Apartment Cocktails in Watercolor

watercolor cocktailsAs we begin the holiday season, you are likely planning out your season calendar of errands, family events, and work projects. On a related note, I decided to paint up the favorite cocktails in my home.

cocktail watercolor paintingDisclaimer: I have never wanted to try a bloody mary, but one of my roommates is a big fan so it is included despite my personal opinions on the drink.




Suspended Watercolor Planets

Suspended watercolor planets

I like painting planets because they’re easy and pretty, like flowers, but more subtle and cool.

I used watercolors to paint these on a large sheet of what I believe is watercolor paper, but may be print paper, it was from a large folder of miscellaneous art paper hand-me-downed from my grandmother. I mixed all the greys because 1) I don’t have gray and 2) I wanted more dimension and variety to the color than just using mixed down blacks. Once done and cut out, I suspended them with thread and push pins (I know nails look cooler but I love the ease of a thumbtack), attached to the wall in two spots to keep them each still at an angle, unwavering.

watercolor planet paintingCutting out watercolor planets

Also, here’s to back to school!

Watercolor Painting: Burgundy, France Street Scene

French street scene in watercolor - withcraftsandlace

For Christmas, my best friend requested some sort of European watercolor scene like the Paris one I did a while back. It took my until mid-January but I’m glad I took the time to plan it out right. It’s much more colorful and the edges blurring out farther than I intended but overall, I’m happy with my second official composition.

Burgundy watercolor painting

As usual, my painting is based on a photo I took during my semester abroad. The original photo is just below. The friend I was visiting when I took the photo believes the scene is from Beaune, not his hometown next door, Dijon. However, since neither of us are sure, I labeled the image Burgundy, since both towns fall within it haha. I shrunk the focus on my painting and swapped the building colors along with other modifications.


To save time and frustration, I did trace some perspective lines that I struggle with (roof angles) and was worried the look would be too artificial in the end. I think for the most part, the added sketching details and paint relaxed the look, but I definitely want to work with purely my own lines as much as I can in the future.

Techniques I was trying to incorporate in this work include line and wash, urban sketching, under painting, and layering colors. I also relied heavily on my brand new paints from my Grandmother for Christmas: Windsor and Newton watercolors. The colors were beautiful with more dimension (is that the word I am looking for?) to them than any I’ve worked with so far.

Burgundy watercolor

December “Daily” Preparation

For the first time ever, I thought I’d try out the “December Daily” mini album idea. Or at least some version of it. I doubt mine will be every day, more like weekly with highlights. My style will probably be more just a homage to winter and the holiday season, i.e. no personal photographs or written journaling, instead just art and layouts. Before December actually arrives and day one of this “daily” book starts, I thought I should probably prepare.

december daily cover

For the cover:

I had a piece of cardboard or stock or something left over from once upon a time and I really liked the clean white coloring of it and the subtly ribbed texture it had. I cut it in half and then trimmed it to more journal-common proportions (around 4.5 x 6.5 range). First I added the blue wash using a watered down crazy mix of: acrylic paints in Cobalt blue, Phylo blue, Lemon Yellow, and Titanium white; Retarder, and Matte Medium. I applied this mix with a sponge and blended it with some brushes and a paper towel.

december daily empty cover

Second, I blended over the blue with a random iridescent clear/white paint that was originally for puffy paint style but has gotten old over the years. Over that, I had snow texture paint we had in the garage and sponged that around until eventually sweeping it into a centered circle. I used the wet paint with some extra matte medium on top to attach a wooden snowflake over a mini tag, leftover from my mother’s wrapping materials some other holiday season. (Obviously, from the empty rings, I have no preset pages and will be adding them fresh as I go.)

december daily back cover

Then, the back cover was done with basically the same materials. I sponged the blue mix over a stencil and once dry, sponged the snow with gesso over the blue. Some final hole punches completed the cover. (I did mess up, even with focus and planning, by punching the holes offset for the back cover and will worry about hiding those wrong spots later).


I threw everything I was likely to consider using in a thrifted sewing box not only for access and “organization” but to help keep the style of my album a bit more cohesive. I thought it would be fun to do this journal like one big piece rather than like my 2015 journal where each page was a separate work. You can see some of what is thrown in there, its quite a bit.

december daily supplies

Since I don’t have a ton of Christmas specific things, I choose a small handful of free printables that I liked. I rarely use these since it involves printing and ink blah blah but I thought it could be fun this round.

december daily tools

You can see a couple of the printables, but only a few. I picked and printed from collections I found around, sources here:

Are you doing a December Daily this year?

Watercolor Paris: A first try at a full size piece

paris art

Edit/Update 11/15: I was saddened by the news of the recent attacks in Paris. My heart goes out to France. I feel so lucky that all my French friends and their families and loved ones are safe.

This is my first time doing an official composition kind of painting. It’s far from perfect but I’m glad I did it. I learned a lot and it was an interesting sense of accomplishment. I did work off a photo – a photo I took while in Paris last December with the original intention of focusing on the teal bridge and the beige buildings. I moved some buildings and changed some colors but I tried to keep the same inspirational aspects of my original photo in the painting.

20141220_144118810_iOSparis painting

Rather than go for a realistic, copy-cat depiction of the scene, I attempted a more line-and-wash, illustrative kind of look. I can see where some parts of the painting are not a  consistent style to other parts, like I said, my first attempt. I also lost some of my proportions when I copying my practice sketches to the large watercolor paper.

paris with mat

Here it is in the mat before framing. The mat was a touch small and I will probably change it for one about half as wide. (The inside of the mat was about 16×20, I believe.) I chose a simple, pretty natural wood with white distressed/washed frame that I unfortunately did not take a photo of and my mother has it hung above her couch like the supportive moms always do.

Miniature Warblers on Miniature Canvases

birds in a row

It’s that time of the semester that I start making a lot more junk and doing a lot less productivity. But here you are, three little birds, warblers actually, on three little canvases.

Mini birds 3 set

I had planned to do four (4 pack of canvases) but my TV show was almost over by the time I finished the third bird. Three is a good number for decorating anyways.

Bird 2nd of 3

All done in solely acrylic paint. I lined them up in between the top of my curtains and my ceiling.

Mini bird painting 1 of 3

2 Journal Entries for the Price of 1: August and September

september journal entry

I know I am running late not only on my September journal update but also missed my August pages and I apologize. However, now you get two entries in one and who doesn’t like a two for one deal? August was sweet and quick while September was packed fuller. I celebrated my birthday (mentioned here – illustration), got deeper into my semester, and attended a Harry Potter themed wedding (referenced here – wedding card.) Now here’s the build up of two monthly entries.

botanical outlines

I mimicked the patterns on my birthday-present bedding and then loosely traced over my lines with pen. I used regular sketchbook paper for easier drawing and erasing. Also, using thinner paper lines my planner pages better.

botanical paintedseptember journal

I let the ink set a while and then painted it in with watercolors. On top, I attached a “mini planner” made from patterned papers reminiscent of my actual planner’s coloring and some mini planner pages. I did a mini journal entry on this to give a bit of an “inception” feel for fun. I referenced the key from my table number card at the wedding for the letter “p” and used a book for the “m” to represent my semester activities and the books I enjoyed reading for my literature course.

september journal art

And now, August:

august journal entry

For my August pages I attempted a simple and minimalistic look, playing with textures rather than colors. My mother and I cleaned out a lot of old boxes in the garage and multiple closets. During this time, we found a few treasures. One of these such treasures was a box of photo slides my mother took during one of her springs attending college. I think she gave them to me expecting I would use the frames for projects but the nostalgic photos with eighties tank tops and the pretty landscapes of her agricultural-focused school were worth preserving too.

august journal slide

I punched a hole in the left hand slide and placed it on a brad so it could swivel to be looked at in front of a light, the image seen clearly.

august journal polaroid

I created a “page” with vellum paper and layered various textured packing paper types to create a focal point for the frames and slide. This way, the vellum page could be tipped to allow light to shine through the slide. August showed up quick and said bye just as fast.

Bye friends (for now)

“Best Friends” Watercolor Drawing

friendship watercolor 2015

My close friend has her birthday only a few days after mine so we always celebrate together. We have a ‘handmade cards only’ rule which evolved naturally. Her card to me was adorable with stuck on pearls and kitty cats all over the envelope. My card was not actually a card. It was meant to be but resizing my sketch became too much trouble so it ended up an odd sized watercolor gift paper thing haha. (Check out my pretty new bedding from my birthday, just showcasing that again)

friendship watercolor pre-sketching

To do the drawing, I consulted a vintage “fashion illustration” workbook series that was either my mother’s or my grandmother’s first. As usual, my original plan was not the look I ended up with at all. I was considering a more abstract, high fashion sketch style but as I was practicing the forms, I had fun and landed on this cutesy figures look.

Though “my” hair color didn’t turn out ashy or dark enough, I was happy with how the red of “my friend’s hair” turned out. She has this phenomenal red-auburn, thick head of hair so I wanted it to be an important part of the piece. As a last detail, I included a lily in “my” hand to represent my friend’s baby, who was too difficult to draw but is an essential member of our friend group now, (the darling’s name is Lily.) The saying is not as sentimental as it comes off but rather an allusion to a joke. But take it as a sweet saying if you’d like!

friendship watercolor withcraftsandlace

Harry Potter-inspired Watercolor Card

harry potter watercolor 4

An old friend of mine that I’ve known from kindergarten through high school married her high school sweetheart. They were wonderful people in a solid relationship back in our teens and they still are today as wonderful adults.

Even more wonderful, they used Harry Potter as their wedding theme. The couple kept it subtle and classy with touches of navy, old books, vintage keys and more in a stone and wood walled winery venue. Since I was lucky enough to have friends with such a cool theme, I was inspired and motivated to embrace it in the wedding congratulations card. You may remember that I like to play with hypothetical book covers when painting. I took that same idea and created a cover for the novel that would be Harry Potter at my friend’s wedding. 

harry potter watercolor

I painted an old fashioned castle tower look for the scenery. I originally went more classic brown but I did not like the direction the painting was going so when I soon started over (for resizing purposes) I switched to a mysterious blue palette.

harry potter watercolor 1

After that had dried, I gesso-ed out the details I was hoping to add, going heavy handed on the bridal train area. I sketched out the lettering and dress shape first and, using my window as a light box, traced the lines with gesso on the painting.

harry potter watercolor 4

I tried using watercolors for the letting as well this time rather than ink or acrylic. The only non-watercolor used on this card was the gesso and then some white acrylic for the bridal dress’s lace details to make them stand out against the white watercolor base.

harry potter watercolor 2

The “Harry Potter” letters mimic the font seen on the most common American version of the series. I took an extra photo of the painting before cutting it to size on my bed to show off the cute new duvet cover I got for my birthday last week. Ikea, what a steal huh? Last step is just to attach the cropped piece to a pre-made blank card.

harry potter watercolor card

Ink and Watercolor Map Card

Recently, one of my French friends, that I had the good fortune of living with back during my semester abroad, turned another year older and wiser. For her birthday card, I folded up some trimmed watercolor paper into tight quarters so that it could be opened up into a larger work. Being the self-centered girl I am, I made the card a map of my home state with, what I hoped were, enticing attractions to convince my delightful friend to come visit me!

watercolor and ink map.jpg

I used a basic, portable watercolor palette set rather than my usual tubes as I knew I would be changing colors often and using them in small doses. The overall look was inspired by all those illustrated wedding invitation maps you see. They are so sweet and fun, I wanted to recreate my own version.

watercolor map

I tried to do a relatively accurate suggestion of the Californian section I was featuring so I drew a loose outline with pen first. I added illustrative doodles to highlight parts of the local California that might be interesting to my friend, to better advertise to her haha.

watercolor map art.jpg

Happy birthday to a beautiful, smart, and wonderful friend!