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!

Saturday, December 22, 2018


My photogenic boy!
Not worrying about getting the stripes just right has been a real help!

Friday, December 21, 2018


Lately, whenever I drew a cardinal, it seemed "off," but I didn't  know why.
So I drew lines on my reference photo to see what lined up with what ... and discovered that I'd been putting the eye in the wrong place, as well as not making the head wide enough.
In sparrows, for example, the eye sits on top of a line drawn from the middle of the beak; on the cardinal the top of the eye aligns with the top of the beak.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


Several people asked about the snowy backgrounds in my recent bird paintings, so I thought I'd do a step-by-step.
I painted the background, very wetly, with cobalt, quin pink, and raw sienna.
But I waited too long to sprinkle on the salt!
I wasn't too happy with how the background turned out--too blue, I thought--and was going to abandon this one. But I finished it anyway, and spattered it with white watercolor.

Monday, December 17, 2018

too far or not far enough?

I couldn't tell if I did too much or too little here, then realized it's a bit of both.
Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to see it afresh and add something to improve it.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

preparing or procrastinating?

A gray, rainy Sunday here. I decided to take the day off from working and do some painting. (Since I work at home I have to convince myself to put the work away!) Wound up measuring and tearing paper; drawing; taping papers to boards ... I could call it prep work--my mise en place--but it feels more like delaying!
So I've got eight potential paintings all ready to be painted: now to convince myself to not find those boards intimidating!
I think before tackling any of them I'll try a little more free-form painting of poinsettias and Christmas cactus

Friday, December 14, 2018

gilly & arya

Not as pleased with this as I had hoped to be.
I was trying to concentrate on shapes of values, and, to some degree, I think that worked.
But where it fails is in expressiveness, generally, but specifically in their faces.
At least I painted today--have been somewhat lax the last week or so.
Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

my cats

Drawings to paint of my cats, Melo and Sansa and Gilly and Arya.
I'm glad I decided to photograph these; looking at the photo I can clearly see a few things that need tweaking.

Sunday, December 09, 2018


One of my cats, Melo, sitting in a wreath.
I painted the wreath first because it was the part I was most worried about.
I kept the floor close to Melo in value because I didn't want to attract too much attention there; though I am now thinking of adding a little shadow ...

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

pine cone

Jo MacKenzie sent me the reference photo for this, which I painted after watching her pine cone painting videos on YouTube. Jo's emphasis on planning your values really helped.

oyster shells

The inside of an oyster shell can be so colorful. These were served on a plate garnished with strands of seaweed, which I found so visually appealing.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018