Wednesday, March 25, 2020

daffodils 7 (finished)


Calling it finished.
I was considering adding more leaves, but I was afraid I'd end up doing it too randomly and messing it up.
Maybe in a few days I'll know where a leaf or leaves are needed, and Iif so, I might add them.

Friday, March 20, 2020

daffodil 7: wip


I wonder if it was a mistake to make two of the daffodils pink? Too late now!
The plan is to get the flowers painted, then add some blades of leaves to tie it all together ...

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

daffodils 6


The daffodils are still blooming!
Making some progress on the shadows, I think. The more successful ones here are light, transparent, palette grays.

Started working on a larger painting, 15x22. And decided to add some pink.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

daffodils 5


Trying to vary my approach a little, I painted this without drawing if first.
A pale yellow flower is a good one to try this with.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

daffodils 4


Another painting of daffodils.
Beginning to look at shadows; usually,  especially with daffodils an other basically cone-shaped flowers, I fixate on the shape.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

daffodils 3


More daffodils! Tried, this time, using a very watery triad--hansa, perm rose, and cerulean--in the petals to bring some variation.
I'm not sure this is done. Thinking of adding some leaves...

As it got dark last night, I noticed the lamplight was casting some dark shadows on the daffodils. So I thought I'd take another tack and start with the shadows. This is how far I got.
I can never decide on the color in the shadows! Is it a dark yellow? Bluish? Greenish? As I started to paint this I decided to stop trying to figure it out.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

daffodils 2


Daffodils: hard to get right (the yellows!) and hard to get wrong (the yellows!).

Thursday, March 05, 2020

first daffodils


The daffodils seem early this year, but I could be mistaken.
Daffodils are probably my favorite flower to paint, even though I struggle with yellows.
Maybe it's the shape, maybe it's the timing (spring!) ... I want to paint them everyday till they're done.

Monday, March 02, 2020

delaware bay


Another painting I found abandoned half-finished on a block.
I added a few touches-- the clouds, the wet sand, the distant greens--and can call it finished, I think.
I toyed with the idea of trying to unify the grass clumps with a wash, but sometimes, imho, "fixes" don't really help: I might have gained something, but I'd lose whatever freshness the greens there have ... and to me that's not a good trade.

Case in point: also found the painting below, which is pretty high key. Thought I might be able to finish it with some darks, but I couldn't pull it off. Kept adding not-strong-enough dabs and the washes got tired.

Sunday, March 01, 2020



Took some nice photos of the tops of palm trees while visiting my brother in Florida.
I like the photos because they have distinct light, dark and high-value shapes ... so I'm hoping if I paint them a couple of times maybe I'll be able to get a pleasing distillation.

Friday, February 28, 2020

practice: pomegrates


Someone asked me to paint pomegrates for them (a while ago!) and I'm finally getting to it.
Actually, it's going to be a good--I hope--learning experience for me: have to figure out a way to suggest the foliage surrounding the fruit.
So you won't be surprised to read I'm not happy with the foliage! 
I think I have to 1) give more thought to the overall shape of the mass, and 2) do more, and more subtle, layering/glazing.
I am happy with the pomegranates though!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020



Considered adding another stem, but then decided to leave it as is.
I had a teacher, Bonnie Mettler, years ago who'd always say, Does it bother you? If not, don't " fix" it.

Monday, February 24, 2020



Sometimes I just try too hard ... and it shows. My sparrows show my anxiety about getting feather patterns "correct"!
 I should try doing some freehand birds to loosen and warm up before attempting a painting because, after all, it's not a zoological rendering--getting the patterning exactly right isnt the point for me: I'd like to be able to get a confident, and convincing, impression.
If past experience is any guide, the warmups will probably be most appealing!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

wip lilies


Taking a break from a big, in pages and importance, job: proofreading Ulysses!
Worked on this today and learned a little lesson: when working on a painting in stages, make sure all the parts are integrated. Although the problem here is really with the drawing: I drew the upper right sprig, started painting it, then added the lower two.
Further adjustments to the drawing to come, I think!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

tree sparrow


I think he's a tree sparrow--chestnut cap, gray head-- though I took his picture in marsh grasses.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020



The grocery store had small bunches of not-yet-opened lilies and I couldn't resist.
A couple days went by before I finally got to trying to paint them.
I did this painting with no drawing.
I like the way the buds turned out so I started a larger, 16x20, using a little drawing this time to help me find my way.
Plan is to paint one stem, then find a place to add the second.

Sunday, February 16, 2020


A lot of wrens in my yard; such pretty--and loud--little birds.
The background isn't what I envisaged, wanted more backruns ... but you never get them when you want them! Pleased with it anyway.
Also tried an ibis!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

junco and finch


I'm going to be in a group show in June, and the organizer wants bird paintings from me. Ever since she told me that I haven't been able to paint a bird! (These is from a few weeks back.)

Sunday, February 09, 2020

more apples

Getting closer, but still a way from what I want, and a long long way from approaching the apples off maybe the best apple painter in watercolor, Charles Demuth. (The best, imho, in oil is of course Cezanne!)
Charles Demuth, Still Life: Apples and Green Glass, 1925

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

this week in class...


I took this reference photo two or three years ago; I think I was drawn to the overlapping planes.
This painting is pretty true to the photo. I did add the car, which is why it's out of scale!
When I do this again--and I will because I think I can improve it--I'll make it less of a close-up ... maybe put the ocean in the background?
And I'll change the colors of the houses and roofs: too many midtones here; I think I need to get some stronger high-low contrasts in there to make the scene brighter.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020



A sparrow in the snow.
I love sparrows, and these little scenes give me a chance to work on my grays.