Speed Paint Watercolor Mermaids Pt 2 and Creative Workshops Chit Chat

A couple of weeks ago I attended the first Children's Festival of Stories in Denver.  The first day was all about different events for kids and meeting other authors/illustrators.  There was a musician playing the cutest songs on ukelele, Emily Arrow, loved her songs!  The second day was full of different workshops, some focused on drawing the art for picture books and others were more focused on writing.  Instead of just taking classes centered on art, I decided to choose some writing workshops too.  It was so informative.  I am an author/illustrator and I have a published book, Queen Quail is Quiet, but it isn't a story with a beginning middle and end. There is a different tongue twister story for each letter.  

The writing workshops were SO good because I was able to understand more of the steps of creating character and dialogue.  A way to go about it is to think of the characters, their setting and what they are doing.  Then understanding the background of the story for the characters to have a thing and issue to react to in their dialogue.  It was amazing.  In the video I talk about the lamest dialogue ever, give a little background and then share what we came up with as a group in like 30 minutes tops.  It was the coolest thing ever, I'm still hyped about it.  

Bottom line, workshops can help you grow.  They did and continue to do so for me. :)

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Speed Paint Watercolor Mermaids Pt 1 and Whole 30 Chit Chat

Hey guys! How are you?  So here we are in April and I can’t believe it.  I kinda can though because of what I was doing all through March. One thing I have been up to was painting a beautiful mermaid collection (2 shown in video, all four are in the shop) that you can see right here in my Etsy shop.  Also, I finally jumped in and did Whole 30. Whole 30 is a diet (hate that word), where you only eat unprocessed foods for 30 days.  

I’m a mom of two little girls and I was unhappy with my body and how I was feeling overall.  So I decided to make a change and just go for it.  It wasn’t easy to take away that connection for awhile, so many connections associated with food and drink.  That is usually our thing and how we decompress in the evenings or over the weekends.  I had been thinking about trying Whole 30  since last summer and when I went over my options for months to start, being extremely realistic, I landed on March.  Not much going on and I could really cut things out for 30 consecutive days.  

Lessons Learned

The first thing I learned was that I had a huge chip on my shoulder about having things when I wanted to.  Just because I am “grown” and have the means to get this or that.  I really needed to up my self-control and make better choices overall.  Super enlightening and necessary.  I was being a great example for our kids when they were around.  But for me, I can’t just eat whatever whenever, health comes first. 

The second thing I learned, my issues with not being able to think and lose weight was because of me.  Not because of “mom brain” or metabolism, it was purely (for me) my eating habits.  I didn’t work out at all and I ended up losing 12 lbs.  I didn’t weigh myself during, only after 30 days and I could feel the difference.  I do exercise but I couldn't make time for it during my Whole 30 because of hectic scheduling and being sick off and on.  Cheekbones are out, my energy is up, I sleep so much better, my skin is looking great and my tummy is flat.  I repeat, my tummy is flat.  Like, it was flat after 5-6 days of cutting out grains.  I had no idea grain bloat was a thing!

Lastly, for me to be successful with my plan, I had to be prepared. I loved having hard boiled eggs and fruit for breakfast.  Sweet potato hash cooked in coconut oil and sea salt.  Almonds or cashews for snacking.  Shrimp with salt and pepper along with steamed broccoli for lunch.  Then a really good chicken recipe like my mushroom and coconut chicken one, delicious!  I have my recipes listed in my Pinterest (Recipes I Love).  There’s also a Paleo Apple Crisp that is so yummy too.  On days when I wasn’t prepared, I gave Chipotle all my money and ordered carnitas bowls with meat, guacamole, pico de gallo and lettuce.  I didn’t introduce La Croix until the third week and when I do drink them I only drink 1 a day.  I completely got turned on to black coffee which is absolutely nuts, I would have lost money on that bet.  It has to be coffee from Starbucks or a mom and pop location, never ever instant coffee.  

The Verdict

If you have done Whole 30 before, let me know!  If you haven’t and you’re thinking about it, I highly recommend it.  This has changed the way I eat forever.  I will pretty much eat like this 95% of the time.  No more tummy gurgles, I understand when my body is hungry or thirsty and I am just better in touch with me.  Also, I wasn’t off eating by myself for dinner, most of the time we were eating together.  If they ordered a pizza or something, I would usually eat my prepared leftovers.  Spaghetti is a weekly occurrence here so I would make the seasoned ground beef, put it in a bowl with avocado, then add the spaghetti sauce to the rest of the beef and make their spaghetti.  Easy peezy.  

I hope this helps you find out more about Whole 30 and I hope you checked out the Mermaid Collection as well.  Join my newsletter so you get 20% off, never miss an art print release, get sneak peeks and get future updates too.  :)

P.S.

I  use this gadget to cook my hard boiled eggs, works like a charm!

 

Affordable Newborn Baby Must Haves Chat and Cute Bear Nursery Art

My babies are no longer babies. Sniff.  They are 5 years old and 3 years old, so the swaddling days are over. 

When I was painting and sketching for a future larger art piece, it got me thinking about when my little ones were teeny tiny babies.  These are the things that got us through the hard stuff, holy grail even,  from baby 1 to baby 2.  Hopefully this helps new moms to navigate their new motherhood journey from the start.

Graco Travel System - The convenience of a jogger stroller is just the best.  This one is light, made for running with it (when you're ready) and the baby carrier part pops out as well.  I love the storage underneath, perfect for when I would go on a walk to the mailbox with a baby or two.

Gerber 5-pack onesies (long sleeve and short sleeve) - Baby mittens never worked for my girls, they would have those puppies off in no time.  So to protect them from their own razor sharp nails, we used the long sleeved onesies with gloves attached.  They were great and pretty much always stayed put.

Weighted Baby Swaddle - This type of baby swaddle is extra comforting to babies because it makes them feel held and secure.  So cute and useful.  They were so peaceful and content, that made longer nap times as well.

Swaddle Receiving Blankets - Breathable and so so comfy.  These are the unweighted kind in muslin cloth, we had several of these in the cutest patterns.

Burp Cloths - a must have, especially since this type has a different backing that protects you from the spit up soaking through and getting to you.  Love.

Newborn Nightgowns - When you are only getting 2 hours of sleep at a time, the last thing you want to do is fumble with onesie snaps for diaper changes in the dark.  I highly recommend newborn nightgowns, so easy to change diapers and sometimes you won't even wake the baby with these.  Very convenient.

Baby Hats - It's essential to keep newborn baby's heads warm so having a good supply of baby hats on hand is a must. They are so cute all bundled up and stylin'.

Breast Pump - I breastfed both my girls and I swear by the Medela Freestyle Pump in the tote style.  It had everything I needed, made transitioning back to work a breeze and the double pumping means your hands are free so you can set a timer on your phone while you check out social media at the same time. Anything to pass the time easier helps.

Baby mirror - When you're looking for a baby mirror for your car, this is a really good one.  I love the way it vertically wraps over the headrest instead of horizontally.  The mirror is substantial in size and there are little toys that move around to keep baby entertained.  No guesswork involved with wondering if your baby is asleep or not, loved our mirror.

Sunshade - Baby's skin is super sensitive so this is the sunshade we used for protection.  This kit is great because you have extra that you can pop into the rear mirror from time to time.  

If you have any baby items you absolutely loved, please share down below. 

Would love to know what worked for you during this precious time!

P.S.
Join my newsletter so you never miss a new post, video or sneak peeks.  Plus, you will get a 20% off promo coupon as well.  :)

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Watercolor Bunny Painting Speed Paint - Chit Chat - Joy in Art

My daughters inspire my art so much. I absolutely love seeing them grow up together and their little sisterhood bond is just adorable.  They are 5 and 2 (almost 3!) and I painted them as little bunnies in dresses, holding hands, in the video below.  

This print pushed me in painting backgrounds.  It was fun pushing the colors around and changing up the values from dark to light.  Since the background gave me the most fear, I painted that first.  Turning my whole painting around helped me get into the nooks and crannies with my paint.  I used to think it wasn't ok to move your paper around, learn from my mistakes and move your paper around any way that feels comfortable to you!  

I've been juggling a lot of to-dos, still trying to get more "balance" in doing all of the things that need to get done while having time to just sit and be as well.  There is something to be said for no agendas and free spaces in your calendar.  They are so necessary or burnout is inevitable.  I am staying on track with creating more and being more consistent this year.  There was a little bit of joy missing when I was painting and I didn't understand why.  When I took a step back to when I started with watercolor and what sparked something in me to even paint with watercolor, I had a discovery.

The thing I loved the most was the mixing of the colors, the predictable unpredictability of it all.  I was missing that a bit, so I'm slowing down and dropping in the colors here and there.  Taking my time.  I've fallen in love again.  Hard.  Absolutely love creating!

I went live on Instagram yesterday and that video is up until this evening (6 p.m. MT), so check that out.  I was painting mermaids and color mixing like crazy in their hair and scales. 

I hope you have a great week!  

P.S. If you want to get creative too, I have a free email course to get you on your way right here.

Speed Paint - How to paint watercolor hearts

Happy Valentine's Day!  So when I first noticed watercolor, it was because of the blending.  Those color shifts from dark to light and the textures, they sucked me in.  You're probably feel the same way and want to learn how to do this yourself so let me walk you through a bit.

A fun exercise to do is to actually paint with the water first in the shape that you want to create.  Here I painted hearts with just water.  Making sure the entire heart shapes were still wet (and touching), start to drop paint into the water puddles.  The really fun part is mixing colors together.  Just adding a touch of  yellow to red will make a different color, adding more water will make that color lighter.  So just play with the color combos but quickly, because the heart water shape needs to stay wet.  

Then when you get to the area where the hearts are touching, push it a little so the color moves over into the new heart.  Then just keep dropping in colors.  Think about it like you are dividing the hearts into quarters, then drop in a different color of paint in each quarter.  Changing from lighter to darker, back and forth. 

Then when you are done, finish it off with a sprinkle of table salt for some texture.  It is so important to LET YOUR PAINT BE.  Just drop paint in, let it mix naturally and move on to painting another area.  You don't want the colors to over mix and fully blend if you want to see transitions and different colors in your painting.

I hope this helped and I hope you try it.  So so much fun.

Let me know if you tried it below and also what you would like to see next. 

I have the perfect beginner's painting set up listed right here too.  Happy painting!

Speed Paint - How I Paint Watercolor Floral Crowns or Wreaths

Hey guys!  I got a request for a video showing how I paint a floral wreath.  For some reason I kept thinking floral crown and that is the video I made.  Pretty much the same premise, just not in a circle.  I put floral crowns on my animal characters and they are just too cute!  

I draw my character in pencil with a little blank area where the crown goes.  I love drawing lightly in pencil with my favorite mechanical .3 pencil.  I try to keep a color palette in mind, bridal magazines or boho brides on Pinterest are a great reference point for ideas.  Even floral arrangements would work.  Once I have this in mind, I start with big organic flower shapes first with my small round brush.  Leaving space for mid-size flowers and then smaller flowers, leaves and berries.  

I wait for the first layer to dry before I paint anything next to what I already painted.  This way, I am not painting wet into wet and getting a big watercolor mix of all of my colors.  If you do want a gradient effect, wait until the paint is like 3/4 dry and then paint next to that wash.  Then they will mix together a little bit and dry beautifully.  

Here is everything I love in my watercolor kit.  From paints to brushes to paper.  

Let me know if this was helpful and if you paint your own floral crown or wreath, I'd love to see!

Definitely tag me on Instagram, @fluximagery

Speed Paint - How I paint with neocolor IIs

I love Neocolor IIs.  There.  I said it.  They are the best!  I just found out about them last October when I went to see a local artist with my friend.  He paints with his 6 year old daughter and they described their work together as a conversation, so sweet.  They had all types of media for us to play with after their talk and I think they were either Faber Castell or Crayola water crayons.  Either way, I was loving them and my friend said there were professional grade ones I should try.  

I quickly asked if she had any plans afterward so we could go to the art store, she didn't so we went!  You can get these neocolors individually or in tins in a packs of 10, 15, etc.  I started slow with a pack of 15 but once I got them, I knew I wanted more and I headed back to the art store to get some individual colors.  

The way I paint with them is to put down a little bit of the pastel with small marks and then I blend it out with water on my watercolor brush.  With my angel birds, I used a waterbrush dipped in water.  I don't like using waterbrushes as they are intended. I start with a light layer and when that is completely dry, I will make another mark and blend out.  Building up the values just like with watercolors is the beauty of it for me.  The pigments are intense and the color range is just wonderful.  I highly recommend these, so much fun!

These are my favorite colors so far:

Yellow Orange

Lilac

Turquoise Blue

Have you used neocolors?  If so, how do you use them?  Let me know :)

This print is available here.

Sweater Mermaid Watercolor Speed Paint Chit Chat - Goal Planning

Happy New Year!  How are you?  I am using a word of the year this go around and my word is "routine" aka "consistency".

So far so good and I feel like I'm balancing on a super thin balance beam and I get some steps figured out, then I fall right off.  So I'm watching that and being mindful of what is working and what isn't.  One of the things that has worked so well for me last year was bullet journaling and planning one week at a time/day at a time.  

This is everything I use for journaling/planning

Things I have learned:

  1. Plan ahead of time - I figure out what free time I even have available daily and then from there I plan out my ideal week.
     
  2. Broadly plan for the week or day - I am trying not to get too specific about what I do in the time allotted, just committed to doing it.  Like exercise for example, I will say my days to exercise are Mondays and Wednesdays in the evenings.  Then from there, I just go to the gym.  On that day I might look at the classes available and whatnot but I am basically focused on getting TO the gym, once I'm there, I'm committed so I can choose what I want to do but the bottom line is I am there.  Same thing with art, making videos, etc.  Just do it and plan out the details later.
     
  3. When I "shoot from the hip", nothing gets done.  Having a completely blank slate for the next day doesn't serve me well at all and I end up not being productive at all.  Having BBRs (before bed routines) where I figure out what I'm wearing, get my kid's outfits ready, their lunches too, look at my schedule for the next day, etc all adds up to getting things in line for the next day and limiting the real-time decisions I have to make that day.  I read this book last year, "The Power of Habit", and I learned that my motivation is highest in the beginning of the day so I try to make the best choices for what I want to accomplish.  Tackle main goals for the day, drink more water, eat more veggies, move my body, do the hardest thing first, etc.  

Here's a post I wrote last year about bullet journaling.

This print is available here.

Are you into planning too? Yay or nay, let me know down below. Definitely share your planning tips if you have them, I need all the help I can get.

Inktober Fail? Not quite.

Have you ever had grand plans and they didn't go as planned?  I did with Inktober and I didn't last past one week.  However, I see it as a lesson learned and it just solidified my passion for watercolor and watercolorish mediums.  I talk about this more in this video.

I just got these water-soluble pastels and I will be working with them this week, can't wait to share how that goes.  Have you used them before?  So excited!  I have all of the tools I use linked up on my Resources page too.

Inktober 2017 - Inking with Watercolor

It's that time again, Inktober is coming up!  This will be the third year that I'm taking part in this inking challenge and I'm excited.  I don't want to put too much pressure on myself so I may stock up images or post daily, mix it up. 

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, watch this video where I talk about all of the inking supplies I'm planning on using in October.  Finding inks that work with watercolors is important to me so most of the inks (india inks) mentioned check that box.

My top 3 must haves are the following but watch the whole video to see everything:

Dr. Ph Martin's Black Star Matte India Ink 

Zig Cartoonist Pen Holder 

Brause Pen Nib 

Are you participating?  Let me know!