will definitely take a bit of getting used to.  It almost feels like it is waterproof in some spots (but not consistently), so this may pose a problem - you can see in some of the squares where the watercolor would not soak in.  I do, however, really like that it doesn't buckle as badly as the Saunders Waterford after applying watercolor paint.  The Bockingford stays nice and flat.

Now I am on to Activity 1.2, making a Green Color Balance Chart. I'll be back soon with the results of that :)



Activity 1.2 - Green Color Balance

December 11 - Just made one more chart for Activity 1.2 and then moving on to a pear - in color instead of monochrome this time :)

You may be able to see in my notes that I tried the Bockingford watercolor paper again, only this time I taped it down to my drawing board with painter's tape and then I painted over the entire surface with clean, clear water - and let it dry. 


Once it was dry, I drew out my squares and began to paint each one as instructed.  No more resistance to my watercolor! It worked and I have to say that I really like this paper!

In case you missed it before, it is a block of Bockingford by St. Cuthberts Mill, HP White, 140 lb.  However, it is not 100% cotton as the Saunders Waterford is (which I've understood is important, but not sure why).  It does not buckle after being painted on as the Saunders W. does which I really like as well.

As far as lifting paint goes, as you can see I made a big OOPS! on my first square below...

Unit 4, Activity 1.2.jpeg

but I was able to lift it off pretty well.  I also used a bit of Mr. Clean to try to get it completely white again, but I could only get so far with it.  


I wanted to let you know that my next Newsletter will be issued in January 2018 and from that point I hope to do one monthly.  December is too busy to get it done, but I'll be thinking of some good things to include in the January issue, just for you!

Now I'm off to work on Unit 4, Activity 2.1- A pear :) Hope to see you back here soon :)



Activities 2.1 & 2.2 - 3D Modeling & Pattern & Texture

December 12 - Finally got a chance to lay down my first wash after having a bit of the flu to deal with! I was so glad it came and left in one night - but it left me extremely tired today, so could only get down this little bit...


Thank you so much for stopping by - Hopefully, I'll have more to show you tomorrow. :)



December 13 - Getting much more done today! As a matter of fact, I got so lost and mesmerized by the process of painting it that I forgot the pear to the left was supposed to be tonal work only for Activity 2.1! But that's okay - I'm happy with the end result and will press on for a second one to look even better... Hopefully!


Off to work on the second pear and will check in again soon.  Blessings for a wonderful day for you!


December 14 - Finished up another pear.  I have really enjoyed mixing colors and just working in color in general.  I feel that I need much more work in getting the subject to really pop off the page, but for now I'm happy that I am beginning to be able to work around my highlights so much easier without losing them and working with watercolor just seems to be clicking a little more with me.


Blessings for a wonderful day!  I will be back to complete Activity 2.2 at a later time. I am ready to press on with Activity 3 - the front and back of a new leaf...



Activity 3 - Drawing & Painting in True Green

December 14 - I have chosen my leaf for Activity 3, and it's perfect for this beautiful Christmas season!  A Euphorbia pulcherrima...


The colors are simply magnificent! The red has a velvety look...


It's so strange how the flower portion of it look like leaves... I have not studied one before, so I will have to take time to do so... But for now, I just need to make a framed portion of the leaf at 5cm x 5cm and then draw out the front and back upsized by 2 for my course :)


As I have done before, I have drawn out the front and back of the leaf in two 10cm x 10cm squares on my Bockingford watercolor paper by St. Cuthberts Mill.  


This time I decided to do a little pre-shading with my graphite, so that I can better tell where to shade with watercolor.  We'll see how this works...

This is it for today - tomorrow I will mix my colors and hopefully begin painting!



December 15 - Well, I mixed my paint colors and set up my desk to begin painting, and was thinking about practicing first.  So I drew out a smaller leaf on a scrap piece of watercolor paper, but then stepped away for a brief moment...


When I returned I found Simon, my cat, on my desk drinking the water for my painting, and when he saw me coming (because he knows...), he tore out, stepped in my red paint, smeared it all over my desk, and scratched up my drawing on the watercolor paper!!!


Time to start over! But I won't let the scratched one go to waste - now I have something to really practice on! :)

Here's my first layer on my practice page...


Thank you for stopping by!



December 17 - Still working on my practice page, and have put down my second layer... So far shading with graphite lightly at first has really helped me to keep a shaded area in mind and the very small highlights.


You can see in the photo above, that I tested my colors on a scrap piece of the same watercolor paper I am working on - Bockinford by St. Cuthberts Mill. 

At the bottom of the scrap paper you can see where I have put down my darkest green and then drew it down with water on my brush to get the lighter tones of it.  I have been using this to decide which shades to apply to my leaf as I go. I learned to do this in my RBGE course.


I have been keeping my leaf fresh by wrapping it in a lightly wetted towel and keeping it in a plastic container in the refrigerator.  This method works very well and typically keeps my subjects for quite a few days.  

In addition to doing this, I have taken many photos in case my leaf should die completely.  



December 18 - Today I took a little break from my leaf and worked on drawing out my Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Color Wheels.  It was nice getting this drawing part done now, because I don't think they are going to be very easy to paint when the time comes.  After watching the tutorial, I realized quickly it will take lots of patience and concentration to get them just right.


If you have never painted one yourself, you'll see what I mean when I get there.  I'm a little nervous about it! :)



Activity 2.2 (Do Again)

December 21 - Well, the sale of our farm got moved up to today, but today has come and gone and it still hasn't closed.  It's been one thing after another, and now they are saying it will close tomorrow - so we'll see.

I have gone 3 days of not being able to work on my RBGE Unit 4 due to having to work on the farm close, so I decided to get a few hours of study and painting time in before the day is over...  and now it's coming up on midnight - so I barely made it! Here is the beginnings of my final pear page, if it turns out right!


The left pear will show only tonal and highlight work, while the pear on the right will eventually be the completed pear.  I found a pear that has lots of nicks and scratches and even a hint of red around the edges - Also, the stem is interesting with some grooves in the top portion.


The view above is not the best and it certainly distorts my pear in the painting, but you get the idea :)

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you are having a wonderful end to 2017 - Merry Christmas to you all as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ - the Savior of the world! Hallelujah!



December 22 - Our property sale finally closed today and what a joyful day it has been! Now this evening I feel that I can get back to my daily study of botanical illustration.

I cannot believe how this year of 2017 has flown by and I want to be sure to take some time and reflect on all that God has done! Even just looking at these pears, I can see His faithfulness in helping me to progress in my watercolor. There has been so much learned! Botanical illustration in watercolor is certainly not an easy thing, but the daily practice shows consistent improvement and I am thrilled to say the least!


December 26 - Back to work on my RBGE pear page of Unit 4, Activity 2.2... 


If you are wondering how my real pear has lasted so long, I just can't say - it just did, and yes, it has been sitting on my art desk this whole time...


I'm happy with this! It is a wonderful Christmas gift to come back from a few days of Christmas Celebration and find that my watercolor technique is getting better! A little rest is definitely good for the soul and good for the artist inside :)



UPDATE:  I wanted to share a new brush that an artist friend has brought to my attention. It is an Eradicator Brush by Billy Showell and it truly works miracles! You may notice that the bottom of my completed pear in the photo above has a bit of a sharp area - Now looking to the photo below, you can see that I used the Eradicator Brush to smooth the edge at the bottom of my completed pear. I also used it to remove a couple spots of paint that showed up on my white background. This is a brush that I highly recommend having!


Here is my scanned version that I have submitted to my course for Unit 4 - A little lighter than my original in color, but it works and here you can see my notes too.

Unit 4, Activity 2.1 & Activity 2.2.jpeg

Activities 4.1 & 4.2 - Primary & Secondary Color Wheels

December 31 - HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!!! Just got back this evening from a much needed vacation with my Hon- to my favorite place in all the world... Cannon Beach, Oregon on the lovely Pacific Ocean. I thought you might enjoy a few photos before I show you what I'm working on in the RBGE...


Just beautiful isn't it!!?  God is the Master Artist in my life and I am so thankful He has given me the gift of creating! I truly hope one day I will be able to paint beautiful watercolor illustrations of His already amazing handy work. But in the meantime, I am thankful for a window view of His Pacific Ocean and a walk with my wonderful husband in the beautiful 50 degree weather we had after a huge rain storm...

Okay, now for my work with Unit 4. I have taken a little break from the Poinsettia Leaf I have been working on and began painting the Color Wheels I had already drawn out on December 18 above.  There are three color wheels and I have finished the Primary and half of the Secondary...


If you happen to be thinking that there are a lot of small areas paint within the Secondary Color Wheel - Just wait until you see the Tertiary!!


I am really enjoying these Color Wheels!! The whole activity is helping me to see different shades within a color so much better! Also, I am getting a better idea of my warm and cool colors!

Blessings for a very Happy New Year!!



January 1, 2018 - Do you ever have one of those days when you don't read directions quite right and end up wasting a lot of time, materials and effort? I'll chalk it up as good practice and practice always makes art :)

So here's what happened - I finished up my Secondary Color Wheel and almost finished my Tertiary Color Wheel when I started thinking that it wasn't looking quite right...


Activity 4.3 - Tertiary Color Wheel

...and I almost finished my Tertiary Color Wheel when I started thinking that it wasn't looking quite right...


So I quickly went back to my instructions and found that I was correct in thinking that I had done it incorrect!  And back to the drawing board I went ...

Now it's re-drawn and ready for me to begin again tomorrow.  :)

I hope this post finds you starting out the New Year of 2018 on a happy note and thank you so much for stopping by!



January 2 - I worked hard this evening and got my Tertiary Color Wheel completed and although I lost my roundness in some places, I love the way it turned out!


Here are all three of my Color Wheels - You can tell that I'm quite proud of them! I really learned so much and I love how I can see the blue, red and yellow sections of the Primary Color Wheel, the yellow, orange, red, purple, blue & green sections of the Secondary Color Wheel and how I can clearly see my green turn to red, my orange turn to blue, and my purple turn to yellow on my Tertiary Color Wheel! They are so cool! :)


Activity 3 (Do Again)

Now I have finished re-drawing my Poinsettia leaf, front and back, enlarged by 2 and am ready to begin painting tomorrow.  I am feeling myself a bit more prepared to begin my leaves this time - we'll see how it goes!


You may notice how I have taped my Bockingford, St. Cuthberts Mill watercolor paper down to my drawing board with blue painter's tape.  At this point, it has been prepped for painting by taping it flat and wetting it all over with clean water and allowed to dry.  It has been a continued problem to try to figure out what to do about the buckling of this paper.  You can see below a watercolor chart that I completed on December 11 and it still has not flattened out at all...


This paper is my favorite so far (I can get my edges nice and sharp), however, it is difficult to paint on it with this buckling issue - and even though I tape it down, it buckles so much that it pulls away from my drawing board, pulling the tape right up with it! It also tends toward stretching while buckling and becomes unable to be re-flattened...

For my RBGE, it will be okay until I find another paper that is more suitable, but it will not do for any work that I may want to frame in the future.  For those of you who may be wondering about the Saunders Waterford by Cuthberts Mill, I could not get good crisp edging because it tends to bleed, also the buckling issue is even worse.

I will continue my quest to find a good paper - but in the meantime, this will have to do :)



P.S. If you are interested in checking out the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh website - you can find it by clicking HERE

January 3 - This morning I was referred to a representative of St. Cutherberts Mill and she was very helpful by giving two links (which you can find below) that give ideas of what to do with the  Bockingford paper in a pad.  

After reading through the links, I decided to try it out and began by locating the smoothest side of the paper - then taping it down to my drawing board with this smooth side up.  Next I wetted the paper with my large clean brush as before, only this time I wetted it very lightly - really not much water at all. Then I set it aside to dry through the day.

It still buckled slightly, but nothing compared to what it has been doing!  Now I have taped it down to a left over block from another watercolor paper I had used up and everything is going great!

I redrew my leaves and I started watercoloring the front and back of my Euphorbia pulcherrima this evening and it seems to be going quite well this time. I decided to begin with the stems and veins - I don't know why, but I just felt that I wanted to get on with some detail work quickly and it seems to be just what I needed - Here's what I have so far...


For the stems I chose from my Professional Winsor & Newton Watercolors to mix Permanent Rose & Permanent Alizarin Crimson and for the leaf, I have mixed up a batch of Indanthrene Blue and Winsor Yellow.  Also, I am using my new #2 brush from Billy Showell - which I love!! :)


You can see above that I still have the original leaf in the frame that I picked out on December 14! Yes, it has kept quite nicely in the container in the fridge and I am very surprised!


For now I'm going to call it a night. But I'm really excited to get up in the morning, get my youngest off to the doctor as she has the flu that I believe has turned into bronchitis! ugh! and then at some point start back in on my leaf. :)

The deadline for Unit 4 is January 10 and I feel confident that I will have my leaves done by then :) Yay!!

Blessings and here are the two links should you be interested in taking on the Bockingford Pad - It really is worth it! :)



You can also get it in the block at the link below, which is supposed to be easier to work with - and I will definitely get this next time - but for now I have three of the pads to finish first :)



January 4 - I completed a bit on my leaf tonight - a wash and a portion of a second wash and some dry brushing too...


Thank you for visiting. It's fun to practice and make art, but so much funner when I get to share it with you - Hopefully to encourage you, as you encourage me when you show up here. Thank you!



January 5 - One side done on the back side of my leaf!!  :)  


January 6 - I woke up wanting to work on my leaf this morning, which is kind of unusual for me when it comes to watercolor.  I have been waiting for some kind of enjoyment to come... Maybe this is a good sign of that happening :)

After a little laundry and housecleaning, I sat down here at my art table, put on a good sermon by my favorite Alistair Begg and began to paint.  I'm not quite done with the backside, but I'm hoping to finish before I take my Australian Shepherd, Cooper, for  a walk in the park.


As I walk through the park with Cooper, I will notice the pinecones, the pine needles, the twigs and branches that have fallen during this winter season.  I will notice the leaves, all kinds, especially the maples, what's left of them, and I will long for Spring and Summer and Autumn - my favorite of all the seasons. 

And I will enjoy all the colors and dream of the perfect watercolor palette that is made up of what I truly see...

I will definitely pick up something that will intrigue me so that I might add it to my little collection of things I would like to sketch and maybe even paint one day.  And I will praise God for His beautiful creation that He has delighted in sharing with me. Happy Saturday to you all!



Here's what I found on my walk with Cooper... Isn't it beautiful? It's only one side of the seed pod, so it contains no life - all the seeds have blown away.  It was shimmering in the sun, laying on my path.

Cooper found an old abandoned tennis ball that still had plenty of life left in it and he added it to his collection of chewable, bouncy, throwable tennis balls in our backyard. :)

Also, I stopped by Michaels on my way home from my walk and picked up some painter's cloths.  No more paper towels as I have been told that they have chemicals in them that cause unwanted blotches in our paintings after we dab our brushes on them.


Back to my painting...

Adding just one more photo of where I have ended my painting on this beautiful day -




January 8 - Well, I was able to take a lovely Sabbath Day of Rest yesterday and during that time I was able to really pray and reflect on this journey into botanical illustration.

The subject matter has been presenting itself to me quite often lately of applying for the Diploma Course through the RBGE since I'm into watercolor now and maybe have a better idea of the path I'd like to take.

I have been pondering the title, "Botanical Illustrator", and I don't really think it fits me.  It may fit others, but it's not truly who I am.  It might be something I attempt to do, but it's not who I am.

I am first a Child of God. Secondly, I am the daughter of my lovely Mom and my wonderful Dad. Thirdly, I am a wife to my Hon-, and fourthly, I am Mom to my four amazing kids. Soon, I will have another crazy and amazing title of Grandma.

Art is something I like to do periodically, but it's not one of my titles - It just doesn't carry enough weight for me and I want to keep it in it's rightful place, lest confusion set in and I forget who I really am.


So, what have I learned in this RBGE Certificate Course?  If you dare read through all these posts, you can see for yourself all I have learned! It's amazing and I am not even halfway through the course!


Do I think the course is worth the cost? Absolutely! Even if like me, you choose to only do this course  and not go on to the Diploma course - it is worth it!!!  But like anything, it's not for everyone, and we each need to make our own decision.

Unit 4, Activity 3.jpeg

So here is all my work for Unit 4 - and done two days early this time! So far this has been my favorite Unit because much has been revealed to my heart.  It was a good and much needed challenge for me personally and artistically. And that makes me truly grateful. I like a true revelation - it keeps things real.

Thank you again for stopping by!

Blessings to you!