Watercolor and Ink Illustration

Lately I have been practicing and exploring watercolor and ink. Here is a sunflower I tried painting different ways – watercolor alone as well as before and after using ink.

I discovered that using ink on top of a loose watercolor art makes it quite whimsical and I love that effect! And that’s why I like the lower left sunflower a little more🌻

For ink I have used Sakura Pigma Micron pen 01 0.25mm in black.

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time long long ago in a far away land lived a pair of dragon flies….

Growing up I loved reading Enid Blyton’s magical books. They whisked me away into a land of fairies, elves, and gnomes who lived in toadstool homes in enchanted forests. I remember relishing every book and daydreaming about the stories wondering and almost believing that such a land existed!

Dragonflies have an innate charm. They signify joy, courage, and transformation in different cultures. To me they are simply magical creatures in brilliant shades, adding a sparkle to everything in nature.

These days I seek out these beauties to remind myself of the light and joy that still exists on this planet.

Watercolor ritual

I know we are right in the middle of January, still….I want to wish everyone a very happy new year as this is my first blog post of this year!

I try to paint a small entry for each day. I grab my paints and without overthinking, allow my brush to create something…mostly flowers. Sometimes I miss a day or two but that’s ok and some days my picture doesn’t turn out to be the way I want but that’s ok too…..right? What’s more important is to create a small daily ritual like this for ourselves – to care for and love ourselves – only then can we love others better.

Reflections from summer

Here is the collage of scenes in watercolor I had mentioned in my post ‘Feeling Nostalgic‘. It’s a collection of pictures I painted from photos I’d taken during summer at San Antonio, Orlando and Miami.

When we visit places, we really soak in the experience – the colors, scents and sounds but as soon as we’re back home, we get entangled in the mesh of a thing called ‘life’. It is then, when we browse through the pictures and videos, we try to relive those moments. But it’s only while painting some of those memories do they come most alive. The process is so meditative…. it is much much more than just looking at a picture; it feels as if I am transported back into that precise moment! And so it was when I created this collage – the pink flamingos at the Sea World, gigantic cypress trees lining the River Walk, the castle from the Magic kingdom, and the warm emerald waters – everything came back to life once again!

Mandala moods

After almost a year I created some mandala art. I had almost forgotten how serene the entire process of creating one used to be but it all came back as soon as I put my pen to paper! Within the repetitiveness of every line, dot, and curve lies a calm space, a pause, a place of absolute peace.….

And from that place, more creativity takes birth.

Mandala art has a mind of its own. I might want to do it one way, but after the circles have been drawn (with a compass) and some initial patterns have been put into place, ideas start pouring down like little raindrops. I have used Sharpie pens and some watercolor here.

One doesn’t need to be an artist to draw these. Begin with a few concentric circles and start drawing in designs from the center outwards or any other way you want. You will be amazed at your finished product which will always look beautiful no matter how simple or intricate the design is.

Experience the peaceful journey of mandala art!!

A Hand lettering journey

Growing up I remember my mom doing a lot of calligraphy. She had some intricate looking pens that she used to write with. I can still recall the scratchy sounds of the nib on paper as she created each letter.

Funny how those memories came flooding back as soon as I began to notice some beautiful hand lettering posts on Instagram! “I must create something like this.” After all these years of lack of practice my lettering skills had gotten a little rusty! How I longed to create those flourishes again……

Did that mean I had to relearn? Maybe….

To my great relief, I found this wonderful little book called Lettering for Planners by Jordan Truster and Jillian Reese of Loveleigh Loops. You can’t find anything simpler than this! I started with a brush pen that I purchased for $2.99 at Hobby Lobby and some graph paper (as I didn’t have dot grid paper). You don’t need a lot of tools. See!

Consistent practice is what makes one better at this art (like any other art)! So I practice whenever I can. Inspired by one of John Muir’s quotes, I created the above piece, I know it’s not perfect…. but I love the journey – learning, improving and most of all enjoying every scenic path!!

One cup at a time

Painting these blue teacups in watercolor was such a pleasure. I used to see paintings of pretty and dainty teacups on Pinterest, and they always reminded me of some other time. Finally one day I was inspired to paint.

I remember seeing rows of dainty teacups in fine china adorning the shelves of the cabinet in my mom’s dining room. Looking back even further, I remember seeing them in my grandma’s kitchen. Hand painted and delicate, those exquisite teacups with matching saucers perched quietly on the high shelves must have listened intently to the conversations around the dining table, observing old and new generations coming together, absorbing their stories…….

I cannot look at teacups without reminiscing about old times!

5 ways to deal with your old watercolor artworks

What do you do with your mounting pieces of art? Before you know it, they have begun to probably gather a fine layer of dust and have started fading and inching their way into every space available!

Yes! storage does seem to be an obvious solution but we have only so much space! So I came up with 5 very simple ways to handle all the clutter created by old and growing number of artworks.

1.Categorize

This is the most important step. I categorize my artwork chronologically. This is a good way to keep everything organized in one place. It actually also helps me look back at my old paintings and reflect on how much I have grown as an artist. It’s almost like a journal that takes you down your memory lane. However you can also organize your artwork according to subject like flowers, landscapes, portrait etc.

2. Put them up!

Adorn your wall or space! Fish out some pretty or interesting pieces and put them on frames on the wall or counter tops. The best part is you don’t need many frames, just a couple and you can keep changing the display. This works really well in kids’ rooms using their “own art”. Another way to display your artwork is by simply pinning them up on a cork board in your work space area and just watch them bring in some cheer!

3. Create something out of them

While categorizing my artwork I discovered sheets that had only one or two nice pictures. So I cut out the good ones like a bouquet or a flower and then glued it on another piece of paper to use as a bookmark. Or you can glue the cutouts on a card stock paper to create greeting cards also.

4. Gift / Give away

There’s always someone who really cherishes your artwork – your grandma or your friends! Gift them a pretty one. They will LOVE them! You can also donate to the library or to a classroom if you have a lot of nice paintings that need a home.

5. Recycle

Yes you heard it right! There are always some artworks that we are not very proud of and don’t mind getting rid of. Just recycle them and claim back your space!

I hope you liked these tips. If you know of any other tips please share them here. I will appreciate!