Layering Watercolors - from guest blogger Megan Harper

Layering Watercolors - from guest blogger Megan Harper

Hello everyone and welcome to my last blog for The Smiling Hippo Watercolors, now known as Waves of Expression LLC! This past summer has been filled with exciting new developments for Waves of Expression; a new office, many highly successful colorway launches, a new company name, and of course the addition of the brand rep team! This term of being a brand rep has been so amazing, the team has been great, the art- gorgeous, and I have learned so much from the other artists. 

This month was also the birthday month of The Smiling Hippo/ Waves of Expression and the owner, Holly! As part of the weekly colorway releases, there was a special edition palette celebrating 30,000 followers on instagram. For this last blog I used the Celebration mini palette, a special $10 sale pan, and the color Sunset & Vine to create a vibrant sea turtle. And for the Kids Corner, she used the cactus palette and some of her favorites from my Hippo stash! Let’s dive in.

Last week, I spent some time in the Florida panhandle and I saw so many beautiful things and was inspired by them all. However, the most wonderful animal I saw there was a sea turtle! We were crossing the bay and one swam near the boat. I was amazed at how large sea turtles are and decided on the spot to paint one. Fast forward a week, and here we are! 

The technique I’m using today is great for beginners and experienced artists alike– layering. The pigmentation relies completely on how much water you use on your paper– more water means lighter color. These paints are packed with pigments, making layering easy! One note to keep in mind: With watercolors you need to make sure the paint is totally dry between layers so you don’t end up with muddied areas.

 As always, I pre-wet the paper and applied the first layer of paint to the shell, and then allowed time to dry. This green paint is so beautiful! From what I could see there are green, gold and blue flakes in it. STUNNING!

The next layer are the scutes ( the hard plate like sections of the shell). Sea turtles have some color variation on their shells at the tops of the scutes compared to the bottom side, to capture that I used the sparkly green and then at the top a pearlescent color from the Celebration mini palette. For the scales on the flippers and head I layered a sparkly hot cocoa color from a sample shell on top of Sunset & Vine. Of course I had to put some of the star glitter in his eye! The background is the $10 sale palette and that grey really makes the bright turtle stand out- I love it! 

Kid Corner

    This time on kid corner, we will expand on last time’s ideas on how to create an almost coloring page like canvas for your little ones to enjoy.
    For this you will need Elmers school glue and regular black acrylic paint. The tricky part is getting the paint and glue to mix. I ended up putting a hefty blob in the bottle and stirring with a paintbrush handle. For older kids they can use the glue themselves, but since my little is 3, I don’t quite trust her with glue yet! I love the creative mess, but not with glue!


Same idea as the string in my last blog but this time using glue creates a  tactile painting! Simply squeeze the glue out in the desired pattern or image and let dry for a few hours. The paint and glue mixture will dry in a raised bump and leave nice strong lines to color! One thing I noticed is the glue will break down if it gets too wet, so I do not recommend pre-wetting the paper on this project.

Here my little artist is coloring in her heart page. She did pretty well sticking with one color for a while, then she got a little crazy and started mixing all the paints together. That’s her favorite, using all the colors she can at once. This brand rep opportunity has been incredible for her. She has discovered her love of art and creation! I can’t wait to see what she will continue to make as she grows up.

 And here is her final piece, she proudly presented it to me and pointed to the fridge. Silly goose!

Thank you for reading along with me this summer, and trying out all the tips and tricks for your creativity and your little one’s. I hope you enjoyed this time and I hope you stick around for the next batch of brand reps! It was so much fun being able to have this opportunity. Huge thank you to Holly and the Waves of Expression/ Smiling Hippo business!

Stay creative my friends <3


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