Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Playing with pen and ink

Nature Sketching

For the past five weeks, our online class has been playing with pen and ink with watercolor. It's been fun because the subject has been Nature Sketching. I can never get enough of working on nature. There's a connect to the universe and the Gods when trying to relate what I experience. I love the concentration it takes and the true "seeing" of an object. Besides the subjects are all so perfect!

We've also been working on a Nature Sketching Journal. That includes the subject matter, prose, poetry or whatever you like. I'm especially into Washi tape, so you'll see a lot of decorating in my book as page dividers, borders and/or simple visual statements. (Click on photos for enlargement)

Here are few examples: 

We all have a lot of fun with our art journals. This past session we covered mushrooms, insects, sea creatures, flowers and trees. 

Moreover, I am using a  new notebook or should I say sketchbook now. It's made in India with handmade cotton paper. The artisan actually writes you a note, saying thanks. I found this book (see below) at Hobby Lobby. However, you can get similar books at Amazon.
Study in ink and it's properties
One more thing, we also learned about the darkness of different black inks. It was a fascinating study. See below to learn what we found out:

Why is this important?
Very often you may want to have a black or grey background. You can of course create black in watercolor (brown and blue), buy some black watercolor already made or even acrylics. But if you want a really striking black, try using ink. And from this short little study I found that Sennelier's A La Pagode is the darkest. Zig's Sumi comes in second.

What about opaque white ink?
One of the best things to have in your stock when it comes to working with ink is opaque white ink or white gouache. While I haven't created a visual list for these, I do prefer Deleter white ink #2 and Zig white ink #30. As for gouache, I prefer Lascaux. When you make a mistake these media can help with a good cover up. I've tried white watercolor paint (some call it Chinese white), but haven't had good luck with that at all.

Next session: Nature Sketching II
The next online class session, held Tuesdays and Wednesdays, start on February 14/15. As always the cost is only $90 for five weeks, and we meet from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The subject matter and media are as follows:

  • Week One: Bulb flowers/Graphite pencil
  • Week Two: Skies/Watercolor with ink
  • Week Three: Rocks and pebbles/Colored pencil
  • Week Four: Sea creatures/Oil pastels
  • Week Five: Landscapes/Watercolor
To register email me at

Thanks for your continued support!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022


M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S

Happy Holidays

Free Christmas card video
Hello from my studio. In the spirit of the season, I'd like to share a short
video on creating Christmas cards using Bee Company 6 x 9 watercolor paper. These are pre-cut for only around $26 and have 50 sheets--plenty for making cards or just practicing. In the video I'll show you how to make simple Christmas trees that are quick and easy. Go to this link to view.

A look back at 2022
I hope you had a good year in 2022 and more importantly, I wish you all the best in 2023. As a review for the year, I'd like to list what we covered with links. If you missed an article, just click on the link to see it again.

It's been a good year, art-wise, not so much health-wise. I've had some challenges, which has brought me to the decision to stop taking students on Sketch'n-on-the-Go™ outings. I was hoping we could take a sketching trip to the Lake District in England next fall, but that's not going to happen. 

On the more positive side, we completed our animals series a couple of weeks ago via Zoom and I think everyone had fun. The biggest challenge for us was drawing foxes and the best fun was our lions in charcoal. See below:

Upcoming classes and workshops
Next year's classes will start on January 3rd and 4th. We will be exploring pen and ink with watercolor wash. Our subject will be nature sketching with the following topics:

  • Mushrooms
  • Insects
  • Sea creatures
  • Flowers
  • Trees

Classes are from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. I teach the same subject on both days and they are still only $90 per five-week session. If you're interested, please let me know by email:

By the way, I am still teaching at PCC online. This fall we're going to cover Basic Drawing, January 14; Nature Journaling, February 4; Oil Pastels, March 4. Registration fills up quickly, so go check it out today. 

Hope you have a wonderful holiday this year.  Thanks for your continued support.