Water Paper Paint… Play!


I’ve been following the work of Heather Smith Jones over at her lovely blog for quite a while, having fallen in love with the delicacy of her watercolor works and her wonderful compositions. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when she brought out a book. I couldn’t get my copy fast enough.

Now that I have it, and have greedily consumed every word on every page, I have to gush… This book is fantastic! It’s not just a dry (haha!) how-to, it offers a bunch of projects to unleash your experimental side and makes you feel like a kid with your first paint set. It’s liberating!

I also love the gallery section which showcases the work of eleven other fab artists. Some, like Geninne, are firm favorites and some are new to me; like Andy Farkas. I have a passion for hand printing and Andy uses watercolor pigments mixed with rice paste instead of the usual oil-based inks to achieve stunning watery woodblock prints. Ooooh (rubs hands together) I’d love to give that a try! – And that, and that… and that! Seems like the perfect mantra for the entire book.


I’m really enjoying Heather’s exercises, being generally inspired and working with some new challenges. I love the natural loose texture that watercolor has. But finding just the right amount to use in a composition is a bit of a balancing act. What you leave out can often be more powerful than what you leave in. So I’ve been playing with the idea of just capturing the essence of something. Leaving out everything other than the essential. Revelling in one element rather than all. Sounds like a good life mantra too.


Pop on over to Our Creative Spaces for tonnes more inspired peeps.

Credits | Top four images from ‘Water Paper Paint’ by Heather Smith Jones. Published by Quarry Books. |
Pgs 140-141 : September Pages and Three Little Birds by Geninne D. Zlatkis | Pgs 134- 135 : Refresh, River Study 5 and River Study 6 by Andy Farkas | Pg 155 : Layers by Heather Smith Jones | Pg 50 : Painting for Using a Colour System by Heather Smith Jones. | Images from ‘Water Paper Paint’ are used with kind permission and are subject to copyright. Thank you Heather | Bottom two images by Alisa Coburn. 


16 thoughts on “Water Paper Paint… Play!

  1. Your photos are supurb! You have convinced me to check it out! Maybe you ought to get a commission ;o) I love the moth/butterfly image…perfect blend of detail and light, xo

  2. I just LOVE this beautiful book too! I am currently working my way through it and loving every minute of it! It so much fun to learn new things! Great review!!

    I love your watercolour work photos… beautiful 🙂

  3. The bottom photo is so pretty, wouldn’t it be great if you can actually paint that! Water colours are great & I think they are under-used nowadays.

  4. Watercolour mixed with rice paste for printing? How exciting! (rushes off to investigate further….)

  5. This is one of my favorite books. I have only done a few exercises, but I plan to start working my way through it more methodically once I finish another one I’ve started. The photos in it are so inspiring!

  6. I am finding exactly that with my latest watercolour ideas. I need to loosen up, relinquish some control, just let it be. Will have to look for that book!

  7. Hey Alisa,

    Thanks for visting my blog and for your lovely comments. Your blog post on watercolours is really lovely, that book looks gorgeous- the birds wow! I have started a watercolur today of a daisy, which is an exercise from a watercolour book, and I am loving it- I will do a post on my blog when it is done. You have taken some lovely photos on your blog-what camera do you use? Keep creating 🙂

    Ruby-Robin ox

  8. Alisa, you are so incredibly kind. I appreciate every word you’re written about my book. And I am thrilled you are enjoying watercolor and most of all, having fun exploring! To chime in with your nice readers, your photos are lovely, as is your blog.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Water Paper Paint!

    1. Oh how fab Belinda, Dawn Tan is great. I’d love to do a class over at the Harvest Workrooms ~ Printing, Watercolour… whatever really! Thanks for the link. 🙂

      I’m so glad you liked the post Heather. Believe me, it was my pleasure! 🙂

  9. Alisa!! I am still smiling from the gorgeous, gorgeous package I received late yesterday!!! I wanted to send a big huge hug and thanks for your generosity – the art piece is going to be a treasured part of my collection here, and my little one is already fighting me for the fox gocco! I am going to frame them right away. You are SO very talented -so diverse and I am so happy that you wanted to participate in the art exchange after all. You are a gem, many thanks!!!
    And, I’ve posted about ya today – hope you don’t mind..I was a bit geeky yesterday and it spills over today : )

  10. Hi Alisa

    First time here via Shirley’s…cute illos; fox and the lovely lil girl. The Langston Hughes version is fab too. I can see simple & elegant looking illos here…Loved the visit.


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