Three weeks down, one to go

Here’s my progress with World Watercolor Month:

Day 16: Drawing people is not my strong point, and World Watercolor Month is all about trying new things, so I thought I’d challenge myself. I love Francesco Clemente’s watercolor portraits, and I used those as my inspiration. Still a long way to go…(sigh…). But they were fun to do, and I’ll definitely repeat the exercise.



Day 17: Everything possible went wrong with this drawing of a starfish – the masking fluid wouldn’t dry, the masking tape ripped the top layer of the paper off… I think it was all due to the heat. However, I still enjoyed  playing with the stencils.



Day 18: Very busy day, and I got back late, so I only had time to doodle these little blue flowers.



Day 19: More people drawing practice – this time inspired by a photo I took on my visit to Metsovo.




Day 20: Found time to start my new project, a floral triptych. I’ve been doing studies for this since the spring, when the irises were blooming in the garden. I find it really makes a difference to draw things from life, rather than from a photograph. It’s easier to distill the essence of your subject, rather than just its image.




Day 21: I’m now obsessed with this project , so just carrying on. I’m using Canson Watercolor paper, very thick (640msg). I’ve never used this before, and I find it very interesting. It absorbs the color, and leaves it very vivid. Good for wet-in-wet, but also for a hard edge, although the surface is very rough. The back of the paper is smooth, so maybe I’ll try that next time.



Day 22: Started on the leaves. I got interesting effects from lifting the paint with a paper towel, although it won’t lift with a rag. Still playing about, not sure what I’ll leave in and what I’ll paint over.




Day 23: This ‘week’ has eight days, since there are another eight to the end of the month. Here’s the next step to my painting.



I wonder if it’s cheating to post consecutive images of the same drawing? Who knows, and, more importantly, who cares?

Trying to keep up

Well, it’s been a busy week, but I was determined not to fall behind on the World Watercolor Month challenge, so I mostly resorted to quick sketches at bedtime.

Day 8: Seagulls.  I seem to be inspired by birds lately, and it is the summer and beach weather. After making a quick and splashy background, I drew the seagulls in ink and added oil pastel for highlights.



Day 9: Mother and child. I have to force myself to draw people (not my strongest point, so I need the practice).  I had a little more time tonigh, and I found an appealing photo as a reference – it would have been better drawn from life, but no models available (sigh…)



Day 10: Garden produce. I’d gone out to pick some lettuce, onions and cauliflower, so I just dumped them on the kitchen table (I used a tea towel not to get dirt onto the table, and that proved quite a useful addition to the sketch!)



Day 11: Three bowls of fruit and a tomato. I do love summer fruit. These are peaches, yellow cherries and red currants. What could have been more inspiring than to make a sketch of them in a large Moleskine journal.



Day 12: Roses. Really no time tonight, so I just sloshed some paint around and doodled on top. It was a good way to test some new Daniel Smith watercolors, too (Quinacridone Rose, New Gamboge and Deep Sap Green).



Meanwhile, I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my bird project, ‘Sandhill Cranes In Flight’. This is watercolor, oil crayon and gold leaf on two large sheets of Arches paper (100x60cm). It has now been packed off to the recipient, who I hope will be happy with it. I’m a rotten photographer, only use my iPhone and couldn’t get the light right, but you get the idea (I blue-tacked it to the wall to take the picture, but the left side was in shadow).



Day 13: Three-panel study of floral painting. This is my new project, so I started making some studies to help me decide how to proceed. It will be based on plein air sketches of irises, tulips and hyacinths I made when they were in flower in the garden. Always gives a better result than painting from photos.



Day 14: Six-panel study. Another version, using six pieces of paper instead of three. I probable prefer the first one.



Day 15: Chickens. Really got back late today, so when I came upon a piece of paper on which I’d been testing color mixes and some flower stencils, I just added a rooster and a hen on top.


That’s the week done, phew!

July is World Watercolor Month

For those who did not read my post last year,  World Watercolor Month is the brainchild of Charlie O’Shields of Doodlewash fame. It’s a challenge designed to encourage anyone who joins in to post a watercolor painting each day of the month of July. It’s a fun thing, with very relaxed rules – there are no prizes, or obligation to post each day.


Day 1: Bunnies – Present for a child’s christening (part 1)


We do have a list of prompts, but nobody’s obliged to follow it, they’re only meant to help people with inspiration. The idea is to bring together artists of all levels, from all parts of the world.


Day 2: Ducks – present for a child’s christening (part 2)


WWM started in 2016 and proved a great success, prompting Charlie to greater efforts this year. The project, which has attracted sponsorship from various well-known art supply brands, has also teamed up with The Dreaming Zebra, a non-profit foundation  that provides underprivileged schoolchildren throughout the world with art and music supplies.


Day 3: Mountain village – the view from the window. Quick evening plein air sketch.


I joined in last year, and the results were beyond my expectations. It got me into the habit of drawing or painting every day, which I’ve kept up since. It made me open an Instagram account, and inspired me to follow many artists from whom I’ve learnt so much. I’m self-taught, so the encouragement, tips, comments, ideas and support I’ve been getting have proven invaluable. I’ve met new people, improved my technique and, most of all, had so much fun. I’ve now started getting commissions, and am even thinking of opening an Etsy shop.


Day 4: result of a walk in the fields


I’m so grateful to Charlie, who has shown that you don’t need more than enthusiasm, new ideas and a lot of TLC to make a real difference. His site, Doodlewash, hosts watercolor artists from all over the world (I was extremely proud to be included, here) and every Saturday there is a post where artist Jessica Seacrest reviews art supplies that she has tested. We’re talking types of paper, brushes, paints – very addictive, although bad for the wallet! And, of course, Charlie never fails to post his own daily doodlewash, with an amusing story to accompany it.


Day 5: Starfish. Watercolor and oil crayon over comic strip glued in tiny sketchbook.


I’m getting stuck in again this year, even if some days it will mean just splashing some paint around for a few minutes. I will post my output at the end of each week, and you can tell me what you think. What you see today is this week’s output.


Day 6: Summer fields. Mini landscape in tiny sketchbook.


I urge any of you with a creative streak to join in. You can jump in at any time, post as little or as much as you like. Just tag your work #WorldWatercolorMonth


Day 7: the tools of the trade

World Watercolor Month

What’s World Watercolor Month?

It’s a month to inspire people to paint with watercolor (watercolour, aquarelle) while raising awareness for the importance of art and creativity in the world.  Anyone can join the celebration, from master watercolorists to artists just starting out with watercolor!



Best of all, this first year of the celebration will be about raising awareness for children in need of art supplies and art education around the globe. Art is an important aspect of child development and paves the way for a successful future. What would the world be without art?





How could I resist? I’m joining the 31-day challenge – a watercolor each day. Some might be just doodles, some only dabs (abstract dabs?), but it will be fun. It will be motivation to pick up a brush each day, to try new things; and an opportunity to meet other artists. I will be posting on Instagram(athensletters). Below is my first contribution:

Day 1: Sketch of flowers past their prime.