Saturday, June 30, 2018

Last Day for 30x30 Direct Watercolor 2018 Challenge

Last day of #30x30DirectWatercolor2018 So this is the way June goes out in the Pacific Northwest, 62°F and continually increasing rain showers all day. Thanks for the inspiration, Marc, and from all you other watercolor artists as well. This was fun!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A walk along the lake shore with sketchbooks

After packing up and cleaning our rooms, we had breakfast, met in the classroom for a few tips and then took a nature walk along the lake shore to find a spot for skeetching.
Stopping to admire all the greens there are around us.
The excursion boat leaves ripples in the lake

The dappled shade from the surrounding forest was welcome on an unusually sunny and warm day.
While we're studying trees, an otter is discovered. Bronze sculptures are to be found throughout the grounds of the North Cascade Institute.
A salamander is caught basking on a warm rock. -photo credit Marvin Yamaguchi

My watercolor lesson on trees; single and in a group

Everyone settles in for sketching in their nature journals

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Rita Sketching

I was tempted to do a contour drawing while Rita was focused on her nature journal at the top of the trail from Buster Brown Field.

I tucked this sketch into the fold over part of my handmade accordion sketchbook, ready to add watercolor washes later.
June 28, 2018 = 7:30pm Back in the studio on Thursday night, I did a live broadcast of some additions and corrections to my North Cascades nature journal. See the replay on
Some souvenirs of our weekend in the North Cascades
My 19 minute demo on Periscope includes tips on making corrections and using watercolor, watercolor pencil and pen.
Rita sketching on a windy hilltop in the North Cascades.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Arrival for a three day workshop on Nature Journaling in the NorthCascades

I'm looking forward to meeting my students for a weekend of sketching in the North Cascades.
The bridge across Diablo Dam
During the workshop, my focus will be on my students. When I have time I will draft a few articles, but I'll be posting these after we return.
The back of our classroom as seen from the surrounding path

The beautiful bronze eagles that overlook the amphitheater.
Part of the discovery at North Cascades Environmental Learning Center is the sighting of beautiful wildlife bronzes throughout the property.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Meridian Playground

On July 31, 1907 the Sisters of the Good Shepherd opened “The Home of the Good Shepherd” in north Seattle to provide shelter, education, and guidance to girls and young women in crisis. The Sisters planted and maintained a fruit orchard and vegetable garden on the eleven acre property. Part of the original grounds has become Meridian Park and includes many of the 100-year old trees the Sisters planted.
The  Playground is themed after children's books.
I used direct painting with watercolor and a waterbrush for the hand hewn look of the water faucet post. The naturalistic part of the spread was done with line and wash, using permanent ink and Prima Watercolors. My sketch buddy, Tina, uses tinted pages for many of her sketches. Scroll down her IG account to see them.

Meridian Playground is one of the few public parks in the city that remains unsprayed. The nets are an organic method of protecting the fruit from disease and insects. Volunteers maintain and harvest the fruit which is given to charities for people in need.
I couldn't resist going back for a quick pencil sketch of the little tugboat. Finished later with ink and markers.
The property is owned by the City of Seattle and much of the orchard is maintained by Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation.  The Good Shepherd Center, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is managed by Historic Seattle. Its adjacent parking lot contains 26 fruit trees which are maintained by Historic Seattle. The Seattle P-Patch Program and Seattle Tilth manage fruit trees within the learning and community garden areas.
The apples are now about the size of ping pong balls.

Cedar picnic tables make a great place to lay down your sketches while taking photos, but it's about 90°F in direct sun, and 85°F in the shade right now.

I had fun being playful with my headline and text. I felt that the bright colors of my Arteza brush markers were just the touch needed for the children's themed sketches.

Art abandonment postponed. Look for updates on my Instagram feed for the next opportunity to catch this abandoned art.

I posted this on my Instagram feed for the June monthly SeattleUSk outing. I had everything packed up in
my sketch bag the night before, but life interrupted. 

We got a surprise visit from our grandson and two little great grandchildren and just had to spend the day with them. Grilled salmon, salad, ice cold beer,  the sprinkler running in the back yard for the kids to run through, animal crackers, easy chat, relaxing on the deck; it was a great day!

Monday, June 18, 2018

#30x30DirectWatercolor2018 Day 18 #Directwatercolor It's early summer in the PNW so a faucet like this in an urban park is still without its valve.  It's very typical of the early and mid century rough hewn handmade fixtures found in our outdoor public spaces. #cedar 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

#30x30DirectWatercolor2018 Day 13 and 14

The butterfly was so quick!
Daniel Smith watercolor stick--French Ultramarine Blue
More direct watercolors from my blue and white garden for Days 13 and 14. June is the perfect month for this challenge because that's when all my blue flowers bloom. The roses are already fading now and the blue flowers will be gone in a few weeks, except for the bell floweres, lobelia and pansies.
Had to add the butterfly and the half open blossom.
I started these out on a drizzly day, testing out my blues and purples and pinks to find the right combination. Daniel Smith French Ultramarine Blue watercolor stick was better than the DS Cobalt Blue for this subject.

Then today, the sun came out and I saw the buds of my hydrangea respond by starting to open up.

I saw a very dramatically marked butterfly pollinating my subject. It was so quick, but visited again and again. That gave me a chance to note the way that it almost looks upside down and the head is not where you might think it is. I think it might be the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail.
iPhone Live photo, Press to see brief video
My husband took this live photo a few days ago. I don't know if it will react unless you see this on an iPhone or iPad, but the original photo gave a few seconds of action.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

#30x30DirectWatercolor2018 Day 11 and 12

One Dozen -- Direct Watercolor for Day 12
#30x30DirectWatercolor2018 Day 12 One Dozen, that's how many daily direct watercolors we've done in this challenge so far!
Number 11 & 12 -I used my Prima Tropical Watercolor Set for this page. and tried out my new free sable brush.

Day 11 and 12--reading from right to left.

It's a fun day in the studio today. Besides adding my daily direct watercolor to my sketchbook from the rose arbor, I got a package in the mail  of Turner Watercolor tubes, a free dot card and a free #4 round sable brush. 
Still have to say that Winsor & Newton is my favorite for the earth colors.

I'm always comparing different brands of Burnt Sienna and Raw Sienna to my favorite Winsor & Newton tubes. You can see the comparison here, so still not quite the same. I especially like the Winsor & Newton brand of raw sienna for a natural soft yellow for a glow in the sky. The Winsor & Newton burnt sienna plus French ultramarine blue give a much more neutral mix of warm and cool greys than these other burnt siennas that seem a bit redder and result in a mauve or purple type of gray.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Day Nine and Ten of 30x30 Direct Watercolor

I just got these finished for Day 9 and 10 of the #30x30DirectWatercolor2018 challenge and stepped quickly inside as it started to rain. I should have waited, because a beautiful sun break happened after the rain. On the other hand, you just have to know how to paint in diffused light if you're going to make watercolors in the PNW.
Working on Timing and expressive Brushstrokes

I feel fortunate that I have so many choices from my garden right now. I love Delphiniums for their unusual blue colors and interesting shapes all along the stem. You get to see every stage of the flower as it blooms from bottom to top.
Definitely wet on wet. Still wet while snapping a photo.
I tend to take a photo almost the instant I finish signing the painting. I sign the painting while the last brushstrokes are still wet.  There's a reflection from the sky in a bubble of wet paint, which you can probably see if you look closely at the center of the right hand stem.
Some watercolor effects after completely dry
Some watercolor effects take place while the painting is drying and aren't recorded in the snapshots that I take for social media. The Kilimanjaro paper takes much longer to dry than some other papers I use and causes a variety of surprise effects in the process. You can see this above, where I took another photo before posting this article.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Day Six of 30x30 Direct Watercolor

I think I'm catching the last of my Siberian Iris before they go to seed! Why do all my favorite flowers bloom at the same time!
No preliminary drawing, just direct watercolor with my Rosemary dagger brush.
I'm still getting used to the long wait time while the Kilimanjaro paper in my Cheap Joes Paintbook takes its time drying. Either that or it's a lot more humid around here today than I thought. But at last it's a day full of sunshine!
Getting the most out of my little bouquet.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Day Four and Five of 30x30 Direct Watercolor


I'm still frantically trying to keep up with the roses and the challenge of one direct waterccolor painting a day at the same time. I want to do several different sketches before they have to be pruned. There won't be another bloom until late August.
Just a few steps out the door from my studio.
I still need to post my Day Two sketch of the roses arched over my studio window. It's on different paper and not in this sketchbook.
After cutting a bouquet of Siberian Iris, Mock Orange and Ceanothus, I brought my sketch in to dry.
I left some room, albeit to the left of my sketch today, for tomorrow. I doubt I will have time to post these until then. (What can I say? Time is not really linear for me.) It's hard to keep up with the FaceBook group, Instagram and other social media during a marathon of sketching and painting.

Bees and Ceanothus (California Lilac)
See my post on the official 30x30 Direct Watercolor Facebook Group page for some compositional notes on why I arranged this sketch the way I did. #30x30DirectWatercolor2018
I think I saw at least 4 different types of  bees all over this ceanothus bush.

I posted the above photos plus a short little video of happy bees on my Instagram feed.
And here's what they look like together in my sketchbook.
Day 4 on the right and Day 5 on the left. :-)

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Day Three of 30x30 Direct Watercolor

From under the patio umbrella in my back garden.
This was truly a day for "wet in wet" watercolor. As you can see, I checked about halfway through and it was 52°F with 88% humidity. I am literally "zooming in" by foot, between raindrops and then retreating to paint under the patio umbrella.
Work in Progress
I used my Rosemary 1/2" dagger brush and my Kilimanjaro Paint Book, vertically this time, and marked off an approximate 5x7" area with my blue painters' tape to keep the whole thing from running off the edges. I'm realizing this paper is great for wet lifting, but the wet stage lasts quite a bit longer than I'm used to with Arches 140lb CP.

Occasionally I had to run over to my subject for a few details.
No need for squinting to eliminate extraneous detail. My painting spot gave me just the right blur for the big shapes.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Day One of 30x30 Direct Watercolor

I’ll be posting my daily practice for better or worse during this challenge 
I thought I would just step out my studio door and paint the roses covering the corner trellis. But you need sunshine and shadows for that. AND it was National Donut Day so I had important business to take care of in town as well.
So I piled a bunch of watercolor supplies in the car and found a view I like. An important part of plein air painting from the mobile studio is safe and easy parking. This spot is across from a soccer field with a wide gravel roadside entrance. 
Waiting for washes to dry.
I’m using one of my Cheap Joes sketchbooks for the first half of the month. I haven’t painted in one of these for quite a while, so I’m not surprised that there’s a bit of an adjustment to make.

Then there’s the extreme humidity today and the distraction of horses wandering around the pasture!
Oh, and apologies to the Palomino for making you look like a mule.