Blog Archives

Stickleback Fish Watercolor

Stickleback Fish

Hello friends!  Well, I know I promised to post this a couple of days ago, but at this time of the month our internet service slows down a whole lot during normal daytime hours.  So I happened to wake up a few minutes ago, and it is only 4:00 a.m. right now and decided now is as good a time as any to get this done!  I went to bed early, and I don’t have to go anywhere today!

This Stickleback fish is one of the most challenging things I have ever painted.  He is in a stream of course and most likely looking for food somewhere.  Hopefully he won’t get hooked!  (Derek, this is just for looking at, not eating!  Although, out of curiosity, what kind of wine would go well with one?)  As I stated in a previous post, this is for my friend Derek who also has a WordPress blog.  He had a post about Stickleback fish a while back which is what gave me the idea to do this for him.  (I hope you like it, Derek!)

In other news I began practicing my Chinese brush calligraphy yesterday, and I think I will be learning that for the rest of my life!  Wow, it is difficult!  I really want to find someone locally who does it and might help me so I don’t develop any bad habits!  I don’t know if that will happen, but in the meantime, I will keep on keeping on!

I hope everyone is having a nice end to the summer months.  We were able to leave our air conditioning off last night.  As I type now there is a nice cool breeze coming through the window.  Fall is on its way…I hope!  We do sometimes get a few really hot days or weeks in September so I know the hot weather isn’t quite over yet.  Well, I’m going back to bed!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Stickleback Under the Waterfalls

Stickleback Under the Waterfall

Hello Friends,

Here is the Stickleback fish below the waterfalls!  I had a lot of fun painting this.  I did it on Wednesday when my son took my daughter to school.  It is so great to get to stay home three days a week now.  This school year is not going to be quite as stressful for me with my son helping with the driving.  Although, now she is only going three days a week due to needing to drop a class which is fine.  So we get 4 day weekends now!  Yay!!

When I painted this I was using the book “Chinese Landscapes Made Easy” by Rebecca Yue.  My waterfall is similar to the one she shows in her example, but I did change it up some to make it mine.  I was working on using the dots and long dots strokes for the trees and the diagonal strokes for the rocks.  The fish is really too big proportionally as I said in my last post, but I don’t have the smallest size Chinese brushes yet, and I didn’t want to use my regular watercolor brushes.

I have ordered some other Chinese paint brushes that I hope to receive next week.  I should be getting this book today!  This is the book I mentioned in an earlier post that teaches how to do East Asian calligraphy, and I am very excited about it!  So hopefully in time you will see some of this, too, in future posts.

The Heart of the Brush by Kazuaki Tanahashi

So you will see me again when I get Derrick’s Stickleback fish done, which I am planning on working on right now!  In tribute to him I will say I am enjoying my Southern iced tea with fresh mint leaves as I paint!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂


Picture Books, Doodles, and Fish….Oh My!

Hello everyone!  I know that is one of the lamest titles ever, but it’s early, it has been a long week, and honestly, I couldn’t think of anything better!  I just wanted to share that I have been practicing painting with my Chinese brushes and ink.  I did these doodles last week, but after the long drive to Walnut Creek for the Picture Book workshop, I was pretty messed up physically for a few days.  I haven’t been like that in quite a while….long enough to have forgotten what it was like. My back was really sore, and my arm is still sore from all of the internet stuff I did on Sunday, the day after the workshop, but getting better.  (A slap to the forehead)  I knew better, but I had blogging and Facebook stuff to do!!  I have been able to work out a few times this week which always helps!

I know some of you are interested in hearing about the picture book workshop. Unfortunately, it turned out to be somewhat disappointing to me.  To be fair the two people who put it on had never done a workshop before or worked together, but they were very entertaining and nice.  However, most of the information they gave I had already been reading about in books about the picture book publishing industry.  The workshop was supposed to include some hands-on exercises in actually working on the structure of picture books, so I was hoping for some feedback on what I had been working on which I took with me, but that didn’t happen.  Again, though, to be fair it was only a 3 hour workshop so there really wasn’t enough time.

Afterwards, though, my husband and I went out to dinner with our friends Steve and Tania who stood up for us in our wedding which was small (almost 22 years ago!)  We only wanted a best man and a maid of honor.  We had not seen them in at least seven years or been to that area since then.  After the workshop but before dinner, we drove by my parents’ old house which looked okay.  Then we drove out to the cemetery where they are buried, and that felt sad and weird.  I talk to them all the time so it wasn’t too devastating to visit their graves.  I still cried a little, though.  I really miss them.

So on a happier note…here are more of my attempts at learning Chinese Brush Painting.  I was just playing (which is always fun) and practicing leaf and grass strokes.  Also, in the first photo you can see I tried to do another goldfish, but I had too much water in my brush so it turned out to be “The Blob” with fins!  I am not sure what kind of flower that is, so you can call it whatever you want!  The small leaves and stems are supposed to be more bamboo.   Hmmm….  It was fun, and that’s all that matters!


So I grabbed another sheet of the rice paper I used for these.  It tends to curl up a little more than watercolor paper that hasn’t been stretched first.  So I am not sure I like it much, but I still plan to use it for practice.  So here is “Sammy” the Goldfish.  I just felt he needed a name.  😉   His eyes are pretty big.  Perhaps he sees some food he’s going to go after!


Tomorrow I will be posting the second watercolor painting I did with my Chinese brushes.  It includes a waterfall and my first attempt at doing a Stickleback fish!  The fish turned out too big proportionally for fitting into the rest of the picture, but I like the waterfall so I want to share it!  I am planning to do a much bigger Stickleback fish for my friend, Derrick.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Chinese Brush Doodles

Hello friends.

Yesterday I said I was going to post my Chinese brush doodles that I did day before yesterday.  It was really a lot of fun!  However, as you can see, I do need a lot more practice!  I only used ink and will not be adding watercolor to my doodles for a while yet.  The kit I have came with six basic colors of watercolors.  I haven’t tried to use them yet, but I’m not sure that they will be much different than what I already have.

Anyway, the first things shown in the book are basic techniques:

  1.  Holding the brush – this is interesting, because I have to hold it straight up for many of the strokes!  My fingers have to grip it completely different than I learned for using a regular watercolor brush.  I like it, though.  It’s unique.
  2. Practicing strokes.  The different strokes are called:  Line, long dot, dot, rice, curve, blend-and-tip, slide, and press-and-lift strokes.
  3. Then it shows how to use watercolor paints and create a value scale.
  4. And finally, warming up.

The two warm-up exercises are how to draw bamboo and how to draw a Koi fish.

Here are my very first doodles where I only tried line and long dot strokes and then attempted to draw bamboo.


Then I attempted to draw a Koi fish.  I really want to practice this kind of fish a lot more, because I want to paint it in watercolors with the Chinese brushes as well.


Of course the fish I really want to learn how to do that is demonstrated in the book also is the goldfish.  Why, you may wonder?  My son is 19 years old.  Ever since he was barely over a year old, my mom began giving him Goldfish crackers for a snack.  He still eats them to this day.  And I think they are still his favorite snack!  Thanks, mom!  So I can hardly wait to try to paint one for him.

That’s all for today.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.  My daughter starts school on Monday, but this year my son will be helping with the driving until she gets her license.  This means I’ll have more time for painting!  Yay!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Yellow Tang Fish – The Secret Painting

Yellow Tang for Earlene


Hello everyone.  Well, here is the “secret painting!”  I actually painted this Yellow Tang before my other bigger painting of the multiple Yellow Tangs, but I couldn’t share it yet until my friend, Erlene Johnson, who lives in Washington,  had received it.  She loves it which makes me very happy!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

P.S.  I just learned that this is my 500th post on WordPress!  I’m so excited.

Chinese Brush Painting

Chinese Brush Painting Set

Hello everyone. Forgive me for not having anything new yet to show you in the art of Chinese brush painting or wet-in-wet.  Here’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!

I have just gotten around to ordering this set today.  So I haven’t been experimenting much with my other new brush yet.  I tried doing a couple of things with it, but alas I have no idea what I am doing!  So…..I went to my local art store and looked to see if they had anything available like more Chinese brushes, the ink, a book, etc.  They had nothing. However, the kind lady there looked it up online for me and was going to order this very set for me from their supplier.  I intended to order it (she had the order written up and everything,) but before I did,  I went looking around,  found a couple of new watercolor paint colors I have been wanting to try for a long time but hadn’t found there yet, which are:  Opera Rose (I love that name!) and Manganese Blue Hue, purchased them, and…yes….walked out completely forgetting to order the kit!!

I didn’t realize what I had done until after I ran another errand or two.  (That darn memory thing!)   By that time I was halfway home and stopped at the post office.  So I called to see if I could go ahead and order it over the phone, but for whatever reason they can’t do that anymore.   I didn’t have time to go back before I needed to get home, though.  I had also forgotten an ice chest for my cold stuff from the grocery store and it had gotten pretty hot by then.

So here I am ordering it from somewhere else online instead.  Normally I would have taken the time to go back to my local retailer to give them my business, but the next day my daughter had to have her wisdom teeth taken out, and I have been nursing her through it.  However, if she feels better today,  I may have a little time to escape to some paper and my new paint colors which I haven’t tried yet just to…..PLAY!

I think it is important that artists take time to play.  Most of the time I get so focused on trying to learn something new like a technique I’ve read about but haven’t done yet or learning how to draw something I’ve never drawn before, that I forget to just PLAY with my brushes & paints.  Doodling is really fun, yet I find myself not doing it nearly enough.  I tend to get too serious and concentrate too hard.  So I think I may start keeping a watercolor doodling journal of some sort and see what happens!

I also ordered some Sumi Rice Paper to see what it is like to draw on in pen and ink.  The Chinese brush painting kit comes with paint as well as an ink stone and an ink stick so using those will be something very different for me to learn.  Anyway, I have always loved Chinese art.  It is elegant and amazing!  I don’t know if anything I attempt will come out anywhere near looking elegant, but as with anything, learning something new takes TIME!

So what have you been learning that is new lately?  Tell me about it!  

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!!  🙂



Watercolor of Yellow Tang Fish

Yellow Tang Fish

Hello everyone!  I wanted to share my latest painting of some Yellow Tang fish.  I am attempting to branch out into painting other sea creatures even though I still feel the most comfortable with my love for sea turtles.

This is an 11″ x 15″ watercolor on 300 lb. Fabriano watercolor paper.  I wanted to do something using complimentary colors of which yellow and purple are my very favorites.  I was a little disappointed with how the ocean foliage turned out, and I wish the fish looked more luminescent.  Obviously, I still have a lot to learn!

I have not really practiced drawing ocean foliage that much, but I plan to.  Even so, I am planning to try another one and probably in a different composition and size.  This was just not planned out very well.  Also, I was attempting some wet-in-wet technique with the purple foliage, but I know I overdid it.

Anyway, I still wanted to share it.  And just so you know, I am constructively criticizing my own work, not “fishing” for compliments…….;-)

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

P. S. I have finished with the secret painting I have done, but I want to wait until I send it to my friend before I post it and that may not be until next week.  I am feeling a little bit under the weather today.   I plan to exercise some and try to sweat out this cold I feel I may have caught!

Chinese Painting and Wet-in-Wet Techniques

Hello friends.  I just wanted to share that lately I have been wanting to learn some new painting techniques, namely, Chinese brush painting and more about the wet-in-wet technique in watercolors.  I bought a new paint brush for doing Chinese painting in ink.  My husband already had a bottle of ink, but I am learning that in this type of painting a block of ink is used.  You can chip pieces off of it  and add as much water as you want to it because it dissolves in the water.

I don’t know if the brush I bought is not that great or if I am just having to get used to how it is shaped, but it felt very awkward in my hand last night.  However, I am going to keep practicing with it and maybe buy a block of ink to try.  I did not dip it in the ink bottle, though; I poured a little out on a saucer.  I read a great book called “The Tao of Watercolor” by Jeanne Carbonetti that I checked out at the library.  She really inspired me to learn more about some of the beautiful techniques she uses.  (I’ll probably try to find this book to buy eventually…)  Anyway, you can read more about Chinese painting here…..

Also, I have done some wet-in-wet painting, but I have not always liked my results.  So I have been reading another great book I checked out at the library called “Wet-inWet Watercolor” by Gail Speckmann.  These are both very inspiring books for me right now.

I hope to be able to master these techniques over time.  I also am hoping to have a lot more time at home this school year since my daughter will be learning to drive and hopefully get her license so she can drive herself to school!  I find that in the summer it takes me a while to get into a routine of sorts so I can get more artwork done.  I feel I haven’t accomplished as much as I wanted to this summer, but it has been relaxing.  So perhaps I needed the rest a lot more!  I hope everyone is having a great summer.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Ahoy! Another Sea Turtle has landed!!

I believe I have posted this painting before, but for some reason, I’m not 100% sure! It was still in “draft” mode. So since some of you have been asking for more sea turtles, here ya go!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂




The Artistic Poetry

What is better than art and poetry?

Melanie Franz

Artist. Children's Book Illustrator. Visual Storyteller.

Low Expectations

The Ramblings and Writings of a self-proclaimed pessimist.

Studio Mariëlle Stolp

Happily filling my art journals

Word Dancer: Literature, the Arts, & Education

Exploring Curiosity, Imagination, and Wonder

The New Renaissance Mindset

A Creative's Guide to Infinite Curiosity Through Art, Making, Teaching, & Learning

%d bloggers like this: