Monday, November 15, 2010

San Juan Capistrano Arches

"San Juan Capistrano Arches"
9" x 12"
ink and watercolor on paper

My husband and I went to this wonderful place in Sourthern California for a day trip honeymoon...and I never wanted to leave! I could have stayed there and painted for weeks...the history, the beauty, the ambiance of the really spoke to me!

It was the perfect day.

This painting is now available on Etsy...please click the purchase information below for more information.


Ballpoint pens have a silvery, graphite-like quality that lends itself beautifully to capturing textures. Most of the newer ones are archival, though some of my 35-year-old ballpoint pen drawings have turned to a lovely, atmospheric sepia.

Here, you can see the texture possible with repeated lines and a lighter or heavier application...really, very much like a pencil drawing, but a bit stronger and easier to paint over with watercolor washes.

I've used glazes to suggest the textures and shadows, mostly with burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.

A bit of spatter suggests aged stonework and adobe, as does the drybrush work, below...I loaded my brush with ultramarine grayed with a little sienna and just allowed it to touch the texture of the paper, using the side of the brush rather than the tip.

I was very pleased with the resulting vignette...


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.



  1. I'm quite sure you're the same Cathy Johnson I took a workshop from 20 years ago in Las Vegas. (Nevada) Nice to see your work (even if, perhaps, you aren't the same workshop director I think you are.)

  2. Hi Brent! Yes, that would be me! My brother in law, Richard Busey, was workshop director for the Nevada Watercolor Society when I was invited back the second (or third) time...nice bunch of people, and I got to visit my sis and paint in the desert--it was great!

  3. Thank you! It was satisfying--what a wonderful place!

  4. this is lovely! great work and excellent job on the coloring:)

  5. Thank you,'s such a gorgeous place I could paint there for DAYS.

  6. I read your article in watercolor artist. congrats.

  7. Thank you, Lydia! I was pleased with it, it was a GREAT issue, with Danny Gregory and Charles Reid and all...I was in fast company!

  8. This is really lovely. I am a fan of combining ink and watercolor, myself. Many many years ago, I spent a week in northern Wales visiting all of the ruins I could find and sketching them. The feel and texture in your piece reminds me of that. Sadly I lost that sketchbook in a fire, but I still have the memories. Thanks for the mini demo. I'm glad I found your blog.

  9. Thank you, Gabrielle, I'm glad you did, too! I'd love to go to Wales...and I am SO sorry you lost the sketchbook, what a tragedy...


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