I found my favorite watercolor brushes!

When I was down in Utah visiting my daughter, we were riding to Red Cliffs State Recreation Area, and I was scrolling through my Facebook feed. I noticed that there was a set of watercolor brushes that were on sale, 50% off. They are somewhat expensive by comparison to the brushes I had normally bought, which worked great, but I really wanted to try this particular brand as they were highly recommended by one of the artists on YouTube I watch, and a lot of watercolor artists that share their work online use them as well. I mentioned them to my daughter, wondering what I should do since it was a great deal, but still expensive.

She asked if I would buy them if they weren’t on sale. I said I probably would, but not the whole set all at once as that was over $100 for the 4 brushes. She said, if I would eventually buy them all, I might as was well bite the bullet and buy them now at the discounted rate. So I did it, right there and then. They are called Silver Black velvet brushes and included a size 2, 4, 6, and 8 round brush. They arrived at my home just a day or two after I got home from my trip to Utah and I was so excited!

Since I received these brushes about 6 weeks ago I have painted quite a number of things, from simple little sketches to full paintings, using them exclusively to give them a fair test run, and I have to say, I absolutely love these brushes. They are a mixture between natural and synthetic bristles. The brushes I had previously been using were all synthetic. I had gotten used to the snap that these brushes had. I ordered some squirrel hair brushes about 9 months ago and tried using them. I didn’t like those. They held a ton of water, way more than I was used to, and they had no snap. As soon as I started to lay my brush down the brush would just get flatter and flatter and wider and wider. I did not like them.

These Silver Black Velvet ones however hold a good amount of water but have good snap. they also come to a better point than my synthetic brushes and I am so amazed by the quality of these brushes, although I don’t know why, as they were so highly recommended. I have found that I paint with a bigger brush for the most part as even the size 8 brush comes to such a fine point I can use it for details that I would previously have gotten my liner brush or size 0 or smaller brush out to achieve the same type of line. They are well worth the money. I do have some specialty brushes that I love using for different things, large brushes for large washes and some interesting looking brushes for fur and different kind for textures, but for everyday painting, there is nothing better.

Just a couple of paintings I have done recently with these Silver Black Velvet brushes:


I love my new business tool!

This is going to be somewhat of a catchup on what has been happening recently. But, to start with. I acquired a new tool for my business, a Cricut! I am so excited to have this new addition, and a new way to use not only my finished artwork, but my line drawings I used to make my art. I have saved them over the years not really knowing what I was going to do with them, but hoping to find a way to use them at some point, and now I have.

I made a bunch of t-shirts for my most recent event and had a great response. I love that it is my own work all the way through from concept to many different finished products. My husband is also excited that I can make shirts for his business as that’s something we have talked about over the years, but have never made the effort to go have someone else print them.

The other thing I love about this Cricut, and the other main reason I purchased this particular one, is because of all the other things it does. The one that was the biggest draw was that it cuts thicker materials like mat board and chip board. I have been trying to find a cheaper way to make puzzles for the holidays and have finally found a way to cut my own. I am super excited for this options. It also cuts cards, like greeting cards and note cards. I have my own note cards I sell, but am excited for a larger variety of options, not just cuts, but it also does a nice scoring for bending that looks more professional.

There are a lot of other features I will at some point explore, but not the selling features of the two mentioned above. It does engraving on soft metals as well as foil transfers and vinyl lettering, both permanent and removeable. The vinyl lettering is exciting for signs and things for our businesses. It also cuts fabric, which is another big draw for me as I love sewing, and being able to cut intricate designs in fabric will be something fun to experiment with as I go along. Here’s a couple of pictures of some things I experimented with as I was learning how to use the machine.

The other thing to talk about is the painting I just recently finished. I wanted to paint something springy recently, I am so ready for spring even though there is still 3 feet of snow on the ground. One of my favorite first flowers that show up in the spring are daffodils. I have painted several daffodils, and each time they seem to get better, but I really like how this latest on turned out. Today the sun is shining, it’s been a while since we last saw the sun as it’s been cloudy and snowy for almost a month. But today is beautiful and warm. I am excited for what the future holds and look forward to all the new horizons.

Art Update

I haven’t stopped painting and doing art! But it seems like it has been in super small increments, taking forever to finish a single project and painting mostly small, quick projects. I also haven’t been getting my Friday blog post written because of time, and I have decided that 3 days a week is probably too much for me at this time anyway. So, I will not be doing the art blog post of Fridays, I will just update you periodically on one of the other days. Today I thought I would share what I have been painting, and the fun new kind of art I had the opportunity to try recently.

First the paintings. I am subscribed to a website called Emily Olsen Art, and she has been doing daily challenges every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Some of these challenges inspire me, others not so much. With time constraints I only do the ones I really like but those have been quick, easy, and fun projects. Some of the ones that I did this past month are:

But this one here was my favorite. I have painted mushrooms before, but I really like how fun this turned out, and the simplicity of it all.


Now, for the new opportunity. I have a friend WillowAK Pottery who makes pottery. During a Garden and Art Tour, we participated in at the end of July she was offering bisque pottery (I apologize if I get the terms wrong, I am still learning!) that you could then choose your glaze color and a few other things. I thought this would be fun but couldn’t make it the day of the sale as I was selling art in the same tour in a different location. We were able to get together later, and she had a better idea for me. She allowed me to take a couple of pieces home and try using pottery pastels to “paint” some images on a couple of pieces of the bisque fired pottery. She then put a clear glaze over the pieces to finish them.



I loved being able to try this new medium for sharing art, and I love how these turned out. I am excited to have some of my art on something that is useful as well, it doesn’t just hang on the wall. With this new opportunity comes new ideas, and I have been having fun watching YouTube tutorials about different techniques and all the possibilities there are. Just like learning anything new, this has opened my eyes to new possibilities, and I am excited to be able to explore some of them.

I love art, I love how relaxing it is for the most part. There are so many different types or art, and they are all fun to explore. I am so grateful I get to paint on a regular basis, and I love having the opportunity to try new things as well.

Wild Rose

I recently finished a wild rose painting. The very first watercolor flower I ever painted was a wild rose, but I wanted to do one that was from my own photography because we have a ton of wild roses around our property. So, this summer I went looking for wild roses with my camera. I am not a photographer. If my oldest daughter had been here, I would have had her taking the pictures. She would have loved the assignment and has a great eye for composition. But it was up to me. There was plenty of roses to choose from, and I figured if I got a lot of pictures at least one of them would probably work, or I could combine several to make up one. Fortunately, I got several that would work. That’s one thing I love about digital cameras, you can take 100 pictures and then delete the many that didn’t work and only save the ones that you like best. The really nice thing about having a great picture is that it’s inspiring to paint, even if you hadn’t anticipated painting that subject matter.

I started this painting a while ago, the roses bloom in early June. But it took me until the middle of July to finish the painting because it’s summer, and I would rather be outside in my garden or hiking or anything except sitting inside doing anything, even painting! But, when the weather isn’t great, or late at night, I enjoy painting. It relaxes me and helps me sleep better anyway.

I use transparent watercolor when I paint, rarely do I use gouache paint which is not transparent, or only semitransparent. I like the transparent color because you can add a shadow color and then go over it with a bright transparent color and then shadow colors show through. Or you can lay down one color, like an orange, and then go over it with a red or yellow, and it totally changes the color and feel of the painting, whereas gouache often just covers the color beneath. This painting was a lot of layering, lighter colors getting darker and darker, but keeping spots of lighter color as I went along.

I love the depth of color that can be achieved through this layering process, and I love the finished product. This was a fun project, and I enjoyed the complete start to finish of taking my own reference photo to the finished painting. I love getting out in nature, and I am so grateful for the beautiful world that we live in.


We have been super busy this week, but I was finally able to finish a painting. I am so grateful for the time, even with our very hectic week we’ve had. I have been painting an Eagle. The inspiration for this painting came from a picture one of my sons took. Every spring as our little swampy pond area starts to thaw, we have eagles come and eat stuff out of the thawing ice. I’m not sure if it’s small fish from the stream, or just small animals that didn’t survive through the winter, but they come and spend several days eating. This offers us a great opportunity to watch these magnificent birds, but also affords us many opportunities for pictures. This picture has been sitting on my computer as something that inspired me for months now, and I finally got around to painting it. He actually took several cool pictures, so this might not be the only one, but this one was my favorite one.

I always want to get pictures of the eagles flying, but I usually end up getting them flying away. I don’t really have any desire or inspiration to painting the back side of an eagle. But with a lot of patience on the part of my son, and a little instruction from me as to what I was looking for, the above picture was the picture he took. He did a great job! I loved it as soon as I saw it, but I didn’t like the background. That is the beauty of being an artist however, I can change that. So, last week I set out enlarging and making a simple sketch of what I wanted, painting the sketch to get the colors right, and then drawing the finished sketch on my watercolor paper. This week I spent painting.

I loved the subject right from the beginning, and I really like the background change. Eagles are one of the most impressive birds, and I love seeing them all the time here in Alaska. They are one of my favorite birds. I have had the opportunity to have one fly over my car as I was driving down my driveway, and they are impressively large birds as well. I had a lot of fun painting this picture, and I am glad that I finally had time to paint the beautiful picture that my son was able to capture so long ago!