Experiments in Watercolors

I got an itch to learn how to watercolor a couple years ago and have been dabbling here and there since then. I started by trying to recreate some patterns I found via Pinterest (mostly flowery ones by Rifle Paper Co.), but I soon needed to find my own watercolor voice. This year I began a series of watercolors based off of photos from my travels. In the process of creating these watercolors, I discovered that I’ve been lying to myself for quite some time. I always said I couldn’t draw, but it turns out I can! I think I’m getting better with every new page in my watercolor Moleskine sketchbook.

Here are a few of my favorite watercolors so far:

Read more

Crafting on the Road: Learning how to make traditional Lao Buddhist temple stencils

Crafting in Laos

In the past few years I’ve been in and out of many, many temples and can’t help but be mesmerized by the stunning artwork covering the inner and outer walls of each and every one. Every temple, even ones that are only one block away from each other, have a different look to them and I’ve taken to photographing the beautiful art at each one I visit. I hope to use my large collection of temple art pictures as inspiration for something one day.

stencil makingI had always wondered how the artwork was made and how long it took, so I was ecstatic to discover Yensabai Book & Art  in Luang Prabang, Laos that offers traditional stencil making classes. For 120,000 Kip (15 USD) we were taught how to properly cut the stencils out of handmade paper with straight and curved chisels on a plank of wood. Over a span of two hours Dave and I hammered away while occasionally sipping on Lao green tea (for me) and Lao coffee (for Dave). It was a very cathartic experience and we not only walked away with a better understanding of how much work goes into decorating a Buddhist Temple, but also two pieces of awesome art.

stencil tools and materials

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/xtENNU3_pCs” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

cutting my stencil

our finished stencils

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following me on Facebook and/or Twitter.