A Watercolor Painting Tutorial

A Watercolor Painting Tutorial

Painting Penguins

From time to time, people ask if I can do a tutorial on my watercolor painting process.  Though I am not brave enough to do a video yet, nor do I feel “expert” enough to teach, I thought I would share a little step-by-step process of some of the ways I go about doing a painting and some of the tools I use.

I am a completely self-taught artist.  Everything I learned over the past almost five years in my adventure in discovering watercolor painting I learned by watching YouTube videos, reading blogs and books, and experimenting.  (You can see and read about my very first watercolor painting here.)

This past Sunday morning, I woke up early with a burning desire to paint.   I had to get up and go to my art room and paint.  Early morning hours on the weekend are my most creative time.  I think I might dream about ideas, because I wake up thinking about something I want to paint and how I want to do it.

The muse woke me at about 3:30 am.  I tossed and turned until finally getting out of bed at 5:00 am to just do it.

A friend had mentioned penguins the day before.  So a penguin painting it was.

I started by searching for some photos on the internet, and I saw a cute Christmas tree ornament of a penguin daddy and baby.  It was my inspiration.  I drew a rough pencil sketch on plain copy paper where I also created the shading for my lights and darks and medium values.

I wanted to create a colorful cool-feeling background.  Creating granulating effects and blooms with watercolor pigment is one of the things that gives me the greatest joy in the watercolor painting process.  I chose a blue (Daniel Smith Mayan Blue Genuine) and purple (Daniel Smith Quinacridone Purple) to go with a little of the black (Daniel Smith Lunar Black) I knew would be the main color I used for the penguins and practiced with them on a scrap of watercolor paper to see how it would look.

Time to transfer all of these ideas to my painting.  I most often paint on an 11×14 inches piece of Arches 140 lb. Cold Press Watercolor paper.  I buy the paper in large 22×30 inch sheets and tear them into fourths to paint on.

Instead of re-drawing the penguins, I simply cut out the outline and lightly traced it onto the watercolor paper.  I then painted the shape in with masking fluid, so I could create the background effect first.

The masking fluid resists paint and water allowing you more freedom to splash and tilt your paper and assure you don’t get background paint into the place you want to paint the main object.  It only takes a few minutes to dry – about the time it takes to grab a fresh cup of coffee.

I then taped my paper to a board to prevent it from curling too much since I knew I was going to make it quite wet.  I spritzed it lightly with water and randomly dropped in my watercolor paint.  I spritzed it some more and tilted it back and forth and sprinkled a few grains of salt here and there.

Then the hard part…..  waiting for it to dry.

So off on a walk I went – with Charlie and a friend – in the crisp dawn of daylight.

After a walk and breakfast with hubby, I returned to my art room to a dried background.

I removed the masking fluid by gently lifting with an eraser, and began painting in the penguins.

There really wasn’t a lot of paint needed since penguins are basically black and white.

One of the most important and hardest things to learn in watercolor painting is to allow white, unpainted space.  It is the light, and it adds so much to the painting in the end result.  It cannot be added back in and takes restraint!

The only colors I used were the same Lunar Black as in the background and a tiny bit of Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold.  And isn’t it amazing how much you see that gold even though such a tiny amount was used?  The black and grey were done using the same color, but in varying ratios of water and paint.

One of the most fun parts of finishing a painting is peeling off the painter’s tape creating a crisp, clean line on the edge of your painting.

The last step is signing my name.

And here is the finished painting when fully dry.

I take high resolution photos of my paintings for prints and cards, which I sell on Etsy and in a local gift shop.

Matting and framing adds so much (though it is hard to photograph without a glare)!

An important thing I’ve learned about watercolor painting is the importance of using good quality paint and paper and brushes.  I love Arches watercolor paper and Daniel Smith watercolor paints.

The brushes I used for this painting are ones I use most often:  Princeton Neptune Quill #4 for the background wash,   Escoda Versatil #10  for the penguins, and a Creative Mark Mimik #3 Rigger for a few of the very thin fine lines.  With these three brushes, I can do most any painting.

I hope this was informative for those who have asked about my process.  I am still learning, and I continually try different methods and products.

I don’t always do the background first.  Sometimes I paint an object and then decide to paint a background around it.  Sometimes I don’t paint a background, but just an object.   Other times I paint complete abstracts.  I never try to do exact photographic duplicate type paintings.  I prefer painting looser and more impressionistic.

I’m not sure I’ve refined my style into any particular area yet.  I may never.  But the journey is filled with so much joy.

And that is what matters most… finding joy… at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Somewhere over the Rainbow (in pink) Original Watercolor by Jodi McKinney 11×14

Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Where rainbows are iridescent pink…
and hearts have wings…
and drip like rain…
That’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow.


Another piece I painted on my “pink binge” this weekend in the art room.
Maybe not as elegant as yesterday’s, but something about this makes my heart soooo happy!
Playful and fun and full of love.  That’s where you’ll find me!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Let Your Dreams Blossom

Pink Floral Heart Original Watercolor by Jodi McKinney 11×14

Let Your Dreams Blossom!

Sprinkling a little pink love after a weekend of splashing in the art room.
Just what this heart and soul needed for some January nesting time.

Embracing the muse.
Going with the vibe.

Happy Monday friends!  Let’s make some magic this week!  Let’s create some beauty!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Original watercolor, as well as prints in all sizes and cards, available at McKinneyX2Designs and Berry Vine Gifts.

Becoming

Becoming.

“We cannot
become what
we want by
remaining what
we are.”*

A New Year.
A New Decade.
Another Birthday for me.

It is a great time
to remind ourselves…

It is a great time
to remember…

It’s never
too late.

Now is
the right time.

It is a great time
to become…

The “me”
we want to be.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Quote by Make Depree
Art by Jodi McKinney – McKinneyX2Designs

My Top 20 for 2020

My Top 20 for 2020.

  1. Do more things that matter not for money, but because they matter.
  2. Share smiles so genuinely that others can’t help but smile back.
  3. Hug tighter.
  4. Allow time each day to bask in gratitude.
  5. Create more. Paint more. Write more.
  6. Read more.
  7. Love myself more.
  8. Encourage others to love themselves more.
  9. Spend more time with those I love.
  10. Live each day as if it is the legacy I am leaving for my grandchildren.
  11. Embrace the wrinkles I’ve earned from a life of smiles and laughter.
  12. Treasure the tears of loss that wouldn’t happen if I hadn’t loved.
  13. Show respect for my body by eating better and moving more.
  14. Show respect for the earth by using less plastic and creating less trash.
  15. Respect myself enough to not accept disrespectful actions of others.
  16. Do not apologize for asking probing questions.
  17. Do not apologize for being a strong-willed woman.
  18. Speak kind words.
  19. Listen with an open mind and open heart.
  20. Cherish all the moments.

Happy New Year!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Sparkly Magic of the Season

Sparkly Trees in Pink and Blue Original Watercolor Jodi McKinney 11x14

Sparkly Trees in Pink and Blue – Original Watercolor Jodi McKinney 11×14

The Sparkly Magic of the Season.

Are you feeling it friends?
Are you feeling the sparkly magic of the season?
Christmas is only eight days away!
But the magic is here already.
Do you feel it too?

Don’t miss it.

Don’t get too caught up
in what you feel you “have” to do…
in what you “have” to buy…
in what you “have” to bake…
in what you “have” to accomplish.

Relish the magic
that is all around!

To me, the magic is now….
in these days that lead up to Christmas and New Year.
The excitement…
The anticipation!
Oh how I wish we could bottle it to sprinkle on everyone throughout the year!

I went to the post office this afternoon.
The line was longer than I have ever seen it –
and I go almost ever day.
But people were smiling and laughing and cheerful –
those that worked behind the counter –
and those I stood in line and chatted with.
Customers balanced stacks of packages in their arms.
Postal workers kindly explained options.
Friends and strangers chatted.

I visited my son and grandie girls for a brief time
on my way home from work
like I do most every Monday afternoon.
We danced and sang.
We snuggled and hugged.
They dug through my purse with expectant anticipation
of treats they knew they would find.
And then they decided – for the first time ever –
to send home a piece of one of their treats
to their Pap, who they love…
and who loves them back more dearly
than he could ever express,
but we all know.

I went to the grocery store after work.
Sam, a high school junior at a local private Christian school,
was my check-out attendant.
He asked me what special plans I had for the holiday,
and he shared his.
He told me he would be taking the test for his driver’s license
the day after Christmas,
so it was either going to be a Merry Christmas
or a disappointing one,
but he had been practicing his parallel parking with his Dad
and was feeling confident.
He was also studying for mid-terms
and telling me how much he enjoyed music and the arts.
And while we were talking,
a voice from behind –
cheerful and surprised –
told him she was glad to hear he was studying…
and didn’t know he worked here.
She was his high school music teacher.

When I arrived home,
the mail contained colorful envelopes
and tightly sealed packages…
cards and letters from friends and relatives
and a box filled with juicy grapefruits and crisp apples,
bright oranges and ripe pears…
All delivered from a mail carrier
who always takes the time to chat
and scratch Charlie’s ears…
even when his day is running hours later than usual.

This painting
is a product of a late night visit to my art room.
I was feeling the magic,
and I painted my feelings.
Do you feel it?
I sure hope so!

Feel the sparkly magic of the season!
It is as special as a pink or blue or turquoise tree
found in a magical forest…
or in an art room…
or on a piece of paper…
or in your heart.

Don’t miss it!

Cheers and Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Above All this Bustle

Above All this Bustle.

It’s early Friday morning,
and I have a day off work.

I woke up early just to soak in
some extra hours.

I could be (should be?)….
– wrapping
– baking
– shopping
– cleaning….

The list could surely go on.

But instead…
I turned on the lights of the tree,
poured a cup of coffee,
sat down and caught myself singing Silver Bells.

Remember to be kind to yourself.
Be good to you and to others.
It’s not about all the bustle.

If you sit quietly….
If you put your heart in the right place…

Above all this bustle – you’ll hear…
Silver Bells.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Dreaming of a Pink Christmas Tree


Pink Watercolor Christmas Tree 11×14

Dreaming of a Pink Christmas Tree.

I woke up wide eyed early Saturday morning with a burning desire to paint a pink Christmas tree…

I had a busy day ahead.  I was assigned to work a few hours at Berry Vine Gifts (the local gift shop where my DIL and I have our McKinneyX2Designs shop) and plans to visit Santa with my grandie girls.  I wanted to get a nice walk in with Charlie too.

But first…. I had to paint.

I had to paint this pink Christmas tree.

I painted it with layers of three pink watercolors – Opera Pink, Rhodonite Genuine, and Permanent Rose.  I started with a little wet in wet after lightly spritzing the paper with water and spritzed a little more after adding the layers.

I then went for a walk.  Stepping away to let it dry and let the watercolor magic happen is sometimes the hardest part, but it is also often so rewarding!

The thing with watercolor painting (that is so different from acrylic or oils) is that what you first paint is not how it will look once dried.  It can be frustrating (for impatient peeps like me), but it is also the fun and fascinating part of the art.

Once the pink watercolor was dry, I splattered some Inka Gold “ornaments” and Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White “snow” on the tree.

I totally envisioned this painting framed in gold, so in between my time at Berry Vine and our visit with Santa, I cruised through Home Goods where I found some beautiful gold frames that I wanted to try with prints of this painting.

Then today, with a full festive heart, I processed some prints and created some greeting cards from my dream of a pink Christmas tree.

I absolutely adore it!

I imagine there will be some who don’t “feel it” or don’t like a pink Christmas tree, but that is the beauty of art.

As I mature in my art journey, I am really seeking to paint what I love and what I feel in my heart rather than painting for what (I think) others will like.  There will always be those that like and dislike…. love or hate….  but that is what makes art so wonderful.

I’ve added this piece – the original – as well as prints and cards – to our McKinneyX2 Etsy shop if you are interested.

May YOUR Christmas dreams come true….
kinda like my little dream of a pink Christmas tree.

Cheers & Hugs,
Josi

 

 

Reflections in December

Reflections in December.

Happy December Friends!

I spent a good part of yesterday putting up our Christmas tree.

I’m being a bit more “minimalist” about decorating this year.  I’ve decided not to put out all the santas or all the snowmen I’ve collected over the years.

Instead… I’m opting for a more white and silver and elegant kinda vibe.

But I did spend hours working on the tree.

I had forgotten I bought a brandie new 9 foot tall beauty last year until we brought it out of the attic, and I realized the box was completely sealed.  What a fun “surprise!”
What a lot of work “fluffing” the branches!

But, unlike past years, I didn’t care how long it took.  No rushing this year.  I put the movie White Christmas on, and I sang along with Bing and Danny and Rosemary and Vera.  And I fluffed and reflected.

I reflected on Decembers and Christmases and trees past.

I smiled remembering cutting down live trees and decorating them with handmade ornaments from my mother-in-law and vintage balls painted with my name and the year on from my childhood when we were so young we were still kids ourselves.   Money was tight but the joy was so joyous!

My eyes teared up remembering hubby lifting our little boys high up in the air so they could take their turn every other year reaching the tippy top of the tree to crown it with the star.

I laughed remembering the magic of Sammy our magical elf, who came every December 1st – long before anyone had ever heard of Elf on a Shelf (oh why didn’t I think to market it!!!).  He is the one “ornament” I put on the tree no matter the “theme” each year.  He’s been coming around for 30 years.

I felt melancholy remembering loved ones who we spent Christmases with who are no longer with us – those who have passed, but live in our hearts forever.

I remembered the emptiness of those first empty nester years.

I reminisced about the first Christmas being reunited with my Dad and the wonderful, loving extended family that came along with him.

I rejoiced in the renewed joy and magic that grandchildren have brought to Christmas.

And I celebrate life.  I am choosing to celebrate the woman I’ve become through the time and experiences I’ve been given.   I am making an effort every day to be the me I am meant to be – not comparing to others – those younger or thinner or smarter or wealthier or more talented or whatever we all compare each other about.  I am telling myself every day that I am enough.  As Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”  December is also my birthday month (even if it doesn’t come until the very last day of the month!).  And as a very wise friend, who faced and battled cancer years ago once told me when I said I don’t want to celebrate birthdays any more as I get older… “Celebrate!  Each day and year is a gift.    Not everyone gets this opportunity.”

May you find time to reflect on the memories, joys, sorrows, blessings and gifts of your life.  Have a beautiful December!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Nostalgic Santa

Vintage Santa Christmas Watercolor 11×14

Nostalgic Santa.

I am getting soooo in the Christmas spirit!

We have had snow and unseasonably cold temperatures lately; and I have to say, I have been loving it!

Ever since I painted my Vintage Santa Face watercolor,  I have been itching to do another vintage Santa painting.

So I did!  And here he is!

Ho Ho Ho!!

So much fun!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi