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must 
always be willing to take chances, to 
say ‘What if I ...’ and then do it. It may 
not work, but then again, it may. Be 
willing to take the risk and to step on 
unsure ground. It’s the only way to 
advance.” WA 
Louise B. Hafesh (louisebhafesh.com and 
paintersportal.blogspot.com) is an 
award-winning artist and writer. She’s a 
frequent contributor to Watercolor 
Artist and Artists Magazine.
When Beckwith designed 
Fragile Balance (watercolor on 
YUPO, 22x30), she wanted to 
explore how far she could push 
the limits of balance within a 
composition without visually 
throwing off the viewer.
56 Watercolor artist | OCTOBER 2018
Bright Ideas
t his past spring, I embarked on apersonal project designed to getme sketching more in the midst of
the grind of everyday life. Yes, I want to
keep my creative juices pumping and
improve my sketching skills, but my
main reason for a regular practice is to
keep a visual journal—to sketch things
that are descriptive of day-to-day life.
To that end, my idea involves a list of
prompts that gets me thinking about
the unique aspects or the everyday-ness PH
O
TO
S
CO
U
RT
ES
Y
O
F
LI
Z
ST
EE
L
Everyday Sketching
To encourage a more regular habit, I created 
a list of prompts to inspire daily sketching.
By Liz Steel
ABOUT ME
I’m a Sydney, Australia-based 
artist and architect. Since 
trying out a watercolor fi eld kit 
in 2006, I haven’t stopped 
painting my life in my sketch-
book. I love to travel over-
seas and enjoy capturing these 
adventures in my sketchbook. 
For more information about 
my on-location sketching 
workshops, travel-sketching 
holidays and online classes, 
visit lizsteel.com.
of each day. h e idea is to mix it up—
to do some sketches at home and 
others when I’m out and about. I gave 
myself very few rules. I can pick and 
choose from the list as I wish, and 
there aren’t any requirements for how 
i nished a sketch should be.
My everyday sketching project is 
not especially unique, but the prac-
tice encourages my commitment to 
regularly recording and i nding the 
joy in ordinary life.
ArtistsNetwork.com 57
KEEP TRACK
I created a schedule
at the back of my
sketchbook to record
the prompts I actually
use. It helps me see
which prompts I use
most and which ones
I neglect. Recording
what I sketch is
keeping me more
aware and
accountable.
Sketch Your Day
Use one of these prompts 
to record something 
from your day:
• Where did I go?
• What did I see?
• What did I wear?
• What did I eat/drink?
• Who did I see/meet?
• What did I do?
• What did I use/handle/
touch?
• What did I buy?
• What’s new?
• What’s old?
• What did I throw out?
• What’s the same as usual 
(a routine or repetitive 
event)?
• What’s different than 
usual (a unique event)?
• What’s a random thing 
that happened?
• What’s a silly thing that 
happened?
• On this day, what will be 
a memory?
A MIGHTY PEN
Most of my sketching is
a combination of ink a
watercolor washes. My
preferred tool for 
drawing is a fountain
pen. I love the fl ow of w
ink on the page; love
that I can get a variatio
of line thicknesses; and
love that I can choose
whatever color of ink 
I want. My white Lamy 
Joy pen with a gold 
medium nib (shown at
right) is my “go-to” pen
It truly feels like an 
extension of me.
et
n
.
A MIGHTY PENN
s
nd
y
wwet
N
WHAT I WORE
This sketch, in which I evaluated 
the efficacy of my packing 
choices, actually answers several 
of my sketching prompts: what 
I wore; what’s new; what’s old; 
and what did I throw out.
“
I needed a way to get myself more 
committed to sketching ordinary life, 
and plotting my sketches is a fun way 
to be more intentional about it.
”
CAPTURING MOOD
21
CALL for ENTRIES
“Hello, Is Someone there?” / Robert Bratton
Ephemeral / Lance Hunter5 o’clock Shadow / Carrie Waller
Showcase Your Artistic Vision 
 IN THE PAGES OF SPLASH 21
Your best watercolor could be featured in the 
pages of North Light Books’ Splash 21: Capturing 
Mood, and your work could be viewed by artists 
from across the globe.
DISCOVER MORE AND ENTER AT artistsnetwork.com/splashwatercolor
EARLY-BIRD 
DEADLINE: 
December 3, 2018
Escape Velocity / Joanna Barnum
Dawn / Peggi Habets
Tulip Shadows / Sharon Towle
60 Watercolor artist | OCTOBER 2018
Watercolor Essentials
In the Wash
b eing an artist changes theway you see the world, and painting in watercolor has its 
own ef ect on your vision. I now see 
the world in washes and have long-
suf ering, non-painting friends who 
look at me perplexed while we wait at 
a trai c light as I blurt out, “Is that a 
second wash or a i rst wash?” 
h e fact of the matter is that 
you’ve got to see the world through 
the eyes of the painting medium 
you’re using. 
THE WASH CYCLE
To produce a clean, luminous water-
color, it’s important to apply as few 
layers as possible. I aim for one layer of 
paint, with a second wash over certain 
parts of the initial wash, followed by 
i nal touches of windows, fenceposts 
and so forth that I keep to a minimum. 
h ese washes need to be applied with 
the deftest touch. h e goal: to place
the least number of washes in as few 
layers as possible using the minimum 
amount of brushwork. 
Learn the secret to successful paint layers.
(Hint: Apply them deftly and keep them to a minimum.)
By Peter Cronin
I’ve been to Venice three times and 
have yet to step inside a building 
other than hotels and restaurants.
I fi nd the streets too interesting. 
I painted Across the Grand Canal
(watercolor on paper, 10x14) in a sky/
land or sky/water overall wash. This 
simply means that I paint the sky and 
land fi rst. Once they’re dry, I paint the 
shapes on the land. The bulk of a 
painting like this can be produced 
with two or three primary washes.
DRAW,PAINT,CREATE,&SHARE.
This event will surely sell out.
Reserve your space—at the best price—today.
www.SKETCHKON.com | #SketchKon18
present: 
&
November 2-4
Sketchkon is a big, unconventional convention devoted to 
drawing, painting, creativity, and friendship with other artists 
just like you—produced by Artists Network in collaboration 
with Sketchbook Skool.
Join hundreds of fellow artists and creative folks — including 
many top sketchbook artists from around the world — in sunny 
Pasadena from November 2-4, 2018 for an inspiring weekend 
full of art tips, techniques and ideas on drawing people, urban 
sketching, travel journaling, lettering, design, watercolor, and 
so much more.
IF YOU LOVE TO DRAW & PAINT, YOU’VE GOTTA JOIN US! 
Brenda Swenson
2018 Pasadena
&
Sponsored by: 
Melanie Reim
62 Watercolor artist | OCTOBER 2018
Watercolor Essentials
ABOVE LEFT
The painting after the fi rst wash. 
BOTTOM LEFT
Old Boats, Hythe (watercolor on paper, 
10x14), with second and detail washes added.
When making a painting plan, the 
fact that watercolor is painted from 
light to dark must be at the forefront 
of our thoughts. h e lighter washes 
have to go onto the paper i rst, with 
the darker passages added beside or 
on top of the initial washes once 
they’ve dried.
I tend to work in three stages: 
First, I apply an overall wash, or 
“ghost” wash. By the end of this i rst 
wash, I’ve placed the lighter passages 
at the required strength of hue and 
tone, and I’ve hinted at the darker 
ones. Next, after the wash is dry, 
I superimpose the darker second 
washes on top of this ghost wash, try-
ing to keep it as linked up as possible 
while softening unwanted edges. 
Finally, I add the details.
FIRST WASH
h is is an overall wash and covers the 
entire paper (with the exception of the 
white paper the subject may require). 
It’s either laid onto the wet paper or 
brought down from top to bottom in 
a big bead. Even on wet paper, I travel 
from top to bottom, because it’s the 
best way to control a wash. 
h e job of the i rst wash is to estab-
lish a soft impression of the image 
onto the paper. It will vary in both