3 Books to Boost Your Creative Motivation

Do you like to read?

I have friends who are constantly reading multiple books at any given time – I’m not one of them 😀 I would get so confused if I did that!!

But, I do like to read for fun and also read books that are related to business and creativity (which is also fun for me!)

If you’re looking for motivational, cure-your-self-doubt books for your creative practice, I highly recommend these 3 books!

They’re all pretty easy to read and offer lots of practical and actionable tips.

1. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist, available here.

I’ve heard of this book recommended for artists for a long time but just picked it up a few months ago and loved it!

I loved Austin’s drawings and encouraging messages throughout the book.

Especially this piece in the picture above spoke to me when I was feeling my work was all over the place (I’m interested in making art in different medium and styles etc. Who isn’t??) and feeling insecure about it.

I’d also been intentionally avoiding watching tutorials of artists whom I admired (and I thought our work had similar vibes) because I was afraid I’d unintentionally copy their work.

But after reading the part about human hands not being able to copy something with 100% accuracy, I felt better about it and totally let go.

Now I watch whatever classes I want from whomever and learn something useful without “stealing” their work. After all, I can only make work that looks like mine. It was liberating!!

2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic, available here.

I may be an anomaly, but I didn’t know about Elizabeth Gilbert until last month 😀

I’d never read Eat Pray Love or watched the movie. Somehow I never came across her work until I watched her interview with Marie Forleo on this episode of Marie TV. 

I was actually listening to the podcast version of the show while I was on my afternoon walk, but it was SO GOOD I had to stop and post the screenshot to my Instagram Stories 🙂

Her advice for nurturing creativity while living with fear was so spot-on. I also really appreciated her sense of humor 😀

As soon as I got home, immediately ordered her book on Amazon and devoured it.

I always find it encouraging to hear that someone as successful as Liz wasn’t always so successful – reading about how she had series of day jobs and received hundreds of rejection letters for many years before she could make a full-time income from writing reminded me that I need to be patient and keep making art and putting it out there even if I don’t see the desired outcomes, like, right NOW!

 

BTW, I started reading Eat Pray Love after I finished The Big Magic. It’s good 🙂

3. The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

The Crossroads of Should and Must, available here.

My dear friend gave me this book back in 2015 while I was contemplating whether or not to quit my job to pursue art full-time.

I had so many questions – mostly out of fear – about making a transition from my regular job to being a working artist.

What if I fail? What if I don’t make enough money? What if Dave loses his job? Do I have what it takes? What if I lose my passion??

This book addresses many of those scary questions and offers helpful tips for finding your passion and following them in a way that makes sense to you.  Elle helps you to become more confident with your voice, making time for your creativity, getting over your fear, and much, much more in a compassionate and encouraging manner.

Just reading the first couple of chapters about Elle’s own transition from a well-paying job to being an artist helped center me while I was going through the big changes in my life.

My situation was different than hers, but it was encouraging to know that it is possible.

Of course, I loved all the art and lettering! When I got the book, I paged through quickly to see all the art first 🙂 Do you do that, too?

If you read any of these books, let me know what you think! Do share in the comment if you have other recommendations!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

p.s. I’m going to be on my sabbatical week, so no new blog post next Sunday! See you in a couple of weeks 🙂

Have you met Lucy, the Yoga Chicken?

In my recent daily paintings, I did a mini series featuring Lucy, the Yoga Chicken.

What got me started was this illustration of the chicken sitting and meditating. It was particularly a busy day, and I was feeling like a chicken with its head cut off – but wanted to feel calmer.

Meditation chicken

A friend saw it on Instagram and suggested I do a series of chickens in yoga poses, so I thought, “Why not? That sounds like fun!”

So, for 10 days, I illustrated a chicken in various yoga poses!

Triangle pose
Eagle pose
Standing Bow Pulling pose

I used to be an avid Bikram Yoga (a.k.a. Hot Yoga) practitioner and many of the poses in the series are may favorite from the practice then.

Pigeon pose
Tree pose
Child pose

Along the way, I started calling her “Lucy.” It just came to me out of nowhere and I thought it would make a cute name for a chicken 😀

Camel pose
Rabbit pose
Savasana, the corpse pose

She’s such a good yogini!! 🙂 It relaxes me just to see her in these poses!

Do you practice yoga? What poses are your favorite??

I hope Have a centering day 🙂

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

Handmade Gifts to Delight Mom! (Order by May 5th)

Mother’s Day is May 14th!

I’ve got a variety of gift ideas for your creative mom in my shop

And if you’re a mom yourself, feel free to share this post with your family so they get the “hint” 😉

OK, here goes!

1. Mother’s Day Cards

First and foremost, sending your mom a Mother’s Day card is the easiest way to make her smile 🙂

Blue Lilac Mother’s Day card is perfect if you want something different than the usual pink and purple cards.

Hen & Chicks Mother’s Day card is so adorable! Is your mom a gardener? Or a chicken aficionado? It has the message “Happy Mother’s Day!” inside.

Pink Bouquet Mother’s Day card – there is nothing wrong with loving flowers! This warm watercolor flowers will make her feel loved ❤

2. Blank Kraft Journals

These small (5″x7″) kraft notebooks are great for recording your thoughts and feelings, keeping your garden logs, or jotting down ideas for an exciting project!

They’re available as singles or a set of 3 – you know, in case you want to keep one for yourself 🙂


Blue Succulent Notebook is available here.

You can order your Green Leaf Notebook here.

Watercolor Circle Flowers Notebook is available here.

3. Hand Printed Canvas Totes

Does your mom frequent the local farmer’s market? Or always lugging lots of books and knitting projects wherever she goes?

My hand printed canvas totes are sturdy and you can fit a lot in there!

I designed and carved this artichoke design and hand printed them myself! It’s color fast and machine washable (though there will be some shrinkage.)

I have a very limited supply of these and not sure if I’ll be making any more, so order NOW if you want it! You can also see totes with lemon design here.

4. Art Prints

I’ve handpicked a few art prints your mom might enjoy 🙂

Rooster Friends art print is such a crowd pleaser! In fact, one of my customers ended up buying 2 of these because her mom saw it and really loved it, too 🙂

Be Gentle with Yourself ❤ Frankly, I think all of us can use this reminder sometimes. But I know moms especially could use a gentle push to take care of themselves 🙂

Does your mom encourage you (and her grandkids) to eat more vegetables? This Eat a Rainbow art print will make her kitchen brighter and gives everyone a fun reminder to eat more veggies 🙂

What do you think?

If your mom loves colorful handmade art, she’ll be delighted to receive your gifts from Honeyberry Studios

And, if you live in the U.S., be sure to place your order before Friday, May 5th to ensure timely delivery before Mother’s Day.

Have a lovely day, friend!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

p.s. Missed the link to my shop? You can go here 🙂

On being a beginner

I’ve been taking a pottery class at a local community college since January.

And, I LOVE it.

Growing up in Japan, I’ve always loved pottery and wanted to learn. My husband gave me the class for Christmas last year, and it’s turned out to be one of the best gifts yet!

Black poppy tiny dishes

First of all, I appreciate having a creative outlet that’s not related to my business.

When I’m playing with the clay in the pottery studio on Tuesdays, I’m there to enjoy myself and create whatever I feel like creating. It doesn’t matter if it looks wonky. I don’t have to wonder if it’s going to sell.

For a few hours, I can focus on the joy of simply creating for the sake of creating, which sadly, gets buried under a pile of business tasks in my day-to-day.

Tiny bowls. I use the ones with line drawings for nuts, chips, dips, etc.

When I’m making my pottery pieces, I feel like a total beginner. 

When I’m hand-building a cup, 95% of the time it flairs out and becomes a bowl. 2 out of 3 mugs I made has cracks where I attached the side to the bottom piece.

My tall cups are definitely not round when you look at them from the top, and it’s not level when you look at them from the side. None of my pieces are even in thickness.

More wonky bowls and cups!

I see the beautiful pieces my instructor and more seasoned students (some of the students have been in the class for 15+ years!!) make and get so inspired.

Some of them make stunning wheel-thrown bowls and cups while others make complicated and unique sculpture pieces. They’d come to the studio with a big bag stuffed with their own tools, brushes, and bottles of special glazes etc. (All I bring to the class is my brushes to paint underglazes on :D)

Throughout the quarter, we do a critique every time our pieces come out of the kiln.

Although I love all of my pieces, including the flaws and wonkiness, I feel a little embarrassed to see my pieces on the table among more sophisticated pieces other students had made. 

Being a beginner allows me to be humble and reminds me to be patient. It reminds me that only way to get better is to make less-than-great work many, many, many times.

Poster by Nikki Hampson

You may have seen this Ira Glass quote about imperfection. It’s a classic and such a good reminder for any creatives learning something new!

Being a beginner also allows me to be less precious with my work.

I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m less afraid to make a mistake (or don’t know if I’m making a mistake…:D) It’s like I have a permission to be more experimental and playful, which I tend to forget when I’m doing my “work” work.

And, when I make something for myself purely for the joy of it, it often resonates well with my audience, too.

Cats & dog bowls. Underglazed and fired once.

This is another lesson for me – Sometimes I think too much about what other people may want from me when I create my illustration work, and I’m no longer listening to my intuition about what I want to create.

I have to remind myself that people can tell when I create something from the place of joy and delight, and that’s what speaks to them the most.

I’m continuing to take the class this quarter and can’t wait to make more wonky pottery pieces!

Fellow artists and makers – do you have a creative hobby that’s not related to your regular work? 

Tell me in the comment! 🙂

xo Yuko

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My Favorite Tools: Sakura Koi Watercolor Field Sketch Box

You probably know I’ve been painting 30 minutes every day since November.

(You can see my daily paintings on Instagram!)

My favorite painting tool to use is this Sakura Koi Watercolor Field Sketch Box. You’ve probably seen it in many of my drawing tutorials 🙂

It comes in several pre-set colors (between 12 and 48), and the colors are so fun and vibrant!

I use the 24-color set, by the way.

Since I’ve been painting with the blues a lot lately, my blues are almost gone!

Exhibit A

But since I have the exact colors in the Sakura Koi watercolor paint tubes, I could just refill the slots and keep working with the same set.

pretty blues ❤

Needless to say, this Field Sketch Box is super handy to take with you when you’re out and about, but I use it even when I’m painting at home.

With this box set, your set-up is so easy. You just open up the box, and you’re ready to paint.

I usually paint on my crowded desk or a small dining table and don’t have a lot of room to spread out, so its compact size is ideal.

I also mix Sakura Koi watercolor with other watercolor or gouache (an opaque watercolor) paints.

Here is an example of a painting where I used watercolor and gouache.

I just squeeze a little bit of a paint on the palette and use it as is or create different hues by mixing them up with the existing colors.

The set comes with a refillable water brush.

(By the way, don’t throw away the black plug that’s attached to the barrel handle – that’s what keeps the water vessel filled while transporting it in the box. You can still transport the brush filled with the water with the brush tip and the cap on, but it won’t fit in the box. Just FYI! I totally threw it away when I first opened my box and deeply regret it :D)

When I paint at home, I typically use regular watercolor brushes with a jar of water, but the water brush is convenient when you’re traveling and don’t have access to water.

It’s got small sponges on both sides of the paint cakes to clean your brush with. I just use paper towel to clean my brushes, though. Just a habit, I guess.

My palette tends to get messy – I’m ok with that unless I need a clean surface to blend my paints on.

Embrace the mess!

I just take a wet paper towel (or you can spray some water with a spray bottle) and wipe the area clean. That’s it! So easy.

If you’re looking for a fun and economical way to play with watercolor painting, you should give it a try! You can locate a store near you here 🙂

xo Yuko

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Greetings from Ithaca!

I take every 7th week off to recharge and rest.

(a.k.a. Small Scale Sabbaticals – a brilliant concept I adopted from Seanwes)

I was on my mini sabbatical during the last week of March, and my husband, Dave, our friend, Ed, and I visited the EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI) in Ithaca, NY!

Beautiful community! © Ecovillage at Ithaca

We arrived at the village a little before 9pm, and it was already dark. I didn’t get to see the village itself but the stars were amazing! Ed is from Argentina, and he was telling us how it still freaks him out to see the constellations upside down! 😀

I made my daily art on the flight from Seattle to O’Hara. I ❤ llamas!

Elan, our kind innkeeper at Frog’s Way B&B, met us at the dark parking lot and led us in to the cozy basement apartment we stayed at. I was so exhausted from the long travel (we’d left our home in Seattle at 4:30 am), I went to bed and fell asleep immediately.

The next morning, we had our breakfast – guys had homemade granola and yogurt with a cup of coffee while I had a couple of pieces of gluten-free toast with chunky peanut butter and sliced bananas and an apple with a cup of Bengal Spice tea. Mmmmm…

Cozy frog enjoying his cup of tea. Painting inspired by the B&B we stayed at called “Frog’s Way”

Their kitchen was at the north side of the house and only has a tiny window (it’s designed this way to maximize the insulation in the house), but the view from our bedroom on the south side was pretty awesome.

Looking over the community gardens.

Yes, the landscape was still pretty grey and bare, but we looked out the window and saw grassy field, gardens, and trees. Definitely different than our normal view from the apartment of pavement, town homes and cars… 😀

Temperatures were in the mid-30s, and though it was not “cold cold”, it was damp and felt a lot colder to me. I hate being cold so immediately followed the wisdom of my Wisconsin-bred husband and put on a pair of long underwear.

I really loved the combination of wood and earthen walls of these houses ❤
One of the ponds in the village. So serene.
A little sauna shack. I bet it’s amazing in the cold winter!

Our purpose of being there was to learn from the founders – how they got started, lessons learned and successes of building a thriving ecovillage.

Our first meeting was with Liz, the co-founder, and we met in one of their common houses (at EVI, they have 3 distinctive neighborhoods – Song, Frog, and Tree – and though residents live in their own private homes, they get to use the common house for shared meals, meetings, and other gatherings.)

Frog common house. So bright and inviting!

This common house in the Frog neighborhood was by far my favorite! It felt so open and airy. Even on a grey, drizzly day, there was so much light in the building.

And, of course, I loved all the artwork there 🙂

Beautiful mosaic work on the wall.
Succulents in pretty painted pots!

I was drawn to their handmade gourd lampshades immediately!

Homegrown organic gourd lampshades by Graham Ottoson.
And the boys were drawn to it as well…, like moths to the flame… 😀

They also have a workshop/studio/shop Graham’s husband built, called “Gourdlandia”, in the village, and I was thrilled to take a peek at other beautiful creations ❤

My dream studio ❤
Magical gourds… ❤
Love the delicate lights shining through ❤

And, of course, I had to paint one of the gourd lampshades for my daily painting project 🙂

Gourd Lampshade!

During our stay, our friend, Devon, who used to be an intern at Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead, where Dave lived for 7 years, and his lovely partner, Star, invited us over for dinner at their home in Ithaca.

I ❤ tacos!

They had an awesome build-your-own taco bar with all the goodies. Oh, it was amazing!! And it was so nice to see an old friend and meet new ones, too 🙂

On the last day on our way to the airport, we stopped at one of the falls in Ithaca.

Because all the snow was melting, the fall was pretty impressive! I could feel the mist on my face from 50 yards away!

Beautiful camo colors and textures on a sycamore tree ❤

We were there for only 3 days, and it was disorienting to wake up in my bed the next morning.

With all the technological advancement, you can travel so far away so fast now. When I got up on Sunday and walked out of my bedroom and looked out the living room window, I wasn’t sure if we were really in Ithaca the day before.

But I look at these pictures and paintings and know we were really there!

I’m so grateful to have been able to spend a few days in such a beautiful place and meet the kind people at the EcoVillage!

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

 

Flowers & Snails!

Most of my work is born out of simply playing around.

I wrote about how creative play time is importatnt to artists in this post a while back.

I’ve just released a new line of greeting cards, and most of my designs have come from my 30-minute daily paintings!

Let me show you some examples.

Blue Bouquet Sympathy Card

You may know I’ve been really into painting in blues lately.

Blue is one of my favorite colors, and using just one color challenges me creatively. I really like the feel of my blue paintings, so I’m continuing with that until I get too tired of it. (I learned this technique from Lisa Congdon’s Creative Boot Camp on Creativebug.)

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Sympathy cards are so nice – even if you don’t know what to say or the “right” thing to say, you can still let your friend know you’re thinking about them.

That’s really the best thing anyone can do anyway – to let them know you’re there for them when they’re having a hard time.

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I felt this blue bouquet painting would be perfect for sympathy card because it’s calming and peaceful. I added my simple hand-lettered message, “I’m so sorry.”

Blue Handlettered Thank You Card

A couple of weeks ago, I did a survey with my newsletter subscribers asking them why they like my art.

Their responses were so nice and kind, and I was reminded again how lucky I am to have people who support and encourage me to do what I love!

So I dedicated one of my paintings to people like you –  who like and support my art!

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Of course, as soon as I made this painting, I knew I had to turn it into a thank you card. I try to express my gratitude as often as I can, and sending someone a handwritten thank you card feels extra special ❤

01_blue-thank-you-card-product-photo_1000pxParty Snail Birthday Card

This snail painting was from one of August Wren’t 30-Day Painting Challenge on Creativebug. I’d never thought of painting snails before! I guess I just see them eating our plants in our garden so never really had positive feelings towards them 😀

But when I painted them, I thought they were so cute and really loved them. They just seem so happy!

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So I painted the party hats separately and created a design for a new birthday card! Aren’t they adorable??

01_snail-party-birthday-card_1000pxGouache Bouquet Birthday Card

I painted colorful bouquets with gouache (an opaque watercolor) for several days for my daily painting back in December. Flowers are one of my favorite things to draw/paint – I just can’t get enough of them!

So I designed a birthday card with my flower paintings. Flowers never go out of style, don’t you think?

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My 30-minute daily painting practice forces me to be loose and quick. I’m learning to express my voice without thinking too much or trying to be perfect.

It’s helping me to clarify what I want to say through my creations : art is fun and should make you happy!

How do you get ideas for your work? Do you get a lot of inspirations from your creative play time, too?

xo Yuko

p.s. You can follow my daily paintings on Instagram (@honeyberrystudios) with a hashtag #yukosdailypainting

p.p.s. I’m gonna be on a sabbatical this coming week, so there won’t be a blog post next Sunday! I’ll see you in a couple of weeks 🙂

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Feeling blue? This will make you feel better.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know I’ve been painting exclusively in blue lately.

I was inspired by Lisa Congdon’s Creative Boot Camp on Creativebug, where she shows us how to paint using only one color.

Here is an example of her painting in red.

I started painting using 4 blue colors in my Sakura Koi Watercolor Set and got immediately hooked.

I didn’t have a goal of painting so many works in blue. But it’s one of my favorite colors because it’s soothing and calming. So I just kept painting in blues! (At the time of writing this article, I’ve painted in blue for 31 days straight. Wow!)

I like the challenge of using limited colors (and of course the limited timeline I set to complete a painting). Restrictions encourage creativity. The more limitations you set on your creative practice, the more creative you think!

Just think how you’d feel if you have a huge blank canvas with unlimited color palette and materials to play with, and you can paint whatever you wanted vs. someone tells you you need to draw a cat using just red and blue on a 4″x4″ piece of paper? See what I mean?

Of course, there is a danger of your practice becoming stagnant over time if you’re not intentional about working in a limited color palette.

When I feel my blue paintings are getting stale, I switch to different subject matters or add different elements. For example, I was painting still life at first, then abstract, and then more representational works.

One day, I did a lettering piece for one of my daily paintings and really enjoyed it, so I created a series of encouraging quotes in blue.

You know I love creating art with encouraging/motivational quotes! First of all, I do it because I need a positive reminder. And I know I’m not the only one who needs to hear it, so I like to share them 🙂

Art has the power to make you feel. When you see a powerful message represented in an art form, it goes directly to your heart, doesn’t it?

That’s how I feel about these paintings – somehow, these encouraging messages resonate with me on a deeper level than just hearing someone say it.

If you’re feeling blue today (pun so intended!), I hope these paintings will cheer you up! 🙂

Have a lovely day, friend!

xo Yuko

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Behind the Scenes: 30-Minute Daily Painting Challenge

I’ve been painting every day for 30 minutes since mid November of last year.

I started my daily challenge to invigorate my creative practice and keep those creative muscles strong and flexible. (You can read more about my motivation here.)

I’m on my day 114 today (!) and wanted to share my process and how I find my inspirations every day. Enjoy!

When I Paint:

I reserve my mornings to writing, whether it’s a blog article, newsletter, or marketing copies, and other admin tasks like doing the finances and researching new retail shops to reach out to for my greeting cards etc. Mornings are the best time for me to think and do work that requires focus.

So, I schedule a 30-minute chunk on my calendar to paint every day after lunch. It’s a good activity to transition from the admin work, and by the time lunch rolls around, I’m a bit out of focus anyway, so it helps to get my hands and the creative part of my brain working then.

If I know I’ll be out of the office or otherwise busy during my usual painting time (like I’ve been taking a pottery class on Tuesday morning – early afternoon), I’ll go ahead and work on my painting in the morning before I get out of the door. I’d rather finish the painting earlier than later. You never know what’s gonna happen while you’re out or how long your other tasks would take, and I don’t want to be thinking about “oh I still need to do my painting today” all day. Sometimes it means I have to get up 30 minutes early to make sure I have enough time to create my painting.

Having the 30-minute restriction is both great and hard. It’s great because it forces me to rely on my intuition more than my mind. And it helps me to not be super perfectionist about it – it’s all about completing a piece in 30-minutes than making something that’s “perfect.” I just heard Elizabeth Gilbert say in this show (<– you MUST watch or listen to this by the way!) “Done is better than good.” Ain’t that the truth??

The time restriction also makes it less stressful because there is always so much stuff to do, and setting aside 30 minutes a day doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

On the other hand, it’s hard because I have to stop even if I don’t feel the work is “perfect” when my timer goes off. It gave me a great anxiety at first because I really didn’t know how much I could get done in 30 minutes. What if it looks terrible!?

But as I do this longer, I’ve been learning to gauge the time better and know what to focus on. For example, I try to prioritize getting the overall composition, colors, and shapes right than worrying about the tiny details. I’ve also gotten better at painting loosely and quickly.

What to Paint:

You might remember I did a similar 365 day challenge back in 2014-2015 called “Happiness is,” where I created a drawing about happiness every day.

Happiness is practicing gratitude every day.

But this time I don’t have a particular theme – it can be something personal, like how I’m feeling or what I did that day. I get inspired by nature and food often, so things I saw on my walk or food I ate could show up in my art.

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Florals are a natural go-to, and I never get tired of painting them! I enjoy painting stylized flowers and plants from imagination more than painting from references.

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Some days I go from one subject to another totally unrelated subject , and sometimes I keep painting the same or similar things for several days. For example, I painted a series of dogs in sweaters for a while ❤

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For the months of January, I followed along August Wren’s 30-day painting challenge on Creativebug. It was fun to learn from her creative process and painting techqniques, and I found some of the prompts challenging just because I’d never thought about painting them! It’s good to stretch and go out of your comfort zone like that! I love her loose painting style and her gentle teaching style too.

Many of the paintings here are from Jennifer's painting challenge!
Many of the paintings here are from Jennifer’s painting challenge!

In February, I watched another Creativebug class by Lisa Congdon and her Creative Boot Camp was awesome! I particularly enjoyed her monochromatic painting technique using only one color and tried painting using just blue. I was immediately hooked by this particular technique and kept painting in blues for many days!

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And when I got a little tired of painting still life, I started painting abstract works in blue.

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I had also created a random list of subjects to paint for when I don’t have an inspiration. I cut up tiny pieces of paper and just wrote down random things I might draw, like hats and pickles. And when I ran out of ideas for my list, I asked my husband, Dave, to pitch in. He’s a creative thinker and gave me so many random ideas I would’ve never thought of myself! Some of his suggestions were “lederhosen” and “avocado sandwich ” 😀 And then I put the pieces of the paper in a bag, and on days I have no idea what to draw or just  want to switch gears, I can pull out a topic and paint!

Materials I use:

For paints, I use Sakura Koi watercolor field sketch kit even if I’m at home – it’s so easy to set up – you just open up the palette and everything is there!

sakura-koi-watercolor

 

I used them in combination with random assortment of other watercolor and gouache paints (mostly by Winsor and Newton), some were given by friends and some I bought along the way. I just use the palette that comes with the Koi watercolor set to mix the colors (I often mix watercolor and gouache together). My palette tends to stay pretty messy… 😀 and when I need a new fresh surface, I just wipe the area clean with wet paper towel.

As far as papers go, I use the Strathmore paper mixed media pad series 400 in size 11″x14″. They’re thick smooth paper with just enough texture. I started using them last summer and immediately fell in love! They’re not the cheapest paper, but I just like how nice it feels to paint on them, and colors show so brilliantly. I cut the paper in quater so that makes each paper 5.5″x7″, which is pretty small, and I find that size just right for my 30-minute painting (not to mention stretching your  $$!)

At first I was painting on a slightly larger paper and quickly realized it was hard to fill the page in 30 minutes! And I was feeling more nervous about not filling the page than focusing on what I was actually painting, so I switched to the smaller paper, and that’s working pretty well for me.

I use a few different watercolor brushes  – #1 for a finer detail, #4 for detail and small to medium-ish area and #7 for more thicker line or a larger area (I believe I got them at Blick.) I was using the waterbrush pen that came with the Sakura Koi set and still do when I do a quick sketch on the couch, but I like having the different sized brushes and the natural  brush materials paint really nicely. I also use the wider flat brush if I’m painting the background or a larger area. It’s so much quicker!!

I also started using a hair dryer a few weeks ago to shorten the drying time, and it totally changed my life!!! 😀 It’s especially helpful when I want to layer with wet watercolor and don’t want them to bleed. It saves me SO MUCH TIME and allows me to work in more details in just 30 minutes. I don’t think I can paint without it ever again… 😀


I hope you enjoyed learning my creative process! And if you want to purchase any of my small original paintings, go back to my last post and learn all about it 🙂

Have a creative day!

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

 

New Original Paintings for Sale Every Day on Instagram!

Hi there, friend!

Are you on Instagram?

I’ve been posting photos of my 30-minute paintings every day since November and recently decided to make all of my original paintings available for sale!

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They’re small (5.5″ x 7″) watercolor and gouache (an opaque watercolor) paintings on heavy mixed media paper. I paint a wide variety of subjects from florals to my recent obsession, dogs in sweaters 🙂

Also, there is this series of still life paintings in blue ❤

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These small original paintings are available for only $69 each, including FREE US shipping (+ $10 international shipping).

You can follow these simple steps to view and purchase my paintings:

1. Search for the hashtag #yukosdailypainting on Instagram.

2. Send me a direct message on Instagram and let me know which piece(s) you’re interested in, and I’ll give you the details. First person to claim the painting gets it!

I’m adding new artwork for you to enjoy and purchase every day on my feedFollow along and don’t miss this opportunity to get your favorite Yuko Miki originals 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions! Have an awesome day ❤

xo Yuko

p.s. I’m sharing my behind the scenes creative process next week. Don’t miss it!

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot