In my imagination watercolor

a watercolor study in atmospheric perspective and values, in two colors: Indigo and Quin Burnt Orange 8″ x 11″ Arches 140 lb

In my imagination I’d love to visit this place. It can’t be found anywhere on earth, and it was fun creating it.

It came together accidentally. I love that about watercolor, you know those happy accidents, if one is awake enough to realize it isn’t a mistake and brush over it.

I was learning about how how we perceive distance, 3D in a flat/2D medium as watercolor.  Vistas further away in the landscape are more blue and more light in value than the ones near us. Nearer items are more detailed, further objects have softer edges.

So I laid down a  pale blue wash, let it dry and then put in the furthest mountains when my brush skipped across the paper, leaving pale areas.  I let it go, realizing that it could look like far away water, and then I “felt” my way through the closer layers of mountains, berms, shrubs, more water, etc. came to life. Hope you like it!  I do…

Harvest Mouse

8″ x 11″ watercolor on Arches 140 lb

This little piece is from a challenge on the Watercolor Workshop yahoo group to paint from a mouse picture. I had fun figuring out how to get the fur texture on the little creature and played with color on the seed pod.

dried branch of leaves watercolor

8″ x 11″ watercolor on Arches 140 lb

I find lots of cool things on my daily dog walk, and this branch of curled deep maroon leaves was a special find recently. I really enjoyed trying to get the shape and form of each curled leaf.

Tulie watercolor

Tulie, 11″ x 15″ watercolor on Arches 140 lb

No really, she’s a sweet girl and we love her to pieces.  This was another attempt at fur/animal hair. I took some in process photos on this one, so you could see at least some of the stages.  I think I will call this done, even though I could put a background on it.

Tulie in progress  sketch

in progress photo and pencil sketch to “get to know” her face

Noses are quite funny to draw!  This was a fun way to spend the time waiting at a doctor’s appointment for a friend. Got into a neat discussion about sketching with a patient who was also waiting.  You can see I have her photo printed in color and black and white. With her, there isn’t a whole lot of difference!

Tulie watercolor 1st layer

I call this “ghost dog”

This is the first layer of watercolor, using Indigo (a really dark blue), burnt sienna, and yellow ochre. In my original sketch on the watercolor paper, I had drawn in hair that hung over one eye, but I somehow lost it in the layers of paint and then real life got in the way, I picked it up to finish it about 10 days later, and it completely slipped my mind.  Once the darks of the eyes are down, I didn’t want to mess with trying to lift them to get that hair.  No doubt I will be painting the little poppet again…  no worries.

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise, watercolor

Take a Bite!

Take a Bite! Watercolor

These paintings are framed and ready to take in this morning to the Arts International show running October 4-November 1, 2014 at the Art Junction, 500 W. Paisano, El Paso, TX

My goal this year was to submit at least one watercolor to this five state/two country annual show, and I submitted three and two were accepted!  So, if you’re local, please stop down and see the show.  The gala opening is 6-9 on Saturday night October 4th with good food and drinks!  All works are for sale.  Hope to see you there.

Mexican Bird of Paradise in progress

Mexican Bird of Paradise in progress

So here it is in progress, the Mexican Bird of Paradise.  Leaving it for the day to ponder what the background will be.  I find backgrounds hard to do, largely because I underestimate how much of a paint puddle I’ll need for it, and remixing midway is NOT good, I got water blossoms (the kind you don’t want to get) and hard edges, and just plain yuck.  Doesn’t help that I find I hold my breath while painting it…  note to self, find a way to calm down.  Perhaps I should do the backgrounds first?  get them out of the way.  

I’d like a background on this before working more on the detail.  Parts I like on it are the triangle composition, most detail on the blossom on the left, second most detail on the top, and the bottom is more dull.  Don’t want to draw your eye out of the painting.  

Do you think the diagonal lines draw your eye out of the painting?  or do the flowers keep your eye engaged?  

Lantana and Ruellia studies

Lantana and Ruellia (Mexican petunia) watercolor studies

Yesterday I spent a lovely morning in the garden, first studying the leaf structure of the plants, then sketching them, being careful to try and put layers of leaves and blossoms underneath others, and then painting these little studies freehand.

It’s funny, seems like common sense but probably comes from learning.  When sketching a garden, I should look for what makes each plant structure unique, not just the colors of the blossoms.  As I said, common sense.  but this sketching day I realized it, so I noticed that the ruellia has the buds and remainders of buds near the top and the leaves are longer and pointy.  The lantana has a cluster of two under the blossom…on the study I went a bit over that number… LOL…I was having fun watching the blues and yellow blend on the paper.

And now off to sketch the Red bird of paradise onto watercolor paper and start painting!  Hope you are enjoying these summer days as much as I am. Life is good…

Red Mexican bird of paradise sketch

Red Mexican bird of paradise sketch

The glorious red Mexican Bird of Paradise is in full bloom so I’m setting out to paint it again.  Here’s a pencil sketch from the sketchbook with wc on top.  Next step is sketching onto watercolor paper, so watch this space!


Spent the morning outside practicing painting outside trying to capture the sun before it moved too much.

This is my behind neighbor’s chimney in the sun framed by my tree. 20140706-132816-48496102.jpg
This started as several separate studies of perennials in my garden (lantana, salvia, and ruellia) and then combined w a dead tree we are keeping because downy woodpeckers visit it for bugs every morning. Woodpeckers are special birds to me. So it is my garden in essence, but not an exact replica of where stone fences, tree and flowers exist.
and this a fast study on sketchbook paper of part of my hand.

Fruit and pitcher watercolor still life

Washed in Light, watercolor

Luscious fruit posed in front of a favorite pitcher with a strong light on it for cool shadow potential.  My favorites are the grapes. and my least favorite is the apple.  How about you?


I read somewhere recently that the best thing to do is ask friends for what parts of the painting jump out at them as not seeming right, not participating in the full dimensional effect that we want in a painting.  So C and C are always welcome!  what doesn’t work for you?


Embellished Purses

September 2014
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