Smoked Tea and Bookstores Make Me Want to Paint: Watercolors


Bookshop In the Boonies


This year has certainly been a year of learning to breathe. I cannot remember having this many blog breaks since I started back in 2010. But I am learning to roll with it in the hope that time will become more abundant and inspiration more spontaneous.

Speaking of spontaneous, I visited our new local bookstore. It has been open for 3 weeks and I wanted to visit a while ago but never made it out of the house with that purpose in mind. At this stage of life, every moment of my time needs to be planned into a schedule.

On Saturday, I made my rounds to Goodwill and the post office. I was on my way to the library with a few minutes to spare when I decided to be spontaneous. (If you know me, you know I am NOT spontaneous) I made a last minute lane switch and my daughter and I stopped at the bookstore. Thank goodness the ticket police are not out in the borough on the weekend or I would surely have gotten a ticket for parking in the 30 minute Only Municipal Parking spot.



I was planning on coming home with no more than $10 worth of books because we have mountains of books, both read and un-read in several rooms of our house. I thought I would browse and support my local business while spending within my meager budget. Well, I caved and spent more than $10 but I purchased this beautiful watercolor book.

I have just recently picked up a brush again and am realizing I have SO much to learn in this medium. The book Watercolor With Me: In the Forest has some beautiful watercolor illustrations and it even has practice pages where you can paint right on the page. They have step-by step instructions and there is no sketching required. That’s a plus for me. If you are interested you should click on the link to Amazon and Look Inside the book. I have never tried animals before so I am excited to practice some fur techniques.



I didn’t purchase this book yet as I have a loan from the library but I think I will be purchasing it in the future. The book, Mixed Media Portraits with Pam Carriker: Techniques for Drawing and Painting Faces, has some great tips for proportion when sketching faces. I have drawn quite a few faces but this was by far the easiest technique to figure out where everything goes. I sat down last night and here is my 2 hour sketch using Pam’s technique.



I haven’t been doing a lot of mixed media lately but I have spent and hour here and there painting. Here are a few of my works in progress.



I am going to start practicing individual facial features.




Lastly, I started my daughter’s Thanksgiving dress. I am still undecided about the fabric choice for the skirt. She is in a stage where EVERYTHING has to have twirl factor or she doesn’t want to wear it. She has a decent sized wardrobe but only frequents the same outfits that she can “dance like a ballerina” in.  I have never been this behind before and I always have her outfits completed weeks in advance but as I said, this year has been different. I know it will be done before Thanksgiving day, I am just not sure when.




StencilGirl Column


I am over at StencilGirl blog today sharing another watercolor painting. This time the theme is Egyptian. Hop over and have a look HERE and tell me what you think.


Tea Day



Today is Tea day and I am joining in with the ladies over at Elizabeth and Bleubeard’s.  My beverage today is a Smoky Mountain Jian. For those of you that do not know what that is, it is a black tea that has been smoked over a fire. I believe Jian is the province in China where the tea has been grown. I have mentioned before that black tea is not my favorite but I think I am going to have to amend my statement. Since I have been drinking loose tea, the black teas are much more palatable and flavorful, nothing like that stuff from the bag. (No offense to you tea baggers)

Happy Tea Day,


17 thoughts on “Smoked Tea and Bookstores Make Me Want to Paint: Watercolors”

  • Good morning Kate, you have a very busy life right now, I am thinking your young children are keeping you very busy. I don’t know anything about painting but that Is something else new to me I want to try. thanks for the link-yesterday while grocery shopping I picked up a pad of paper for watercolors.
    The dress you are making looks perfect for your daughter at Thanksgiving. glad you had fun at the bookstore.
    Happy Thanksgiving and Happy T hugs Kathy

  • Nice to see you around again. You bought a great book from the new store, enjoy it! The dress for your daughter looks wonderful. Beautiful water-colour work, too. Happy T day, Valerie

  • A local, independent book store is a wonderful addition to a community. They struggle in these days, and I know they appreciate you buying from them 🙂

    I agree loose black tea is on a different level from bagged, but there are some bagged teas I like. Happy T Tuesday!

  • Looks like some good books to keep you creatively inspired Kate. Love a good local book store, but alas, only one that i know of remains in our area… Great looking portrait sketch! I love that you sew your daughter’s special clothes too- just darling. Enjoy Thanksgiving, and happy T day!

  • Wow, what a beautiful Thanksgiving dress you are making for your daughter, I love the fabric! So many fabulous books too, I can see why you took your time picking them out 😁. Wishing you a very happy T Day and a wonderful Thanksgiving! Hugs, Jo x

  • Kate the dress for your daughter is lovely, I only have GSs but the girls in the seven year olds class on non uniform day came as princess’s, In long swirly skirts, my Mum made all my clothes until I was a teenager, to save money but they were always in fashion but I wasn’t a skirt twirly girl!
    I love books and always buy the boys a book to put in their Christmas stocking and birthday although eldest GS is into dragons now so now so not such pretty covers.
    I have a few after colour books, I’ve tried but I’m useless, I try to put in too much detail, I very often get them out and dream!
    Happy T day, have a lovely Thanksgivings , please show us the finished dress.
    Jan x

  • Oh my your daughters dress is looking beautiful, a super fabric design.
    I would have been ages in the book store your book choices look great I love to browse and can spend so much time just looking.
    Sending you happy T day wishes Kate.
    Yvonne xx

  • I love the dress you are making for your daughter. Lovely saying on it, perfect for a little girl. I think it is good to be spontaneous sometimes. Every once in a while I will make an unplanned stop when out doing errands. It works sometimes, other times I get in trouble and spend too much money! Happy Thanksgiving Kate.
    Elizabeth ask me to let everyone know she is having computer problems and will be by when she is up and running again.

  • Book stores are always fun to browse in, and hard to resist buying books in. Your face sketch is fantastic. I like your watercolor paintings too. Time has a way of flying by. (I still haven’t started my Christmas artwork, which I planned to do the day after Halloween.) Your tea looks delicious. Happy T-Day and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • I know exactly what you mean about book shops. I love to go into a book shop and I will always come out with something. Although, like you, we have too many books already. But your choice is great. That little book looks really nice. I will have a look on Amazon Look Inside.
    Your face is beautiful. And then I had a look at your stencil blog post. I didn’t know you had another blog!
    Your Frida drawing is good. It is very recognizable as Frida Kahlo.
    Your daughter’s dress is do cute! She is very privileged to have a mummy that sews her clothes. She will always have a pretty outfit for the holidays. My grandmother used to sew all my (and my sister’s) clothes and we were always very fashionable, being dressed the same although I am the eldest.
    Happy T-Day (belated),

  • Although I don’t paint anything realistic, I love your faces and I love the Egyptian entry you shared at stencil girl. Someone gave me a book that I believe is the one you want of Pam Carriker’s. If I find it any tine soon (I knew where it was until I did a massive clean out and moved it), I’ll send it to you. It’s just collecting dust at my place. Better YOUR dust than mine!

    That dress is already adorable. I bet you find something to her liking but it’s fairly late to be making it. down to the wire, sort of like MY life right now.

    That smokey black tea looks beautiful. I also am a huge fan of tea leaves over bags. The leaves just taste better when they aren’t crumbled up and stuffed in bags. Thanks for sharing your watercolors, your daughter’s dress top, the bookstore find, and your tea with us for T this now Wednesday.

  • Happy belated T day Kate. Bookshops are fabulous places to visit, and good places to spend too much cash too. Smile. That dress looks like it coming along nicely. Did you get it done? Have a great Thanksgiving and hope it was a super T day too. Hugs-Erika

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