Thursday, June 27, 2024

10 minutes

This is a great idea that I'm borrowing from Celia Blanco. Look her up on Instagram!
I've been following Celia for idk how long! I love her subject matter--which tends to be the things around her in her life, and, since she lives in Rome, that's pretty good!--and her way of painting: strong and free.
She paints for 10 minutes every morning. 
I chose a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, and started this morning.
Thanks, Celia!

Tuesday, June 25, 2024


Big heat wave here ... Which makes my upstairs, where I paint, intolerable. Heat also isn't my best mode. Not watercolor's either, I guess!
I just got a new brush: a Winsor & Newton synthetic mop, which is the one plein air painter James Potter uses. You can see his videos, free, on YouTube.
I made up this scene--but it's Scotland!--judt to drag the brush across the page. I like it: very soft for a synthetic.
Also got this one, but haven't tried it yet 
I have such a pile of paintings: the space between my flat file and the counter is jammed. The flat file is full too!
I always sell well at the two local shows I participate in in summer/ fall ... But it's not enough. It's really difficult to get the paintings in front of the people who'd be inclined to buy them!
The backlog is starting to feel oppressive.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

plein air

First plein air session of the summer, about 2 hours.
A little sketch to get me going; a view across a marsh that couldn't make work; and a sketch of a tree. 
I've been looking at a lot of Lois Dodd paintings, many of them of trees.
And some seagull shapes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

sligachan, skye


This is one of the scenes James Potter painted on Skye... Check out his YouTube channel. I really enjoy it.
I'm dissatisfied with this but I'm not exactly sure why. I have a feeling the paper is too small for the subject?
Looking at Andrew Wyeth and John Marin watercolors I want to push myself to go bigger, 16x20 or 22x30 even.
Pretty scary but I should try.

laughing gulls

.                             8x10

More testing of an old block of paper: Fabriano Artistic 140lb CP.
Wanted to paint the laughing gulls i've seen sitting on their nests in the back bays. How precarious their nests seem at high tide.
Nests are hard for me: I'm not a good negative painter ... So I take a more chaotic approach!
I was a little careless, I think, in both my drawing and my first wash. But I'll definitely be trying these again.
in my little sketchbook, watercolor and Tombow pens, the baby bunny living in my yard. Gives me such pleasure to see him or her. My mother was very fond of rabbits--a Druid familiar--and, aside from their own inherent beauty, they remind me of her.

Monday, June 17, 2024


                               6x8 each

A couple of sketches of the bay beach near my house.
Was trying to play ... colors, shapes ... But, idk, I feel some anxiety to do well seeps in. if I could make myself paint these same scenes every day for a week or so I could distill them a la Milton Avery 

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Rocky coast

Still practicing rocks. 

Saturday, June 15, 2024

camusdarach beach


A beach outside Mallaig.
On Fabriano 140lb rough.
Paper is so soft I find it difficult to get a hard line ... Which can be a good thing.
Not happy with the rocks, but I can't blame the paper!

Friday, June 14, 2024

path to rhu


Pulling blocks of paper out out my closet: this one is Fabriano 140lb rough press. Wasn't too happy initially with the "softness," probably because I paint so wet. Left it alone, came back, made some darker marks.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024


Cedar waxwings painting done in Zoom class with SaltyWaterArt, last one for the summer as Ronns concentrates on in-person plein air.
I think this is the first waxwing I've painted! Got a little carried away with the colors, maybe.
Every time I try to do a wet background like Ronna's, I botch it one way or another. Here: I dribbled water on it; I overpainted the beak then tried to fix it; I didn't get a very pretty gray.
Below: A preliminary sketch.
My color journal page. I see I went too purple in the larger painting: prefer the blue/umber colors here.
Below: I got a couple of little butcher trays to mix colors in. Liking it. And that I can put all my other stuff in it for cleanup.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024



Painted in one of Shari Blaukopf's online classes. Always enjoy her classes and learn something to.
Rocks are currently a favorite. They can be challenging on several ways; what I have to watch for is that I don't make the rocks too uniform by carelessly adding my darks.
I started at the left and moved across, and you can clearly see how I losty nerve as I went!

Monday, June 10, 2024


Attempting to not overpaint. Struggled with the beak; finally had to just stop. I'll either leave it or revisit it when I've figured out how to fix it.

Sunday, June 09, 2024

playing around


This past winter I saw an exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum called Abstract Flash: Unseen Andrew Wyeth.
It consisted of works on paper, all 16x20 and larger, that were left untitled because Wyeth considered them, I guess the word is, sketches, or maybe: practice.

Nowhere, at the exhibit or in the catalog, is the kind of paper Wyeth used named or described; perhaps he didn't record it as these paintings were kinda toss-offs. Some papers had the tooth of a cold press or rough watercolor paper.
.         3. Painted with palette gray

But many more had a smooth surface and appeared lighter in weight; some pages had been torn off a wirebound pad. I assume he was using drawing paper.
So I acquired a biggish pad of inexpensive watercolor paper and a biggish pad of mixed media drawing paper.

Filled this page, working from the ref photo below. It's not a great photo but for some reason I'm drawn to it.

Friday, June 07, 2024


            Chimneypots of Nairn 1

Another slightly wonky sketch. I think this could be nice if I could figure out the values!
Just a preliminary ...

Thursday, June 06, 2024

house sparrow


A couple of weeks ago I posted a painting I did in a class with Megan Swoyer of a goldfinch perched on a clay pot. I liked the painting so much I thought I'd try with other birds.

May try a catbird and maybe a wren, two birds that are plentiful here.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024


My first gouache. Pretty disastrous! This is an abandoned lighthouse in the Delaware Bay and I obviously drew it badly, so, that doesn't help.
Gouache doesn't do any of the things I like about watercolor but I keep seeing a lot of artists on the Internet using gouache as a sketching medium. And it's hard for me to wrap my head around opacity! These colors were applied too thinly I think: it looks weak, muddy.
I'm not sure if sketching in gouache can be helpful to my watercolors but I'll try playing around with them a little.

Monday, June 03, 2024


               North Wildwood, 8x10
                  Lewes, DE, 8x10

Found a block of Hahnemuhle paper in my closet and decided to try it out.
Unlike other Hahnemuhle papers I've used, this one doesn't have much tooth or texture; it's pretty smooth. It also must be highly sized: water doesn't absorb quickly; you can push the paint around and you can also lift pretty easily. It's 200lb. and acid free but not I think 100% rag.

Pages in my kayaking journal. The marshes where we paddle are full of laughing gull nests.

Sunday, June 02, 2024

inverie 2

Had another go at the Inverie cove, wetter, fewer details.
I painted this looking at my previous painting, not at the reference photo.
An idea I got from reading about Richard Diebenkorn. He attended life drawings classes and did his figure paintings from the sketches he made in class, not from a sitter. This degree of separation for me opens space to, I don't know, follow the painting. 
This is a great little book of Diebenkorn's

Saturday, June 01, 2024



Another Scottish scene. I had a scrap of paper and just started in on this ... Funny that it's one of my favorites so far.
Thought I had published this previous version, but maybe not, so ...
Below: Sitting at my table. Just started drawing this ... Began with the small blossom on the upper left. Then just kept assessing and adding. A really enjoyable way to draw.