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omg, it’s been forever since I’ve posted…

Real Life intruded, my mother visited and after she left I was hit by the writing-bug. And it’s not even November yet. I’m thinking of joining this year’s NaNoWriMo, anyone else interested?

I’ve also been taking photos on my new iPhone 4 (not so new now) and I’ve been fiddling with camera apps like Hipstamatic and the Korean Pudding Camera. You can see some of them here.

But overall, just writing to let you know that I haven’t completely dropped off the face of the earth, but just gone into writing mode instead of painting mode…

need to art journal~!

For the past week (actually, just checked my blog, it’s been nearly a month) I haven’t been doing any art journaling.

I’ve either been trying to slog through the horde of photos taken during the trip to Spain – and I cringe at the quality of some of the shots; don’t ask me to take photos when it’s 36 degrees out, I won’t be in the mood – or watching the Watercolour Secrets DVD that a friend bought for my birthday.

But I’ve been watching a lot of JournalArtista Youtube clips and SamanthaKira’s ustream videos and I’m itching to play in my journal again. (Btw, are any of you guys missing SamathaKira’s Youtube clips?)

Tonight, I’m going to play with some paint while watching some youtube clips.


I was visiting Kira’s JournalGirl blog in my daily blog meanderings and was pointed to the tumblr phenomenon.

Now I have this major weakness against online social networks, new gadgets and fads and tumblr seems to meet all those criteria (if you could call the tumblr iphone app a gadget).
Since it was founded in 2007, it’s a surprise that I haven’t bumped into tumblr earlier.
However I have a feeling I might have seen it and just dismissed it as another digg alternative (I just don’t get the digg-fad for some reason).

So yes, I’ve got a tumblr account now and I’m trying to figure out a way to incorporate it into blogger without bogging it down.

watercolour exercises – a lighthouse and a farm field

In my search for videos on painting in watercolour, I found If you’re not careful you can lose yourself in all the tips and advices on this site.

Anyway, I followed the instructions in this series of videos for this very rough watercolour piece.

Watercolour exercise - a lighthouse

In the video they make a wash of colour seem like such an easy thing, but as you could see my sky and sea are all blotchy and stripy. It was also quite strange to draw the sketch with watercolour and a brush, but as long as the lines are faint, you can paint over it without much problem.

The following is a continuation of the exercise above.

Watercolour exercise - farm field

This was even rougher than the sketch above, and again you can see I’ve completely botched up the sky. But I liked how the field look 3D (albeit rough and primary-school-ish).

A thing I learnt from these videos is that when trying a new technique, when practicing, it is best not to be too caught up in making the rest of the picture pretty. I need to paint a picture to put the technique into perspective (ie. I need to paint a rough field to practice the 3D effect, not just painting curved lines on a blank piece of paper), but I shouldn’t be too caught up with the rest of the picture or I would never get any practicing done.

watercolour exercise – a hat

After my dubious effort at John Lovett’s foliages exercise, here’s my attempt at doing a hat.

Still having trouble controlling where the colour is to go. I find that less water is better, I can always add more water later and can control the paint, if I have a wet page, the paint just spreads… and not in a good way.

I really like the colour combination in this, the grey/blue really brings out the yellow.

However the hat didn’t come out as battered as it was supposed to be.

watercolour exercise – trees and foliages

I’ve never been fond of watercolours, I thought watercolour paintings were boring and washed out.

It didn’t help that my first experience with the medium was with the primary-school-grade watercolour pans. The watercolours were so hard it took buckets of water to soften and even then the pigment was so washed out it was near non-existent. Is it any wonder that I run screaming the other way whenever I hear watercolours being mentioned?

Then I stumbled onto John Lovett’s site.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Does that painting look boring or washed out to you?

So after poring through all his tutorials and a myriad of YouTube videos, I succumbed and bought a set of Royal Talens’ ArtCreation Expression watercolours.

Yes, these are tubes and not watercolour pans – baby steps, baby steps.

My first few attempts at using watercolour was disastrous and was more a play of paint and colour on a page. As I wanted watercolour to be more than another medium to create colourful backgrounds, I realise that I have to practice (and practice and practice).

So here’s the result of my first exercise (taken from John Lovett’s site):

Watercolour exercise - foliage Watercolour exercise – foliage

Now I was still getting used to how watercolours change when it dries and the “painting” above looked really weird while it was still drying, so I tried again (below).

Watercolour exercise - trees Watercolour exercise – trees

As could be seen, I’m still having trouble controlling how much water to use XD

So I’ll need more practice and my next few entries will most likely record my attempts at using this medium.

muji chronotebook

How this entry came to be:


This is a Muji Chronotebook. It doesn’t look like much, but the idea is so interesting.

Instead of your run of the mill daily planner where time is arranged in a linear fashion, the Chronotebook organises time in a circle.

You can make pie charts or just draw a line/arrow to the time, a much more flexible (and visual) system than the usual method of pre-ruled lines on a page.

It’s an quirky concept and something I really want to try out, though I can foresee some problems for me personally.

I’m not a person who has a very active schedule. What this means is that there will be many many blank pages intersected by the occasional fully packed day (usually weekends). I must admit that this problem is not restricted to the Chronotebook, it’s pretty much my problem with any day-per-page planner.

There isn’t any feature for monthly or weekly overview in this notebook, which means you can’t do a lot of pre-planning (easily), or mark any multiple-day events. Not a big negative against the notebook, but can be awkward if I want to mark in a five-day holiday. {edit: unless I convert a page into a week/month view, the dial in the centre would be separated into seven/thirty-one sections… hmm… food for thought}

How I can see myself using this notebook is as a journal;. It’ll help me record how much time I’ve spent on certain activities. It would also be useful on days when I want to really micro-manage my time (if only this notebook was out when I was in high school or Uni – perhaps I should take up a Master’s Degree, just to test out the notebook ;p).

As a scheduler, it would be more useful for me to stick with the usual week-per-page scheduler and to draw a dial on the certain days when I need to micro-manage. {edit: or use the dials as monthly/weekly organiser until I come to a day when I need to micro-manage}

In fact, while writing this entry, I found a site called (please note the original item only have one “no” in the spelling) which provide templates of the centre dial. You can print the dial onto any circular sticky labels and put that in your preferred notebook. Otherwise you can print out full pages with the chronotebook in the centre.

For now, I’m going to try the dial method in my normal scheduler first – if it works, I might look into my local Muji store to see if they stock it.

More links to the Chronotebook:

acrylic exercises

Last week I was poring through all of Tim Gagnon’s Youtube videos on painting in acrylic.

I tried to duplicate the technique in this video, although on a much smaller scale.

I didn’t proceed through to the final step – putting the highlights into the grass – for a few reasons. The perspective in this painting was slightly different from those in the video and the depth of the foreground in this painting is shallower; the highlighted grass would seem out of place.

I really had trouble drawing the trees. The trunks never looked right to me. I would have to practice sketching more trees to get the angles right.

I also found that paint has to be fairly fluid to do straight lines. My brush and paint was too dry and I ended up with feathery lines where the paint skipped over the page. I’m most likely to going to give this another go and see whether I get better results.

I didn’t really like the way the background was going on this page, so I decided to test out Tim Gagnon’s cloud painting technique.

Whereas in the previous exercise my brush was too dry, in this exercise my brush was too wet; there was too much paint. I couldn’t get the feathering that Tim was doing in the video. I was also too impatient, I didn’t wait long enough for the paint to dry when building the opaque sections of the cloud. Instead of layering paint, I ended up pushing the paint out, making the cloud way larger than planned.

Although neither page worked out the way I expected, I felt like I’ve accomplished something. I guess figuring out how some things don’t work is also a kind of achievement.

EDM – everyday matters

I recently got introduced to the EDM challenge; a list of daily sketch prompts, most of them just everyday items that you see lying around the house.

I got the above link from borromini bear’s photostream on flickr. She’s doing an Every Day May project, where she selected the first 31 prompts in the EDM challenge list to be completed once per day. Quite a few people have joined in on the exercise and you can take part too; just send a PM to borromini bear’s flickr account to get added to her list of participants.

Although the subject matter can seem inane, EDM sketches can still result in very pretty pages if you put enough effort into it. Borromini bear’s sketches were so pretty, it inspired me to try a few EDM sketches too (no, I’m not going to do the Every Day May project – I know I have trouble sticking to any “XXX per day” projects).

But before I put pencil to paper, the EDM challenge sparked the nerd bug within me. On the right hand column of this page, you would see a small box titled “Everyday Matters – Sketch Prompt”. This box would randomly display one of 274 EDM challenges on the list (I will try to update it as Karen Winters adds more to the list), perhaps you would like to try drawing whatever is suggested there right now?