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I Always Wind Up With Rainbows

"You must live in the present,
launch yourself on every wave,
find your eternity in each moment.
Fools stand on their island of opportunities
and look toward another land.
There is no other land;
there is no other life but this."
— Henry David Thoreau

More acrylic backgrounds in the exacompta. Don't you love where the pages stuck together?

No matter where I start, I wind up with rainbows.

{click here for the full post}

Playing with j. herbin inks with a chopstick and a calligraphy pen... the inks I used were ambre de birmanie, bleu pervenche, rouge opera, rose cyclamen and bouton d'or. Isn't that a fabulous green?

You can draw little rainbows with Neocolor II crayons or watercolor pencils and then use a brush of clear water to dissolve each rainbow.

Be careful to keep rinsing your brush or it will all get pretty muddy.

On vacation, i bought a bunch of art supplies to test, including 5 tube watercolors.

I'm comparing the W&N tubed watercolors I bought with W&N pan watercolors on watercolor paper.

With water mixed with the tubed watercolors, the results are equal, except the cobalt violet is more vivid in the tube. You get intense color right out of the tube but if you let the pans soften with a spritz or drips of water, you get that intense color from a pan as well. My plan is to gradually switch over from pans to tubes. When a pan runs out, I think I can just fill the empty pan with tubed color. A little spray mister is lovely for getting paints ready to go.

5x8" moleskine

More experiments. Here, a comparison of caran d'ache neocolor IIs and lyra aquacolors. The center of the mandala, working outward, starts with lyra and ends with neocolor II. The orange/yellow and turquoise/purple outer petals are in neocolor II. Actually the orange is a neocolor I (oops, bought by accident) and they simply do not dissolve!

Then I did a swirl in yellow in lyra (top) and neocolor II (bottom), then washed over each with a brush of clear water. While they both dissolved a bit, the neocolor dissolved more.  The winner is neocolor IIs.

Watercolors in the moleskine again... I think it will be neat to doodle little flowers here.

Another base for doodling in the moleskine - kinda like Love Icon and Quirky Lines.

What colors find their place time and time again in your art?


I highly recommend that you explore Diana Trout's free series, Watercolor, A Primer where Diana shares her free-spirited love of watercolor! I just finished reading/watching Parts 1-6 and look forward to catching up with the rest tomorrow. It's wonderful.


I've been playing around with the menu on the blog - moved everything from under the blog banner to the top of the right column. I think I like this better, but I might play some more.

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Reader Comments (6)

I've been experimenting a little with watercolors too lately! I kinda wish I had a more fancy set because I really want more vivid colors but I've been having fun lately nonetheless.
Love the pages and my favorite (so hard to choose) is the almost flowers page :) You should definitely doodle some flowers there!

09.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCath

These are such fun pages and I aDoRe that doodled flower one!! You've inspired me to try this :D

09.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterEden

Love this post Tammy, with all the different colour experiments. I also quite often end up with rainbows - wouldn't that be a great theme for a journal? :-) Take care!

09.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenteriHanna

Gorgeous colors, and I really love the Thoreau quotation at the start of your post. Your recent links about mail art really inspired me; I blogged about it today! (

09.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndria

I too plan to switch from pan to tube watercolors eventually.

Hey, nothing wrong with rainbows! We all need them these days.

09.10.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandra L.

Hi Tammy,

This is a wonderful idea! It takes me back to my High School summer vacation days when I worked as a lifeguard at a neighborhood pool in Sandy Springs north of Atlanta. Back then I had a nice set of Higgins colored inks, some crow quill and other non-technical drawing pens, plenty of index cards, and lots of down time when afternoon thunderstorms would cause us to close the pool to swimmers until the storms passed.

I spent time drawing fantastic and funny looking creatures on my index cards. The whole process was lots of fun and the notion of drawing on index cards wasn’t as intimidating as using a sketch pad or journal notebook. The ideas and absurd critters just flowed freely!

I only found your blog today and your inspiration is a breath of fresh air!

Thanks and best regards,

John Costello

09.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Costello

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