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i spent the last month on a pretty cool watercolor project

welcome to my blog. i know it's been over a month since i've lived, laughed and blogged, but this project i'm about to talk about has been taking up my free time and i think you'll find it worth my absence. if you don't find that this is the case, then keep that to yourself πŸ’œ

last month i announced, unsolicited, that i was making watercolors, but i was finding the shades of my old eyeshadow to be uninspiring. my problem was solved when, after therapy, i found myself wandering into the tj maxx on 6th avenue and 19th street - the one across the street from the container store and shares an entrance with marshall's and bed bath and beyond, an actual vortex into hell if there ever was one. turns out hell is both hot and the best place to buy throwaway makeup that at least 100 tourists have opened and swatched in-store. i got this sea turtle themed (?) palette for like $8.

photo of my hand with a blue and purple eyeshadow swatched on it and you can see the palette and my watercolor making gear on the table

this palette made some great paint, so i would imagine it is a good eyeshadow formula for the price - if you can find one that no one has opened and touched already. over the course of several nights after work, i'd eat a couple of gumgums (legal), mull paint, and then make these weird abstract paintings with the tools as i was cleaning them off between colors.

an abstract watercolor painting in my sketchbook of pink and gold paint, it's got a couple of boobs, a duck, and paint splatter

being high and making paint and then painting with the paint has been one of the most euphoric experiences i've ever had - it's like the polar opposite of going to the tj maxx on 6th avenue and 19th street.

photo of my kitchen table showing my watercolor gear, cards in progress, and my black cat pumagreg creeping in the background by the window

the amount of paint i could make with each color was more than i could fit back in the pan, so i was making mini-palettes out of watercolor cards so i could send to friends. that actually made the project even more special for me, being able to send a piece of it to some of the people i love.

a cropped shot of the eyeshadow palette showing some dried watercolor pans, fresh and wet ones, and shadows that i have not converted to paint yet

one of the cool things about turning an eyeshadow palette into paint while high is that you don't have to think much - the color scheme was already chosen and go well together, and imperfections basically disappear once you start painting.

photo of my watercolor gear and i'm halfway through mulling a deep blue paint

the hardest part of the process was keeping cat hair and dust from getting in the paint, which is hard when you have a pumagreg who thinks the kitchen table is a runway. but again, all those imperfections basically are moot once you're adding and painting with water. also, i have no aspirations of selling these or making money. i'm just trying to fight the war in my mind and also not spend every night melted into my couch.

photo of a watercolor paper card with blobs of dried watercolor paint on it, a mini custom palette

i wasn't sure if the mini-palette watercolor card idea would work but i think they came out great, and the folks who received them were super stoked about it.

photo of my table with 5 watercolor paper cards spread out. each have swatches of the colors inside and they say 'i made these watercolors and saved some for you to use'"'

the cards also gave me a chance to properly swatch the new paints and i think they came out so great! and after years of using my drafting table as my work desk, i finally got a proper desk for my computers so i can reclaim the table for painting a large grid showing off all the new colors in my new palette.

photo of my drafting table with a large watercolor paper that has a light grid of 18 by 18 squares on it in pencil. the palette is on the top and you can see me giving face in the mirror of the palette

i had originally planned to do a grid showing every combination but "attention to detail" is not a strength of mine after the chewables hit, so i ended up making a weird tetris board?

photo of my hand holding the used watercolor palette and a partially finished painting of a grid of colors from the palette in the background

the palette held up so well through this week-long process. once you get past the stupid (respectfully) turtle illustration on the palette, it is actually a great form factor for painting - it's got a tin exterior, the mirror is great for mixing and holding it up, and it can handle the spray of water it kept getting to activate and stay wet.

photo of my finished square painting of 18 by 18 1-inch squares using all the shades and combinations of shades from the palette i made

and that is the final product that i finished last night. it's like if ellsworth kelly illustrated that kids book with the fish that apparently everyone, except me, read.

in conclusion, that's what i've been doing over the past month and i wanted to share because it's probably the one thing that has been keeping me from spiraling into an actual vortex of hell – at least tj maxx on 6th avenue and 19th street has a visible exit.

xoxo jenn

i've been microblogging my progress on cohost if you want sneak peeks between blogs. my next adventure is a set of neon pigments i bought on etsy to turn into paint. also, i've recently been streaming with potch again, tuesdays at 8pm eastern on twitch. i plan to restart my old morning standup stream again once i'm settled into my new desk setup and job.

this was published July 23, 2022 under art living watercolor paint-making makeup upcycling