Process: Tea, Milk, Honey — Our Garden Buddha

W14 4 19 GARDEN BUDDHA 1If you are following me, you know I am struggling to learn watercolors after years of entrenched acrylic painting.  I am following a few folks, and definitely studying the Urban Sketchers.  Yesterday I discovered Marc Taro Holmes blogs and he gave me a great concept to wrap my mind around in the two posts I show below
(and the third page is for those who want examples for urban sketching.)

Tea, Milk, Honey – three pass watercolor
“Syn Studio Classwork — demo two-cast drawing”
“Tea, Milk, Honey — Getting Ready for Santo Domingo”

I especially wanted to send you to him because he may have coined the phrase
“Tea, Milk, Honey” which was instrumental in me groking how to build watercolors.
(If someone else coined the “T-M-H” phrase, oh well . . . . )
Unfortunately the skill level is all me, and I have a ways to go
(“Tea” is my biggest problem) and my watercolor of our garden Buddha is not half bad!
(I am biting my tongue to refrain from the negative comments running through my head.)

I created a line drawing using pencil on 140 lb paper, then I wanted the hard line and used a waterproof India ink, top.  I wish had left the pencil or even used a water-based ink.

W14 4 19 GARDEN BUDDHA 3I started with the Daniel Smith Prima Tek Sleeping Beauty Turquoise,
and tried my damnedest to make it like tea.  This is the hard part as I move to watercolors.  I am used to the colors mixed to perfection in their pots, glazes or thick dense colors.
Now I have to add water to the mix to get it how I want it and the paper dries quickly
and and and . . .
Patience is not my virtue, so waiting for watercolors to dry
thoroughly in between steps is a total challenge.  Garden Buddha was called
raccoon eyes at this point and Mitchell named him Nero Wolf.  I almost trashed him.

Then I heard a voice say, “Keep going . . .”  After he dried I did manage a
background coat that was like “tea”, in Sennelier Green Umber, a wash!  YAY!


I began again, with the milk phase, using Daniel Smith Prima Tek Genuine Hematite.  I wanted that granular feel.  The problem is I went from tea to honey to milk to honey.  *sigh*
So I backed off what is above, and let it dry.

Next morning I began again, and in very wet and did a tea phase with Hematite.

W14 4 19 GARDEN BUDDHA 5“SERIOUSLY, you can’t take a break and give me my mid-morning morsel?”

That dried thoroughly and kept going, skipped milk, building the honey
phase, sometimes dry-dragging
of the thick Hematite,
some wet washing of a thick Hematite.
A side note: I like the color of
Golden’s Hematite (Micaceous Iron Oxide) much more, as it brings in the
undertone of red in the iron.

And finally, done!  I wanted to fool with it more, but understand that this is not
the thing to do with watercolors.
It is a zen medium . . .



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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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5 Responses to Process: Tea, Milk, Honey — Our Garden Buddha

  1. Sammy D. says:

    Good on you for not giving up. I don’t understand most of what you were explaining (technically) but I completely “get” the not being patient part! Keep at it. And thanks for link to Urban Sketchers. Fascinating!


  2. I am definitely going to read that blog it sounds interesting. I love your line drawing. See I consider myself still al earner at acrylics too but I do love my drips and watercolour lends itself so well to that 😉 The turquoise you’ve used is yummy!


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