Thursday, December 22, 2022


I painted the lady cardinal above in class with Ronna Fujisawa of SaltyWaterArt. (Look her up if you're interested in Zoom bird painting classes.)
Ronna always gets great backruns or blooms in her backgrounds. Mine are usually just a mess but i like how this background turned out. Makes me think of frost.

This one I painted on my own. She looks a little dubious!
And the last one I painted after a class with Ian de Hoog. Ian gets beautiful washes and mixes in his birds. He's got some tutorials on YouTube on topics liker color mixing.

Monday, December 19, 2022

drawing is free

In order, my drawings from today's session (with apologies to the sitters!). These poses were all under 4 minutes.
I lasted 45 minutes this week (only 30 last week), and only skipped two poses.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

drawing is free org

There's a group, run by Chloe Briggs and based in Paris, that meets online for 1 hour on Monday; people in the group draw each other; the pose is the length of a song.
I've only been 2x. And this week i only stayed for a half hour. But though i find it challenging--or maybe because I find it challenging?--i enjoy it and seeing the other participants' work on Instagram i realize there is a lot of potential for growth in this practice.
Drawing Is Free is worth checking out. As is Chloe's Patreon group, which explores a lot of other interesting drawing projects.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

some birds

American Goldfinch, 7.5x11, painted in class with SaltyWaterArt.
Cardinal, 5x7
I must have 5 or 6 reds on my big palette ... but i always find the cardinal's red hard to match. Maybe when it comes to bright reds, which are really just so appealing!, close is good enough!
Night heron, 10x12, painted in a Domestika class, Naturalist Watercolor with Leondro Nunes. I like Domestika course: inexpensive and the lessons are short, in case you are pressed for time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

susan abbott workshop

I have been wanting to take a class with Susan Abbott for a very long time. Finally got my chance with a two-session online workshop on Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. What could be better?!

For our Homer homework we painted from ref photos Susan provided. In one (the house) we were supposed to mix and use the colors in a Homer painting; in the second, we were to paint thinking about warm and cool.
Below is my copy of a Homer painting, Sloop, Nassau.
I haven't done my Sargent homework yet!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

spotted sandpiper

Above is a spotted sandpiper I painted in class with Ian de Hoog, who is a really wonderful bird painter.
And below is one I painted on my own after class.
I think my paintings would really benefit from some of the pre-painting prep work Ian does, like deciding on the color mixes ahead of time.
So why do I very rarely do it? Weird.
And this was my one attempt to follow along with Birdtober, #2, the campo flicker.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

simple still life


I set up a little still life on the kitchen table and took a few pictures; trying out a couple. Each has things I like and don't like!
I added the orange for the light it would reflect on the cruet, and in the foray one I like that orange blush.
For the second I tried a couple of ways to paint the pattern: dry on wet, dry on dry that I'd then mist, and the one I settled on--drawing with a watercolor pencil on wet paper. Really like the effect!

Started the third, and last I think!, one, below. I like it unfinished! But I think I'll go a little further.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

quail and kestrel

Another bird painted in class with Salty Water Art.
Taking the class means I'll get my paints wet at least once a week! But also I end up painting birds I wouldnt necessarily choose on my own, like the California quail, above, or the kestrel, below. 
And it's also great to see other painters' work!

Monday, November 07, 2022

more shorebirds


A couple of quick, uncomplicated paintings.
I got the ref photos for these from a Facebook group, Free Reference Photos for Artists. The photograspher is Jenny Ryan. Thank you, Jenny!

Friday, November 04, 2022

plein air: higbee beach and townbank

Sometimes, many times?, the value study is better than the painting.
Eliminating the complication of color, and the doubt and hesitation it can provoke, probably accounts for a lot of it. Value studies too often have an appealing freshness and lack of detail.
Gotta bring that value study energy to the painting!

We've been having unseasonably warm temps here, and sunny skies. Going to keep plein air painting as long as it lasts!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

old photos 2

After messing up the painting with the glowing washes, I revisited this subject, maybe with more restraint.
Also began to think about two other subjects: my nana (left), summer on 92nd Street, and me, summer on Montauk.
Both watercolor pencil.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

value studies

Here are the value studies from the sketches I posted previously.
The one above I think worked out pretty well. I may move on to color.
In the ones below, the value study highlighted some difficulties.
In the first there isn't enough variation in the values; but I can make some decisions and add some midtones.
This last one has too much light value. It's also not such a good composition, I think.
Weirdly as I painted it I became more interested in the chair than I was in the people, which made me think I was on the wrong tack.

old photos

 I was pretty happy with the first washes I put down ... but I didnt know what to do next. Next night, I plunged in: bad idea. 
It might have been salvageable but I kept putting the facial features in the wrong place--which led to a lot of correcting and anxiety, and really ruined the freshness that was so appealing in the first wash.
So, I felt pretty disappointed, but I'm over it. Going to do another ... where I hope I will not make the same mistakes!

This is my first go at a photo of my maternal grandmother with her father.
I king of like that when I begin these I have no idea what I'm going to do. I just do something, then react to it, do something else ... It's an interesting process, in which I have to treat time differently than I normally do, which is as a precious commodity to be rigorously tracked and parsimoniously spent!


Another painting from a photo I took kayaking in the back bays. I kept the background wet and grayed, but it still competes too much with the subject, the tern.
Below is a sketch, trying to improve on a previous try.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

shorebird class

A killdeer and a yellow-crowned night heron painted in a class with Ian de Hoog at Winslow Art Center.
It's funny how I often paint better in a class environment.
I think for one thing--an important one--when I'm painting in class I am less likely to make the mistakes I usually make on my own. E.g., not paying enough attention to my psint:water ratio and overworking.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

some sketches

Small sketches made from old  family photos. 
Next: value studies.
Then: who knows?