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Gouache Houses

January 28, 2018

gouache house painting

Here are a couple of cute lil’ houses I painted a couple nights ago in my sketchbook. I’ve been painting a bit more, and my sketchbook is half-full, but I’m having issues with my scanner. I took a photo of this one on my phone, in mediocre lighting and fiddled with it in photoshop. The colors are close, but not exact. 

Anyway, that’s definitely a skill to work on. Digitizing analog art. 

I’ve had so many funky houses floating around in my head that I need to paint. Far funkier than these. This was a really fun little drawing because I am still learning how to find that ideal consistency with my gouache paint, especially because I prefer painting out of a pan rather than tubes.

I made myself a gouache palette using one of these cool Mijello Watercolor Palettes. I have the desire to do more acrylic painting and someday learn oils, but the convenience and easy clean-up of watercolor, gouache and pastels/crayons just fits my current lifestyle so well. 



art supplies


Farm Sisters

January 19, 2018

I’ve been exploring this idea of two sisters (or siblings in general) enjoying their freedom exploring in a field or forest. There has been a lot of really inspiring reference material on Pinterest, so I’ve been learning a lot about my new medium, watercolor. I just love mixing new colors and the challenge of getting correct values. It’s something I am still not super awesome at and I find watercolor especially challenging in this regard. The values and contrast in most of these studies are not very good, but I just love the brightness of these colors. 

Success and Failure
On the same page.

The paintings on this first image (above) are all referenced from Pinterest photos. I’m embarrassed that I cannot find the photo for the first one, I thought I saved it. I’ll do better of that next time. 
The other two are here and here. Obviously very loose, unfinished color studies. The one on the bottom left just made me mad, so I stopped right there and started on the next one, which I enjoyed much more. 

Farm Girls

This one (above), a much brighter, sloppier version was from my imagination. The girls were supposed to be holding farm animals, a goat and a chicken, but as you can see, there were some… complications? hah. I had just gotten myself a small set of Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Pastels and I wanted to give them a try. They are soooo cool. They are like crayons for grown-ups. And when you went them, they turn into the funnest paint/watercolor. I’m really excited about scribbling on everything with them. I just love the texture and effect you get by mixing mediums like this. I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with watercolor and gouache together, and now I will be adding these pastels to the mix. 

Almost Impressionistic

This sketch is from this photo. Again, pretty crude by comparison, but very helpful as a study and most importantly, therapeutic. That’s what I’m really trying to accomplish here. Artistic expression with absolutely NO strings attached. 

Thanks for reading!

Materials Used

  • Schmincke Horadam Watercolors
  • Holbien Gouache
  • Winsor and Newton Gouache
  • Turner Acryl Gouache
  • Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Pastels
  • Canson XL Mixed Media Sketchbook
  • Prismacolor Col-Erase Pencil
  • Simply Simmons Round Brush Size 6



Fresh Start

January 18, 2018

I had a fun experience this evening. Shortly after sitting down at my computer I found myself staring at one of my first blogs. I wrote it back in 2010. Most of it is down right cringe-worthy, but once I got past how “out there” I was, I noticed the amount of art I had been posting. Almost every single post I hit “publish” on had some doodle or sketch included. And I was a prolific writer of short, quippy posts. So there is a ton of really, really crappy art on that blog. 

I mean, look at these two drawings side by side. 

Now, I have to say, I’ve always been really proud of my art. To an extent that is now a little embarrassing as I look back at “what” I was so proud of. And maybe “proud” isn’t exactly the right word, but it’s always been a really important way I’ve expressed myself. Which is what really struck me about this old, zany blog. It is chock full of drawing after drawing that I created on a whim to either illustrate a moment I experienced or imagined. A joke. A comic. Whatever was on my mind.

And it made me a little bit sad. 

I’m guessing there are about four years between the two images above. I fought so hard to get to that drawing of Zelda (on the right). Not the illustration itself, but that point in my artistic ability to actually transfer the image in my mind to a medium that could be shared. At that time, I believe I was still heavily motivated by the love of creating and the desire to explore art and my own ability. 

Somewhere in there, I stopped having fun with the art. Not that I really stopped enjoying it, but it became about something else. Other people, really. It was less personal. That’s probably why I’ve been struggling so much with my art this past year. In a season of my life when time for making new art is so scarce, I was not satisfied with the majority of what I was making.

I have been completely crushed by the pressure to monetize any skill I posses. Art, blogging, the dolls, sewing, designing, any stray idea, BOOM. “I have to do this. I have to sell this. I have to turn this into a business.” But I can’t do it anymore. It is killing my creative soul. I admire deeply anyone who can take their passion and turn it into a career. I am just not one of those people right now. 

I noticed recently that most of the art I chose to display on my online portfolio, pieces I am still very happy with, are not actually pieces I created for a client. The majority of them were things I drew in my spare time just because I had an idea and I could do it. 

Most years, I don’t make real resolutions. But 2018 is going to be the year that I resolved to make art for me again. 

Pardon my reminiscing, but I wanted to post one more drawing to really remind myself down the road that it’s really okay that I am just making art for no reason other than that it makes me really really happy in a goofy grinning, full of myself kind of way. 

These Galaxy Princesses are characters who have really stood the test of time for me. The reason I created them was insignificant and even a little pathetic in hindsight, but I remember finishing them and being so incredibly satisfied with what I had done. 

I guess I’m posting this because I feel like I need to bid farewell to that old mentality in some way. So, hopefully PIXELPLEAT can become a little more like the outlet that my old, embarrassingly open and weird blog was. A place for me to share my thoughts, ideas, and experiences the way I see them. 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. 


#Inktober Week 1 & 2- Witchy Art Challenge Kickoff

October 15, 2017

Inktober is well under way! And I am having an absolute blast creating these traditional media drawings. There are some purists out there who think #inktober is most effective as a tool for growth if the artist restricts them self to ink alone and I actually agree.


Watercolor appears to be my latest and greatest fixation, so here I am. 


Hold on. Let me back up and give you a little more explanation. What is Inktober?

Inktober is an initiative created by Jake Parker, a ridiculously talented artist who I admire very much! The challenge is simple. Draw something with ink every day of October.

inktober rules

I have tried (unsuccessfully) at least twice to participate in #inktober, but I always get burned out pretty early on. I have never had a lot of confidence in my sketches or traditional/analog art, so it was pretty easy for me to get discouraged. 

But #MerMay taught me something. It’s just for freaking fun. That’s it, guys. Why am I participating in these challenges? For fun. The bonus of personal artistic growth and maybe making one of you smile is just that. A bonus. 

I completed #MerMay. I drew a mermaid every darn day of May. And I discovered some new medias along the way. So #inktober seemed the next step. And my momentum has not diminished at all. The month is half over!

Witchy Art Challenge

Another reason I found myself giving up on #inktober in previous years is that I struggled coming up with what to draw. Prompts are provided, but in the past they were too broad for me. MerMay helped me a lot in figuring out how to use prompts and I chose to use a different prompt list than the official JP Inktober list. 

I have had the Witchy Art Challenge prompt list in my sketchbook for about a year and decided to finally do it with hopes of maybe getting some of this witchiness out of my system.  

So, without further ado, here are my 2017 #inktober drawings 1-15. 

You may notice that in the last three photos, I zoomed out considerably to show the entire sketchbook on my counter. I struggle with figuring out how to share my traditional drawings and I am not terribly satisfied with the way I have been photographing them. But showing a bit of my kitchen’s counter top and the wonderful light that comes through that window has made a huge difference!

This is also where I photograph my dolls. Nothing beats that kitchen sunshine. 

I plan to do another round-up of my #inktober, hopefully with better pictures. But in the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram where I post the new drawings daily as well as progress images and videos on my instagram story.

As always, thank you for your support and readership. Happy October!!

Materials Used:
Canson XL Mix Media Paper
Pentel Pocket Brush
Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink
Schmincke Horadam Watercolors
Sakura Koi Field Watercolors
Copic Markers




#MerMay Week 1

May 7, 2017

I am participating in #MerMay on Instagram this year and I have already made it a whole week of posting daily. I’m having a lot of fun trying out new techniques, reviving my old ways and just pushing myself as much as possible. There have already been a couple that have frustrated me or that I have spent way too much time on, and in order to complete this 30 day challenge, I have to be able to complete these in a timely manner. 

So far it is teaching me to relax a bit, especially posting those created with traditional media, which is WAY out of my comfort zone. 

But I love growing and I really love a challenge, so it’s on!

Using a list of prompts has helped me stay on track and I’m finding that it’s actually a really fun way to generate ideas I would normally not explore. 

If this continues to go well, I may redo a couple of my merms and create a zine or mermay art book. 🙂