I’m having a bitter-sweet beginning of May.
I’m supposed to be in Hawaii right now, visiting with friends and enjoying the ocean air.
But I’m not. I’m home, instead.
About a couple weeks ago, I contracted a nasty upper respiratory infection, and it was stubbornly hanging on. To make it worse, the more stressed I got about getting well by the day I was supposed to fly, the worse I felt. (We probably all know how well stress and illness go with one another…)
I made the difficult decision to cancel my trip at the last minute and instead use my already approved time off from work to just stay home and rest up.
It’s been a blessing in disguise. I am still shaking off the last remnants of the cold, and I was certainly verifiably ill enough on the day that I was supposed to fly to feel pretty justified in my decision to cancel my trip (the thought of spending nearly a full day of traveling in flying petri-dishes was certainly a determining factor for me to stay home.)
But, wow, I sure needed this down-time. Along with just resting and relaxing, I was able to leisurely catch up on chores and errands that had gone neglected during the peak of my illness. I even managed to transplant a couple basil starts and get my containers ready for my tomatoes.
Best of all, I had time to complete the last painting I was working on in my Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Journal (link in materials list below). I’d been working on it for what felt like at least a month (between work, other obligations, and being ill.) I’m really happy with how it came out, too.
This one has a story behind it, too. Corn isn’t exactly something I ever feel compelled to paint. I barely even eat it. But I was introduced to this type of corn, called “Glass Gem” by my work. I was actually almost given the opportunity to create the piece specifically for my job, but one of our established (and way more talented) botanical artists heard we were going to be featuring this corn and really wanted to do it, so we gave her the commission.
I was still very intrigued by the corn, however, after seeing photographs of it, and decided I wanted to do a composition just for my enjoyment. I’m very happy I pushed myself to complete the painting (it sat as just a line drawing in my journal for at least a couple weeks as it was.)
And with the completion of that painting also came the completion of the watercolor journal. Huzzah!
If you’ve read my earlier blogs, you know how satisfying it is for me to complete a sketchbook from cover-to-cover.
What’s even more great is that because I’ve had all this time off, I’ve also had time to record and post a flip-through on YouTube, plus I actually have some time to blog about it. Whoopee!
This watercolor journal took nearly a year to complete. In no small part because I obviously jump between other art projects, particularly focusing on filling up other sketchbooks, like my pocket Leuchtturm1917 sketchbook, and now my current pocket Moleskine sketchbook.
As you also know, while I love watercolor, I don’t like to be completely obligated to using just that single medium so I often work in different mediums. When I felt the urge to just do a watercolor piece, I would jump back to my Strathmore watercolor journal and do it in there (and that was also if I was not in the mood to gesso pages in my Leuchtturm1917 or Moleskine sketchbooks.)
Overall, the Strathmore was a very nice journal to work in. (I’ve just swapped over to Moleskine’s equivalent watercolor journal, and I’m admittedly already feeling a bit disappointed with the Moleskine’s paper quality in comparison – it’s far less heavy, so it warps pretty quickly. I’ve also discovered that paint easily bleeds through the binding, as well. Drat!)
The Strathmore’s paper was nice and heavy—300lb—and the binding is nice and tight so there was never any problem of paint bleeding through the binding to other pages. I actually did already purchase another Strathmore watercolor journal to work on in the future. But that will come after I finish up this new Moleskine.
It was fun to watch my flip-through, however, and see how my art continues to progress. I’ll post up a few photos of my favorite pieces in the blog, although if you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen these images before.
In any case, very happy to share this with you.
I hope you feel inspired and the art brings a smile to your face!
Be sure to follow my Instagram account @kellyro77 to stay up-to-date on my creative endeavors.
List of materials:
Strathmore Watercolor Art Journal
Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album
Sakura Brush Pen
Sakura Micron Pen
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors
Mission Gold Watercolors
Daniel Smith Watercolors
QoR High Chroma Watercolors
Schmincke Horadam Aquarell Watercolors
Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils
Pentel Aquash Water Brushes