Friday, December 7, 2018

Greeting cards.

These are two greeting cards I made for two of my dearest friends who always send me beautiful greeting cards for every occasion throughout the year. I'm humbled by the care they put into our friendship. One lives in Arizona and the other one loves Maine.

Color pencil on tone cardstock paper 5" x 7"
The intention here was to draw a landscape in a very illuminated night by the moonlight. The tone paper came out blueish in the digital images, but the paper is more like dark grey blue. The moon circles were made hand free, it's easy to make an almost perfect circle when you repeatedly draw in the same spot until it comes out nicely round. I'm sure there's no secret here. 

I hope my friends like them.
Color pencil on tone cardstock paper 5" x 7"

Monday, November 19, 2018


Fineliner ink pen and watercolor on A5 Hahnemuhle Watercolor Book

This morning my brother and I had a conversation about the shelf life of eggs. He asked me what's the shelf life of eggs at room temperature. None of us knew. People who buy eggs in the supermarkets, like me, probably never noticed that eggs are always in the refrigerator, I assume it is considered standard here, but then he reminded me that in the supermarkets in Mexico you can actually find piles of eggs non refrigerated. It was true, I forgot! The thing is that if you goggle the shelf life of eggs, you'll find that the recommendation is, to store eggs at room temperature for a single digit number of days, and over a month if stored refrigerated. I probably ate non refrigerated eggs during my life in Mexico and never had any illness due to bad eggs! Lucky me. Anyway, this is the kind conversations we have sometimes in our family.

As simple as an egg shape is, so the approach to sketch it could be, however, it was very hard to resist the temptation to add more than two strokes of color! 

There, my eggs a la watercolor.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Slow is good.

Pen&Ink and Color pencils on sketch paper 8" x 11"
This is a sketch I did 2 years ago in ink but I colored it today. I noticed my color pencil drawings are becoming very detailed versus the watercolor I've done lately. I think it is the fact that the fine point of the pencil covers less surface area than a watercolor brush stroke. This makes me slow down, it makes me observe often in more detail and think about what areas need adjustments.  Although I have a fair selection of color pencils, I still blend or layer different colors, I still think like watercolor paint. Since I don't need to be in my studio to color drawing, I sit next to my husband in the coach and listen to him or the tv while I color the sketch. I enjoy the slow process, I enjoy it very much.

Sunday, November 4, 2018


Sepia Ink and color pencil on A5 Leuchtturm1917

One of my dear friends send me a gift by mail on Halloween. It was a beautiful box with pears from Oregon, Harry and David. Beautifully wrapped and packed, we tasted one per day, fully ripe, juicy and sweet. I hope this drawing makes pears look as good as they taste. Anything I want to remember makes it into my sketchbook, specially the gift of friendship. Thanks so much P. 

The tale of a flannel throw blanquet

Pen, ink and watercolor on Handbook 8" x 16"
This is my recent quilt project. A flannel throw blanket for dad fully designed by truely yours. 

I asked him if he would prefer a color and he asked for a beige or brown color. Well I couldn't do that fully, he doesn't know I threw few colors in there yet, ha!

I jumped into the unknown, a bigger quilt project which turned out to be more time consuming than I calculated, but I like challenges and changes that spices my hobbies. The sketch above shows the pile of squares. Cutting takes a looong time! This was the only sketch I did of the project, I did it as a break form all that fabric dizziness.

Next you will see photos.  
For the lack of a big table I worked on the floor. I laid the fabric squares and played with composition considering value as a did in my pillow project.
Here I secured the three layers of the quilt with safety pins.
I drew circles with watercolor pencil. I tasted it before, it washes away. Who knew this drawing tool would be useful for other than drawing on paper!

And then the fun begun, for the first time I tried hand quilting. Only thing is that flannel releases a lot of lint, which I think I was breathing in, ugh!
The back of the quilt isn't perfect, has some wrinkles here and there, well not really, they are all over, but they add the charm of a handmade product.

 It's cozy and warm.
Do you see how the watercolor pencil lines disappeared after the wash?

I was warned this 54" x 72" blanket would shrink 2" or 3". I was advised to wash the fabric first, but I didn't listen. The flannel shrunk 5" and 7" respectively! That's 10%! Funny fact. While making this I complained to my husband numerous times this blanket was too big! It shrunk to the size I liked it best! This mistake worked in my favor but I learned my lesson.
Now that the blanket is washed and smells nicely, I folded and stored it to bring it with me in my next visit to dad. 
Now I need to "unquilt" my head. This project was very satisfactory but I went beyond my limits. I should take a break before I do a new one. Now....back to sketching!

Monday, October 29, 2018

A colorful upgrade.

Those color pencil samples given to us during workshops and reading great reviews online convinced me to upgrade my color pencils from 12 children prismacolor to pro 60 Faber Castell Polychromos. 🎼It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 🎼🎄 

I doodled these two imaginary people.
Direct gouache and color pencil on Smooth Bristol 5" x 5"
Seriously. What's with the gray hair? Is it self projection? These were unconsciously done with direct gouache paint. No lines. Details in color pencil. These new color pencils are a joy to use!
Direct gouache and color pencil on Smooth Bristol 5" x 5"

Monday, October 15, 2018

The importance of value

This post is not about watercolor, it's about quilting.....BUT they are intimately related. I'll explain.
Sewing is my other hobby, I find it quite entertaining, I would say therapeutic. I've been doing that lately, learning how to quilt. 
My bedroom was in need of an accent color pillow. Choosing the fabric was a challenge, can you imagine the thousands of patterns available? That would be nuts! It helped me to narrow the choices, having in mind the colors of the rug area I wanted to coordinate the pillow with. The lady in the fabric store guided me in this matter, she chose an "anchor" fabric which had all the colors of the rug area. She wanted to make sure I  include different values to create contrast, light, medium and dark and different patterns in different sizes. Wait a minute.....I had an a-ha moment! She was basically applying the principles and elements of design! I knew this from sketching! It is a puzzle game of creating something that look beautiful and interesting. With that in mind I made sure to include various prints in the fabric, from solid to big patterns. Once the fabric was cut in squares, I layered the squares and played with composition.

It was a little confusing, so I did what I learned in a quilting tutorial, I took a photo in black and white to see the pattern of value, which is the same that we do when sketching, we squint our eyes to see values. After several tries, I came up with this composition which I think was a good one.

I did the same with some scraps of fabric to make place mats.

Now I'm doing some more, with a package of a palette already coordinated. 

Considering value is very important, more than the choice of color. It could apply to any creative project you could think of! As I learned. So let the fun continue!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Poses of a morning

Ink on Koh-i-noor Bristol Smooth 5.5" x 8.5"
I enjoyed sketching the multiple poses my husband had on the couch in just few minutes this morning. Black and white seemed beautiful so I left it as is.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Daggers and flowers

Gouache on Arches CP 8” x 10
Doodling I ended up with this piece. I used the new adquired dagger brushes, which are a little bit awkward to use, but I have yet to discover its qualities. I got one a blend of synthetic and natural hair for watercolor and one fully synthetic for gouache. The other is a liner I wanted so badly because I’m tired of trying to make clean long  lines with a synthetic liner which it never holds enough wash, it hopefully will do. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

CAPA Historic Homes of Joliet

Prarie Style House in Wester Avenue, Joliet, IL
Pen, Ink and Watercolor on Hahnemuhle Sketch&Note Booklet A6

CAPA stands for Cathedral Area Preservation Area, it's a Joliet non profit neighborhood organization to help preserve the historic homes in that area. This organization plans an event called This Olde Housewalk every other year, in which 5 or 6 homes are selected at a time opened to the general public. I attended this event for the first time. I don't know how these owners can deal with hundreds of strange visitors passing through every single room of their houses, stepping into rugs, touching the walls, etc. Well, I'm glad they are OK with this, otherwise we couldn't see beautiful restored home and others in the process of restoration. It is a unique opportunity to admire the surviving homes with several architectural styles built in the United Sates from the mid 1800's to the early 1900's. Joliet was a wealthy town during and after the Industrial Revolution. A good number of houses are beautiful examples of pure or blend styles like Italianate, Queen Ann, Classic, Tudor, Prairie among others.  The first home I visited is the sketch above. I sketched the house after I visited it; the last home I visited is the next sketch, I sketched it while waiting to enter the house. I'd like to share the link of an interesting book about houses in this area if you are a Joliet resident and/or you would like to get it. It's titled Historic Impressions, The history and Architecture of Joliet Homes by P. Seth Magosky, I have it and it's fascinating. 
The tour was interesting and the day was fun.

Tudor Style House in West Acres Rd. Joliet, IL
Pen, Ink and Watercolor on Hahnemuhle Sketch&Note Booklet A6

Friday, September 7, 2018

Gouache trees.

Gouache and watercolor pencil on Bristol 11" x 14"
The idea of getting familiar with a new media is intimidating to me. And we know that the more you practice the more you know how it behaves. It will take me time to master for sure, but after this result I feel hopeful. These is a good variety of trees in my backyard and on a rainy day like today, I thought this would be a good time to practice gouache from  the comfort of my couch. Drawing trees are very forgiven, you can play with lines and textures and it still looks like a tree, but making them look interesting is the real challenge. I wish I made darker greens for the pine trees, but the trees looked more or less in the same value today and that's how I put it on paper. Speaking of paper, I used Smooth Bristol 100 lb instead of watercolor paper because it was the only paper I had large enough to work with gouache. I noticed it takes longer to dry, but time is not an issue when I'm at home. I used the hairdryer anyway. Bristol works for gouache, I find it suitable although it buckles a little. The bright colors and graphic look are lovely. I don't know if I will take gouache to sketch outdoors. I need a lot of water to rinse the paint off the brushes. We'll see, it is, however, a promising media to keep in my studio.