Wednesday, May 30, 2012


18x24"   Original Watercolor
by Michele Cooper

All our rhododendrons in our garden are in bloom. In fact, some of them are getting soaked in the rain and blossoms are falling off.

You can get a pretty nice bouquet out of just a few branches. I hear the best time to prune them is when they are in bloom.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Flower show on the Freeway

 If you commute Northbound on I-5 like I did today after teaching a watercolor class in Kirkland, this is the fabulous flower show you'll get!

There are Lupine, orange California Poppies, and other wildflowers growing in the median....all in full bloom right now! 
Not to worry. There was stop and go traffic, so I rolled down my window and got these photos while sitting there.

(Click the images to zoom in)
I wish I could have gotten more of the orange poppies, but they were on the other embankment, across two lanes of solid traffic.

Sketchbook Fold-Out with Apple

Two 5x7" sections showing
with 4" journal tab

Since this sketchbook journal was made accordion style, it's fun to see what you get when pages are folded out at random.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Seattle Sketches, Fold-Out

Accordion style fold out from my sketcbook

One of our favorite things to do on a weekend day is to go to Seattle and prowl around the Pike Place Market. It's always really busy then, so if you want to have a little elbow room to do a few sketches, it's best to go on a weekday morning.

My pen and ink & pen and wash drawings are done without preliminary pencil work, just a micron pen on Fabriano Artistico 140#CP watercolor paper. The pencil sketch is usually done with minimum eraser, if any, to work out the general composition. Then I can have fun and do the rest with my #8 round watercolor brush.

Two of these sketches were done earlier this year while visiting the Gaugin Exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum on a Monday in April. It was nice (read: not raining) but very windy.....and just in time to meet the deadline for the Sketchbook Project, Limited Edition.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spring Tree and flowers, sketchbook

This is the right hand section of a 24" accordion fold sketchbook panel.
It measures 5"x7".

The sunlight comes through the flowers, almost as if they are lit like candles. This type of back light in watercolor is best depicted by painting the negative space...the space around the flowers....and leaving the white paper to be tinted later.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Original Watercolor
7"x10" center of foldout
Sketchbook Project, Limited Edition

Here's another page from my sketchbook. It's the center section of an accordion foldout. It has another section either side of it, each 7"x5".

We had a long winter and the transition was almost immediate into spring. Another day in early April, and I don't think I would have caught the change.

I'll post more about this series of three sketches soon.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Moleskine Rebinding, Accordion Style

I've added a new YouTube video, demonstrating how to replace the thinner paper from a Moleskine sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project, Limited Edition, with #140 Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper. This is necessary for me because I often do ink & wash or watercolor sketches in my sketchbook and I need the proper absorbency of the real watercolor paper.

I bind it accordion style so that more paper can fit without stacking too thickly into the binding.
This also gives me the option of several format choices, running across more than one fold at a time.

I have another video here, showing exactly how to sew the paper onto the cover and the materials used.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Parked in the Shade, Sketch

Original Watercolor Sketch
7"x5"  in Sketchbook Project, Limited Edition

In April, we saw the Gaugin Exhibit at Seattle Art Museum and afterwards walked around the Pike Place Market. This was "Parked in the Shade" at Post Alley.

I drew the ink drawing without previous pencil work, then painted the watercolor wash.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Free Watercolor Lesson

Original watercolors by Michele Cooper.

Two examples of tulip fields, using the principles of gradation and alternation with reference photo.

For those who are curious about what goes on in my watercolor classes, here is an excerpt from a recent session, with visual aids, demonstrations and sample assignments.

Using Walnut Ink or Liquid Pencil, study lights and darks of your subject.

Select one of your reference photos or sketches. Make one or two eighth sheet watercolor sketches to work out the composition, then use the sketch to make a larger painting.

Have fun, all you Sunday painters!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Final Day of Show is Wednesday

 My show of original watercolors will be up for one more day at Gallery by the Bay.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 1, is a bonus day for the exhibit, which had been scheduled to end on April, 28. The gallery hours are 11-5.