Recent Blog Posts

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The supplies you’ll need to start with watercolors

If you’re thinking about starting with watercolors, there are two types of things you’ll need. You’ll need items you have to buy at an art store (or of course online), and items you can get elsewhere. The latter, you may already have.

So let’s go over these.

To buy from the art store

You’ll need three things – watercolor brushes, watercolor paper, and watercolor paints.

Can you use other types of brushes for watercolors? Sure.

But watercolor brushes are specifically made for watercolors. You’ll notice that watercolor brushes matter. Of the three though, they’re the least important expenditure. I’d suggest getting cheap watercolor brushes in the beginning if you have a limited budget.

Watercolor paper? Once again, start off with cheap watercolor paper. Your first ten paintings will be throwaway anyways. Watercolor isn’t an easy medium by any means.

And last, the paints.

I’ve seen artists get by with cheap watercolor paints and make some pretty cool stuff. The artist is more important than the tool.

As you get better though, you’re going to want better tools. It’s the same thing with anything.

For now, you’ll be fine with cheap watercolor paints. You’ll learn the difference as you go. It’s way more important at first to hone your technique than it is to use professional grade tools.

You may already have

You’ll also need pencils, erasers, a surface, jars, scratch paper, paper towels, a sponge, and clean water.

Kimchi jars are the perfect size for everything

Save your jars. My wife and I eat a lot of Kimchi. It’s supposed to be good for your gut flora. I actually like the taste too, especially the spicy stuff.

These jars are the perfect size for both storing your brushes and also for the water. You’ll need two jars for water. One jar, you use to clean your brush and the second one, you use as the final rinse.

Do both matter? Yes. Unless you want to have the previous paint in what you’re painting next. I’m very religious about rinsing from two jars.

Water obviously. Tap water does the trick unless you live in a place with really bad tap water. If so, you’ll have to buy water. You don’t want to have muddy watercolors.

Paper towels and a sponge. You don’t absolutely need a sponge. But now that I have sponges, I use them.

You use the sponges to get the perfect amount of water on your brush. Some artists also use them for effects (like clouds for instance).

You’ll use the paper towels for everything from cleaning up messes to more effects. Always keep paper towels handy. Murphy’s Law states that the one time you forget the paper towels will be the one time you really need them!

Scratch paper for testing colors. You’ll do so much work with colors. How much water you use changes the colors. Plus, you might do a lot of color mixing as well. You’ll need to test the results before they go onto your real painting surface.

Pencils and erasers obviously. You don’t have to, but a lot of watercolor artists will draw their ideas on the watercolor paper before painting. I actually ink my watercolors, but that’s after drawing with pencil first.

As for your surface – I literally paint on the floor because I have a bad back. You may prefer an easel. Up to you.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to get back to you on a timely manner.

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Back from Central America cruise

Hello. My wife and I are back from a Costa Rica and Panama cruise.

It’s our fifth cruise, and first time doing Winstar. They have smaller ships – about 220 passengers plus crew. Much smaller than those large cruise ships that we’ve always taken before.

Not all our vacations are cruises. But my wife loves them so we go on them often.

My wife and I have a hard rule that every year, we have to leave the country to a country we haven’t been to before. This year started out with Costa Rica and Panama.

Costa Rica and Panama have gorgeous beaches and wonderful weather in January. I got a slight sunburn as I stayed in the water all day. I’m pretty dark so it’s not easy for me to get burned. I pretty much have to stay in the water all day.

But it’s hard not to. It’s so warm and lovely.

We saw dolphins, monkeys, sloths, toucans, parrots, and macaws. I didn’t bring a good camera. Just my cell phone. So these pictures aren’t great.

I’m more into having a good time anyways than taking pictures.

However, I did take a lot of jungle shots. I’ll be using them for my tropical mermaid paintings.

A monkey in Panama

So, I also learned a few things. Do you know the difference between African monkeys and South African monkeys? South African monkeys have prehensile tails, meaning that they can use them like an extra limb.

Pretty cool to see them doing it live. I didn’t get very close as these shots were taken in the jungle.

A Jesus Christ lizard in Panama

Do you know why it’s called a Jesus Christ lizard? This lizard can literally run across the water.

No, I didn’t get any video of him doing that. However, at least I got a picture of him chilling.

Jungle in Costa Rica
A pair of dolphins

All in all, had a great time. Definitely ate and drank too much. Looks like I’m going to have to hit the weights harder and incorporate some running in there to work some of that vacation weight off.

But, had a great time.

We finished the vacation crossing the Panama Canal. Highly recommend for people who like technology as for its time, it was an engineering miracle. France begun the work in 1881 but had to abandon it due to a high mortality rate for the workers. The USA took it over in 1904 and completed the work in 1914. The American Society of Civil Engineers lists it as one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.