If you are considering a dive into the wonderful world of painting as a hobby, consider trying watercolors in your initial artistic endeavors. Although watercolor painting has received a bit of a bad rap as far as level of difficulty and frustration, it can actually be a wonderful way for a budding artist to create beautiful masterpieces.There are many advantages to selecting watercolor over other mediums, but one of the best is that watercolor tends to be a fairly forgiving type of paint to try. In fact, many beautiful images have been created in watercolor painting by making the most of a happy accident. Through blending and washing, you can find many striking effects for in watercolor.Reasons to Consider Giving Watercolor Painting a tryAnother big advantage to watercolor painting is that it is quick. A painting can be completed in an hour in some cases. For the hobbyist with limited time, watercolor painting can be found to be quite satisfying, since projects can be completed in a short time frame. It does not require many supplies, which keeps the cost down when you are just beginning your hobby.This type of painting is also very portable, making it easy for travel. Watercolor dries quickly, and you don’t have to worry about smudging or smearing like you do with pastels or charcoal sketches. The strokes and washes required to create a final product are much simpler to learn than one might think, and allow a new artist plenty of freedom to experiment and add a personal touch to pieces.Techniques of Watercolor PaintingThere are many different techniques that you can incorporate into your watercolor paintings. One of the more basic techniques is called a flat wash, and is used to cover large areas of your painting. It is done by dampening your canvas, and spreading your paint from the top to the bottom using a large brush to move the color quickly and in broad strokes. Another good technique is called the wet in wet, and requires wetting your canvas with a spray bottle before applying your watercolor.You can achieve the opposite effect with a dry brush technique that uses a dry surface and a pigment. This technique can actually add texture to your watercolor painting. For best results, it is a good idea to combine a number of techniques into each watercolor painting to add focal points and create maximum impact.If you are thinking that watercolor painting might be a fun hobby for you to try, your next step should be into your local art or craft store to find supplies and perhaps get advice from a professional as to how to get started. There are classes, books and instructional videos that can teach you the basics of watercolor painting. Unleash your artistic ability by creating a watercolor masterpiece today!
Posted by jt

Are you looking for a new arts and crafts idea for your kids? Or maybe you are a recreation director at a senior centre or nursing home and could use a new project. Either way, this arts and crafts idea will be interesting and fun for all. This glass case can be used, given as a gift, or converted into a necklace purse.

To make the glasses case, you will need the following simple materials: a square of craft foam, plastic or large blunt needles, lanyard lace or thick yarn. Cut two rectangles from the foam, each 3-1/2 inches (9 cm.) by 6 inches (15 cm.). With a hole punch, make holes on three sides of each rectangle, leaving one short side unpunched. Make the holes 1/2 inch apart and allow at least 1/4 inch between the hole and the edge of the craft foam. The holes need to line up so that the two pieces can be laced together. If you are preparing the craft for small children, you should make the holes yourself. Otherwise, the crafters can do this step if you have enough pairs of hole punches.

At this point the crafters can cut decorative shapes from other colours of craft foam, or you can buy sets of ready-cut foam shapes. If you are doing the craft at a special event, like vacation Bible school, choose shapes that echo the theme of the event. For instance, if the Bible school or camp has a cowboy theme, find shapes that fit well, such as boots, cowboy hats, and stars. Let the kids choose the shapes they like and glue on as desired. You might also like to provide beads or sequins to glue on as well, especially if the crafters are a little older.

The next step in this arts and crafts idea is to thread the plastic needle with the yarn or lanyard lace. Yarn might be a little easier to handle, but lanyard lace is shiny and attractive. In a pinch, some teachers of small children use a bobby pin as a needle. It is certainly a safe alternative. Simply loop the yarn through the opening and use the open end of the bobby pin as if it were the point of the needle. The children can now begin to lace the front and back of the glasses case together.

To turn this arts and crafts idea into a necklace purse, simply attach a piece of lanyard lace to each corner making a long handle. Kids will enjoy using this case as a place to store secret notes and small objects. If they'd rather, they can give the glasses case to a parent, grandparent, or friend who wears glasses. Either way, this arts and crafts idea will be interesting for all.

Posted by jt

Martial Arts is one of the contributions of Asia to the world. Who can forget Bruce Lee and the fact that he was first and foremost a martial arts athlete before being a movie star? Even until now martial arts is still a big hit with the increasing popularity of Asian movies like crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and more recently the House of the Flying Daggers.

The Chinese are the first people that come to mind when it comes to these things but the Japanese are just as athletic with a rich heritage of body contact sports that can be found in their history. The modern Japan still gives honor to these things by holding tournaments and promoting such sports abroad,

One of these is Aikido. It is interesting to note that the word comes from three Japanese words from which one can derive the meaning of the one word. Ai means joining, Ki means spirit and Do means way. From this we can understand why Aikido is beyond just the physical skills of it students especially sin its proponent Ueshiba focused more on the spiritual and philosophical development of his students.

In Aikido, one is not taught violence instead one is taught to be in harmony with the opponent to be able to defeat. This might seem odd but it actually works. In approaching an opponent, the aim of the Aikido practitioner is to be one with the opponent to be able to attack him where he is weakest and in doing so diver or immobilize him but never to kill.

This is where Aikido becomes an art. Art is something beautiful to watch and something positive and Aikido is all that. At least one of the people involved in the fighting strives for harmony and harmony can only be achieved if there is grace in the movements. The moves maybe calculated but there is an air of finesse in doing these movements, not a womanly finesse but just a finesse that emanates peace. The art of peace as what they call in Aikido is one of the most positive influences of Aikido to its students and to everyone who choose to know about this Japanese martial art.

Some of the techniques in Aikido include the following. Ikkyo is the first technique. Using this technique you control an opponent by using one hand in holding the elbow and one near the wrist, this action is supposed to make you pin your opponent down in the ground. Nikyo the second technique is when you do an adductive wristlock that enables you to twist the arm of your opponent that will in turn cause enough nerve pressure.

The third technique is Sankyo which is a pronating technique that directs upward-spiraling tension throughout the arm, elbow and shoulder. There are many other techniques but the first three should get you started.

In studying Aikido, it is important to remember that along with building physical strength to be able to defeat your opponent the mental capacity should also be developed. Just like in any art, it takes a lot of practice and discipline to perfect the art of Aikido. The important thing is the one who wants to get into the art should have determination to give honor to the art by performing it in the best way possible.

Posted by jt

What is aikido?

Aikido is one of the oldest form of martial arts. Founded by Morihei Ueshiba, aikido came about through the studies of many different kinds of traditional martial arts. In fact, is often perceived as a form of exercise or a dance because of some of its forms. It is also viewed by some quarters as some form of martial mesmerism.

Aikido is even confused with Daito Ryu Aikijutsu, it is different in its essence. Still, its founder attributed his creation of aikido to the way, his master Sokaku Takeda, grandmaster of Daito Ryu, opened his eyes to the nature of Budo.

Despite its many perceived forms, aikido is a Budo or martial arts. It is the refinement of the techniques that are being taught in traditional martial arts and is combined with a philosophy that calls on for the power of the spirit. In its essence, it is a blending of the body and the mind.

Its philosophy is basically derived from the belief that deceptions and trickery or brute force will not make us defeat our opponents. Instead, concentration that involves the spirit will be enough to strengthen us.

Aikido is also used as a way to discover our true paths so that we can develop our individuality. It also teaches its practitioners to unify their body and their mind so that they will become in harmony with the “universe” and with nature. Their power and their strength will come from this balance and harmony.

The word “universe” in aikido is not some obscure concept that one cannot achieve. It is actually quite concrete and is even within the grasp of the person. In aikido, “universe” can be achieved through actual experiences and everyday life.

Aikido’s movements and techniques are circular. When a circle is created in aikido, the person is said to be protected from a collision from an opposing force. A firm center, however, is needed to create this circle. An example of a firm circle is a spinning top that turns at fast speed. Without a firm center, the speed of movement will only create imbalance. The stillness of the spinning top while in speeding motion is what is called sumikiri in Aikido language. This is achieved only by what Aikido founder calls “total clarity of mind and body.” However, this is not so easily achieved. It takes a long time of study and practice in order to find this intense concentration and centeredness.

Training is important in aikido as well as concentration because while it may be easy to create a centered being when inside a martial arts gym, the same cannot be said of situations and circumstances outside. It will not be easy to keep one’s composure when faced with extraordinary circumstances. This is actually one of the goals of Aikido training. It aims to teach its practitioners to maintain their composure and their centeredness even in panic situations such as danger and calamities.

One method taught in aikido is to breathe with what is called the seika tanden point. This is the part of the body that can be found two inches below the navel. Controlled breathing is one key to being one with the universe and to center oneself with nature. When a person learns to do this, he or she will feel extraordinary calmness that they can use in the practice of aikido.
Posted by jt
This article will introduce beginners to some of the more popular and basic watercolor painting techniques.
This article will provide you with a general understanding of some of the more basic watercolor painting techniques.

Flat Wash Technique - The flat wash technique is one of the more basic and common of the various techniques. The flat wash technique is usually used when large areas of the canvas need to be covered. You will want to lay out the watercolor wash evenly and uniformly. First you will need to dampen the area of your canvas where you will be applying the watercolor wash. Make certain to have an adequate amount of water and pigment available before your start.

If you should have to stop for any reason, it will be difficult to match your layers.. It is better to have more than less available. The angle at which you apply the watercolor wash is important. If the angle is too steep your wash will run down the paper. If the angle is too level, then you won't have enough movement. Use a large brush for this technique and start your first stroke at the top of the paper. Continue applying the watercolor wash going down the paper, but alternate sides as you move down.

Glazing Technique - The glazing technique is when you apply a thin transparent color over a completed dry layer of color. This technique creates some very interesting blends of new color. You will need to use a non-staining, transparent color for this watercolor technique. You should use a soft brush and don't apply that much pressure.

Wet In Wet Technique - Wet in wet is simply applying a wet wash over a wet surface. You start by evenly wetting the paper with a brush or spray bottle. Have a sponge handy to absorb any excess water. You want your paper to be evenly saturated. Then apply your watercolor.

Dry Brush Technique - With the dry brush technique, your paper is completely dry. You then apply a fairly dry pigment with very little water to the paper.

The dry brush technique should only be used where you want to draw focus or create texture in your painting. It's always a good idea to use various watercolor brush techniques in a single painting. This results in a more interesting painting.

Lifting Off Technique - Artists use this technique when they want to remove watercolor from a certain area of the panting. It is usually done by first wetting the area that needs to be removed with a clean sponge and then absorbing the color with a tissue. If you find that the color does not come off right away, then let the water soak in a bit longer and try again. If you still are unable to remove the color, then dampen a bristle brush and gently scrub the area. You should use extreme care with this watercolor technique, as there is a risk you can damage the paper.

I hope this article on watercolor techniques has helped. Happy Painting!

For more great watercolor techniques, head over to http://www.creativespotlite.com/watercolor-techniques.htm. Another site you may find of interest is http://www.artsymmetry.com where you will find more great art articles.
By Ralph Serpe
Published: 4/8/2006
Posted by jt
If you are new to watercolor painting and not sure what supplies to buy or how to setup your studio, this article will give you a great head start.
Like any new form of art, watercolor painting can be difficult at first. It is only with time and practice that one becomes a better painter. Never become discouraged by your mistakes or lack of progress.

To start watercolor painting you will obviously need to purchase supplies. Purchase the best possible materials that you can afford. We all want to save as much money as possible, but if you work with cheap materials, you are not going to be happy with the end result, especially if you spend days or even months on a particular painting.

This does not mean you should go out and spend hundreds of dollars on top of the line supplies right away. Start off buying a small amount of good quality supplies until you become more experienced.


The quality and texture of the watercolor paper you choose will have a dramatic effect on the final outcome of your painting. Watercolor paper comes in several different categories: cold pressed, hot pressed, and rough. Rough paper has the highest tooth of all watercolor papers, giving you the most texture. Hot pressed paper has the smoothest surface available. Cold pressed paper has a slight texture to it and is more versatile. Cold pressed paper is the most popular paper amongst watercolor artists.

Two other things to be aware of when purchasing your watercolor paper are sizing and weight. Sizing is when the fibers of the paper are treated to make them less absorbent. The weight of the paper is the weight measured in pounds of one ream (approximately 500 Sheets). A heavier paper would have a weight of 300lbs or more, while a lighter paper would have a weight of 90 or 140lbs for example. The lighter the paper, the more likely it will wrinkle when wet. Lighter paper should be stretched to avoid this.

You will have to experiment with the different papers to find the one you like most.


Watercolor paints come in both Student and Artist quality. Artist quality paint has a more intense vibrant color. Student grade paints have more fillers in them rather than pigment, which is why they are less expensive. Many artists recommend only using artist quality paints, but it really is a matter of taste. Experiment on your own with both grades to form your own opinion.

Watercolor paint is available in tubes and pans. With watercolor pans, you have to add water to the dry cake in order for it to be workable. With pans, make sure your brush is clean before picking up a new color; otherwise you will dirty your colors. With a tube, the paint is more workable, but be careful not to squeeze out more paint then you need.

Purchase only a few primary colors and learn how to mix your own colors rather than purchasing premixed colors.

When you become more experienced, you can then start incorporating more colors into your palette.


Brushes are probably the most important part of an artist's supplies. The watercolor brush should be of good quality, with the ability to perform well under most conditions.

Brushes come in an assortment of sizes and shapes. There are both natural hair brushes and synthetic brushes. Natural hair brushes are more expensive, while synthetic brushes may not perform as well as natural brushes. It is therefore recommended that you purchase a blended brush that is made with both natural and synthetic hairs.

You do not need a ton of brushes to get started in watercolor painting. In the beginning, a few good brushes should do the trick.

You should at least purchase a round brush, a flat wash brush, an oval wash or mop brush, and a rigger or liner brush for fine details.


You will need a palette for mixing your watercolor paint. The best kind of palette for mixing watercolor paints is a white palette. Since watercolor paint is transparent, a white surface seems to be the best color for clearly seeing your mixtures.


Now that you have a basic of idea of the watercolor supplies you need, it's time to find a place to setup your studio. You will want a location in your home or elsewhere that is quiet and where you will not be interrupted.

Next you will need a painting table. If you can, invest in a drafting table. If not, you can use a regular table. Whatever kind of table you use to paint on, it is important that your painting surface is inclined to a 15 or so degree angle.

Next you want to make sure you have an organized and clean painting area before you begin. Make certain that you have all the materials you will need within reach for that particular painting session.

Here are some things you should consider having in your watercolor studio:

- A large see through plastic jug to hold water.
- A clean absorbent cotton rag for drying your brushes
- A spray bottle filled with water to keep your paint wet and your palette clean
- Pencils for sketching
- Erasers
- A sketchpad for doing preliminary sketches.
- Container for your brushes


Many painters often struggle with this question. If you find yourself feeling uninspired or confused about what to paint, simply remember what subject in life that you feel an emotional or deep connection with. When you have this type of connection to a subject, your painting will reflect that passion and you will not lose interest.

You can develop great ideas for subjects in a variety of different ways. If you are a lover of the outdoors and nature, simply taking a trip with a camera can do wonders. If you love animals, you could take a trip to the zoo and snap off some shots or head to an aquarium and do the same. Take your photos back to your studio and find the most desirable subject for your painting.

By Ralph Serpe
Published: 3/16/2007
Posted by jt

How to do glass-painting and prepare a unique gift to commemorate a special occasion in a special person's life? Hand-made gifts are always treasured.

There are a wide variety of paints manufactured especially for painting on glass. These can be water-based or oil-based. While the oil-based paints are more glossy and iridescent, a beginner would do well to start off with a water-based paint as they are easier to handle.

The paints may be opaque or translucent. While the former is better suited for conventional patterns like figures and still-life, the later gives an enchanting, shimmering quality to the paintings, particularly used for making sun-catchers. Any one might be chosen, but it is advisable not to use both varieties in the same painting. Each has its own texture and these do not gel.

Glass liners are available, conveniently packaged into tubes. These are again of myriad hues, but a black liner is recommended. It gives a clear definition to the outlines making the paintings stand out.


  • A clean piece of glass, of the desired size. For a first-timer, a square piece of size 8X8”
  • Glass liners
  • Glass paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Nail-polish remover
  • A soft piece of cloth


1. Choose a pattern. For a glass painting, a pattern must be clean lined, with minimum intricate curving and pointed corners. Here is a website that offers excellent patterns for free.

2. Once a pattern is selected, copy it on to a piece of paper of the same size as the piece of glass. The pattern must be drawn exactly on the center of the sheet. A margin of at least one-and-a-half inches must be left out on every side of the page.

3. Place the sheet on a flat surface and the glass on top of it, in perfect alignment with the piece of paper.

4. Trace out the outline carefully on the glass with the glass-liner, squeezing the tube from the bottom.

5. Take care not to smudge any part of the the traced pattern while working upon another part of the drawing. If this happens accidentally, swab the smudged portion with cotton-wool dipped in a little nail polish remover, then wipe out the surface with a clean dry piece of cloth.

6. Once the whole pattern has been traced, leave it to dry for about 3-4 hours. It may also be blow-dried with hot air to hasten up the drying process.

7. After the glass painting pattern has dried completely, start filling it in with glass colors of your choice. Use one-directional strokes to fill in the paint. Avoid spilling, do not take two much paint.

8. Use fine-tipped brushes to fill out the corners and areas near the outlines. From time to time, lift up the glass and look at the painting from underneath, any unfilled portion will be visible and can be filled out.

9. Pierce with a fine needle any bubbles that may appear, or gently brush them on to the glass painting outlines and out of the painting. Then wipe off the extra color outside the outlines with nail-polish remover.

10. Never put two coats of paint on any one portion. It will stand out and give a very shabby appearance to the finished painting. If you have to apply two coats, go over the entire area to blend the coats properly.

11. Take care not to lift the painting up vertically while paints are still wet, in order to prevent the glass paints from dripping.

Voila! A delicate, gorgeous glass painting is created, a perfect gift for that special occasion, or for adding charm to one's own residence.

Sebanti Ghosh

Posted by jt
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