In Tokyo

APR 26/The Wanderlust Collective/

Art, Art Class, Inspiration, Japan, Watercolor

Wanderlust Art & Travel - Beginner’s Edition in Watercolors

Watching Anthony Bourdain’s travels gave me a new perspective on the locations I’ve traveled to.

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.”


Anthony Bourdain

Not everyone can travel, so I love bringing travel and inspiration directly to you. Last week we talked about New York City and the inspiration I pulled from there. It truly is a melting pot of so many things.

This week, we are moving onto watercolors where we’ll add drawing and loose painting skills into an inspired art piece. Learning different mediums is a great way to get lost and comfortable with materials. Watercolors have a life of their own. The way the pigment responds to paper and your personal emotional response to the subject. It almost guides you and once you touch the paper it goes on its own and makes magic happen. That's why I incorporated this medium into this course. I know you’ll love it. The important thing is to go into this without pressure and just have fun with it!

All of these courses get better with your input, so drop me a note at Margie@WanderlustCollective.art and let me know what you want to learn about using watercolors.  As always, you’ll get a special gift from me for your ideas!

Watercolor offers us, as artists, an inspired approach to the age-old process of making paintings sing.

Jeffrey J. Watkins

Let's Go to Tokyo!

Japan has been a favorite of mine. I know that every time I step foot in that country it will be an exciting inspirational experience. Tokyo is full of energy! When you go to the Shibuya district you find yourself immersed in its thousands of colorful signs. The street energy will push you to discover and experience culture in an amazing way. Even though Tokyo is a metropolis of over 13 million there is a sense of respect among the people. I think one of the first things I noticed was its cleanliness. I’m not kidding, you won’t see any litter, not a piece of paper anywhere. The food is amazing and inexpensive. It is an experience just discovering these tight confined spaces that are an adventure in itself. The views are inspiring, you’ll see Japanese botanical gardens in the center of gorgeous skyscrapers.



I feel like watercolors jumped in and said I got this...when I was choosing the medium for this adventure. It’s a pigment that has been ground in gum arabic, and is applied with brush and water. It’s usually transparent but you can make it opaque by mixing white, and this is known as gouache. The point of the transparency is that it allows freshness and luminosity in its washes. The more water you use in the washes the more the paper affects the color.



Watercolors were used by Japanese masters to paint on silk as well as handmade paper. Their art was used to express their stories, culture and used in calligraphy. The main image was typically a landscape. This was the main aspect of Western watercolor traditions in later centuries.

Painting Techniques


One of the techniques I like to use is “Wet on Wet” means that wet paint is applied to wet paper, or added to fresh wet paint. “Wet on Dry” means that you're applying wet paint on dry paper, or wet paint on an area of dry paint.  When you use these two methods together you have the creative freedom to incorporate unique textures and enhance your painting. “Wet on Wet” produces soft edges, and random effects, and really cool color graduation. “Wet on Dry” lets you obtain more detail, sharp edges and defined shapes.

Wet on Wet Technique

Wet on Dry Technique

Both Techniques in action

Having a good practice of these fun techniques will make you a versatile painter. You have to practice and get to know the characteristics of this medium to use it to your advantage, which can take a lot of patience but it's well worth it in the end! Practice makes perfect, and the possibilities are endless.


Happy Creating!



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