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Watercolor Week in the Studio

This week I dove into the Kaleidoscope 2023 lessons and actually created paintings! They were done primarily with watercolors. I have had a love/hate relationship with watercolors. I love the transparent effect they render. I love the fact that watercolors are easily transported and clean up with just soap and water. I also love that they don’t require anything other than water to use while painting – no toxic solvents.

That being said, watercolors can be fussy to work with. The drying time between layers tries my patience. Keeping the colors clean and separate from each other can be a challenge. I was drawn to these lessons from Kaleidoscope 2023 and learned much while following along.

Elizabeth Bennet by Tamara LaPorte

This painting was done in an analogous color scheme of blues and greens. Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel and blend together nicely.

Photograph of Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.

The reference photo Tam used was of Keira Knightly in “Pride and Prejudice.” I drew the woman free-hand and followed along with the lesson. I liked the mixed-media tools used to enhance the initial painting. I used a white Posca Pen to outline portions of the head and body. Colored pencils were used to add shading and detail to the face and hands. I couldn’t get much detail as my paper was only 9” x 12” resulting in the figure being small and the face even smaller.

My watercolor rendition of Elizabeth Bennet

This one was painted over several days when I could squeeze it in between other tasks requiring my time and attention. Life must go on…

Hee-Haw by Toni Burt

Toni Burt is an Australian artist. She has taught in the Kaleidoscope course for several years. She paints in a loose style using water soluble ink to draw her figure. The ink moves when the water is added resulting in unpredictable effects.

She used a donkey for a reference and a split complimentary color scheme of blue, green, and red-orange. I didn’t have her same supplies, so I found a water-soluble Tombow marker and proceeded to use it in the areas that would be the darkest value. I used a Pilot fine point pen for the initial drawing. I struggled with the water-soluble ink and how it moved on the paper. Still, I was pleased with the result.

Watercolor of a painting of a wonky donky from Kaleidoscope 2023
Wonky Donkey

Hare We Go by Toni Burt

I wanted to try another lesson from Toni Burt using the same technique as was taught for the Hee-Haw painting. This time I used a water-soluble Stabilo all black pencil for the shaded areas. It reacted more with the water and remained activated through my entire painting. The result was that some of my subsequent watercolors became a little muddy. 

Funny Bunny painted in watercolor paint
Funny Bunny

I liked this analogous color scheme of the purples, violets, and pinks.


Watercolor painting has become less scary to me the more I use it and see how fun the unpredictability can be. I plan to do more as I follow along with the lessons in Kaleidoscope 2023. I will continue to share my progress with you as an inspiration that making art doesn’t require perfection.


Follow the link below and read about how having an art habit boosts your mood and decreases stress and anxiety. The article even includes a link to a printable booklet you can make and use to remind yourself to stick to your creative goals.


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