On to the next painting, this time of the back of Origin. I must admit that it has been several weeks since I painted the front and ideally, they would be painted “back to back”, so to speak, to keep the colors consistent. I found myself puzzling a bit, trying to remember which of my paints I had used the first time, for the front.

I started watercolor about 2 years ago and started in ernest with the delivery of the Daniel Smith Extra Fine Essential Introductory Watercolor set to our cottage in Nebraska. I took advice I found in the books in the San Marcos Public LIbrary to heart, that the very best materials will produce better results. I quickly purchased a secondary color set that included Undersea Green, Quiacridone Burnt Orange and Carbazole Violet. But it was Daniel Smith Cascade Green that made me fall in love with watercolor. The granulation of the color in water, the blooms and how quickly the shadows of trees emerged from the spreading paint, suddenly watercolor stopped being “weak tea” compared with oil and acrylic and became a living moving force. Watercolor is like putting a saddle on a water dragon, holding on for dear life while the spirit spurts across the sky.

In the case of this specific painting, I have used a Yellow Ochre that is left from a watercolor set I had purchased in Vancouver while at a conference in 2016. This was a MungYo set, from South Korea, and has been dependable and durable, although not as inspiring as the Daniel Smith paints. I also used Schminke Prussian Blue to represent the chambray and used Daniel Smith Cobalt Teal Blue as the green linen. These two colors are brought back into the batik as well as the Daniel Smith Carbazole Violet, Cascade Green and Schminke Indigo.


In a nod back to my previous 100 Day challenge, I am also planning on doing some digital textile design that I can use to print more unique fabrics inspired by my Oneshirts. This is where the watercolors of each shirt will come in handy. I started by scanning the painting of the front of Origin and then used the offset filter in Photoshop, plus the cloning tool and some paintbrushes, to make an endless repeat drawn from the painting.

And so this..

became this..


which looks like this when applied across a larger space.

This fabric is not necessarily the one I will pay $18 a yard to print, but it demonstrates the concept. I am upcycling design ideas, not just materials.

Now that I have set the stage with a description of the initial Oneshirts and described the digital design element, I want to bring in painting.

I learned painting, starting with oil painting, from my paternal grandmother when I was in late elementary school. One year for my birthday, several years after I was given a sewing machine, my birthday present was an easel and some oil paints. My grandmother, Eula, had a painting studio on the unheated porch that wrapped around two sides of the barn the my grandfather built around the school bus he had converted into a mobile home. During the summer, I could sit next to my grandmother and try to soak up her simple advice. Her interest in art began when she spent high school in the Jewish Hospital in Denver, a public sanatorium for tubercular patients. She cut poems and pictures from magazines for her scrap books.

I stopped painting a few years later and only picked it up again five years ago, after my mother’s death. Since then, I have found watercolor and silk painting to be my preferred mediums, not feeling constrained to attempt realism, a leap my grandmother didn’t make.

Oneshirts can not only be my canvas, they can be my subject. I intend to paint a watercolor of the front and back of each of my oneshirts. To this end, I used Adobe Illustrator to make a basic “flat” that I can transfer to watercolor paper using carbon paper. From there, I can indulge the pandemically suitable activity of coloring.


Here is the front of Origin, one of the first Oneshirts. Each day I wear a shirt I haven’t yet documented, I stand in front of my phone on a tripod and take a picture of my front and back using the remote in my iWatch. Eventually I will have documentation of every oneshirt and have all I need for a full set of painting.

Origin from the side.