Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tulip Field with Trees

I have resolved to do better at keeping up my "daily painting blog".

My reasons (or excuses) for the evidently sad neglect:

1. Life interrupts while trying to keep up these pages.

2. Autumn light is irresistible and I have been out there just taking it all in.

3. My weekly classes are now at the stage where I have a pretty good idea of the direction I want to take the individuals who attend. That takes a lot of extra thought and preparation.

So I found this photo of a painting I did on location during the tulip festival in Mt Vernon last April. All these colors are off the ground now and in the trees. But not for long.

Gotta go back out there and get another look before it all goes away!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Bluffs at Ebey's Landing -- SOLD

So here's the final result. This is the painting that was sold the next day at the Plein Air Painters' US Open.

No matter what the weather, this location always has something to offer. I feel grateful for the circumstances that give me such beautiful scenery to view, contemplate and paint.

Sky and Shadows

I left the sky for last.....not the usual procedure in watercolor painting, but I needed to catch the shadows on the bluffs while I could.

Now it's fine tuning while adding texture, directional strokes in the waves and more light and shadow in the foreground.

The Adolescence of the Painting

I got caught up in the painting, trying to keep up with the shadows on the bluffs.
I had to watch for those shadows as the sun kept going in and out of the clouds.

This is typically where the running commentary fades away during my demonstrations, too. The adolescence of the painting. You need all your wits about you during the adolescence of anything!

Starting the foreground and water

Here's the next step, starting the foreground and water.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On location

Here is the beginning of my interpretation of the bluffs at Ebey's Landing.

I painted this in the early afternoon on the last day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jamie Wyeth on Watercolor vs Oil

I have to admit that I usually favor watercolor over oil simply because of the clean up much easier with watercolor.

Imagine my glee when I heard this podcast of an interview with Jamie Wyeth! Seriously, though, what a privilege to be able to "sit down and converse" like this with him, just as you and I would after a day of painting. (Click on the link above and then listen to Episode 1.)

During a recent painting expedition on Whidbey Island, there was one situation where the light created a "ready made" oil painting on the cliffs at Ebey's Landing and I would have given anything to have my oil kit there that afternoon.

I painted a watercolor, framed it, it was accepted in the Plein Air Juried show and sold, all within 18 hours!

I am posting my photo of the location. What do you think?

After I hear your opinions, I may post a photo of my version of the scene in watercolor. Shall I?

Friday, May 23, 2008

River Blossoms

This Spring I have been reminiscing about the great memories created during visits with my parents and grandparents.

This is a typical view from across the river on the way to our loved ones in Eastern Washington.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Winter Nest

This is an appropriate image to start catching up with my sadly neglected blog.

Among other things, I have been "feathering my nest".

That means we have taken on the challenge of completely gutting and remodeling our main floor, including new hardwood floors, lighting, ceilings and remodeling the fireplace in the family room. Some kitchen elements have been changed, too. So it has been time consuming, but rewarding.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Homer Exhibition at AIC

The Art Institute of Chicago is hosting an exhibition of 130 watercolors by Winslow Homer. Attend, by all means, but if you are unable to go, they have a fantastic overview of the exhibit online at

Do you know exactly where his permanent studio at Prout's Neck is located? See the menu on the upper right side of that page and click "Behind the Scene" for photos of his palette and brushes, videos of basic watercolor techniques with related artwork by Homer, his locations and much more!

My two favorite painters are John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer. Who are yours?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Melon, Grapes and Plums with Shadows

Original Watercolor on Paper
10"x 18"

All done. I've erased most of the pencil marks in this one to keep the high chroma from looking dingy.

What is a Finished Painting?
My personal take on the amount of "finish" in any particular painting is to bring back the experience of being in the presence of the subject. That means using the human visual experience: where we focus on an area of the subject and leave it for a moment, choosing a few other places to look, then return to our main interest. Everything else is incidental, non-focused and merely remembered in the context of the whole experience.

I understand and appreciate work that is "super real", in other words, beyond realism. It just so happens not to be my way of interpreting what I see.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Melon, etc. Stage 5

Here is how it looks so far.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Now for the bunch of grapes

I begin to develop the large bunch of green grapes now.

Third Plum

After the group of 3 grapes, I painted the third and final plum with its shadow.

3 more grapes

Painting in progress

Three more grapes during the painting process in the composition of "Melon, Grapes and Plums with Shadows."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Still Life set up with Melon and Plums

This is a reference photo, at a slightly different angle from the real life viewpoint from which I painted today. My composition is based on tertiary colors; red-orange, blue-violet and yellow green.

One more session and I'll be done, I think.

The Grape that started it all

From the sketchbook

This was the grape that started the whole adventure with color and light today. I am still working on this painting, hoping for some more beautiful light tomorrow morning, so I won't erase any pencil marks until I'm done.

Juicy Melon

From the sketchbook

Here, I just exaggerated the colors I saw in the Tuscan Melon. They really are more flavorful!


From the sketchbook

I used analogous colors to tie the plums together. It's repetition with variation, one of the principles of design.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Picnic with Cezanne

From the Sketchbook

"Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing one's sensations." -Paul Cezanne

I have Cezanne to thank for permission to attempt an expression of color, line and shape with nothing but my paints, paper and brushes.

I set up this still life and painted it at home in anticipation of a trip to France. When we got there, I realized that the light is completely different there. I thought it would be, but, still, I was amazed!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Red Pot

From the sketchbook

A little inspiration for those who look for "exciting" color, not just what the camera would report.

Plum tomatoes and shadows

From the sketchbook

A split compememtary color scheme.

Cooking up a little color

From the sketchbook

One of our color schemes from class this week......Orange, blue and green.


From the sketchbook

Analogous-similar or equivalent in some respects, though otherwise dissimilar.
That definition refers in this case to the subject matter as well as the color.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Snow Tree Variation 1

Original Watercolor on Paper

Here is an elongated version of my snowy trees motif.

I use Picasa for most of my image work, including uploading to this blog. If you're interested, just click the little square icon that looks like a color wheel. Posted by Picasa

Snow Tree Variation 2

Original Watercolor on Paper

A vertical composition based on the snowy treescapes.

Snow Tree Variation 3

Original Watercolor on Paper

Another variation on our theme from last post.

Which one is your favorite? Variation 1, 2 or 3?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Watercolor Snow

Original Watercolor

This is the example for my watercolor classes this week. We played with wet in wet, a secret technique to make it look like it was snowing, practicing trees and using a limited palette. Fun!
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Friday, January 25, 2008


Original Watercolor

A tertiary color scheme with high chroma, intense greens. I painted a similar one a few years ago.

I enjoyed a little play on words while naming this one. "Intense" for the color quality......"Intents (Intentions) " for the purposes I planned while composing......."In tents...." for the way the apples nestled into the cloth and the shape of the peaks.

Doesn't take much to amuse myself.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Working in the Studio

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.......the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred......whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

That is one of my very favorite quotations, ever! To illustrate the concept, I am posting an example of the process I go through to get to a full sheet watercolor......often. This one started with the experience, the light, figure studies, atmosphere studies, black and white sketches, a small composition, and finally, the imperial size painting.

Yes, it takes time and effort....but it's all about the journey!
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