Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wren Sketch

"Wren Sketch" 4" x 6" watercolor and ink on paper
This is a quick gesture sketch of a wren we saw near home, singing its bold little heart out! And sometimes ALL you have time for is a quick scribble, with a bit of color added later, from memory. I found much more on the little wren--a Bewick's wren--in my bird books and online--and posted it in our Sketching in Nature blog, HERE. If you love nature and enjoy learning about it, feel free to join us at Sketching in Nature--it's an international group blog of terrific artists, learning from the best teacher there is, Nature herself. It's here: --------------- Watch for our next mini-demo here, later in the week! --------------- This painting will come to you unmatted and unframed for ease of shipping; I wrap with care and send via Priority Mail for most dependable shipping. $20 SOLD

Friday, June 5, 2009

"Desert Storm"

"Desert Storm"
original watercolor pencil on paper
9" x 11 1/2"

I updated this post, since I rediscovered a demo I did for it! People seem to enjoy them, so I added two new detail shots and put the demo below. It seemed especially appropriate since I'm in the middle of teaching my online class--on watercolor pencil.

I've done several workshops for the Nevada Watercolor Society, and a field trip into the desert with my sister and brother-in-law brought me to this beautiful redrock outcropping with the storm lowering over it near Mt. Charleston. The colors of the high desert landscape were intensified by the blue shadows in the still-snowy mountains, the burnt sienna of the redrock, and the gray-green of sage and other desert plants. I love the scent of the desert, and the coming of rain intensified that too--fresh, spicy, wonderful.I wish I could share that with you as well...

This is an original work, using the versatility of watercolor pencils , done on cold pressed paper. It was a challenge, but all painting worth doing IS...

This was originally in my North Light book, Watercolor Pencil Magic--it's one of my favorites--so I put it on my new CD, Watercolor Pencil's part of Lesson 3.



Here, you can see the progression from dry pencil on paper to the first washes--you can do the pencil work in the field and not worry about carrying water with you, if you like. They're lightweight and versatile...

The careful application of clear water softens and blends the pigment on the paper...I was careful not to blur the edges where colors touch,where I preferred a crisp edge. I let this dry before adding the foreground layers.

I DID want a soft edge to suggest clouds--you can see I kept the application of blue pencil much lighter in that area, then was careful to blend softly.

Scribbled marks worked well to suggest the desert scrub...dots here and there suggested smaller plants. They blended just enough...



Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Window on the Past"--SOLD

"Window on the Past"
5" x 7"
original watercolor, marble dust and polymer medium
on archival cold-pressed paper

(Click on the image to see it larger...)

There is something both inviting and mysterious about a window, particularly one that has looked out upon the world for so long. This is an adobe window in the American Southwest, set into the thick walls that help keep the intense desert heat at bay.

I did this small painting to explore some techniques for my upcoming revision of
my 20-year-old North Light book,
Watercolor Tricks & Techniques: 75 New and Classic Painting Secrets

I tried out some of the new texture mediums, and then decided it would be more challenging and interesting to invent my own--so I borrowed some marble dust from a friend who paints with pastels, and mixed it into matte polymer medium for a somewhat rough texture, then painted it onto the paper and allowed it to dry.

Rough strokes approximate the texture of my subject.



The polymer medium sits on the paper surface, and allowed me to lift color with a damp brush, blotting away the loosened watercolor easily as you see here on the edges of the window frame.

I lifted more color to suggest the glass in the broken window, then used an Exacto knife to scratch the sharp edge of the glass, below--I was delighted with the way this helped suggest the dark mystery beyond.

Here, I chose granulating paint--Ultramarine Blue--which settled unevenly into the marble dust-created texture. When all was dry, I scraped paint away from the surface here and there to show the weathered quality of the old building and used a bit of spatter to further add the sense of great age.

It is a very atmospheric little piece!


Most of the paintings offered here are unframed, both to save on shipping charges and to allow you to suit your own taste and decor.

Doing so allows me to keep the prices down
and puts original art in the hands of more people!


SOLD, thank you very much!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Changes...for the better!

Hi all...

I hope you like all the new changes on this blog...I wanted it cleaner and more open, and finally took time to resize the banner and simplify the sidebar information. I'll keep working on that for a bit till I get it where I want it, but I do hope it makes it easier to see the art and to navigate, as well!

I'd be delighted with your feedback on this, too...

Miss Lara and the Yatates-SOLD

"Lara and the Yatates"

8" x 10"
ink on Bristol vellum

Yatates are wonderful Japanese traveling paint kits--they have been in use for well over 400 years, and were part of a Samurai's basic equipment. Yatates come in many shapes and sizes--I have four in my collection, all thought to be Edo-era, 1603-1868. They are FUN to use in the field! Mine were all quite inexpensive, considering, and are made of brass and copper--virtually indestructible, though I DID panic when I left one of them in a restaurant in the next town! They had no idea what it was, but they kept it safe in the office till we could get back over and retrieve it.

There is ink-saturated cotton, silk or sponge in the bowl, and the hollow handle holds a brush for writing or drawing in the Sumi-e style.

Here's a photo of the same two yatates...lovely, aren't they?


detail from the ink painting above

It just seemed right somehow to use the Sumi-e brush and paint without preliminary drawing with pencil, as the Samurai might have done. I do find I tend to hold my breath a lot when I work that way, though!

Brushes of this sort often come to a lovely point so they are good for drawing, writing, or painting...I just paid close attention to shapes and relationships as I worked, using the tip of the brush for lines and details, and the body of it for Miss Lara and the soft gray shadows.

I diluted the ink with water for the halftone grays on the yatates, but left it full strength for our beautiful black cat, Lara. (She was named after the heroine in Dr. Zhivago, since she too was shot and thrown into a snowbank to die. My husband's daughter found her, rescued her and brought her back to health.)


Most of the paintings offered here are unmatted and unframed, both to save on shipping charges and to allow you to suit your own taste and decor.

Doing so allows me to keep the prices down
and puts original art in the hands of more people!


SOLD, and thank you so much!


Monday, June 1, 2009


Hi all...well, I'm amazed at your response already, so I thought I'd show you what I mean...I put it on this post, on the painting that sold already, but I had the detail shot of the upper right part of the painting...

This is what I had in mind, more or less. I hope the italic and ------- lines set it off a bit.

Suggestions welcome, for doing that, though!

Gallery blog idea--tell me what you think!

Hi all...I've been thinking I might try to include a mini-tip when I post a painting, just a bit telling how it came about, or what technique was used where. Would this be of interest to you?

Maybe I'll try to find a place to do a poll on Blogger, but meanwhile, please do leave a comment and tell me what you think!


Waiting for First Snow--SOLD

"Waiting for First Snow"
9" x 12" image size

original watercolor on archival cold pressed paper
framed and matted

I began this painting as a demo at one of the Art Crawls in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, and continued to develop and refine it later, at home. Everything seemed to fall together, as it sometimes does, and I had it matted and framed.

This will be on my new watercolor CD, since I took demo shots of it...


detail from upper right on the painting above

When I want to make an area lacier and open up some light, as in these distant trees, I use a sharp blade or X-acto knife to scrape back to the white paper. I scraped the trunks and branches into the damp wash--bruising the paper makes darker lines.


This one found a home quickly, THANK YOU!



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