Let Your Mind Wander in a Meander Sketchbook!

With so much going on in the world today, sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on working on a “serious” piece of art. By serious, I suppose I mean something that is going to be a finished or complete project; something that you are going to show others, hang in your home, or sell.

Right now, my mind is all over the place, so I’ve turned to my Meander Sketchbook, where I just play with colours, using any or all of my supplies. For these, I’ve chosen not to paint anything specific, but instead I’m painting completely non-objective, or what some call abstract. These paintings are just for me, so there is no pressure to do a “good job”!

It was a few years ago at a meetup with some watercolour painting buddies that my friend Charlene McGill demonstrated how to make a Meander Sketchbook (also called an accordion book). They are very easy to make, and if you use good watercolour paper, they make really nice sketchbooks that you can take with you when you go out plein air painting.

Experiment and Play!

However, I decided that these would make really cool books to just experiment with. You could use any kind of paper, but I decided to stay with a nice, fairly heavy watercolour paper as it holds up to a lot of abuse! You can also add a cover on the front and back by gluing a hard cardboard or similar on the end pieces. I had decorated my covers by gluing collage paper on top, but then ended up painting over that too!

I’ve made two of these books so far, and today I finished the first half of the second book. For these, I use two pages for each painting, but you can do a painting on each section and have up to 32 paintings in each book. This is the page I completed today. (maybe… I usually go back and add more!) As you can see, I added everything under the sun. But what fun!

Scroll down to the very bottom of this post for directions on how to make your own Meander Sketchbook!

Lots of fun!
Here is the whole book unfolded. One side completed!
This is the other side. You can see the covers on each end. Also, I drew some meandering lines for loose prompts to help me get started.
All folded back up, nice and compact.
Obviously,I don’t know how to make a fancy illustration with my computer!
If you have questions, leave a comment below and I’ll try to clarify.

Song Sparrow- Bird #72 of 100

This little songster is a sweet Song Sparrow. What he lacks in colourful plumage he makes up for in singing ability! And so what if he’s not colourful? Look at those snazzy stripes! I created this guy using watercolours, a bit of sepia ink, and coloured pencils. Thank you to Dave Slaughter for posting the reference photo in the Wetcanvas.com reference library.

Mixed media and watercolour brown striped song sparrow on a blue watercolour background. Link to purchase is below the image.
Songster 7″ X 5″ Mixed Media on paper
Interested in this sweet singer? Comment below or check him out in my Etsy shop.
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Lemon Yellow – Goldfinch- Bird # 71 of 100

One of these things is not like the others! But this bright yellow Goldfinch matches perfectly with the ripe and juicy lemons he is investigating!

I decided to combine my 100 Bird challenge with my ongoing fruit series and came up with this one. It seemed fitting that the day before I finished this I got some visitors in my garden. Maybe they knew I was paying them tribute!

Lemon Yellow 6″ X 6″ X 1.5″ Paper Collage on Canvas
Interested? Leave a comment or check out this piece in my Etsy shop!

Watercolour Wednesday… a day late! Toucans – Birds #69 and 70 of 100

Whoops! I forgot to post this yesterday, but here it is a day late! These two toucans are practising their social distancing. I think they’re doing a pretty good job. This painting is only 5″ X 7″, so the birds are only about 1 1/2 inches in length. I had to get the small brush out for this one!

Social Distancing 5″ X 7″ on paper
Reference Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

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Watercolour Wednesday – Yellow-rumped Warbler – Bird #67 of 100

I was so excited to spot this little traveller in my backyard the other day! Thankfully, he wasn’t shy and stopped to pose for the camera. After consulting my bird book, I discovered that he is a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle variety). I had never seen one before in my life! The tiny white feathers under his eye give him a look like he’s a little peeved with the world. With all that’s going on, I can understand.

Yellow-rumped Warbler 5 X 7″ pure watercolour on paper.
Available in my Etsy shop or contact me directly by commenting below or leaving a Facebook message.

Mixed Media Monday – Pod of Pelicans – Birds #62, 63 and 64 of 100

They say you learn something new every day. Today I learned that there are many different names for a group of pelicans. They can be called a brief, a pod, a pouch, a scoop, or a squadron. I thought pod had a nice ring to it, although pouch or scoop are quite appropriate considering how they use their big beaks.

This small 5 X 7″ piece was done in mixed media, starting with a pencil drawing on watercolour paper. I then did the background and rough underpainting of the birds in acrylic, finishing off with coloured pencil and soft pastel details. After collage, this is starting to become my favourite painting style although I’ll never give up my watercolours!

Pod of Pelicans 5″ X 7″ Mixed Media on Paper
Reference Photo by Dulcey Lima on Unsplash
Interested in this painting? Comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or check it out in my Etsy store

Watercolour Wednesday – Penguins – Birds # 59 and 60 of 100

As I was painting yesterday, I looked out the window and saw we were experiencing a heavy snow squall. On April 21st. During a pandemic. Just perfect. But then I remembered the movie Walk of the Penguins, and how patient and focused they are. While one penguin makes a very long trek to the ocean for food, their mate stays behind with the others, huddled together in frigid conditions, waiting patiently for the other to return.

While it would be nice if we could all get together and huddle like the penguins, we could learn from their patience and know that soon it will be warm and we will be able to go outside and enjoy the nice weather. And we will be able to gather together again one day. I hope we never take it for granted ever again.

Patient Penguins 7″ X 5″ Watercolour, ink, and a tiny touch of acrylic.
Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash
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