Posts Tagged ‘painting’

Tutorial: Getting the Most Out of Your Watercolors


It’s been a while since I’ve busted out the paints. I love painting! Painting was my life before I had kids.


When talking to friends about my love for painting the conversation usually steers towards watercolor, “the most difficult paint medium”They’re not as difficult as you may think. If you’ve got the right tools, you’ll be surprised how forgiving the medium is.

Periodically, I’d like to chime in here and there with a few tips on painting with watercolor. Let’s start with the basic tools and how to get saturated tones.



Cropped Art Tutorial

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I’m over on Make and Takes today sharing an easy way to display children’s work, by layering/cropping.


Click here for the full post.



Sponsored: Discover Art You Love


This post is sponsored by Find your art and love your space with’s prints and museum-grade framing.

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Back when I was first learning how to paint with real watercolors (about 8th grade), we had an assignment in my french class. I’m not sure what it had to do with speaking the French language, but I loved it all the same: we had to replicate a french impressionist work of art. I chose an obscure Monet piece. As I was looking through and discovering artists of the French impressionism, Monet really struck a chord with me. I became just slightly obsessed.

A painting I did at the ripe old age of 13

Funny story, not long after I discovered my obsession with Monet I found out I needed glasses. BADLY. My mom and dad joked that my poor eyesight was the reason why I related to Monet’s impressionist style so readily. They were probably on to something. Or perhaps it was something about the impressionist movement that made real moments and landscapes so beautiful and breathtaking.

Since learning more about art and art history Monet still has a place in my heart, but I’ve grown to love all kinds of artists. Right now I’m totally digging on these fantastic artists:

Even now, as I look back through the paintings I’m most proud of (interesting how most of them happen to be at my parents’ house) I find that each of them have a very painterly approach.  Perhaps this is a coincidence because of the style of the first artist I ever loved?

Throwing paint isn’t always my go-to technique, but it’s fun to do. There’s something about the almost childlike or (this is such a ‘po-mo’ term I hate to say it but it’s true) visceral experience of the controlled chaos of making an image with bold brushwork.

Who was the first artist you ever loved? I would love to hear your stories! Let’s talk art, today.

Do you have an iPad? You can access’s Art Circles app where you can discover more art via curators (yours truly is on there), style, color and words. The app is absolutely stunning, free, great inspiration for your home and for getting your art on. If you don’t have an iPad, you can find my art picks at my You+Art profile page.

Freebie: Inspirations + Crutches


Yesterday I mentioned that everything is the new ruffle while talking about the fringe necklace DIY. Internet friend and fellow blogger Kristin begged for me to write it out in calligraphy.

I don’t normally do this sort of thing but the timing was perfect; I had wanted to experiment a bit with painted letters. I didn’t go very far out of my comfort zone with the lettering here, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

Writing this out got me thinking that I tend to have crutches. I’m pretty sure we all do. Sometimes it’s a ruffle, sometimes it’s leather, sometimes it’s lettering. I’ll be hanging this up in my sewing studio to remind myself to get beyond my normal crutches and really try something new. I hope you do, too.

Click the button below to download a printable 8×10 version of this quote as well as image sizes for desktops, tablets and smart phones. All graphics are subject to the terms of use below.


This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use only and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. Do not copy this post, publish more than 2 photos or outright steal this idea for commercial publications. If you would like to use this tutorial for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Art: Painting Again


You might not know from the content on this blog, but I got a BFA in painting and drawing nearly 5 years ago. I can’t believe it’s already been that long. It’s also been that long since I’ve picked up the oil paints.

Not long after I graduated college, I got pregnant with Penelope. I moved on to watercolor paints, because I love them, they’re less toxic and are ultimately less mess. In the last year I haven’t even done much watercolor either. I’ve pretty much stuck to lettering and all the other hobbies I blog about.

I hate that. I never wanted to be the girl who didn’t become a real “artist” after graduating with her BFA. It was always a big topic in my art school as it was about 80% women. Can an artist be a good mother? Can a mother even be an artist? I hated those discussions. It was like my art career was doomed because I was a woman and wanted a family.

I try to be a good mother. I really try. But laundry never gets done, I rarely do the dishes and my children get bathed twice a week if they’re lucky. More if they get really gross, but still.

I try to have artistic/creative experiences, too. I’m not planning on showing at a gallery in SoHo anytime in the near future, nor do I want to for that matter. Often times I feel the “high art” of our generation is not home friendly or family friendly, for that matter. There are a couple of contemporary “high artists” that I really look up to and would love to meet someday. But I feel like that particular industry is not friendly to my old-fashioned values and views on beauty.

This is why I love blogging. I can make it whatever I want it to be.

And now I’m picking up my dusty oil paints.

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