My recovery from hip hip surgery back in December has been going well, but much differently than I had expected! It took quite a while for me to be able to sit up long enough to even consider painting, and at the same time that was happening, physiotherapy began kickingthe absolute shit out of me and also occupying most of my free time during the day…by the time I finish with my exercises each day, I am worn. the. fuck. out. and haven’t the energy to paint.


Sad face…I’d expected that I would have been able to paint all the damn time while I was recovering, but my hip clearly has had other plans. Douche.


I couldn’t have felt more satisfied, then, when my husband asked me if I wouldn’t mind creating a hand painted card for a friend of his who lives far away and has been having a difficult time lately. It felt so damn good to paint something again, and even moreso because if I’m lucky, it might just make someone feel good.


Since I’ve been in the US for my surgery, I have been distracting myself from the fact that I miss home (Japan) more than ever and from how frightening, embarrassing, and upsetting it feels to be an American right now through a) going full bore with the physio and b) frequent excursions to get out of the hotel and practice walking, many of which include jaunts to the art supply store. So, I’ve collected some new artsy toys and books (most of which I will be reviewing in upcoming blog posts) and took this mini project as an opportunity to test them out:


I started out by creating a sketch. Here it is….nothing fancy, just pencil, sketchbook, and brush pen:



See? Nothing to it.


For my next trick, I used tracing paper and my new Derwent watercolor pencils to transfer the image to the card. I tend to be heavy handed when I sketch or transfer an image onto watercolor paper and sometimes, despite lightening with an eraser, my pencil lines show through…and, no, I’m definitely not skilled enough to paint without a clearly drawn image on the page first. The great thing about the watercolor pencils is that they’re so soft and they transfer quite easily without having to apply much pressure. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of this step.


Next, I used my new masking fluid (Fineline masking fluid pen in 0.5mm) to mask the foreground objects…I wanted to paint a light, but continuous background, so that it had a sense of movement. Now, in my previous posts you may have witnessed my struggles with masking fluid; between it turning my paper blue, eating my paper, and me spilling an open jar all over my lap and my futon (painting nook of choice), I definitely needed to find something new and klutz-proof. I will make sure to write or video a full on review soon, because I think I’ve found my miracle mask…


Swish, swish, splatter and voilà- I have a light, but dynamic watery background; I layered mixes yellow ochre, yellow lake, pthalo green light, cinerous blue, pthalocyanine blue, and burnt Siena in various tints to get what I think looks like a clear, slightly algal brook, with paint spatters to hint at bubbles and pebbles/sand.


I rubbed off the masking fluid with ZERO catastrophes and happily set about painting the foreground objects. I wet the paper to activate and soften the lines from the watercolor pencil, then added paint on top to emphasize form and color.


Lastly, once dry, I outlined with a Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen and added a few highlights with a white gel pen.

Ta da! Here it is!


I will soon be reviewing the watercolor pencils and masking pen, as well as a few books I’ve recently purchased in the blog. I hope you enjoy!


This painting was quick and easy, but ultimately was one of the more satisfying pieces I’ve created…it’s imperfect and I can think of 1,000 ways I could have done it better, but because it was the first painting I’ve done for a stranger “just to do something nice.” It made me realize- these are difficult, frustrating, frightening, and maybe even heartbreaking times for many, many people. Feeling like the rights and freedoms you, your family, friends, and other people you care about may not have a secure future weighs heavily on the soul. I think kindness and generosity are great remedies for this fatigue and heartache. If you’re feeling exhausted, or frightened at the prospect of a potentially bleak future, why not take some energy to commit a random act of kindness and love for a fellow human being? Look into art abandonment groups in your area (or start your own), donate a piece of art to a local shelter, or, you know, include some art in the next letter you write to your congressperson, if that’s your bag! Just do something kind and selfless that will bring a little more beauty into a world that seems pretty ugly at the moment.


Art on, friends!




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