It’s been well over 2 years since I started ‘formally’ journalling and it has been a thoroughly interesting journey.
I started off with a (writing) Poetry journal in the form of a Visual Arts ring-bound A5 book and an A5 Moleskine Watercolour journal then in my next journal, a Paper Mill A4 with Ivory sheets, I combined the two interests.
On the writing Poetry front, I noticed that my Lamy Safari Fountain Pen’s nib now writes a bit rough after using it on 110 gsm paper. I won’t make this mistake again.
The Paper Mill Journal seemed like a great option at the time as it would hold Watercolour but was smooth enough to write on with a Fountain Pen. The one thing that kept gnawing at me though was that the paper was too smooth for Watercolour.
I’ve also tried a Strathmore A5 190 gsm Watercolour Visual Journal which was ok though I think I prefer the Moleskine A5 200 gsm.
I now write my Poetry on normal paper that is contained within an A4 Journal that is approx. 3.0cm thick and it works rather well and have been utilising both the A5 and A4 Moleskine Watercolour Journals of late.
It would be so nice to find ‘a one Journal fits everything’ though so far I have not seen anything that will fit the bill, short of making my own Journal.
I’m sure that I will try a home-made one in time. I’ve seen examples where people have ripped out the pages of a book and repurposed the cover for their home-made journal. Being a book lover I would find this extremely hard to do so I would have to make the covers myself as well.
I have a few commitments that end on 30 June this year and plan to spend a little more time investigating in a home-made journal then, so till that time, I will keep experimenting.
Have you found a Journal that meets all your needs?
Within the past week, a change has come across my Watercolour Sketch a Day practice.
When I started the practice it was because I wanted to learn not only Watercolour but obtain practice in sketching and drawing with pencils and pigment liners.
Over time and sometimes due to time constraints (mainly during the week), I found myself dispensing with the pencils and pigment liners and just doing a quick ‘wash’ sketch with paint only. This is ok, I guess as I was still getting practice, but I wonder how much I was actually learning, leaving myself to my own devices…?
Just under a week ago, I decided that I wanted to go back to my ‘original why’ and I started looking at YouTube and in particular searching the phrase, ‘Line and Wash.’
I came across an Artist channel, ‘Nil Rocha Art’ whose sketches appealed a lot to me. “Nil Rocha Art’ is listed as ‘a Professional Artist in ‘Line and Wash’ drawing landscape and others.
Having now done five of the tutorials, I feel like I am learning so much more now about sketching, painting and the use of colours, mixes etc than I have in all the time previously. Yes, I wish I had done this earlier but I guess we all have our own journey. Previously, I would watch different shows, picking up the occasional tips and practicing them, reading books etc.
I feel that the tutorials are stretching me, exploding me out of my comfort zone and even after only five days, I feel that my confidence in sketching/Watercolour is growing each day. I’ve included the five Line and Wash sketches I’ve done so far, below.
If I was just starting now, I would definitely jump onto YouTube or similar and find an Artist/Mentor that you can follow.
Should you be interested in learning about how to do Line and Wash here is the link to ‘Nil Rocha Art’ YouTube channel. I hope you have as much fun as I’m having.
Being still (what I would call) relatively new to Watercolour, I am still exploring the types of subject matter that I would like to paint. Predominantly, I have been painting landscapes, seascapes, sky-scapes with a few buildings thrown in here and there.
I hadn’t really thought of painting flowers. They always looked rather challenging (and still are) and I have so much still to learning about painting them.
Recently, I purchased the book, ’The Watercolour Flower Painter’s A – Z’ An Illustrated Directory of Techniques for Painting 50 Popular Flowers.
Thus far, I have attempted 3 of the exercises 1) Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise); 2) Freesia and 3) Petunia and found the exercises easy to follow, offering detailed instruction and a delight to read.
Under ‘Essentials’ in the front of the book it covers nearly 30 essential techniques to learn that will aid the aspiring Artist in artistically reproducing the subjects.
If you are looking for an easy to follow book that will take you out of your ‘painting comfort-zone’ then I would highly recommend you take a look at this book.
As some of you may know, I’m a member of Toastmasters International and have been for 12 years this month. It has been a wonderful journey of learning, practicing and I have made many friends along the way, plus I am now a much more confident person in many ways, too.
At the same time, whilst Toastmasters is a great organisation and I highly recommend it, I also recommend sourcing information about Speaking skills from outside of it.
For quite a few years now I have been reading books about Public Speaking, Presentation skills, Leadership and general communication skills.
One such book is ’Steal The Show’ from Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches.
I first found out about the book when I came across Michael Port’s podcast on iTunes called ’Steal The Show.’
I feel the book is a ‘Goldmine’ of inspiration and information. Part One is ’The Performer’s Mindset’; Part Two is ‘Powerful Performance Principles’ and Part Three is ‘A Master Class In Public Speaking’ plus it has 50 Public Speaking tips at the end of the book.
If you are at all interested in improving your communication and public speaking skills, I would highly recommend reading this book. I will be keeping it as a reference book for many years to come!
Looking back, I haven’t written about my project, ‘a Watercolour Sketch a Day’ since the 127th day. I’m happy to report that today is Day 406 and I haven’t missed a day yet.
It’s been a fascinating journey and I’m making heaps of mistakes so I must be learning a lot!
So, why pick Day 406 to write about the experience, I mean why not write about it on Day 200, 300 or 400? I noticed that today signifies a slight change in direction…
To explain: When I first started, it was about a Watercolour Sketch a Day, meaning the goal was to create a daily watercolour sketching habit, quick sketches that I could do on say A5 (or smaller) pages.
This was how it was for a time, then I noticed I was attempting larger sketches on A4 and above paper which is fine, but they were taking longer and longer to complete and as I’m not a full-time artist, my time to commit to larger sketches during the week is not as great. Sometimes, I only get a limited time to do them, say 10 – 20 minutes. On the weekends it is longer, mostly.
I also noticed that after a very busy day I was prone to tackling easier subjects, abstract I suppose you could call them which is fine and fun though at times I felt I was doing ‘anything’ just to say that the sketch was done for that day. I don’t want this to be a production, it was meant to be and is fun.
Also, I had gone away from using pencils and pigment liners as well. I want to improve my drawing/sketching skills with the aforementioned tools as well Watercolour paints.
This morning I decided to go back to my original intentions. I started using a pencil again and am doing a smaller size sketch.
One of the challenges I have is that I don’t get out as much as I like to sketch, especially during the week as I run a business, though it is not tied to an office or shop predominantly, per se.
Perhaps I should tuck a Moleskine A5 Watercolour journal and a couple of pencils etc in my portable folder so that if the chance comes up, I could do a quick sketch whilst waiting for an appointment. That would be a great habit to start instead of pulling out the Smartphone and wasting time with that…
Doing a Watercolour Sketch a Day still motivates me and I can certainly say that I am enjoying the journey. Watercolour is such a fascinating medium. Drawing/sketching is fun and it still feels like a kind of meditation for me.
Here are a selection of my Watercolour Sketches since Day 128.
Poetry and Prose by #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow, Co-Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller, Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women, and Jan/Feb 2022 Spillwords Press Author of the Month