Saturday, November 17, 2018


The first, light washes were very pleasing, then I messed up with the darks.
Plan to try it again, I think I can do better.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

lady cardinal

I think I prefer the female cardinal, with her tawny coloring.
My cardinals always look cartoony to me ... haven't been able to figure out why!

Monday, November 12, 2018

value practice

The idea here was to be rigorous in establishing and maintaining values ... I can't seem to do values in color. That will be my next attempt!
I wasn't happy with how thick I let the branches on the tree get, so I added some streaks of white and splatter for snow.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

pine cones

I was just about to post this, and looked at the photo, and realized I should add a few more darks.
I often see what needs fixing only after photographing it.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

rhodo sprig

The plants here are all confused. With the terribly hot summer we had here most of my plants were scorched and near dead, it seemed, but the recent warm weather has apparently encouraged some things to bloom again.

Friday, November 09, 2018

old dpw challenge

Addendum: Sorry, I got my sources mixed up! I saw this exercise, using a DPW photo, from Jo's downloadable Visual Guide to Painting (which is on sale this weekend); ten lessons with links to her videos on YouTube.
You can see Jo's work and lessons on YouTube and on her website.
I came across this old Daily Paintworks challenge on Jo MacKenzie's website. I have long admired the clarity of the values in her paintings, so I decided to give this challenge, which she credits with helping her see values more strongly, a try.
The challenge was to change the color and paint the value. I didn't change the colors (much) because I couldn't decide which colors to use! But I think I will do it again, the way it was meant to be done!

Melo, interrupting my photo-taking. 

Thursday, November 08, 2018

pine cones

Still being a little more careful than I'd like;  but, I think anyway, if I keep at it it, I'll 1) get more confidence and 2) be able to distill the cone to its essentials for representation.

Saturday, November 03, 2018


Trying to paint some apples a la Jo MacKenzie, who is a whiz at seeing values.
If you haven't yet, check out her short videos on youtube.

bluejay re-do

Painted this again, a little larger. I wanted a more high-key background and wanted to, if I could, improve on the branches. Perhaps not surprisingly, I think I prefer the branches in the first version.
But I do like the almost marbled effect the salt created in the background.

Friday, November 02, 2018

backyard birds

Two cold weather tenants: white-throated sparrow and dark-eyed junco.
I like white backgrounds, but I'd like to come up with something else ... something out-of-focus.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

monday class

Trying to get back in the habit of attending class-- tho' it'll be breaking up in a couple of weeks for the winter break.
This week, working on imaginary landscapes, trying to build up from light, loose washes to darker, more descriptive ones.
My problem is I always end up covering up too much of the underlying wash, and I'm never sure where to put the darks!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

sktchy 30 faces/30 days

Accidentally posted this draft from a while ago yesterday ... Since it's here: I participated in the Sktchy app (only available on Apple devices, but they have a FB page and you can join challenges and get the reference photos via email) 30 Faces/30 Days challenge in January, when I was living with my mom. To keep it simple (and even so I only made it about halfway through the month!) I used only a mechanical pencil.
I found it very engrossing!

oak leaf sketch

A simple motif. Painted on lightweight sketchbook paper. Might try on watercolor paper where wet- in- wet might yield some good effects.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

value studies

A page of small value studies. I find these, more than anything else, help me simplify a complicated or detailed subject.
Also just fun to do when I have no other ideas!

Monday, October 29, 2018

pine cones

Picked up this little branch on my bike ride. The symmetry appealed to me.
Still struggling to find the right balance in rendering the pine cone: I don't want to pick out every light edge; I need to get a little looser, freer.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

winter birds

Ok. Not there yet ... but I do love the subject.
Back to the drawing table ...
I am thinking maybe going bigger--this is 6x8--might help: more room for colors to run, more space around branches...

Saturday, October 27, 2018

winter themes

Beginning to explore some winter subjects.
I have several lovely photos of birds in snow that I took in my yard.
I have to work on a few things to pull them off: 1) making a variety of soft grays, and 2) maintaining soft edges for snow drifts and trees/twigs in the background.
In this particular case I think the paper, which was not conducive to bleeding, was a hindrance. Better paper next time.
(oops, just notice, after posting, that I forgot to paint his feet!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

sketchbook pages

Been picking up things on my bike ride-- leaves, pine cones. Beginning to try to draw them.

Monday, October 22, 2018

another workshop day

Another street view. Tried for fewer brushstrokes ...
If you look up Alvaro Castagnet's watercolors, you'll see his horizon line, or where the house hits the pavement, is very dark, with indeterminate details made with negative painting and adding shapes with lighter opaque colors. It's painterly and convincing, and not easy!
You'll see I left out the horizon!

alvaro castagnet workshop

Took a workshop last week.
The second day we went out to paint some Cape May streets a la Alvaro.
Normally I'd spend a good hour drawing an architectural subject; these I spent about 5 minutes on, then rushed in with big wet washes.
They're a mess but it felt kinda liberating.
Alvaro's comment,"Too many brushstrokes " was on the mark!
ps That mess in the sky on the bottom isn't calligraphy--it's supposed to be birds!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Magnolia wip

Working on an 11x15 magnolia painting trying to apply Birgit O'Connor's method. But it seems I skipped over one of the early important steps: evaluating the composition for drama. This may turn out all right, but it probably won't have that stunning element Birgit's have.

Friday, October 12, 2018

birgit o'connor rhodo

Finished, for now. I cannot work on this any longer!
I might darken the stamen shadows, but I already overworked them and the stamens, so maybe it's best not to draw attention to them!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

another wip

... from one of Birgit O'Connor's online classes.
Struggling a bit with this one--confused by my own drawing!
I do like her classes. They are pricey, but she does offer sales, and you have lifetime access.
I wouldn't approach everything I paint in this way, but I am thinking of some subjects that might work well. And, I'm getting comfortable with half sheets!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018