Saturday, December 8, 2018


I had a pretty good time experimenting with new materials last month! 

1. I bought my first high quality paper watercolor block. I tested out the new Canson L'Aquarelle Heritage Watercolor Paper and found it to be great quality! It takes multiple layers of watercolor and gouache well and feels almost like cloth!

2. I made a new color chart by mixing my watercolor paints with white gouache to see the opaque versions of the colors. I tried to mix them 50/50 as accurately as possible and the colors came out rich and smooth.

3. I also purchased some new watercolor paints from Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton to try to fill up my new clear Transom 24-well watercolor palette that I also purchased a few weeks ago. Colors: Cerulean Blue (WS), Sap Green (DS), Undersea Green (DS), Yellow Ochre (DS), Carbazole Violet (DS) and Payne's Grey (WS).

4. I painted two small gouache still life studies from an online demo I found on Youtube to try and get more practice with gouache. Took me a couple of weeks (!) but I finished recently with a real sense of accomplishment. I still have so much more to learn but it's great to finish a piece and realize 'hey, it's not that bad'... :]

Be sure to follow along on my Instagram @lizzvisions
Have you experimented with any new art materials recently? 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


- Buying new art supplies.
- The support I got from the art community on my Instagram.

- I didn't really like what I was producing. My drawings felt forced. Nothing felt right and it felt like I was pulling teeth. After four days I didn't even want to use ink anymore.
- The pressure (self inflicted) to stick to ink all of October. (The one sketch I did enjoy doing this month was actually done in watercolor.

- I felt like I was being really hard on myself. Inktober made me realize I feel a bit "artist block" so I started reading a book I liked from years ago called 'The Artists Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity" to see if I could get past it. I'm still reading it right now and I'm really enjoying it.
- I might try again next year but if I do it next year I might tone it down and do one ink drawing a week instead of one everyday.

Did you do Inktober? How was your experience?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

BOOK REVIEW - Buns (Hudson Valley #3) by Alice Clayton | THE LIBRARY

BUNS (Hudson Valley #3) - a romance novel by Alice Clayton

The Scoop: A perfect triptych of tender romance for the cold hearted looking for warmth (a third edition without extra syrup to match the temperament of the protagonists)

My Rating:

5 out of 5 stars


Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.


Here is my Goodreads review:

"An amazing love story from a start to finish. It swoops you up and carries you to the top of a mountain. And then literally asks you to take a leap of faith. Brilliant. Just what I needed to continue to feed my obsession with the Hudson Valley. What I love about Alice Clayton is that she gives us such relatable characters. Characters that make us feel human and connected and that flawed as we are, we too are worthy of love. That’s what hooked me into the first book and what ultimately got me to give this third installment five stars. PS - how often do we get real steamy romance stories where the protagonists wears glasses! Love it!"

Longer thoughts:

What an amazing story. Alice Clayton does it again with super relatable characters seasoned with a healthy spoonful of humor. I realize it was hard to wrap my head around these characters in the first two books because I couldn't really see them in my head, or "cast" them like I usually do. But once I read the third book where the characters were more fleshed out, I saw Clara as a young Emma Watson with a pixie cut and Archie as a lean, bespectacled Sam Heughan from Outlander. [NOTE: After checking the Goodreads reviews and seeing people cast Archie as Micheal Fassbender I'm feeling major SMH. He would have been perfect! *facepalm*

A love story! A love story where the protagonists wear glasses and don't have a lot of romantic experience but still manage to open up, let go and explore their emotional sides with each other! A love story where everyone didn't fall in love in high school and didn't have the perfect childhood but still managed to work through those issues (even if it's hard at first!). A love story about people in their mid-late 20's! Not 16 year olds! (I love YA novels but sometimes I need variety... 😅) 

Alice Clayton's ability to portray Clara and Archie's initial (and practical) resistance towards sweeping romance will feel like close comfort to weary romance readers like myself who might be stepping slowly into reading these types of stories again. The careful hesitation feels real and tangible and is part of what makes the characters feel so relatable to me. 

"Get thee (me) to the mountaintop!" Mohonk Mountain House, that is. It is the upstate New York castle(!)/hotel resort that inspired the author to write the fictional Bryant Mountain House. [Lightbulb moment: Dirty Dancing took place in the Catskills at a place just like this!] I checked the website and stalked their Instagram. The location is beautiful. I feel drawn to the Hudson Valley even more. 

Theme: Love as an actual, literal leap of faith. (Brilliant!) More themes: Friendship. Family. Tradition. Community. Creating and building new families. Love after loss. Vulnerability. Dynasties. Home. Preservation. Change.

Pick up a copy of the book here:
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