Chile Trio 30 in 30 days 22-24

I ran across fresh chiles in the produce aisle last week and carefully picked out colorful ones with interesting shapes.  In the back of my mind was the NM Watercolor Spring Show in Las Cruces whose theme is New Mexico food.

I placed them on a white board and lit them strongly with a small lamp perched on a tissue box to get a neat angle.


Chile Trio photo

Once happy with the arrangement I did several sketches, one small in my book, another more life size, 9 x 12, and used paint to put in the shadows an indicate which areas were kind of fuzzy rather than sharp edged.


Chile Trio sketch

Then the fun began because I put in various colors of yellow and blue trying to get some of the shadows that form the shapes.  Some of the pigments bled bigger than I expected, oh the joys of watercolor!, and I forgot to snap a photo after just the first stage.  This one is actually after I went in on top and started the middle chile.


Chile Trio stage 1

On the next day I went in with bold colors and let them mingle together and had fun with portraying the shapes. I used a cool and warm orange on top of the yellows, and actually used the Cascade Green from Daniel Smith because it was squeezed on my palette and it blended well.  Not sure I would have chosen it if it weren’t just “there”.


Chile Trio stage 2

And then the next day I put in more details and the shadows, some of which have beautiful blending of colors. I realized that I was working from the actual chiles in addition to the photo and in the mix, got my shadows mixed up, and also I was reacting to where the colors had formed on my paper.  Just a huge fun bunch of color that I think turned out kinda cool.


Chile Trio stage 3

There is more to be done, or perhaps a new one to paint, but for now, I’m relieved that I’ve gotten time to make this post!  I’ve been busy choosing paintings to print, learning how to cut matboard, and getting an inventory to perhaps to a small indoor sale in October and take some to the gallery.  The next step after that is to set up an online store on my site.  always something more to do!!

Hope you enjoyed my Chile Trio.  I’d love to hear from you.  Thanks for stopping by!



Mail call

matimg_20160918_095424This was mail call the other day.  Plenty of full sheets and half sheets of matboard, some paint tubes, including Daniel Smith’s Cascade Green (a phenomenal color!) and some alternatives to watercolor paper/mat/frame.  A fun day!

Today I ordered more: a bigger tube of cascade green — wait until I show you the playing around with that — a wringer to fully empty tubes, and other stuff…oh yes, and clear bags to put matted prints in to sell.

French painter stage 2 — 30 in 30 day 15


French painter a la Julie Caffee-Cruz


In painting class again this week with Julie Caffee-Cruz, we worked more on our version of her award winning painting, Parisian Artist.  It is fascinating to see how differently they all  are turning out, and in fact how different her own painting this time differs from the last time.  His scarf is done with borrowed paint, Schminke Translucent Orange, which is such a yummy color.  I may have to get that for my own collection!  I haven’t done his water bowl yet, so  perhaps that will be orange too to tie in that color a bit more.

Here’s how it looked before the class. I had to do a lot more sketching in of the details before starting to paint. There are still some details left to do on it, and it was a great learning experience.


Have you used Schminke paints? If so, what colors are your favorite?  Or what orange is your fav?

Thanks for stopping by.  I enjoy hearing your reactions to my paintings or my ramblings…

See you at the ADC show?

My watercolor “Balcony View” was juried into the Ardovino’s Desert Crossing Celebration of our Mountains art show, and the opening is this Thursday from 6-9.  Will I see you there?

I’m excited about going first of all because it’s the first time I’m in this long running show, and second because the food there is amazing!  and the whole vibe is fabulous.

The painting was done “en plein air” painting outside with our local group.  I’ve written about the process here and here. It is framed to 16″ x 20″ and is $250.

Charley finished! — 30 in 30 day 13


I am very pleased to announce that my first commission, Charley, is finished and the owner loves it!  I asked if I could quote her.  She said “The painting makes my heart smile!”

I am so glad.  Doing the commission was a great and pleasurable learning experience that I would definitely do again. You can see the last post on this commission, and the first post. 

I’ve ordered the matboard for it, she decided on an offwhite and a steel gray blue, and I’ll post a photo when it’s framed.  The painting itself is 13″ by 15″ so I’m thankful I have a mat cutter so I can cut this custom size myself.

I’m counting this as part of the 30 in 30 because we last saw it without a background and I’ve added that this week.  Once again life is busy so I’m not posting every day but I am painting most days, and that’s a habit that I will be happy to continue.  That’s my goal for this month and next…painting most days and posting several times a week.  Wish me luck!

Speaking of goals, I’ve ordered a variety of matboard colors and will soon have prints in standard sizes for sale at the Sunland Art Gallery and later this fall, available online.  Stay tuned!

Playing in paradise 30 in 30 day 12

WIP bird of paradise 1st wash
Today I played with splashes of color: hansa yellow, permanent rose, and cobalt. I played w dropping water and then thicker pigment to get suggestions of ripply edge blossoms.

Bird of paradise blossom

Bird of paradise blossom

And here I was sketching with the brush trying to get the character of this difficult blossom.

In trying to get shadowed yellow to left of blossom i realized that using a cool yellow will work better than using a touch of blue, so I have a plan for tomorrow!

Also playing around with apps on my phone to put watermarks, have to make them paler, resize images, etc. all a learning experience….

Two for shows!


Balcony View 16 x 20 framed. $225

I found out recently that these two paintings were accepted to different local shows.

Balcony View was selected for Ardovino’s Desert Crossing’s 16th annual Celebration of our Mountains.  That opening is Thursday, September 22nd from 6-9 pm at the Sunset Hall at Ardovino’s.


Along the Rio. 16 x 20 framed. $225

Along the Rio has been juried into the Arts International show, opening October 8th from 6-8 at 500 W. Paisano’s Crossland Gallery.

I will be at both openings.  I hope to see you there!

Paradise again. 30 in 30 day 11

Today’s painting of red bird of paradise flowers started before with a first wash of colors mingling. 

This is the first wash done a week or so ago. I haven’t. Decided yet if I like all of the changes…what do you think? 

Class work 30 in 30 day 8


Day 8 was painting in our class with Julie Caffee-Cruz.  If you scroll down to the bottom of her “my story” page, you can see her prize winning painting Parisian Artist that we are using to learn from.  So this is obviously in process.  I so enjoy playing with the burnt sienna and ultramarine blue to make the steps he is sitting on.

Painting but not posting!


For the past several days my usually busy life has turned hectic, so I’ve been painting but not posting on my blog.  When I’m too tired, that’s what usually goes by the wayside.

This is further work on my double size (for me) painting of a century plant.  It is 22″ tall and 15″ wide that I think I will crop skinnier to get this kind of thinner profile for the composition.  I’m happy with the depth of field that I’ve gotten but plan to do it again with more thought to smoother washes. I hope to do more studies on the spines and how to do the color mixing and get the shapes just right.

thorns_study_sm-30in30_day6Our informal painting group had Julie Caffee-Cruz come in to teach the other day which was fun and helpful.  I so admire her work, she is a prize winning watercolorist and artist in pencil.  I always find *at least* one thing from any class that is helpful or meaningful to me, and this time it was what she does with detail areas.  She works from many photos but prints out zoomed in photos of the details of a piece to be able to see them more clearly.  That seems like such a commonsense thing to do, but it really hit me how useful that would be.  Sometimes I work with an ipad or laptop image and pinch in to see it bigger, but I think I’d prefer working from prints and clearly seeing.

I’m considering this a study, or practice piece, and on the future painting, I  plan to print out spine blowups to better understand them and their shape on the finished painting. Above you can see a spine study I did, but again I feel like I was doing it en rote, to get something painted in this busy time, without taking the time to really SEE them.

What do you think of the piece so far?  I’d love to hear constructive criticism on how to improve it the next time. Thanks for stopping by.