Wednesday, April 17, 2019

melo & arya

In the reference photo you can't see many details because of the strong backlighting, so I set out to try to see the shapes of the midtone and dark values and paint only those.
I have a number of photos of my cats with strong value contrast that I think could produce good paintings.
Have to work on those transitions a bit ... and learn to not go back into a wet wash. Duh.

Friday, April 12, 2019

daffodils #3

My rescued daffodils are getting a little droopy ... as is my treatment of this subject. My friend Mike says I always lose a little energy as I repeat a subject, and he's right.
Wasn't too happy with the one above, so I did the quick, wet, no-drawing sketch below, to try to bring a little energy back to it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

canna lily

This was a good subject for me; I could break  it down into smaller, discrete shapes and fill the space. 
I might go in and add some darks here and there to amp up the three-dimensionality (it's rather flat right now) ... or I might not: I might just enjoy the colors.

Today--a beautiful spring day--is my mom's birthday. Spent most of the day working in the yard, moving things around and dividing my many hostas--all descended from ones she gave me; a very Peggy thing to do.

Monday, April 08, 2019

daffodils #2

These are the daffodils I was able to save from the over-diligent leaf raker.
The buds opened up a little overnight ... so on to #3.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

wip: quince


I am partial to that classic watercolor subject, fruit hanging on a tree. I have many photos of a persimmon tree at the end of my street that I hope to get around to painting one day.

I signed up for an online course with Birgit O'Connor called Shadows and Backgrounds because I love one of the paintings she does in the course, a branch of quince. I signed up for, and actually completed two of the projects for, another of her classes, and I learned a lot--about planning, about going big ... (And the classes are a good deal, imho: when you buy, you have access forever! Birgit supplies all the info and references you need; there are FB groups to interact with other students; and the videos are very good.) But I still have more to learn from her.
For example, for some dumb reason, I don't know why, I started this painting before watching Birgit's video. Luckily she has a video on correcting blooms--I don't usually mind blooms, but the one on the big leaf is just distracting.
Now the plan is to finish this, then do another a la Birgit.

Thursday, April 04, 2019



This is my second go at this, from a reference I found on Paint My Photo.
It's an improvement over the last in some ways, but I'm still not quite there yet ...
Again, I had a problem with the paper! In the lower quarter of the sheet; there was some defect there. But in this case it was for once a help, adding to impression of a worn wooden boat.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

1st shot at daffodils, 2019

Okay, posting old-school here: take a photo with a camera; upload to laptop; edit and move to blogger file; post. Seems so laborious now ... but at least it works.
I have to complain about my paper a bit here: sometimes I seem to get a sheet that just won't cooperate--it's too absorbent and the colors don't mingle. Or it could be me: maybe I'm not getting an adequate ratio of paint to water to allow the color to float on the surface?
Anyway, debuting my new bar blue-striped towels! Have been looking everywhere for ones just like these but with writing on them--haven't found them yet.

The young man raking the leaves in my yard decimated one of my daffodil beds today. Managed to save a handful that haven't opened yet. So, 2nd shot will a vase of buds!

testing ...

I haven't been able to post from my phone, which, it turns out, surprisingly, is rather a pain.
I always get a "network error" message.
I am far from technically minded, but I steeled myself and did some troubleshooting.
Seems it's the photos that are causing the problem. So, another avenue to explore, sigh ... but I'm closing in on it!

(My blog will only post words, not pictures and my printer lately only prints pictures, not words. A technological chiasmus.)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

tidying up ...

Cleaning out my flat files, looking for some paintings or ideas for paintings for two small group shows I'll be in this summer in West Cape May.
I found an unfinished painting of gladiolas and finished it.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

painting with mike

Painted with my friend Mike last week--we were both rusty, our paints dry. I wanted to do a simple 
setup: a twig in a glass. Mike added the proverbial monkey wrench: the clippers ... which were a great addition, and something I'd never have thought of. 
Another good reason to paint with a friend!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

blue heron

As always happens when I haven't painted in a while, I come back pretty stiff ... 
Need to paint more to loosen up!

Monday, March 25, 2019

going big

My good friends bought a house in Fla., and they have big expanses of wall to fill.
So, I am going to try to do a big painting for them; I thought some tropical-foliage-type theme would be appropriate and maybe easier for me to paint, if I could break it down into smaller shapes ...
This is my first try, first wash.
Kind of a mess, eh? So many times I was going to stop, but then I decided to keep going and see, once the painting dried, if maybe I could "fix" it with a second pass.
Either way, it's, I hope, a learning experience.
The second drawing I have is of canna lilies.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

american oystercatcher

Hello! I'm sorry I haven't been posting: in January I started getting "network error" messages every time I tried to post ... In short order all the things I knew to do were exhausted.
After awhile I stopped trying! And, in truth, I haven't painted much in the last couple of months.
But spring is here and the daffodils are about bloom, which means painting!

Sunday, January 13, 2019


Photos from a birdwalk I took yesterday with NJ Audubon. 3 hours in 30 degree temps. I almost didn't go, but it wasn't windy so I thought it might not be bad, and ot wasnt, far from it.
We saw 25 kinds of birds, mostly ducks and seabirds, but they were too far away to photogrsph.
But I was equally impressed with the dunes! Such beautiful winter colors. If I were a weaver ...

Friday, January 11, 2019


My brother has several peppermills--a couple of which I swiped over a year ago to paint. Maybe I'll be able to return them soon.

Monday, January 07, 2019


That's Spanish for "robin" and my nickname for my dear friend Robin.
Before I started painting this I was looking at some of my recent bird paintings and realized that often I go in with the same density of paint all over ...Here I deliberately tried to keep some berries and branches more faint.

And, I took Rhonda's advice and floated a light wash of cobalt over the background of the chickadee painting. It worked well to bring the chickadee out more, and also helped to unify the background. Great suggestion, Rhonda, thank you!

Sunday, January 06, 2019

shell series

I took some close-ups of the shells in my banner and I want to do a series. I'm picturing mingled washes and great shadow shapes.
This is my first try, call it practice.
I think I need to spend some time mixing colors before I go on.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

how to finish?

I painted this years ago when I was painting with a still life group. They were an ambitious group, and with them I painted bigger--this is a full sheet!--and more complex still lifes than I ever had, or ever have since!
I feel this needs something to be finished.
I might continue the patterned fabric, but maybe more loosely, on the left side. A light wash on the right?
What do you think?

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

sometimes ...

it doesnt't work out so well!
When I painted the background, I wanted to keep it a cool gray, then I floated in a touch of raw sienna her er snd there and sprinkled on the salt.
You can see how much the snow effect varies, especially across the top....
The top left, dark and with a strong effect, comes forward too much; also the effect stops on the chickadee's back, forming a tangent--an awkward connection that subverts the illusion of volume.
Better to keep the background lighter (unless the bird is white! should've painted a snowy heron in there).

Monday, December 31, 2018

oyster shooter

I hardly ever use masking fluid. (Though I will sometimes, if I think of it, use a wax crayon, which isn't removable.) Probably I don't use it stategically, but to me it is always too obvious.
I saw someone use a masking pen online and got myself one to try.
It goes on easy, very controllable, but is nearly impossible to remove! I gave up; where I was able to remove it, the paper is damaged.
(I wanted to take a picture of the pen, but I think the cats must have batted it under something!)
Back to no masking fluid.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018


There are so many great watercolor and ink paintings of black cats online where the artist lets the flowing of the color define the shapes of the cat--they always amaze me! It looks like magic.
I don't know how they do it, but I thought I'd blunder in.
I identified the parts I had to keep lighter, then started flooding the colors in.
I think it'll take a lot of practice to find the right technique and to have the confidence to get it right on the first go, without having to keep going back and "adjusting"!

fishing boats

Back to fishing boats ... Not very Christmasy though. i should've hung a wreath on one!